Tagged: Singapore

GIGA: From garage business to global enterprise

Giga Natural Products Specialist Corporation (GIGA) started as a garage business established in 1999 by husband-and-wife tandem Marcos Jose “Peping” and Rowena Joyce “Joy” de Villa. With an initial capital of Php30,000, the pair developed a variety of products which soon became a hit to consumers from here and abroad.

_MG_9026

Jocelyn Bacay, sales coordinator of GIGA, poses with a variety of natural personal care products in their booth at the 63rd edition of Manila FAME.

Before GIGA, the couple was into selling ladies’ ready-to-wear clothing and accessories from 1986 to 1999. This grew to be a lucrative effort for some time until they decided to close the business and embark on a new industry line. Thus, the establishment of GIGA (which stands for “God is good always”): an enterprise that manufactures natural personal care products made from plant-based and locally sourced ingredients.

Since its inception, GIGA has developed a variety of natural products such as soaps, scalp conditioners, massage oils and rub cream, baby soaps, body sprays, and dog shampoo bars which generated a generous amount of revenue at the company’s participation in the recently concluded 63rd Manila FAME at the World Trade Center last April.

_MG_8995

The Massage Rub Cream, GIGA’s best-selling product for almost 10 years.

The company’s best-selling product, the Massage Rub Cream, was a hit among local and foreign trade buyers visiting the company booths at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Pavilion, which was supported by the DA-Agribusiness Marketing Service (AMAS).

Using virgin coconut oil as base, the company boasts of a wide array of plant-based natural ingredients used in its products such as peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass, ginger oil, virgin coconut oil, beeswax, and seaweed.

“Our products are composed of 99.5 percent natural ingredients which make them really effective. We do not advertise in TVs or in magazines. The effectivity of our products speaks for themselves,” said Jocelyn Bacay, sales coordinator of GIGA.

_MG_8979

Yolanda survivor Jocelyn Bacay talks about how GIGA helped her rise from the disaster that hit them in 2013.

 The company’s partnership with DA and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) gave GIGA an opportunity to touch base with its regular local and foreign clients as well as introduce its new products at Manila FAME.

“I am amazed by the comments made by our regular buyers; those who already used our products. I am also overjoyed to introduce them to the first-timers. As a sales staffer in GIGA, meeting these people makes me so proud!” exclaimed Bacay.

_MG_8988

Aromatherapy soaps, one of GIGA’s pioneering products.

From being a single proprietorship company, GIGA has already expanded and built its presence in the local and international market. The company has established several retail outlets in select supermarkets and contracted a number of resellers nationwide, including the locally based online shops Lazada and Cudsly.

GIGA also has arrangements with foreign distributors in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia and is seeking distribution to countries particularly in the Middle East.

“The company stood strong not just because of its products. It’s also about the people behind GIGA, who are Bible-believing Christians who have a heart in managing their staff,” added Bacay.

Bacay shared that she is a survivor of the super typhoon Yolanda that hit the country back in 2013. A month after the disaster, she moved to Manila and found refuge at GIGA, where her career as a sales coordinator blossomed.

“I started at a low salary. But after three months, my superiors noticed my performance. They let me visit the different branches of the company and appointed me as an assistant in their office. Now, I am here and I am thankful that they are giving me their full trust. I am truly blessed to be part of GIGA!” said Bacay, who solely manned GIGA’s booth at the DA Pavilion in Manila FAME.

GIGA won an auspicious award at the 35th Agora Awards for the Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship in the small-scale business category held at Manila in 2014.

The Health & Wellness section of the DA Pavilion features body care and wellness products by select grassroot communities supported by AMAS.

The Health & Wellness section of the DA Pavilion features body care and wellness products by select grassroot communities supported by AMAS.

Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

DTI-CITEM empowers holiday décor exporters with a design update program

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

ProfilePhoto_NinaSantamaria-1

One of the leading Filipino interior designers today, Nina Santamaria has been commissioned by DTI-CITEM to create new product designs for holiday décor manufacturers. The collections will be showcased in the Manila FAME April 2016 Boutique Edition.

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.

Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

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. 

Holiday Colors

Holiday Naturals

In the Design for Exports Program, CITEM collaborates with local manufacturers and both seasoned and up-and-coming designers to develop new home, holiday, and lifestyle products for the international market.

“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.

Her handcrafted gold clutch, the SustainAbility, was chosen as the Best New Product Design under the handmade collection category Artisan Resource at NY NOW Winter 2016.

First Filipina awardee at US trade show returns to Manila FAME April exhibition

Ann Ong – “Create something great for your country.”

Filipina designer Ann Ong continues to inspire many artists and entrepreneurs with her brilliance in handcrafting fashion accessories and jewelry.

Filipina designer Ann Ong continues to inspire many artists and entrepreneurs with her brilliance in handcrafting fashion accessories and jewelry.

Ann Ong has made a name for herself, creating exceptional pieces – bracelets, necklaces, and minaudière – that are worn and adored by the chic and classy women in the country as well as abroad through many international shows in Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jakarta.

She was recently interviewed by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) after coming back from a successful exhibition at NY NOW Winter 2016 trade show where she was the first Filipina to win an award for NY NOW’s design competition. NY NOW is a trade exhibition which features 100,000 home, lifestyle, and handmade products.

Her handcrafted gold clutch, the SustainAbility, was chosen as the Best New Product Design under the handmade collection category Artisan Resource at NY NOW Winter 2016.

Her handcrafted gold clutch, the SustainAbility, was chosen as the Best New Product Design under the handmade collection category Artisan Resource at NY NOW Winter 2016.

Her handcrafted gold SustainAbility clutch was chosen as the Best New Product Design under the handmade collection category Artisan Resource at the trade fair which ran from January 31 to February 3 at the Javits Center, New York City, USA. Asked how she felt about her recent recognition, Ann says she feels “blessed and overwhelmed.” The winning clutch is made of the ubiquitous coconut wood. “It is how I manipulated it, how I designed it from something [so common]…and putting it together in a very artistic way that makes it special,” says Ann.

Her first participation at NY NOW was August 2015 where she joined a delegation of designers handpicked by CITEM to represent the Philippines. Ann remembers how she was well-received by the international trade visitors and buyers, all noticing and praising the uniqueness and high-quality craftsmanship of her pieces. This convinced her to come back for the second time at the NY NOW Winter 2016 show where she exhibited her three Katha-winning pieces and her Lawiswis Kawayan collection. The Katha Awards gives distinction to ingenious designs and encourages entrepreneurs to raise their design standards for Philippine export products and pursue a skillful exploration of new materials and processes. It is held concurrently with Manila FAME.

Now, Ann returns to Manila FAME this April to unveil her two fashion collections for the year 2017 titled The Guardian of the Mountains and Man’s Best Friend, with the latter collection crafted in collaboration with her son.

CITEM asked Ann Ong what advice she would give to aspiring designers and Filipino entrepreneurs who want to make it to the international scene like her.

Ann’s response was, “I always say to young designers that they should have the mission to promote the Filipino artisans. It’s not just you want to be a designer because you want to be famous, you just want to create a name for yourself. You’re not going to last long in this industry, if you think that way, but if you think of your people first, you can create something great for your country.”

Ann Ong will exhibit her award-winning collections as well as her new creations in the upcoming Manila FAME Boutique Edition to be held on April 21-24, 2016, at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.


Manila FAME is 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. It is owned and organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

For more information, visit www. manilafame.com.

DTI-CITEM and UAP partnership connects PH MSMEs to over a million architects and builders worldwide

In photo, from left: (Standing) Norman P. Bagulbagul, Officer-in-Charge, Exhibition Design Division, CITEM; Ms. Katrina Pineda, Officer-in-Charge, Buyer Marketing Services, CITEM; Arch. Catherine Carunungan, Director, NATCON 2016; Arch. Roger Ong, Executive Director, Commision on Convention, Assemblies, and Exhibition; and Arch. Richard Garcia, Director, CONEX 2016. (Seated) Ms. Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director, CITEM; and, Arch. Maria Benita Regala, National President, United Architects of the Philippines.

In photo, from left: (Standing) Mr. Norman P. Bagulbagul, Officer-in-Charge, Exhibition Design Division, CITEM; Ms. Katrina Pineda, Officer-in-Charge, Buyer Marketing Services, CITEM; Arch. Catherine Carunungan, Director, NATCON 2016; Arch. Roger Ong, Executive Director, Commision on Convention, Assemblies, and Exhibition; and Arch. Richard Garcia, Director, CONEX 2016. (Seated) Ms. Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director, CITEM; and, Arch. Maria Benita Regala, National President, United Architects of the Philippines.

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.

UAP3.jpg

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.

UAP2.jpg

“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