OCTOBER 04, 2019

Hometown heroes

BY FIEL ESTRELLA

The 34th Negros Trade Fair continues its tradition of championing timeless, quality, and well-loved locally made products from the island.

Launched 34 years ago, the Negros Trade Fair was established by a group of Negrense women as part of their efforts to find suitable alternative income for farmers that had been affected by the global sugar crisis. Now, it is the longest running provincial trade fair in the country, featuring the best the island has to offer.

From September 25 to 29, the 2019 Negros Trade Fair was held at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati, boasting crafts and furniture, art and fashion, gifts and houseware, and delicious delicacies. With the theme of Timeless Traditions, it was another successful showcase of local talent and ingenuity, promoting the strong-willed heritage and culture of Negros and its many diverse industries.

If you weren’t able to attend the fair or didn’t have enough time to browse and get everything that caught your eye, Pasyal has compiled a list of seven businesses and one-of-a-kind products that are worthy of note — with handy links so you can support them directly and purchase their fine goods.

Image from Negros Trade Fair on Facebook

Casa Carmela

For over 15 years, Casa Carmela has been sharing the magic of heritage recipes through gourmet confectionery and bottled delicacies with a twist, making for dynamic and contemporary tastes, including the crispy and thin piaya. Their “Bacolod in a bottle” preserves include a range of bold flavors, from squid adobo and squid sisig to curry crab and chorizo — you’ll want to try them all.

Image by Fiel Estrella

NVC Foundation

Established in Bacolod City in 2010, the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation aims to end hunger and poverty by providing families with proper nutrition, education, and sustainable livelihood opportunities through feeding programs, infrastructure projects and the distribution of school supplies, and training for teachers. Its project Artisans of Hope benefits these efforts through beautiful handmade recycled art pieces.

Image by Fiel Estrella

Milvidas

Milvidas is a livelihood group formed in 2011 with the Gawad Kalinga community in Multinational, Paranaque. Together, the group, which has grown to include dozens, create hand-crocheted items made from local yarn: placemats and napkins, coasters, bucket bags, and even the most comfy ottoman. While not products of Negros per se, they’re still a great way to adorn your life with local knick-knacks you won’t find anywhere else. 

Kiculo

This social enterprise was established to provide livelihood opportunities to women from a sugarcane farm. Their bags and apparel are unconventional and chic, pairing traditional weaves and beadwork with leather and soft, comfy fabric, plus details and embellishments like raffia fringes and Negros’ own hablon scarves. The results are striking and fresh; there’s even a bag inspired by the piaya which comes in a unique round shape. 

Image by Fiel Estrella

Whimsy by Silay Export Inc.

Whimsy’s handcrafted table and home accessories immediately stood out at the fair with their eye-catching colors and fun shapes, making stepping into their booth a little like playing make-believe in a bahay kubo. Perk up your garden with squash-shaped planters, make your coffee table extra fun with giant leaf-shaped accessories, and collect containers and houseware shaped like all your favorite vegetables. Nothing has lived up to its name more.

Creative Definitions

Creative Definitions works with a community of weavers to create intricate head-turning scarves, made of 100% cotton and guaranteed to be the softest things you’ll ever wear. They also have a line of shoes called Lakat Sustainables, named for the Hiligaynon term which means “to go,” created with natural fabrics, coconut husk insoles, and recycled rubber soles.

Fresh Start Organic

Fresh Start Organic prides itself on working with farmers to create quality, organically grown products that include food and daily essentials like insect repellant and even mouthwash. On-site, they sell everything from fresh piaya in a variety of flavors to fresh fruit juices and rich coffee — brewed, of course, from their own blends, like the Negrense Native Coffee and the Mt. Kanlaon Organic Coffee, the beans of which are grown at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon volcano itself. Their massage oils are also crowd favorites and come in different scents such as peppermint, lemongrass, green tea basil, and cedarwood. 

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