by Kattryn Erryc Sayo

Not only was the Dayaw Festival a celebration of culture of different indigenous people in the country, it also became a center for business opportunities. 

Aside from the display of talents and traditions held in the Malolos Capitol Compund last November 27 to 29, also exhibited were the well known products of various tribes which added color to the festivity.

The Dayaw Tiangge or an arts and crafts bazaar has been put up inside the Bulacan Capitol gymnasium where visitors can buy products made by the indigenous people.

Handicrafts and colorful products from the Ati of Guimaras, T’boli and Yakan of Mindanao, and other indigenous groups from Cebu and Aklan were available for sale.

The pouch bags embedded with genuine shells as well as bangles were the money-spinner for the indigenous group from Cebu. Aside from the products’ attracting color, what makes them as bestsellers is its cheap price.

Helena Caneso, a representative all the way from Cebu said that their group had gone to several events, often at seminars, and their products were really profitable.

“Naiimbitahan kami sa iba’t-ibang events, usually sa seminars. Ang last na pinuntahan namin ay Pangasinan. Marami naman kaming nabebenta, at ‘yong pouch bags talaga ang mabili, kahit dito sa Dayaw,” she said.

The T’boli is the group in the bazaar with the most number of on sale products. According to Bernadette Ofang, the president of the Klowil Kem Libun (Life of Women) organization, their group had numerous salable products because different organizations also put up stalls in the bazaar, though the products are all from their tribe in South Cotabato.

The organization she is heading, which was founded in 2004 only started to sell their products in the festival of the indigenous people last year, where the celebration was held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Ofang said the previous celebration also yielded high sales.

Their bestseller in this year’s celebration is the T'nalak made from abaca, although Ofang disclosed it is quite expensive. Alongside were charms, bracelets and key chains, which were in much cheaper prices.

“Mahal talaga ang tinalak,  lalo na kung first class ang bibilhin at per roll. Kaya ginawa naming per meter ang bentahan. Marami naman ang tumangkilik. Pati mga small items like bracelets and keychains mabili rin,” she said.

The profit obtained from the selling of products, according to Ofang, is divided among the members of their organization. Back in South Cotabato, production of handicrafts is the main source of livelihood among the T’boli women.

Ofang was also glad to share that in their stay in Malolos for the celebration of the Dayaw festival, she can consider their products to have good sales in the market.

“Nakakatuwa kasi malaki ang potensyal ng mga products namin sa market,” she said.

Dayaw festival, the 8th annual gathering of the indigenous people, was themed this year as “Katutubong Pamumuhay, Halawan ng Aral sa Buhay”. It was pioneered by the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) together with the provincial government of Bulacan.

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