SM, DTI, CITEM, NCCA, Philippine STAR partnership: Crafts and communities at SM

April 12, 2015

MANILA, Philippines - As “My City, My SM, My Crafts” continues its series of road shows around the Philippines, it showcases not only the best of traditional arts and modern Philippine design, but also creative community-based crafts that have become a source of livelihood for many Filipinos.

Negros Nine Human Development Foundation’s Fr. Brian Gore with weavers Bernalyn, Jonathan and Danila at the My City, My SM, My Crafts event at SM City Bacolod. Through its Abaca Weaving Project, the foundation which is run by the Columban Fathers, provides livelihood opportunities for a community of weavers in Kabankalan City.

These are crafts that not only celebrate Filipino artistry, skills and ingenuity, but also the bayanihan spirit we have been known for. And the program’s partners are delighted.

“A large number of the SMEs involved in the undertaking have called the experience both inspirational and educational,” says the DTI Bureau of Domestic Trade director Rhodora Leaño. “These local manufacturers have not only found an additional avenue to promote their products, but have also benefited from being able to interact with interested buyers.”

CITEM director Arturo Cruz Dimaano of the Creative Communications and Services Department adds that “My Crafts upholds traditions in various regions, encourages creativity and resourcefulness, supports a community and advances the livelihood of micro, small and medium industries.”

Some of these crafts, like those from Easter Weaving and the Negros Nine Human Development Foundation, help preserve traditional weaving methods in their livelihood programs. Easter Weaving in Baguio, which began during American colonial times, has expert hand weavers whose patterns illustrate the culture and tradition of the provinces of the Cordillera region.

The Negros Nine Development Foundation’s Abaca Weaving Project, on the other hand, produces world-class hablon from abaca and other natural fibers. The program, which is run by the Columban Fathers, provides livelihood opportunities to a community of weavers in Kabankalan City who are trained in fiber dyeing and weaving.

The Women United Through Handcrafted Lace and Embroidery Organization in Iloilo, meanwhile, makes beautiful handkerchiefs, lace appliqués and home accessories from intricately designed bobbin lace. At the same time, bobbin lace-making has become a source of livelihood for ex-Hansenite (or leper) women and their relatives in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.

A group of women from Ibaan, Batangas has managed to preserve the skill, industry and culture in making hand-woven textiles — a traditional craft that has been passed down to generations of Ibaan women over the years.

“My Crafts” has also unearthed a treasure trove of social enterprise success stories. CM Bamboo Craft, which was founded by Sister Natividad Martinez, a Spanish missionary in 1974, now exports its bamboo products abroad and provides livelihood to communities in Iloilo.

Olongapo’s Profairtrade, on the other hand, aims to provide alternative employment by creating livelihood programs such as basket weaving based on Fair Trade criteria and principles of social and moral responsibility. Spearheaded by Fr. Shay Cullen, it now exports its products to Germany and Austria, and its profits go to projects like building shelters for children.

Merchants of Hope in Bacolod produces beautiful mosaic art, crochet, fiber and fabric art, and beadwork designed by their pool of artists and volunteers who work with women in rural communities, out-of-school youth, the differently abled, and the urban poor. Yssa’s Crafts, also in Bacolod, will delight you with its whimsical upcycled glass products that are able to help the less privileged — like suppliers of scrap bottles and glass.

Prima Beads works with the women of Victoria, Tarlac to create fashion accessories from beads. It has now become a fruitful cottage industry wherein their husbands and children join them in this hobby and income-augmenting activity.

Many community crafts are eco-friendly like Tarlac’s BamBikes, which are made out of bamboo. In partnership with Gawad Kalinga, young visionary entrepreneur Bryan McClelland has helped provide livelihood for the local community by teaching them the necessary skills and expertise to create these handcrafted BamBikes.

The women of Pura and Paniqui, both in Tarlac, have created wonderful products from cornhusks and water lilies, respectively. These have not only been good for the environment, but also allowed them to be more productive and earn more income.

Some of the crafts have their roots in tragedies, and have since become symbols of hope, creativity and resiliency. The Banglos Community Artists in Quezon were able to transform fallen logs and driftwood from a series of typhoons into sculptures. Davao’s Pablo Crafts, on the other hand, tapped the hidden talents of typhoon Pablo survivors and organized them in a livelihood program to make home furnishings and accessories.

Now in its second season, “My City, My SM, My Crafts” has had a series of road shows around cities where SM has malls. For 2015, the campaign will make stops at SM City San Pablo, SM City General Santos, SM City Rosales, and SM City Cauayan in the provincial areas; and at SM BF Parañaque and SM City North EDSA in the metro area.

You can make a difference

You can help the Negros Nine in so many ways

  1. On Anti-Human Trafficking – report any suspicious activities that may lead to human trafficking. Call or text 09228939613 or 09092293497. All calls are confidential.
  2. On Negros Nine Feeding Program, you can do the following:
    1. You may donate cash, food or goods
    2. Share your talents on cooking and inspiring children, you will be amazed, you will be inspired, too.
  3. On reforestation:
    1. Do tree planting activities with your group
    2. Impart your talents or skills relating to protecting and caring for the environment. Be the speaker or manpower of the day at Negros Nine.
    3. Donate seeds and seedlings
  4. On Negros Nine Weavers – you can help by promoting the products or you can be a resource speaker or trainer on topics such as livelihood, agriculture, etc.
  5. Help any of our project by Donating through Paypal