Shopping and Stepping Out

Best of Ilonggo food, crafts, and fashion at 28th Negros Trade Fair in Glorietta

The 28th Negros Trade Fair is ongoing at the Glorietta Activity Center until Sept. 29.  Go there to immerse yourself in the Visayan life including the passionate people, delicious delicacies, as well as the quality products. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

The 28th Negros Trade Fair is ongoing at the Glorietta Activity Center until Sept. 29. Go there to immerse yourself in the Visayan life including the passionate people, delicious delicacies, as well as the quality products. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

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.

Hacienda Crafts
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.

The Gaston family at their booth at 28th Negros Trade Fair. Their enterprise, Hacienda Crafts, emphasizes social entrepreneurship, design, and the environment. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

The Gaston family at their booth at 28th Negros Trade Fair. Their enterprise, Hacienda Crafts, emphasizes social entrepreneurship, design, and the environment. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

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.

Gigi Campos creates mosaic art.  Aside from feminine designs, they also create religious ones, that they also create for churches by request.  Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

Gigi Campos creates mosaic art featuring designs that range from feminine and floral themes to religious images that her enterprise also creates for churches by request. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

Kiculo
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 bags, which originated from Bacolod, taps the services of a GK community.  The partnership has resulted into good and professional relations, according to the owner. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

Kiculo bags, which originated from Bacolod, taps the services of a GK community. The partnership has resulted into good and professional relations, according to owner Marichu Cusi. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

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.

El Ideal
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.

Tita Virgie has her own empire of Bacolod sweets that began in her home province.  Now, her goods sell at Rustan's and Shopwise. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

Tita Virgie’s Bacolod sweets business has grown from a simple home enterprise to a popular ‘pasalubong’ brand. Now, her goods are available at Rustan’s and Shopwise. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com.

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.   

InterAksyon.com