Ata Manobo, Matigsalog people to get handicrafts training

Posted on March 14, 2014

DAVAO CITY -- Ata Manobo and Matigsalog indigenous people will participate in a handicraft skills training program initiated by the Davao Region Tourism Council.

Mary Ann M. Montemayor, council chairwoman, told BusinessWorld the program will initially cover at least 10 members per tribe. Improving the quality of products from the region’s uplands, she said, will help handicrafts produced by indigenous people penetrate the domestic and, eventually, export markets.

"We will explain to them the market trend and what is sellable today. If there are certain colors that are fashionable, we have to tell them," she said.

The program, to start on March 22, will have members of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) designers’ pool as trainers.

The training programs will focus on weaving, basketry, garments, beadwork, and packaging. "Ata Manobo bracelets are so cheap, you can buy at P10. They don’t know how to package those products so these could be sold at more than P10," Ms. Montemayor said.

Once the indigenous people have produced more marketable products, the council will do the marketing online. "They do not have access to technology yet, but we have to make sure that the products are okay and photogenic," she said.

Ms. Montemayor said the council will provide materials and will loan modern equipment to training participants. The program is funded through the assistance of the council’s main partner, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, under its Davao Industry Cluster Enhancement Project.

The training program is part of the three-day fifth Crafts Tourism Fair, to begin March 21 in one of the city’s shopping malls. Also supported by the Department of Tourism, the DTI, and the private sector-run Davao Eco Crafts, the fair will showcase products of 14 exhibitors from all over the region. -- Maya M. Padillo