Cordillera Women’s Education, Action Research Center, (CWEARC) Inc. launched Paglilikha Art Exhibit and Binnadang Para Isnan Kataguan Trade Fair on March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Month. The two simultaneous activities that showcase Cordillera women’s harvest, art, and artisanship lasts for a month. The events are guided by the theme “Babbai Ti Kordilyera, Sumikad Para Iti Daga, Karbengan, Pangkabiagan Ken Salun-at (Women of the Cordillera rise for land, rights, livelihood and well-being).”
‘Binnadang’ through a trade fair
Binnadang Para Isnan Kataguan aims to provide a venue for indigenous women farmers and artisans from the different provinces to market their products since their livelihood have been struck hard by the pandemic. Products from the women farmers are incredibly the best-sellers at the trade fair. Among them are white beans grown by community women of Kalinga. Another product that seemed to get sold out the fastest is the organic honey harvested from the forests of Abra.
Meanwhile, coffee beans grown and roasted by farmers in Kalinga are arguably an attention-grabber at the venue, thanks to its aroma and reasonable price. Aside from fresh produce products, wine made from fruits such as santol, ube, dragon fruit, orange, bugnay, pineapple, and rambutan from Apayao and Kalinga are also on display.
On the other hand, the non-consumable products at the fair are crafts from local women artisans. Colorful inabel woven by women weavers of Bontoc, Mt. Province are displayed along with bags, purses and vests sewn by weavers of Kabayan, Benguet. Some visitors and shoppers even pointed out that the bags are offering a great deal for its great quality. Integrating modern aesthetics, hand-crafted earrings made from thread and polymer clay, and recycled notebooks are also being sold at the fair.
Other available products are organic soap, citronella ointment, turmeric tea, rice wine, chili paste, and squash pancit canton.
Paglilikha, women’s stories
The Paglilikha Art Exhibit provided local artists to showcase (and sell) their artworks as they are among those adversely affected by the pandemic. The exhibit features a total of 40 artworks from 30 local artists who exhibited individual as well as community stories revolving around the Cordillera women’s struggle for land, rights, livelihood, and well-being. One artwork by artist Chris Tatoy entitled “The Echoes of Time” shows a painting of an elderly indigenous woman surrounded by figures of younger women in tapis. The artist shares: “The art depicts the bravery of Cordillera women in fighting not just for their right[s] but for the rights of the next generation. In protection of their livelihood, families (which they value the most) and the future of Cordillera.”
The works of local women artists Kelly Ramos, Brenda Subido-Dacpano, Luchie Maranan and Liza Ilagan are also displayed in the exhibit.
The trade fair and art exhibit are activities that can contribute in helping women farmers and artisans in communities, especially those in the interior villages, to get back on their feet even if their livelihoods remain affected by restrictions and lockdowns. The trade fair offers a better trading conditions as proceeds of the sales of the products will go directly to the consignors. Some artisans have also committed a part of the sales of their products to support the urgent medical expenses of women human rights defender in the Cordillera.
Every purchase will be of great help to many women in communities in the Cordillera so make sure not to miss out on these local products while they are still available! The trade fair and art exhibit will continue to run until the end of March at the IP Center, CEPMO Bldg., Burnham Park.
Reminders to shoppers and visitors:
- Always wear your facemasks and face shields.
- Always maintain physical distancing.
- Refrain from touching the products. You may ask assistance from the staff members.
- Do not touch the artworks.
- Bring your own market bags