Romellaine Xyene Arsenio
The rise of Megaworld Business Park, Gaisano Iloilo City Center, and Atria Business Park, the different national recognitions given to Iloilo, the creation of One Esplanade and bike lanes along diversion road, and many other introductions all testify Iloilo’s undeniable rise. Queen City or not, Iloilo is here to conquer.
Now, more than ever, there is a dire need for us to cherish our identity. Let us move forward carrying what we truly are: our culture and heritage.
Now on its third installation, Produkto Lokal Weekend Fair continues its mission of creating events that will shine the light on emerging local enterprises and aspiring young artisans. Produkto Lokal hopes, that as people visit the fair, they will appreciate the Panayanon customs through modernized products like Hawid Panublion Accessories and Prime Cute Pomade which were inspired by our heritage.
The third Produkto Lokal was made more special by its venue, the glorious Casa Real formerly known as Casa Gobierno de Iloilo.Presently a home to paintings by the Iloilo Visual Artists Collective and a venue for many local marvelings, Casa Real witnessed historical events which shaped Iloilo City to what is is today. Boasting American-era Architecture, Casa Real was once the seat of power of the Provincial Government of Iloilo.
On the fine Saturday afternoon of July 30, 40 colorful booths added marvel to the dainty Casa.
Aligned in the spacious black and white porch were delightful food stalls where guests indulged in a gastric adventure al fresco.
Newcomer Balls on Fire quickly gained attention for burning everyone’s tongue with their tasty and affordable meals.
“Everything has chilli,” said Anvie, a food lover.
Meanwhile, returning to the fair for the third time are Loco Coffee and Sidro Doughnuts which were placed side by side. Sidro, the trending Doughnut brand which Sid crafted to be Iloilo’s legacy is perfectly complemented by Loco, the delicious coffee that will keep you up all night.
Inside the manse, the hallway is flooded by artisanal products. The artists who made them were present to talk about their craft and their inspirations.
New exhibitor Jankrist stitched personalized pairs of footwear on-the-spot while Gugma Weaves let visitors choose their leathers and Hablon cloths for their laptop bags.
Many start-ups came back with new products to enrich their line. Prime Cut Pomade introduced beard oil. Entrepreneur Earvin Diones even grew a beard to market his product.
The Modern Gentlemen introduced a new model of Balicomb which sports a metal handle inspired by the original Balisong.
The enterprise owners were very appreciative of Casa Real. “We love the previous Produkto Lokal venues because they were perfect for artisanal products. But Casa Real is even much better because it’s a historic building that’s frequented by many so more people got a chance to see our booth. It’s also cozy so the tables are not far from each other and it’s more convenient for people to roam around and explore all that is there,” said Uriel of The Modern Gentlemen.
“This place is just perfect for your event. Everything looks good together,” said a frequent Produkto Lokal guest.
“We are very selective in choosing a venue for the weekend fair. We want a place that represents Iloilo and that complements the “Produkto Lokal” concept,” said April Gonzales, Project Operations Director of Youth First Initiative.
Meanwhile YFI Founder and Executive Director Janvie Amido is just happy with the turnout of the event, “I’m happy to see emerging local businesses gaining followers and establishing their brands.”