Fan-size multi-colored banderitas were candies to my eyes as I entered the dainty City Time Square. Teasing the town with a line-up of happenings prior to their launch, the exquisite plaza mall encompasses shaded and sun-lit areas. One can indulge in comfortable retail therapy while relishing in the splendour of the mall’s verdant and blooming linear park.
You can’t reach the other end of the west alley of the plaza mall without giving-in to the inviting smoke coming from distinct artisanal dishes laid out by the array of food stalls. The variety is astounding, given that all exhibitors are local.
More than just indulging your taste buds, the food trip is enriched by the rare opportunity to interact with budding foodpreneurs and be captivated by their stories and cooking techniques.
Some, like Nilaga X-Press House and Old Hat, are serving classic Filipino dishes. Others, such as, The Drunk Spaniard and Nacho Bravo, borrowed recipes from foreign cultures and made their offerings unique by adding home grown ingredients.
LoCo, on the other hand, is supporting local in a whole new level. Sourcing coffee beans from local farms, the expanding business is helping sustain the farming community.
Meanwhile, Sid of Sidro Doughnuts, is on full throttle travelling the world, taking inspiration from best donuts, and formulating the recipe for a doughnut that will rule the universe.
Beyond the linear park, the Eastern alley of the square is an enchanting sea of picturesque and masterfully arranged shelves of handcrafted and handmade goods, artisanal products, and artworks.
Cosmetics, skin care products, beadworks, apparels, handwoven cloth, furniture, accessories, health products, sauces and foodstuff, yarn works, calligraphy materials, coffee beans, rare succulents, — there are local producers for a these products.
Overflowing with resources from land and sea, and accordingly blessed with excellent schools to enable aspiring producers, it’s no surprise that Iloilo and Panay Island, is a cradle for emerging creative upstarts.
Growing with Produkto Lokal, RRAW encourages women to be healthy and beautiful through their plant-based skin care alternatives. The beauty brand is currently making waves in national magazines.
Neighboring Rraw is The Yarn Artisan, a regular PL tenant and a go-to of Ilonggo fashionistas for vacation OOTDs.
Joining Rraw and The Yarn Artisan are new names with explosive potential like The Pallet House, a custom furniture start-up that’s being flocked by restaurateurs in the cosmopolitan.
A launching pad for local enterprises, Produkto Lokal has evolved from a fair to a cultural phenomenon.
Youth First Initiative Philippines, the NGO behind Produkto Lokal, hopes to inspire the habit of making local products a part of people’s lifestyle.
by: Romellaine Xyene L. Arsenio