THE best of Cebu and Central Visayas’ products are expected to get further market exposure through initiatives laid out by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the rest of the year.
DTI Central Visayas Director Asteria Caberte on Thursday said their agency is set to mount “Chambers: the Cebu Project” in Manila this October, where the province’s top-caliber furniture, accessories, and gifts will be showcased.
“This will strengthen the market presence of our products and show the best of Cebu as well as promote a pride of place,” Caberte told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of a public consultation at the Marco Polo Plaza.
Cebu-based industry associations will get their own pavilion during the Manila FAME event from October 21 to 22 to be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Participating groups including the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), Cebu Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters (FAME), and Cebu Gifts, Decors, and Housewares (GDH).
This was also made possible through the partnership of DTI with the Cebu provincial government, which contributed around P1.5 million to help cover the registration fee of the participants.
Manila FAME, the country’s premier design and lifestyle event, is a bi-annual showcase of craftsmanship, design innovation, and artisanship in Philippine products.
According to its website, the event “features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market.”
Manila FAME is organized by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the agency’s export promotion arm Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).
It is the second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country that is approved by Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), or the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, a Paris-based association of trade fair organizers founded more than 90 years ago in Milan, Italy.
While Cebu has been consistently featured in the event through individual exhibitors, Caberte said it was the first time local players will be given its dedicated space.
Caberte said they came across this opportunity because CITEM executive director Clayton Tugonon is from Cebu. Tugonon owns furniture export firm Classical Geometry.
“We hope to make (Cebu’s participation) annual, with support from all stakeholders,” the director said.
Mecca of GDH
Cebu GDH president Ritchie Wagas, in a text message to Cebu Daily News, said their sector is grateful for the initiative of the DTI and support from the Cebu provincial government.
“This partnership between private and public sectors will showcase the best arts and crafts of Cebu, and will have a great impact on our members who had been aspiring for meaningful support from government through DTI and CITEM as its export marketing authority,” he said.
Wagas added that they are looking forward to more partnerships which are consistent with their goal of making Cebu once again known as the “Mecca” of GDH, fashion jewelry, and furniture in the Philippines, if not in the whole Asean region.
Meanwhile, DTI is also set to open a GO LOKAL! concept store in Ayala Center Cebu at the end of this year, although Caberte could not reveal further details yet.
Launched in 2016, the Go Lokal! program is a free marketing platform for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with huge market potential.
The DTI announced in July that 65 products in Central Visayas have been chosen as candidates for inclusion in the program. Caberte said they still have to identify and curate the set of products that will go on display in the concept store here.
Under the program, the DTI made arrangements with major malls to accommodate the display of locally-made products, expose them in big traffic stores and improve their marketability.