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Back to Our Roots

Manila Fame occurs twice a year, in April and October. A few weeks ago, I visited SMX to witness all the glorious local designs in one spot. This exhibit, I was intrigued by the indigenous materials showcased. Since I lived most of my life abroad, I was really curious to learn more about my culture and get in touch with my roots. 

Throughout the years, one exhibit that consistently catches my attention is Tadeco Home. Present in every collection is their latest line of unique handmade paper and other accessories. This local brand produces several home items that are made with all-natural fibers which are handwoven by the ethnic indigenous people of Mindanao. After utilizing traditional methods passed down through generations to make the fabric, this special material is then transformed into contemporary designs for the house. 

Not many people know this but Tadeco, which stands for Tagum Agricultural Development Co., is one of the largest banana plantations in the country. Tadeco Home was introduced by the community development program of Tadeco and is now also known globally for their handicraft manufacturing business. The handmade paper and products made from banana fibers are actually sourced from Tadeco’s plantations exclusively. While these credentials are impressive on their own, what warmed my heart was when I learned what Tadeco Home is doing for our communities. With their program, they have helped and created jobs for 600 T’boli weavers in Lake Sebu by providing opportunities to continue their craft. 

Aside from promoting and preserving the dying art of dream weaving, the brand has been assisting women and out-of-school youth through sustainable livelihood since 1989. How did they do that? Tadeco Home offers them in-depth training to develop their skills in weaving. Aside from that, they can also learn how to create handcrafted scrapbooks, picture frames, lanterns, stationeries, paper bags, gift-boxes and other natural paper. Tadeco Home then helps pave the way for local and global distribution for these products. It is admirable how this brand evolves with the current times by coming up with innovative collections out of Mindanao’s indigenous ingredients. Through this, the brand helps safeguard and promote the richness of our heritage, specifically the T’boli tribe of Mindanao. This livelihood program has helped communities in Astorga in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Catitipan, Toril, Maa, Bajada, Cabantian, Sisoy Lanang and Panabo City.

Another stall I enjoyed visiting was Delza’s Native Products which started in 1999. I was on my way out when I saw their colorful banigs. I remember my friends who visited from abroad. Apparently, it’s a hit with the visitors plus I suppose it is easy to carry and won’t cause penalties for excess baggage. The banigs, or mats in English, are made with grass that grows in the Eastern Visayas. The Eastern Visayas was the area devastated by the super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda back in 2013.  They say that the typhoon may have flattened many buildings and homes but never dampened the spirits of the people, including marketing manager Delza Mariscotes of Delza’s Native Products. A few years ago, the company was ready to send their goods for export to Japan when the typhoon destroyed their production area in Samar. However, Delza’s Native Products made a strong comeback the year after and displayed the newest collections in Manila Fame where it received positive feedback. The company now supplies their banig items to Kultura as well as to the designer shops of Aranaz and Tesoros. 

Manila Fame is a much-anticipated event that showcases the talent and craftsmanship of Filipino artisans from all over the country. Tadeco Home, for instance, produces items made with all-natural fibers handwoven by the indigenous people of Mindanao. Delza’s Native Products, on the other hand, supplies banig items to Kultura and designer shops like Aranaz and Tesoros.  
While I was looking at their products, I noticed that there was a jovial gentleman in the booth working. He was cracking jokes and had a smile on his face the whole time. After I bought a yoga mat from them, one of the staff told me he is a Yolanda survivor. I took a quick picture of him as a reminder to stay positive and happy despite hard times. I left Manila Fame, inspired and proud to be a Filipino. Not only did I learn about my heritage and our products, I also experienced the solidarity and resilience of our people.   

Tadeco Home is located at Damosa Market Basket, Lanang, 8000 Davao City, Philippines. For more information contact +63 (082) 235 2135 or fax via +63 (082) 234 05 86, or email at [email protected]

Delza’s Native Products is located at San Fernando Street, Baset, Western Samar. Contact +63 (055) 276 1059, Fax +63 (055) 251 2196, or +63947-4688289 for more information. 

Follow me on Instagram @cal_tavera

Topics: Manila Fame , Native Products
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