From tattoos to bamboo motorbikes: 10 design-forward presentations at the 66th Manila FAME

Manila FAME, now on its 66th edition kicked off on October 20 and will run till October 22 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Tradition meets contemporary at the ongoing Manila FAME at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, October 20 to 22.

Now on its 66th edition, the country’s premier design and lifestyle organized the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) event continues to showcase the best of home, lifestyle, and fashion products from handpicked exhibitors with a special highlight on age-old traditions, homegrown brands from grassroot communities, as well as creative industries.

Doris Gacho, Manila FAME’s project director and CITEM’s officer-in-charge of Consumer Business Department said, “ “It is our first time to bring an icon so to speak in Manila FAME (to show) our age old tattooing tradition. We want to pay homage to our heritage.”

The three-day biannual event features over 400 exhibitors of which over 350 are MSMEs, and expects to attract about 2,000 local trade buyers and more than 1,000 international buyers coming from Japan, Singapore, India, U.S., and the Middle East.

“We are known for our design sensitivity, our craftsmanship; and we are known for our artisanship. We have the competitive advantage when it comes to design-forward products using natural materials,” Gacho noted adding that the use of abaca, tikog, seagrass, and bamboo can be seen in the product showcase of participating exhibitors.

The Mindanao One exhibition features the weaving and beading traditions of different ethnic groups in the region. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Clayton Tugonon, CITEM executive director on the other hand shared, “Woodcrafts and furniture is the fourth biggest contributor to the Philippines total export for the first half of 2017, and we expect this trend to continue through the rest of the year.

“We need to capitalize on that trend and position or country as a premier sourcing destination for home, furniture, and fashion products.”

This data came from the Philippine Statistics Agency, which noted that the wood and furniture earned Php1.06 billion or 4.1% share of total exports as of July 2017.

In a handout by Manila FAME, the trade show is projected to earn over $843 million this year from its April and October exhibitions.

Meanwhile, here are some of the must-sees at the 66th edition of Manila FAME.

1. The bamboo motorcycle and the bamboo boat

Bamboo motorcycle a.k.a. Green Falcon by Banatti. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

The bamboo motorbike by Banatti and Pana ng Dagat by Navaltect are at the Design Center of the Philippines’ Bamboo Extreme exhibit.

Designed by Christopher Lacson, president of Banatti, a subsidiary of Modular Energy Efficient Portage Inc., the Green Falcon has bamboo as one of its materials.

“You’re looking at the only one in the world,” Lacson said, adding that the entire top of the prototype is bamboo, which is lighter than fiber glass by 30 percent.

The bamboo motorcycle is inspired from the Café Racer motorcycle culture in the 1960’s and is electric, which means it hardly makes noise and leaves no pollution.

Lacson shared, “This project wants to provoke, inspire, and promote the use of bamboo in the country.”

Pana ng Dagat by Milo Naval. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

With the same objective of provoking new ideas and igniting a new industry—this time in watercraft, Milo Naval harnessed the properties and functionality of bamboo in designing the first bamboo boat, Pana ng Dagat.

2. Tattoo Heritage: Renascence of a 1000-year-old tradition

At the opening day of Manila FAME (October 20, 2017), visitors line up to have their skin inked by famous tattoo artist Whang Od. Assisting her are her successors Grace Palicas and Ilyang Wagan. Manila FAME runs till October 22, 2017. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

One of the main highlights of this edition of Manila FAME is the showcase of the age-old traditional tattooing in Buscalan, Kalinga called the pagbabatok. Featured at this showcase is Whang-Od Oggay who is known to be the last mambabatok of her generation.

Throughout the three-day event, Whang-Od, together with her successors Grace Palicas and Ilyang Wagan, will be sharing their knowledge about the indigenous skin art.

According to Gacho, “It is our first time to bring an icon so to speak in manila fame our age old tattooing tradition. We want to pay homage to our heritage. She is with her successors Grace Palicas and Ilyang until Sunday.”

3. Icons, Luna, and Mosaic Collection by Adante Leyesa under Manila Wear Exhibit

Hand-painted clutch bags feature iconic artist Frida Kahlo by Adante Leyesa and Angel Tan. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Adante Leyesa fearures three sets of collections for this edition of Manila Wear. For his Icons collection, he collaborated with five different young artists from different parts of the country to paint on studded clutch bags some images of iconic personalities such as the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and pop queen Madonna.

On the other hand, his Luna collection inspired by the moon, consists of floral-beaded clutch bags and hand bags in black and white. Meanwhile his Mosaic collection features patches of indigenous fabrics using fabric scraps (retaso) he collected from weavers and other designers.

4. Dolldalita by Jaclyn Colmenares Zapatos

Hand-sewn dolls by Dolldalita. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

A first-timer at Manila FAME, Dolldalita by Jaclyn Colmenares Zapatos features hand-sewn dolls for children and adults alike. The dolls were either sewn personally by Zapatos or by some mothers she employed in her community. Catering to everyone regardless of age and preference, Dolldalita features different collections including the Filipino line, which features brown-skinned dolls wearing indigenous weaves.

Her other collections include the Ballerina dolls in colorful tutus; Mother and Child collection, which promotes breastfeeding; and Mermaid and Island Girl collection.

5. Slip-on mule and clutch by Tali

Kaleidoscopic clutch and slip-on mule by Tali. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Handcrafted by women from impoverished rural communities, these vibrant slip-on mules and clutch were made using traditional crochet techniques embellished with accessories to suit a modern lifestyle.

6. Design Commune by Tony Gonzales

Design Commune features a curated setting of mainstream trends. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

A special setting occupying a large space at Manila FAME, Design Commune features items from more than 60 MSMEs across the country and is curated by designer Tony Gonzales. It centers around four market-oriented themes based on mainstream trends that include: Greens, Blues and Whites, Ethnic Nomad, and Naturals.

In a statement, Gonzales noted that the Green trend included the growing interest in gardening, where buildings have greenhouses or people are growing their own herbs and succulents in their homes. For the setting he said, “We created a variety of pots to cater to this, anything for the garden that can also be used as a home décor.”

On the other hand, the designer said that Blues and Whites have been a constant color choice for home décor; while Naturals saw a rise in the fashion and lifestyle industry for its simplicity and versatility.

Gonzales said that Ethnic Nomad got its inspiration from different ethnic cultures and colors, including the cultures of the Igorot and Tagbanwa.

7. GREAT Women Project 2 by the Philippine Commission on Women and Government of Canada

See the works of women-led enterprises at the GREAT Women Project. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Products of about 40 women-led MSMEs curated by PJ Arañador are featured at the GREAT (Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of) Women Project 2 setting. It features finely selected home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, bags, fashion accessories, and more made by women from different parts of the country.

The products feature artisanal designs inspired by traditional techniques and local materials but incorporated in new ways.

8. Handcrafted soaps by CareHerb and Skinsicles under the Department of Agriculture hall

Cake soaps by Skincicles. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

CareHerb sells various wellness and personal care products, and one of the unique items the company is offering are Philippine fruit and vegetable infused soaps that look like edible cakes. The company utilizes natural fruit and plant extracts such as strawberries from Luzon, mangoes from Visayas, and durian from Mindanao.

On the other hand, Skincicles offers cute and edible-looking scented soaps crafted like sweet treats. Whether you like colorful popsicles, donuts, or cupcakes, the company customizes their bath and body products according to their clients’ personal preferences.

9. RIPPLES Plus by Department of Trade and Industry

Pots by Red Slab Pottery. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Also featuring artisanal products of local MSMEs, this year’s RIPPLES Plus is showcasing home and houseware decors from 12 of its leading students in this sector. Among the featured enterprises are reclaimed wood furnitures and décor by Silya; pots by Red Slab Pottery; bamboo furnitures and crafts by Carlos Bamboo Craft, among others.

Part of this project is the Artisans Village setting, which features crafts from different provinces including Bohol, Bulacan, and Central Luzon.

10. Create Philippines by the Department of Trade and Industry
An initiative of DTI concurrently happening with Manila FAME, Create Philippines is the country’s first international creative industry trade show that focuses on visual arts and graphic design; communication design; advertising content and production; film and animation; digital games and apps; and music and performing arts.

In a statement by Nora Terrado, Trade and Investments Promotons Group Undersecretary, Create Philippines will streamline the nation’s long-term goal of developing creative cities in the Philippines under the UNESCO creative cities network.