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‘GIFTS & GRACES’ FOR PROMISING PINOY ARTISANS

DOT pitch: It’s in vogue — and a virtue — to buy local

/ 07:22 AM October 28, 2018

CRAFT-CONSCIOUS Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (fifth from left) with the board directors of Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation: Thelma San Juan, Joanna Duarte, Mariles Gustilo, Vicky Jalandoni, Marivic Limcaoco, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and Sheree Gotuaco.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat finds inspiring the Filipinos’ renewed affection for local artisanal crafts, with bazaars featuring mainly the products of underserved communities around the country being well received. This development coincides with her department’s agenda, she said.

“When we were growing up, local was pang-Linggo ng Wika,” a costume worn once a year to school to celebrate Philippine language, Puyat said in her keynote speech at the launch of Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation’s showroom and store in LRI Plaza, Makati, on Thursday.

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“Now we wear it proudly every day. Local has never been in vogue as it is now,” she added.

Puyat was in a blue dress by the local brand Filip + Inna, with sleeves and collar made of a local weave. She carried a woven clutch with a T’boli brass charm she bought from Gifts & Graces four years ago — one of 12 she has acquired from the foundation over the years.

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Puyat is pushing for the duty-free stores here to carry more Philippine products, “and not just food, but also bags and other items, everything beautifully packaged.”

“Whenever I wear something local, I get a lot of reactions from foreigners, asking me where I bought it because they want it, too … Why do we have only imported chocolates at the departure area duty free?” she told the Inquirer.

Gifts & Graces is a fair-trade social enterprise founded 12 years ago to bring artisanal crafts of marginalized communities to a bigger market, to create sustainable livelihood for them.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between our underprivileged artisans and the consumer, and ensuring the livelihood of the communities while respecting their heritage and culture,” said Vicky Jalandoni, Gifts & Graces’ executive director.

It also works as a design lab, developing premium products while preserving the cultures and skills of the 21 communities that it is involved with.

Major retailers like SM Kultura and Rustan’s sell some of the Gifts & Graces products, which include handwoven items, stuffed toy animals, decorative housewares, brass bells and trinkets, fashion accessories and jewelry. The LRI Plaza outpost is the foundation’s first stand-alone store.

“Fair trade is a key aspect of the Department of Tourism (DOT) overarching agenda of sustainable tourism, so it works hand in hand with what [Gifts & Graces is] espousing now,” Puyat said.

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“Tourism is a multifaceted industry. The only way to enhance it is through a holistic development of the sector, and fair-trade tourism represents the best practice of responsible tourism.”

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TAGS: Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DoT, Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation, Vicky Jalandoni
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