December 2, 2023

Starting small.

Mandeko kito! (an Ibaloy phrase that means “Let’s sell”), an artisans market started on June 15 to16 from 9 noon at the University of the Philippines Baguio oblation grounds. The initial two days had 23 participating groups selling different handcrafted items for sale.

“It’s really a way of jump-starting the creative economy and helping our artisans. You can buy handwoven, washable face masks, and those that are embroidered too,” Creative City convenor Adelaida Lim – Perez remarked about the creative economy in the time of Covid-19.

In the absence of tourists, locals can help the artists and artisans earn from their crafted works, most popular of which are the face masks made from local weaves, combined plastic and woven personal protective equipment and leather masks by Carl Taawan for those wanting of sturdy materials. Taawan said that there are inner fibers that are washable. There are washable fashionable hospital gowns too.

Shoppers who want to help can prepare birthday gifts or even begin their Christmas shopping at the Mandeko kito.The market will run every week on Monday and Tuesday until July 15.

In keeping with the protocols of modified general community quarantine, temperatures are taken at the guard stand; there is a guard logbook for contact tracing; a queue that limits the number of buyers inside to 10; and sanitizers available for use. There is a cashier that issues official receipts for purchases in the artisan market. The three- hour limit for selling is due to the regular afternoon downpours.

All kinds of materials that are made into novelty items are available, the newest perhaps is the upcycled imported coffee pods that have been made into dangling earrings called “pinitpitan earrings” at the Butatow Artists table. Marlou Naoy has busy hands knotting thread bracelets at the Pasakalye table. A tutorial of sorts can be had impromptu.

Among the 23 groups named by Analyn Salvador Amores are the Ifugao nation; Can-eo Bontoc weavers; Revival Dye Abra; Pasakalye; Knitting Expedition; Narda’s; John Frank Sabado; Tam-Awan artists; Pine Gypsy; Everything is Pine; Ibagiw; Tublay basketweavers; Butatow artists;

Museo Kordilyera; Asin woodcarvers; Loakan crafters; Masalingga Arts and Crafts Kalinga; Cafe by the Ruins; Pilak Handicrafts; Marge Gomez; Made by Flor; Battall na Ga’dang; Everything Baguio; and wood sketch.

According to John Arvin Molintas, one of the organizers, more artist groups are expected to participate in the upcoming Mondays and Tuesdays.

Those in search of silver jewelry with Cordillera motifs have two choices – Pilak and Tawid. The professionals may find the Celestial pearls interesting or the wearable Abra woven ensembles. There are Cordillera books and food items too. There is something for everybody’s kind of style at this artisans market.