In the Mid-Autumn Festival held by Conrad Manila, women from various sectors were honored for their efforts in promoting sustainability.
Antique Rep. Lorna Regina “Loren” B. Legarda, a noted advocate of Filipino art and culture, lauded bag designer and entrepreneur Zarah Juan’s work as an example of Filipino craftsmanship.
“Recovery from the pandemic is not only about protecting from COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] and its variants, but it’s also about the health of our nation,” said Ms. Legarda at the Aug. 16 virtual event. “The health of our nation can be prioritized by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises [MSMEs] and culture-based livelihoods.”
The Conrad Manila Harvest limited edition bags, designed by Ms. Juan and produced by local weavers, were unveiled at the festival. Containing different flavors of mooncakes as part of the hotel’s mid-autumn tradition, the bags are promoted as a celebratory item as well as a tribute to sustainability and Filipino identity.
“We need sustainability so future generations can also enjoy our tourist destinations. We want to protect the livelihoods of our tourism workers,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who was also honored for her work in keeping the hard-hit industry afloat.
Her sister Mons T. Romulo, founder of Katutubo PH, was recognized during the event as an advocate for local crafts. Since 2016, her group has staged pop-up markets featuring products of Filipino designers that source locally, like Zarah Juan.
Aside from upcycling and cultivating local livelihoods, the group of women, which also included Pasay Mayor Imelda “Emi” Calixto-Rubiano and Department of Foreign Affairs Ladies Foundation Chairperson Ma. Lourdes B. Locsin, emphasized the importance of sustainable living even at home.
“Sustainability and zero waste will really give us an easier, cheaper, and less expensive lifestyle,” said Ms. Legarda, who authored Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. “This includes the segregation of waste, recycling, and composting.” — Brontë H. Lacsamana