“This project is so heartwarming for us! When you go to the barangays, you’ll notice several areas of improvement. And we saw that the people are really exerting an effort to improve on their craft and generate livelihood for the rest of their community. These are some of our objectives, and I can say that they have been met.”
Noemi Avancena, product development consultant of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), could not help but be proud of the end result of a long and arduous journey towards the development of self-sufficiency among the small enterprises and group of artisans tapped by USAID for the Crafts of Palawan project.
Avancena, along with representatives from USAID, and the Provincial Government of Palawan, was at the recently concluded Manila FAME where the select group of Palawan-based small cooperatives and enterprises showcased for the first time their handcrafted products using locally available, sustainable materials.
The Crafts of Palawan booth put on display over 200 newly developed products, ranging from handicrafts and furniture items to houseware, fashion accessories, and souvenir items.
Eva Valledor, manager of Binuatan Creations which was part of the Crafts of Palawan at Manila FAME, shared that the program has been a tremendous help to her dedicated team of grass gatherers, who regularly source out raw materials like indigenous grass and fibers such as buntal fibers, mangrove grass, buri sprigs, vetiver, abaca, and other varieties of wild grass found mainly in the province. Binuatan Creations manufactures woven products like bags, pouches, placemats, table runners, purses, slippers, and window shades.
“Exporters are asking samples from us. For each buyer inquiry, an opportunity is given not only to us but to the grass gatherers as well. We’re not yet in the export industry, but I personally would like to learn the tricks of the trade,” said Valledor.
Binuatan Creations was one of the five MSMEs which participated in the Crafts of Palawan showcase at the 63rd Manila FAME along with AVT Bambuhay, Bacolod Rattan Furniture Shop, Malampaya Pancol Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Nitz Pearl, Gems & Souvenir Shop.
The collaborative project of the Provincial Government of Palawan and the USAID through the Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) Project has already assisted over 18 micro-entrepreneurs and 50 local artisans since 2014. As a culminating activity, they joined the 63rd show edition of Manila FAME after an intensive six-month product development with international lifestyle designer PJ Arañador and a series of design consultations with USAID-COMPETE consultants.
“A lot of work still needs to be done, but we are already thankful to the Provincial Government of Palawan for being so supportive,” added Avancena.
Foreign trade buyers particularly from the US, Netherlands, Germany, and Japan flocked to the Crafts of Palawan booth which encouraged the exhibitors to join the succeeding editions of Manila FAME as well as other local and international trade shows.
“It’s not just the sales, but the experience here as well. They (the companies) observe a lot of things in this area. They see new ideas from other producers and their competitors. We can say that we have achieved our goals,” said Avancena, adding that the USAID is in close touch with the Provincial Government of Palawan to discuss possibilities of continuing the noble project to help local MSMEs in promoting their products and expanding their business networks.
The COMPETE Project is a four-year project funded by USAID which aims to assist the Philippines in improving its competitiveness to attain higher levels of trade and investment. USAID-COMPETE targets to develop the main sectors named in the Philippine Development Plan such as the tourism, manufacturing, logistics, and agribusiness sectors.
To boost the tourism sector of the country, USAID-COMPETE and the Provincial Government of Palawan launched a souvenir products development program for the artisans of the province, which serves as the debut collaborative effort for an exhibit at the 63rd edition of Manila FAME.
HallONE, the year-round sourcing facility and creative space of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM), proved coco coir as a unique, sustainable, versatile, and marketable manufacturing material by generating more than PhP 20 million potential export orders of coco coir products at the recently concluded 63rd edition of Manila FAME last April 21-24, 2016 held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
Uplifting the humble fiber from its traditional use in horticulture and soil management, HallONE showcased newly developed and innovative coco coir products for the home, fashion, lifestyle, and seasonal décor, drawing remarkable interest from its local and foreign buying companies and receiving a total of 213 inquiries during the Manila FAME event. The HallONE exhibit featured resort footwear, ladies’ shoes, Christmas ornaments and table tops, mats, carpets, mattresses, hanging and table lamps, vases, magazine organizers, storages, pet products, side by side with its traditional applications in the country.
In cooperation with the regional offices of the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), and the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), the newly developed coco coir products were designed and produced by the Philippine exporters and manufacturers from the home, fashion, lifestyle, and agri-industry sectors based in the provinces of Laguna, Quezon, and Bicol. These include Pilipinas Ecofiber Corporation, Coco Technologies Corporation, R. Cabrera’s Gifts and Collections, Charles and Clara’s Footwear, Ai-she Footwear, Jhaz Footwear, Sarilikha Handicrafts, Yarnyaa Handicrafts, Likhang Liliw Footwear Cooperative, Rolyolikha Atbp. Handicrafts, KAP-WESL Multipurpose Corporation, Martha’s Handicrafts, and Sowerscrafts Enterprises.
Miniature animal ornaments with strings and sticks, and animal-inspired Christmas trees made from coco fiber and coco peat were among the fast-selling products during the show, along with the ladies’ sandals, men’s slippers, beehive and nipa hut-inspired hanging lamps, cat houses and toys, and doormats as secondary favorites by foreign and local retailers and wholesalers.
“The products are very interesting and cute. The use of coco coir as raw material is something new to us buyers,” said Margie Adrada, a Filipina based in Seattle, who owns five Dekorasyon retail stores in the US, and never fails to visit every Manila FAME for product sourcing.
Initial orders from the US, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan were also placed through HallONE, while some serious orders are under negotiations with possible factory visits from Russia and Norway.
“It’s very surprising that the coco coir products would get this much attention and interest from foreign buyers and even from the local community. This is our first time to participate in this event, and we’re extremely happy with the outcome,” said Ramonito Bernales of Martha’s Handicrafts.
Besides the exhibit, HallONE’s Material Showcase, in partnership with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PhilCOA), and Timbermate-HMT Industries Corporation, also attracted buyers who checked and studied the featured raw materials available in the Philippines. The guests found the information from the books, magazines, and the online material database prepared during the exhibit very helpful especially with regard to each of its biological origins, production characteristics, supplier information, and relevant application and manipulation techniques.
“It’s an excellent showcase! Exhibiting the materials that can be found in the Philippines is a very good idea. I’m very happy that I was able to see and feel each of the local raw materials that are being utilized in this event,” Charles Ting, a CEO of a company who manufactures wall coverings from Taiwan, exclaimed.
HallONE is located at the International Trade Center (ITC) Complex, Roxas Boulevard corner Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Pasay City. It is a sourcing venue for features high-quality export products from the Home, Fashion and Food industry sectors. To visit its design-driven venue, contact its secretariat office at telephone number (+632) 831- 2201 local 253/600.
When the Yakan Weavers Albarakkattu Multi-Purpose Cooperative decided to be part of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program in the recently concluded 63rd Manila FAME at the World Trade Center (WTC), they knew that they were off to a good start.
The multi-purpose cooperative’s OTOP booth, which displayed a wide array of authentic Yakan handwoven souvenir items — from wall décor, table runners, place mats, and shawls to slippers, purses, bags, espadrilles, and travel kits — was a sure hit among local and international buyers and visitors.
The Yakan Weavers Albarakkattu Multi-Purpose Cooperative carries out the responsibility to provide quality handwoven products for sustaining the development of the Yakan community, both locally and internationally.
“Each product we have here is a labor of love. It entails a slow and steady process. A one-meter cloth material with intricate and beautiful motifs, for instance, takes around five days to finish,” said Angie Ilul, a multi-purpose cooperative member who actively champions the cause of the local weavers in Zamboanga and Basilan.
The Yakans, who are exquisitely known for the vibrancy of color in their cloth and their exceptional weaving techniques, exert so much effort and consume days in every fiber they weave to create a vibrant and colorful single handmade cloth. It is said that almost every Yakan fabric can be described as ‘unique’ since the finished products are not exactly identical. There will always be differences that can be seen in the pattern, design, or distribution of colors.
Ilul, who has a village shop in Zamboanga and who has 20 weavers under her helm, shared that the cooperative was able to generate approximately Php100,000.00 in sales during the four-day trade show. “This is already good. If only we have the capacity to increase our production, we can meet the demands of the foreign buyers we meet here at Manila FAME. Right now, we’re just using the mano mano style,” said Ilul who also participates in other local trade shows in Metro Manila and in the provinces.
Weaving, she added, is the only form of livelihood of the Yakan women in the Yakan Village in Zamboanga City and in Basilan. It is a tradition carefully passed down from one generation to another – from the lola to the nanay up to the granddaughter. It has become an after-school pastime for quite a number of school girls who, as young as seven, would engage in textile weaving done on a back strap loom so they could earn some extra income for their school allowance.
For her part, Ilul would like to delve into product development that would allow her and her team of local weavers to cater to the needs and demands of the global market. She currently envisions to have more Yakan handwoven products with simple color combinations which trade buyers from Japan, Korea, and some European countries find more appealing. “We might have these products for the October 2016 edition of Manila FAME,” she said.
Their participation in Manila FAME afforded the Yakan Weavers Albarakkattu Multi-Purpose Cooperative a considerable amount of market exposure which, in turn, would benefit the weaving communities in Zamboanga and Basilan. The multi-purpose cooperative also promotes its Yakan products through social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram.
“We are extremely grateful to the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion for allowing us to join Manila FAME where we can promote and sell our products as well as help the small entrepreneurs…the weavers back in Basilan,” said Ilul.
The OTOP program of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) is a priority program of the government that aims to promote entrepreneurship and job creation in the country’s various regions.
Manila FAME is a bi-annual showcase of craftsmanship, design innovation, and artisanship in Philippine products. Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the DTI, it features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market.
For the 63rd show edition, Manila FAME returned to its April season to bring the global trade buyers to the optimal buying cycle. It was envisioned to be a specialized one-stop source of high-concept products and an exclusive platform for business matching between choice exporters and buyers.
Design for Exports Program unites CITEM, local manufacturers, and designer Nina Santamaria in creating a brand new collection of festive décor for the global market
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is working with interior designer Nina Santamaria and four handpicked Philippine crafts exporters – Accent Pieces, Basket and Weaves, Chilonia Fabrica, and Klassy Kollections – to develop a trend-forward collection of décor for Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and other popular celebrations to be showcased in the April 2016 Boutique Edition of the country’s premier innovation and lifestyle event, Manila FAME. This project, under the Design for Exports Program, is one of the many export product development endeavors initiated by CITEM.
The Philippines’ Christmas tradition and décor export
The Philippines is known worldwide as the country that celebrates the longest and most lavish Yuletide season, beginning as early as September and stretching on as late as February.
Because the tradition of Christmas is deeply embedded in Filipino culture, the country’s holiday décor manufacturers understand both the religious and secular meanings of the season, and they are able to craft according to the market they cater to, from Europe to the United States.
The Christmas Décor Producers and Exporters Association of the Philippines (CDPEAP) reports that the bulk of the country’s holiday décor exports consists of handcrafted products made of natural materials and in traditional themes and colors. These are imported by the United States, which accounts for three-fourths of the market for Philippine holiday décor, and other countries such as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and United Kingdom.
In 2013, export sales reached USD 48 million. Although this is just a fraction of the houseware exports (USD 225 million) and furniture and furnishings exports (USD 253 million), the year-on-year growth from 2012 to 2013 is remarkable at 54.23 %, signaling the resurgence of the industry as markets have become more optimistic.
DTI-CITEM helps Christmas décor exporters expand their products and gain foothold in other festive décor markets
The Design for Exports program for holiday décor manufacturers initially focused on developing Christmas décor. However, the last edition of Manila FAME, held in October 2015, spotlighted on the commercial and design strength of Philippine-made holiday décor as well as tableware and home accents through the special setting The Manila Gusto Gallery: In Pursuit of Pleasure, developed and curated by German consultant Detlef Klatt. The setting and its products received great feedback from trade visitors and media as it highlighted a design harmony from two different sectors and featured new pieces from holiday décor manufacturers that veered away from the traditional Christmas décor.
“The collaboration saw the great opportunities in expanding this sector and assisting local SMEs in creating and exporting decorative products for other popular festivities and thus enter new markets in the global scene,” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos.
Continuing this program, SMEs in partnership with DTI-CITEM will venture into manufacturing for other celebrations – Halloween, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the like – that are popular in major markets like the United States.
For the April 2016 Boutique Edition of Manila FAME, Nina Santamaria, who is at the helm of the creative direction for the holiday décor product development program, will design and curate a fresh collection of festive décor made by the participating SMEs. The new creations embody different looks – metallic, natural, and bold colors – while highlighting the innate charm of handmade ornaments crafted from indigenous and eco-friendly materials and emphasizing the craftsmanship of Filipino artisans.
Organized by CITEM, the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Manila FAME is the country’s only premier design and lifestyle event for the global market. A bi-annual trade show, it is dedicated to home, holiday, and fashion sectors featuring hundreds of exporters, manufacturers, and designers. Manila FAME will run from April 21 to 24, 2016, at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City.
For more information on Manila FAME, log on to http://www.manilafame.com.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) forge a partnership that aims to fortify the foothold of Philippine design and architectural enterprises in the global scene.
“We recognize the magnitude of this partnership as it establishes new networks for Philippine MSMEs with major players in the industry. It will open new platforms to showcase products and new opportunities to demonstrate the local arts and crafts of artisans and designers not only to the 24,000 members of UAP but also to the leading architects and builders worldwide who are connected to UAP through significant organizations such as UIA (Union Internationales des Architectes, or International Union of Architects) and ARCASIA (Architects Regional Council),” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos. UIA represents more than one million architects in 124 countries all over the world while ARCASIA is an association of 17 national institutes for architects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Through this reach of UAP to numerous architectural organizations and events, the collaboration between CITEM and UAP will strengthen the presence of Manila FAME and Philippine MSMEs abroad, connecting the trade show and its participating manufacturers, exporters, designers, artisans, and entrepreneurs to key individuals in the construction and building industry, various related sectors, and numerous architects and builders associations in the world who are constantly searching for top quality, eco-friendly, and innovative products and services in the market.
CITEM, on the other hand, is the owner and organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier bi-annual showcase of design and craftsmanship. The exhibition features unique, innovative, and sustainable furniture, home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, as well as fashion accessories, all designed and crafted by Philippine artisans for the highly discerning global audience. A show attended by industry decision-makers, Manila FAME brings thousands of local and international trade buyers and visitors, including owners, managers, and purchasing directors of global lifestyle retail companies to source from the best export manufacturers in the Philippines.
Manila FAME is also attended by seasoned and rising design talents, both from the local scene and abroad, looking for the latest trends in design, materials, and production, and most especially, for stirring, one-of-a-kind, design concepts.
“Creative inspiration is vital to all architects. UAP’s collaboration with CITEM and Manila FAME will provide the NATCON-CONEX delegates an invaluable source of inspiration and innovative ideas,” said UAP National President Architect Ma. Benita O. Regala.
Over 2,400 Filipino and foreign architects are expected to attend NATCON-CONEX 2016, all of whom will be granted access to Manila FAME. Similarly, top buyers and VIP guests of Manila FAME will also be welcome at the NATCON-CONEX 2016.
CITEM is the organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event. A bi-annual trade show, it features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories, designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market. Manila FAME will run from April 21-24, 2016, at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.
The country’s leading building and construction exhibition, the UAP CONEX unites all construction industry sectors and demonstrates state of the art products, technologies, equipment and materials in the market. CONEX will be held on April 21-23, 2016, at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines.
For more information, visit www. manilafame.com