An 8-ft-high lamp made of reclaimed troso, religious medallions set in jewelry pieces, a wicker padyak purse, a barong bomber jacket—these handmade, fashionable items and more will be in the sixth edition of the FilipinaZ fair on Nov. 9-11 in Rockwell.
This annual fundraiser of Zonta Club of Makati and Environs will showcase 60 local brands with indigenous materials made by skilled artists, weavers and sculptors from Abra to Davao del Sur.
Among the exhibitors is sculptor Charming Baldemor, whose pieces include the intricately carved 8-ft-high lamp and accessories such as handbags with floral carving.
A native of Paete, Laguna, Baldemor comes from a family of artists and sculptors that recycles wood from demolished old houses, discarded electric posts and driftwood to make lamps, handbags and other art pieces.
“These bags are not just accessories,” Baldemor said at the media preview. “I think these are vessels that carry my hope for the future of the environment and the next generations of carvers in Paete.”
Zarah Juan of the eponymous accessories brand has been a fair participant since the start. For Christmas, she will launch smaller pieces from her previous collections, such as the quirky Jeepney and Padyak clutch bags.
There will also be horse- and carabao-shaped purses made of yakan, an ode to the Bulacan farm where she grew up.
Juan’s popular flat mules with pompoms and colorful beading by the women of the Bagobo-Tagabawa in Davao del Sur will also be available.
It’s not just aesthetics that make Juan’s designs Filipino. All the materials are locally sourced: the abaca is from Bicol, and the linings are indigenous fabrics from different communities, including Ilocos Norte.
Juan partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry’s GoNegosyo Kapatid Mentor Me program, which enables the designer to travel all over the country and collaborate with skilled workers.
Jewelry designer Ann Ong will sell pendant necklaces (P2,500 each) and pieces from her recent collection (from P4,000-P9,000). The collection, “Faith,” consists of religious medallions encrusted with gold souvenirs from her travels abroad.
The Giannina, a round t’nalak bag, will also be on display. Iris Apfel, the 96-year-old “accidental icon” from New York, got the same bag recently.
“It’s my way of saying thank you for the support I’ve received,” Ong told Lifestyle. “My fellow Filipinas helped me, and FilipinaZ is a cause (for women) so I’m doing something to support this.”
Women helping women
Zonta Club of Makati and Environs president Maritess Pineda said that FilipinaZ (“Z” for Zonta) is an event by women to help other women. Many of the exhibitors employ women workers.
Proceeds are earmarked for uplifting the lives of Filipino women, through scholarships and the Kababaihan Livelihood Program, among others.
The club helps disadvantaged women from Carmona, Pitogo, Pinagkaisahan, Guadalupe Nuevo and East Rembo in Makati, through skills training and literacy programs, medical and dental services, and free legal consultation.
“Without the funds raised from this project, it will be very hard for us to do what we want to protect women against violence and trafficking,” Pineda said.
Other exhibitors in the three-day event include: Ronna Manansala, daughter of National Artist Vicente Manansala, whose paintings center on ballerinas and other dancers; Jor-El Espina, designer of Bomberong or barong bomber jacket; and Sari Lazaro, who uses inabel and silk cocoon from Abra and other local materials in her handmade gowns.
Risqué Designs—“artisan footwear handmade in Marikina”—will display shoes with uppers made of woven hablon fabric from Iloilo and painstakingly carved heels.
Anne Marie Saguil of Amarie will showcase her signature handmade resortwear, ranging from T’boli tops and barong tunics to matching crop tops and shorts.
The FilipinaZ art, fashion and jewelry fair will be on Nov. 9-11 at 21/F, 8 Rockwell, Makati City. Follow @iamfilipinaz