travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

Press Release

Celebrating Women’s Spaces: Promoting Culture, Transforming Lives

March 13, 2024

The Asia Foundation celebrates Women’s Month with a special trade fair, Lokalakalan 2024: Kultura, Kababaihan, Kabuhayan on March 15-17, 2024 at two locations – Rockwell Powerplant Mall in Makati City, and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City. Jointly organized by the Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship for Peace and Prosperity in Mindanao initiative (Accelerate PH) and Community Crafts Association of the Philippines, the fair will feature traditional weaves and handcrafted products from the Accelerate program, including 11 women artisans from communities across the Bangsamoro region.

From Bangsamoro to the World: Women Artisans Showcase Crafts at Lokalakalan

Accelerate supports more than 2,500 women in Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, and Basilan, including both current and aspiring entrepreneurs and women in the workforce across 13 project locations. They include former women combatants, spouses and family members of combatants, survivors, those at risk of gender-based violence, indigenous women, technical-vocational and college graduates, and overseas female workers who returned home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond the Market: Lokalakalan Highlights Resilience and Cultural Identity

Beyond just a market-selling activity, the event highlights the creativity, innovation, and perseverance of women artisans and the diverse ethnic cultures and identities in the Bangsamoro region. Perlita Laguan, a participating women entrepreneur and President of South Upi Monom Organization (SUMO), an organization of women weavers from the Teduray-Lambangian indigenous tribe in South Upi, Maguindanao del Sur shared how trade fair activities, like Lokalakalan, contribute beyond generating sales and market leads. “We became visible -– within our families, our community, and the outside world. Our products offered a distinct identity drawn from generations of experience working with what nature gave us. The increasing demand for our products proves that SUMO is doing good, and we can offer more. Now we have a growing number of supporters because they see we can deliver – we are trying,” she said.

Accelerate and its partners envision a community where women take pride in their cultural heritage and can use the skills and knowledge acquired across generations of weaving to promote women’s economic participation. Along with participation in trade fairs, Accelerate provides women with skills and business development training, connects women entrepreneurs to markets and other business opportunities, and provides capital to help women participants grow their businesses.

More Than Sales: Women Weavers Find Community and Purpose in Lokalakalan

Emilyn Pia, the President of Maligue Bamboo-Based Crafts and Creatives (MBCC), highlighted the interconnectedness between what the women entrepreneurs value as individuals and as a collective, such as nurturing nature, working together, and using their creativity to uplift the lives of their families and community. When asked about the significant change in their lives thus far, women bamboo weavers from Maligue, Isabela City shared that restarting their bamboo handicraft production in 2022 made them feel more integrated into the larger community.

Women weavers of Meh Tubuan Megtetennun Dem Parangbasak in Lamitan, Basilan – renowned for their expertise in weaving intricate designs of the Tennun, or woven cloth in Yakan – look forward to expanding their customer base beyond the province and Zamboanga City. More visibility of their weaving means more opportunities to continue the Yakan weaving tradition. Products from both MBCC and Parangbasak women weavers will be showcased at the Lokalakalan event.

For more information about Accelerate and the event, please visit or our Facebook page Accelerate Women PH.

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