From sweets made from the freshest local ingredients, to fashion items made by livelihood communities, these booths at the 28th Negros Trade Fair ongoing since September 26 (Thursday) through September 29 (Sunday) at the Glorietta 3 Activity Center in Glorietta Mall, Makati City features some of the best of Negros. We did some of the homework, and sampled some of the most notable booths.
Stepping into their booth that looks like a plethora of colorful housewares, Hacienda Crafts offers baskets, lamps, lighting, furniture and accent pieces that have all been created by a community. Hacienda Crafts prioritizes three concepts: social entrepreneurship, design, and environment. Cristina Gaston, owner, says that they take in and express the culture of Negros through work and artistry.
Mosaic Art by Gigi Campos
Gigi Campos says that their enterprise used to do a lot of home furnishings, and are now moving into artwork by doing mosaic. In making mosaics, the possibilities are endless, she says. Their brand creates different designs, but creates mostly religious ones, and also uses different materials including glass and stone. Their tiles are also used in bathrooms. Designs by their brand are mostly feminine, from geisha, flowers, as well as women vendors in the countryside, which Campos says tells the culture of Negros the most. Prices of their products range from Php28,000 to Php38,000 per piece.
Marichu D. Cusi, entrepreneur of Kiculo bags says they started their business 10 years ago. She narrates that at first, they used whatever was available, including shells, and put things together. Design-wise, she says that the design is distinctly Bacolod through the weaving. “We make use of pandan,” she says. The brand is also socially-conscious, with the bag linings being done by a GK community in Bacolod. “Dealing with a community is good and professional,” she says of the experience. “We give them work. It is a nice partnership.” The bags are done as a whole by hand-stitching, and also makes use of Patajeng fabric from Iloilo.
Kiculo is also a member of People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP). Cusi says that through the links found in the association, they are slowly reaching out to different markets.
Being the family legacy of Silay’s original bakery, El Ideal was started in the 1920’s by Cesar Locsin. Now, his great grandson Mark Sanchez, 32, runs the family business. The business has also grown into a family corporation.
El Ideal’s bestsellers include the “guapple pie,” which is actually purely guava, from the fruit guapple. Other best-selling delicacies include lumpiang ubod, empanada, and seniorita, which is made of crust and caramel layers. El Ideal also has traditional cookies, as well as lubid-lubid, and pilipit. Their ingredients use dolce gatas, which is fresh carabao’s milk. In an attempt to be health-conscious, they also use garlic now, instead of sugar coating. They also have moringa sticks, made from malunggay.
Sanchez says that their recipes come from Silay in Negros, which is one of the culinary destinations in the area. The place witnessed the boom of the sugar industry, and through the food, would like to bring in guests, visitors, and hacienderos.
Virgie’s Homemade Products
When one says pastel de manga or napoleones, it’s always Virgie’s that comes to mind. With a food empire that has grown, and is now being sold in Rustan’s and Shopwise (Michelle’s putong ube stalls distribute Virgie’s products as well), they now also also have a three-storey building in Negros. “It was the customers who told us to put up a sari-sari store,” says Tita Virgie, of how they began.
Virgie’s also sells caramel tarts, galletas, cheese tarts, boat tarts, and age-old meringue. There are also sans rival, silvanas, cakes, and pastries. Their town in Negros also has really good mangoes, which has been the source of their delicacies. Doing things the old-fashioned way, without the benefit of advertisements, and promotions and relying mostly through word of mouth. And now, Virgie’s has a food empire, that has people recall Bacolod, just by their bestsellers.
• Evolving Lifestyles, the 28th Negros Fair, is ongoing at the Glorietta Activity Center, Palm Drive Entrance until Sunday, Sept. 29. Visit https://www.facebook.com/negrostradefair.page for more information.