Tagged as the “Philippine Artisans Show,” the 2019 National Arts and Crafts Fair (NACF) was held from October 24 to 27 at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. The four-day event lived up to its objective to promote our rich cultural traditions and national heritage, while at the same time expanding the market presence of MSMEs engaged in the creative industries.
This celebration of authentic Filipino artistry and ingenuity showcasing the best collection of high-quality indigenous materials, heritage crafts, and artistic mastery attracted close to 30,000 visitors, and garnered excellent reviews with 94% expressing satisfaction. Preliminary reports peg total sales at PhP 33.6-million.
During the formal opening held last October 24, Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of the Trade Promotions Group delivered the inspirational message. The keynote address of Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda was delivered by her representative Ms. Maribel Ongpin, Chairperson and Founder of HABI The Philippine Textile Council.
In addition to 269 exhibitors from all of the country’s 17 regions, there were special settings and pavilions by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) featuring natural fibers and fabrics; the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) focusing on Philippine tropical fabrics; and the Philippine Forest Honey Network showcasing forest honey varieties from different parts of the country.
From the province of Antique, the thriving artisan communities and their traditional patadyong, hablon weaves, bariw handicrafts, and other specialties were highlighted with the participation of 27 exhibitors from all of the province’s 18 municipalities. A special section was also devoted to the Bangon Marawi initiative, with their brassware, gongs and bells, woodcraft and textile products. Selected beneficiaries of the DTI’s Shared Service Facilities (SSF) program were also among the exhibitors.
The ubiquitous KAPEtirya offered choice local coffee blends from the regions, with a selection of native delicacies. There was also the usual leathercrafts workshop manned by the differently-abled workers of Handcrafted by Harl’s, while Baybayin experts rendered text in the traditional Tagalog script, and craft artists conducted brush calligraphy and mixed media art workshops.
Following the formal opening on Thursday, October 24, there was a daily program of activities focusing on business talks on Friday, October 25; arts and crafts activities on Saturday, October 26; and the performing arts on Sunday, October 27. A special focus of the daily program were the cultural presentations and live demonstrations of the arts, crafts, and practices that are being transmitted by cultural masters to the next generation through community managed learning programs of the Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The 2019 NACF was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) headed by Director Marievic M. Bonoan in cooperation with the Regional Operations Group, with support from the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda.