Manila FAME {Part 2}

For me, another highlight of Manila FAME was the Craft Revival stations, wherein traditional techniques from Davao, Taal, Pakil and Zamboanga del Sur were demonstrated by different artisans.  Found just outside the expo hall, the stations were particularly eye-catching, and immediately drew my and M’s interest.

The first station we saw demonstrated the calado technique.  Calado is a form of embroidery, painstakingly executed on fine cloths such as pina or jusi.  It was quite entertaining to watch the ladies work very nimbly with their fingers, and it really made me appreciate this craft even more.  One needs to have not only good eyesight, but a good design aesthetic, quality orientedness, and ofcourse, the skills, to be able to execute calado beautifully.

Another featured technique was beadwork from the Bagobo community in Davao.

The Bagobo‘s are known for their ornate and decorative garments.  Usually, they are adorned with many tiny, multi-colored beads that are sewn into the cloth, and accompanied by bells, sequins and pompoms.  I can imagine how long it must take for a garment to be finished!  But again, it makes one appreciate how much effort goes into this craft.  I really hope it is something that is passed on throughout the generations of this tribe, so that we can continue to enjoy the beauty of Bagobo beadwork :).

One of the most colorful Craft Revival stations was the one on Mat Weaving.  It was nice seeing the different colors of straw all lined up in a row, then witnessing the weavers intertwine them to make lovely mats!

Mat Weaving is a craft native to the Maguindanao community in Zamboanga del Sur.  Seagrass is used as material for the mats, where they are woven to create different patterns.

It was also quite a sight to witness these women weaving the mats so quickly and mindlessly.  It’s like their fingers had a life of their own, and I could not believe the speed in which they were executing this craft–without breaking the straw at that!  I’m sure this is something they can do beautifully even in their sleep! Hahaha!

The last station was on the art of Wood Shaving.  Some of the best whittlers hail from the province of Pakil, Laguna.  Using knives with different lengths and thicknesses, they carve softwood into filigreed fans, peacocks, birds and flowers.

Again, I can imagine how one has to be extremely precise when doing this craft. As I was observing this man whittling the wood, he seemed very concentrated, but at the same time, his confidence as he handled the knife made me conclude that this is something that he had been doing for years.  Like the rest of the stations, it was a sight to see!

The Craft Revival stations at Manila FAME truly made me proud of Filipino craftsmanship.  It is evidence of our skill as a people, as well as our attention to quality and detail.  I’m sure there are many more crafts around our country to learn about and highlight, and I really do hope they do so in succeeding Manila FAME expos.

I think it would truly be a tragedy if we allowed these traditions to die and be forgotten, as our world becomes more modern and digital by the second.  Hand-made crafts are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and if we don’t do something about it, it will disappear along with our culture and identity as a people.

Thank goodness for the efforts of Manila FAME to keep this aspect of Filipino culture alive!


7 responses to “Manila FAME {Part 2}

  1. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  2. great craft artists. respect.

  3. Thanks for writing about this! Would’ve loved to attend this event if I were there, so your post with pictures is the next best thing. How beautiful! I’ve long dreamt of having a boutique here showcasing Filipino goods, arts and crafts, but who knows if that will ever happen. After getting married, R and I almost bought our bedroom furniture from there but the freight was going to cost us a whole lot more than the furniture! Oh well…

    • Hay nako, there were even more beautiful stuff in the expo. I’m sure you would have drooled–especially the neckpieces!!! To die for talaga, and very unique so no need to worry about anyone having the same piece as you! Maybe one day you can open that boutique of yours–especially now that there are so many designers and products that you can feature! I’m sure many of the up and coming ones would die to have a door into the US market. Plus, that would totally give you an excuse to go to all of these local expos 🙂 Hahahaha!

  4. Hello
    I write for a local Hong Kong magazine biweekly on the subject of textiles and costumes, target is for educational purpose, so a high readership in schools. I have this beautiful Philippines mat from someone who bought it in the early 80s. I am planning to write about it, and while researching on the internet, I came across your photos from Manila Fame.
    While I have the actual mat, like a queen size, I need other supporting photographs to tell the story.
    I would like to use, the ones on your website, I would need them in high resolution the above 3 photos, if you grant us the use of the photos, and we can credit your website as you desire.

    Please contact me by email, and I can send you samples of the articles.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon

    • Sure, no problem, Edith! I can send the photos to your email address and would appreciate your crediting my website in the publication.
      Do you mind if I put a small watermark on the photos as well? Please let me know 🙂

      Thanks for reading my blog 🙂


  5. Hi Mia,
    I am Aia dela Cruz from Manila FAME Communications Division. I came across your blog and was really glad about your write up about one of the show features of our event. I would like to invite you this 17-20 October for another exciting and thrilling experience of Manila FAME. You can look for me or register at the Media/Press Counter as a blogger so you can enter the show for free and get a Media kit with simple media token. 🙂

    Or you can give me your address so we can send you several invitations which you can also announce in your blog as a prize for your readers. 🙂

    You can email me at

    Many Thanks and would love to hear from you.


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