Thursday, July 25, 2024

Negros Handicraft Makers In Conflict-Free Areas Showcase Best Products

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Negros Handicraft Makers In Conflict-Free Areas Showcase Best Products

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Handmade products created by former rebels and residents of conflict-cleared areas in Negros Occidental were exhibited during the inaugural Balik Salig Awards presented by the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) and the provincial government of Negros Occidental.

The competition, which featured weavers and woodworkers from five associations, was part of the four-day event highlighting Negrense-made products held at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central until Thursday night.

“Balik Salig” means to bring back the trust in Hiligaynon.

ANP external affairs manager Sybel Nobleza said through the Balik Salig Awards, not only the products are being promoted but also the talents and skills of the artisans from geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

“It’s an opportunity for them to showcase their cultural heritage through designs and patterns that might open windows to more clients and buyers, and contribute to economic growth and sustainability,” Nobleza said in an interview on Friday.

Participants were the Camingawan Diversified Workers Association (CADIWA) from Barangay Camingawan, Kabankalan City and Madaha Hand Weavers Association (MAHAWA) from Sitio Madaha, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City assisted by the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion; Sitio Maatop Community from Barangay Sangke, Hinobaan town, 15th Infantry Battalion; Barangay Riverside Upland Famers Association (BRUFA) from Barangay Riverside, Isabela town, 62nd Infantry Battalion; and Kapatiran Community from Barangay Pinowayan, Don Salvador Benedicto town, 79th Infantry Battalion.

Using locally available and sustainable materials, the participants were encouraged to create products that reflect their communities’ unique identity, cultural heritage, and resources.

Awarded in the category of Best in Bag was the crocheted tikog bag of the municipality of Hinoba-an; Best in Mat Weaving – MAHAWA tikog table placemat; Best in Home Furnishing – CADIWA wooden lechon tray by Rogelio Suetas; Best in Hamper – Pinoyawan colored hamper uway basket; Best in Novelty Souvenir – Cadiwa nito hats by Ronie De La Cruz; and Best in Basket – BRUFA banban boat basket by Agripino Cabodillo.

The special award for Best in Craftmanship went to CADIWA while BRUFA was recognized for the Most Number of Entries.

De La Cruz, Cabodillo, and Ernie Mordenio of MAHAWA were awarded the Most Dedicated members.

“I’m thankful to the ANP, the Army, and province for helping us bring our products to more buyers. I find joy in what I do and in being able to join the trade fairs,” the 77-year-old Cabodillo, a former member of the New People’s Army (NPA), said in the vernacular.

De La Cruz, 26, who also joined the armed struggle in his younger years, is now a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (Cafgu), but can also be considered a master weaver of nito hats.

“I have been weaving items made of nito since I was a child. My mother was really good in weaving using different materials,” he said.

In a statement, ANP president Arlene Infante said the Balik Salig Awards is a platform to recognize and celebrate the rich cultural heritage and skills of the local communities.

“Through this competition, we aim to empower individuals and communities to showcase their talents and contribute to the economic growth and development of Negros Occidental,” she added.

The winners will get mentorship opportunities and the chance to showcase their products to a wider audience at the ANP’s 38th Negros Trade Fair this coming September in Metro Manila. (PNA)