Composed of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, and Quirino provinces, this northeastern region in Luzon is located in between the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges. It boasts mostly of agricultural economy, and produces many fine handicrafts using its natural materials and sustainable resources.
Manila FAME, the country’s premier lifestyle and design trade show, has been one of the main platforms where the small- and medium-scale enterprises of the region exhibits their products. Here are a few of the brands that have exhibited at the recently held 70th Edition of FAME.
The Nueva Viscaya-based brand creates home décor and kitchen accessories made out of roots, twigs, driftwood pieces, molave wood, and even trunks of large fern plants, which produce a unique speckled pattern in the wooden décor.
A favorite of Metro Manila bazaars, these pillowcases, bags, pouches, and wristlets are made in Alicia, Isabela, and are printed with the paintings of artist Bibsy Torio. The colorful and fanciful works feature snippets of Filipino life, family, customs, and culture.
Lamps, clocks, and other decorative accessories are made out of scrap wood, trunks, and the discarded roots and twigs of fallen trees. The randomness of the material gives each piece a unique look.
Based all the way in Kayhuvokan, Batanes, Iraya doesn’t only sell the popular woven baskets, caps, and lighthouse-painted wicker bags from this northernmost province. It also sells stool covers that look like the hairy Vakul palm-fiber headdresses worn by Ivatan indigenous people in the area.
The Quirino brand’s rose-like blooms are actually made out of Alibangbang (Orchid Tree or Bauhinia Tree) leaves. The leaves are dried and dyed in different colors to create realistic-looking flowers that transformed into long-lasting home décor, wreaths, and even wedding bouquets.
Also called Silya, Elektrika, Atbp., Silya was established in Nueva Viscaya. Guillermo Peros and his family, who are building contractors, found themselves with a surplus of wood and metal scraps from demolished houses that would have otherwise gone to waste. He then put up a business selling whimsical and witty home accessories made out of these upcycled scraps.
The sleepy town of Sta. Praxedes in Cagayan mainly produces the pandan plant, also called Sarakat in the region, which is used in weaving. The Sarakat Movers, now called the Sarakat Women Weavers, was formed in 2006 to produce woven baskets and accessories made out of pandan as part of the One Town One Product (OTOP) program.