I’ve always been naturally drawn to local treasures. I love it when people create brands that support local, and are passionate to help local communities.
Back in 2014, during my last year of college, I had a plan: to travel Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in hopes of meeting locals in the provinces, immersing myself in the culture, learning about the products that they’re proud of (and has become a source of livelihood). Bobby was my influence haha. He gave me this wonderful idea - if you heard his stories about his travels before around the PH, oh my gulay maiinggit ka haha.
But life had other plans and gave me Yñigo, so instead of pursuing this ‘dream’, I had to play a new role - being a mom.
I don’t think motherhood stopped me from giving love and importance to our Filipino treasures. In fact, I think it inspired me to be more active - to pursue what I love most.
So I started going to local fairs (mainstream ones, homegrown ones, you name it). I would go kulit Bobby to bring me to different stores, different places in the city so I can chance upon beautiful finds. However, my favorite time I do my treasure-hunting is whenever we’re on the road, somewhere FAR from the city; whenever we go and actually meet & connect with makers and artisans from local communities.
So much love for local.
During one of our trips to Bicol where we would do multiple stops along the highway to discover & score these beautiful local finds!
Bobby & I always make it a point to keep our eyes wide open (during roadtrips) for these hidden treasures.
Left: One of my closest friends, and a fellow Gemini, Z, and I posing with our purchases which we couldn’t get enough of.
Right: A mom with her newborn selling handcrafted backpacks on the side of the highway. I couldn’t help but stop, sit down, and talk to her about woes & wins of motherhood.
Bobby and I rented a tricycle just to find this woman. We asked locals around, and after an hour or so in a town relatively far away from what was familiar, someone knew her and guided her to us.
She had a beautiful story - she’s a widow, ilaw ng tahanan, and a provider for her kids and grandkids. Remember Typhoon Yolanda? Well, it took their house, some belongings, but luckily, everyone with her was safe. She lost everything, and really fought hard to find a way to provide - so she and some women in her community sought help.
Nanay Nida Delos Angeles is part of the Guadalupe Weavers Association (GUSAWA), a community-based enterprise organization in Coron, Palawan. She was such a pleasant woman to talk to.
GUSAWA is an offshoot of a livelihood assistance provided by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through the Partnership of Philippine Support Agencies (PHILSSA) after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
i couldn’t help but get a photo with her. she has such a kind soul, and she really makes out of passion, and for survival - something I admire about her.
📍Bulbulala, La Paz, Abra
First time we were in Abra, we drove all the way to Bulbulala to see Leila’s Loomweaving where we met Nanay Naty Quiday.
She talked about the Mother Weavers from Mang Abel ti Abra Community & why she does what she does. She wants to help fellow mothers in her community to thrive with a craft that defines them. All her efforts I admire; all her advocacy I support.
She strives to find opportunities to showcase what they do. She frequently travels to trade fairs so that she can showcase their abel weaves. The tradition of pinag-abel is on its glory days. The demand for this fabric is getting high as more people are getting aware of the existence of these textiles.
I can’t express, or word out, how much local finds spark joy in my life.
As a way to share good vibes and impart my knowledge, I will have a weekly series on local treasures I stumble upon both online & offline. This way, you can also give them whatever support you can. I will be featuring local communities I’ve made daldal to. I’ll be sharing local treasures - from art to fashion, home & lifestyle, you name it. Anything under the sun.
This would be a chance to also connect to other people, to see their stories, and be a platform for them - on their advocacies, their mission with what they do.
So expect something new during the weekends (I have work and I’m a mom so pagkakasyahin ko oras ko and make sure I find time to write).
My love affair for local treasures won’t ever end, I think. For as long as I’m living & breathing, I will always find a way to support. I will exercise my role in preserving our culture, and make sure I pass on the same love & appreciation I have for local culture & treasures to our son.