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Mara Pardo de Tavera brings organic market to the Pen

Mother’s Day special also features artisanal products, arts, crafts
/ 05:02 AM May 09, 2018

Shagreen and mother-of pearl-box by GA Cebu Intertrade Export

Entrepreneur Mara Pardo de Tavera, a pioneer and advocate of organic production, is organizing a market of artisanal and organic products at Peninsula Manila for Mother’s Day this weekend.

“MOM @ the Pen” stands for Mara’s Organic Market.

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There will be works by Baguio artists Leonard Aguinaldo, Frank Sabado, Kawayan de Guia and Nona Garcia.

Cebuano fashion designer and calligrapher Oj Hofer will present Zen drawings of bamboo in different seasons and the calligraphic symbol of the Year of the Dog. He also created a limited edition of kimono shirts hand-painted with calligraphy of Tang Dynasty poems.

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Hofer’s calligraphic works are beautifully framed by Grace Alberio of GA Cebu Intertrade Export, which specializes in stingray and shagreen products. One of the featured merchants, Cebu Intertrade Export has produced luxury home décor for Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior.

There will be ceramic pieces by Hadrian Mendoza and pottery by Jon Pettyjohn and woodcraft by Buddy Lagdameo.

Chill by Nooks, a handwoven knitwear label, brings to fore the abundance of Philippine cotton for the yarn. Tribal-pattern silk shawls and wraps, under the brand Tepiña, are made by women in the livelihood program of the Palawan-based Rurugan Sa Tubod Foundation.

‘Banig,’ leather, jewelry

Ding Perez of the Habi, Philippine Textile Council will promote banig-woven blankets using Philippine cotton.

Musician Django Valmores’ handcrafted leather bags have been attracting foreign buyers.

Fashion show director-turned-accessories designer Oskar Atendido will present his Philippine jewelry designs using filigree techniques and the antique tambourine.

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The online brand, Lumiere Organiceuticals, will have a booth of its organic skincare line. It’s known for using Ayurvedic principles on natural ingredients.

Shagreen and wooden bowl by GA Cebu Intertrade Export

Mara Pardo de Tavera

There will be coconut-based products and oils, local artisanal foods and personal care products sourced around the country by Ritual general store, and biodynamic wines and special cheeses by Origins.

She explains her advocacy, “I believe that going organic is the solution to health problems. If people converted to organic farming, problems of climate change could be addressed.”

Pardo de Tavera was inspired by her mother, Mita, who developed a program that taught the underprivileged natural healing remedies. A staunch member of the opposition in the Marcos era, Mita Pardo de Tavera served as President Cory Aquino’s Social Welfare secretary.

In the early ’80s, as holistic health was catching on, she took up courses related to the natural food industry.

In 1987, Mara, back in the Philippines from marketing and fashion studies in the US, discovered the groups of organic farmers who didn’t have the market for their produce. She also started selling antiques and art objects, the proceeds of which she used to pursue her advocacy of organic farming.

In 1994, she organized the first weekend organic market at Greenbelt Park, Makati—from farm produce to crafts and arts. When Greenbelt was being redeveloped, Mara was invited by Barangay San Lorenzo to put up the market in its present location, the Legazpi Park.

The Sunday market has become a good weekend habit. –CONTRIBUTED

“MOM @ the Pen” will be on May 12-13 at the Gallery of the Peninsula Manila, Makati City.

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