2016 National Arts and Crafts Fair: Manila

The 2016 National Arts and Crafts Fair, a trade fair that features both indigenous crafts and contemporary art, will be held on October 26-30, 2016 at the Megatrade Halls 1-3 in SM Megamall, Manila.

“A fair that brings together fine examples of craft and design and contemporary art, this National Arts and Crafts Fair aims to dissolve the divide between art and craft,” said Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The said fair, spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and supported by Senator Legarda, will exhibit the cultural expressions of local artists from different regions across the country, mainly highlighting both contemporary art and crafts that exemplify indigenous living traditions through hand-made products, ornaments, jewelry, fabric and accessories, among others.

Legarda, author of Republic Act 9501 or the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Republic Act 9509 or the Barangay Kabuhayan Act, said, “This fair is a powerful platform to promote MSMEs as viable rural livelihoods and to showcase Filipino home-made products as well as individual and indigenous talents.”

The Senator further expressed, “I am glad that the DTI is continuing the implementation of the MSME Law. I am even further pleased with the fact that its implementation is incorporated with my advocacies on the preservation and promotion of culture and arts.”

Legarda explained that an important feature of the trade fair is that it brings together fine examples of craft and design and contemporary art that involve virtues and principles of craft.

“The experience of the fair is contemporary and cosmopolitan but is sensitive to the living traditions of Philippine culture,” said Legarda.

Around 120 groups and individuals from different regions in the country will be boasting their crafts and art inside Megatrade Halls 1, 2 and 3. The exhibition was designed by Patrick Flores, curator of the University of the Philippines’ Vargas Museum, together with Dannie Alvarez and Ann Pamintuan.

Several participants are those that have been met and helped by Legarda such as Sammy Buhle of Ifugao Ikat and Lily Luglug of Lab Tie Dye Weavers Association.


Buhle runs a home-based weaving center specializing in ikat weaving. Legarda has helped them in various ways including promoting their products. They were featured at the National Museum’s weaving demonstrations that are part of the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which Legarda and the National Museum initiated not only to perpetuate weaving and indigenous knowledge but also to help promote weaving communities and their products.

Through these forms of support, Buhle was able to pay off their debt from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) so that the looms, sewing machine and other equipment issued to them would not be forfeited.

Meanwhile, Luglug’s Lab Tie Dye Weavers Association, which started in 2009, has been participating in trade fairs but had minimal stocks due to lack of equipment and raw materials. Since they received loom and other weaving materials from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) through the support of Senator Legarda, their productivity has increased significantly.

Rhoda Pon-an’s Antique Development Foundation (ADF) is also a participant at the 2016 National Arts and Crafts Fair. When Legarda met Pon-an, the Senator started ordering from ADF various hand-woven products made from bariw and abaca and would also promote it among her friends.

In 2012, Legarda invited Pon-an to participate in the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines, which was a highlight of the October 2012 Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event. In that event, Legarda introduced Pon-an to Doña Bea Zobel, who ordered bariw carpets from Pon-an and since then became a regular customer of ADF.

Among the National Arts and Crafts Fair exhibitors whom Legarda has been supporting are the Mangyan Heritage Center from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro; Nagbacalan Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Paoay, Ilocos Norte; San Jose Multi-Purpose Cooperative from Sarat, Ilocos Norte; Katagowan Weaving and Souvenirs from Sagada, Mt. Province; Rowilda’s Loomweaving from Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Salidummay Communities Development Association from Lubuagan, Kalinga; Ness Crafts from Tabaco City, Albay; Bagtason Loom Weavers Association from Bugasong, Antique; CM Bamboocraft Center from La Paz, Iloilo City; Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative from Miag-ao Iloilo; and the Laguindingan Silk Weavers – Abai Weavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative from Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.

Other features of the event are artworks by Ann Pamintuan, Magdiwang Jardiniano, Lirio Salvador, and Ged Merino; Future Flavors booth of DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD); Lab to Fab booth of DOST – Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI); and a booth by NCCA, featuring Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) beneficiaries.

It will also host simultaneous workshops conducted by the Performing Arts and Recreation Center (PARC Foundation) which extends support to financially challenged performing artists, Lumban Pinya Embroiders, Sorsogon Basket Weavers, Vermont Coronel Jr. and Gerome Soriano’s Kaleidoscope Photography, Leather Crafting by Patricia Peralta, Comics Making by Manix Abrera, Kim Tiam Lee’s jewelry making, among others.

“I invite everyone to visit the 2016 National Arts and Crafts Fair to see both indigenous crafts and contemporary art that we can all be proud of. This trade fair, which could turn small opportunities into great achievements, is a demonstration that art is an enabler of development and that culture is wealth. Thus, we have to utilize our country’s available resources, maximize our local and indigenous talents, and vigorously implement our laws,” Legarda concluded.


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