MODES OF transportation made of bamboo; patterns representing daily life handwoven in blankets; recycled materials transformed into jewelry; and interesting pieces of furniture which serve as conversation starters are some of the products one could find among the 366 micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) showcased at the 68th Manila FAME fair last weekend.
The biannual event, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (DTI-CITEM), aims to showcase various products — from fashion to home décor and furniture — for global trade markets such as the US, Japan, Korea, and Europe.
During walk around the World Trade Center last weekend, BusinessWorld noticed how Filipino craftsmanship transforms various resources into exquisite and sustainable products.
Meep, Inc.’s subsidiary Banatti (derived from the Filipino word “banat” or “pull tight”) showcased The Green Falcon series of bamboo electric motorcycles. Meep, Inc. president and COO Christopher Paris Lacson designed it as a “metro bike” for the city. It runs on batteries and may also be pedalled.
Architect and furniture designer EJ Pasia presented hedonism in furniture with a Cast Away daybed. Hailing from Mindanao, Mr. Pasia expressed the simple provincial life through the piece of furniture — made of pine wood with mahogany — ideal for a poolside cabana.
Established in Cebu city in 1999, Finali designs wall décor, furnishing, sculptures, and figurines. For the trade show, the brand showcased a bird-shaped seat made of rattan and Italian leather; framed wall décor of birds made of wood, steel, and banana bark; and a dog-shaped stool made of looped wire.
The handwoven blankets from Ilocos Sur are designed with patterns and details — fishermen, river frogs, comets, and shields — that tell the stories of the Ilocano environment.
“We are doing efforts to educate the younger ones (weavers). When we started there were about less than 50 weavers — all in their 80s and 90s. We took on the advocacy of helping revive the dying industry of weaving,” Dina Bonnevie-Savellano, general manager of the La Bon Vie enterprise, told BusinessWorld. “Now we have younger weavers (in their 30s to 40s),” Ms. Bonnevie-Savellano said, adding that making the products available commercially helped weavers realized that weaving is a lucrative business.
Abel Iloco products are sold at SM Kultura store branches.
Prices: P350 to P7,500
Promoting Mindanao’s handloom weaving and beadwork, Crystal Seas uses traditional textiles such as tinalak, yakan, and balud, as well as, pandan (screwpine) fiber for its products.
“Most of the souvenir products in Davao are not made there,” designer Carmela Alcantara told BusinessWorld. “So, it is a challenge to make beautiful things out of our traditional crafts and materials.
“We work with different communities. We don’t just buy from them but [we also] partner with them in terms of product development, improving the efficiency of processes, and inputting technology to make the materials more durable,” she said, adding that they are currently working on new products to be crafted by the disabled and out of school youth.
Prices: P1,800 to P6,000
Virtucio designs jewelry for women made from recycled plastic bags, made by women of the Kalipi Foundation in Bohol. The plastic is cut to pieces, pressed, and melted to achieve a mosaic-like detail.
Prices: P799 to P3,099
The quirky handbags — mostly manufactured in Cebu City — are made of natural and industrial materials. Its signature design is the Hannah Minaudiere — a handbag which comes 24 colors made of different kinds of shells. Its current popular design is the “Love” bag which was recently used by Kris Aquino at the Crazy Rich Asians premiere in Hollywood, California.
Prices: P25,000 to P250,000
Michelle Anne P. Soliman