A blend of upland culture showcased in Cordillera’s IMPAKABSAT The seventeenth staging of Cordillera Administrative Region’s trade fair known as IMPAKABSAT is drawing hordes of shoppers, mall goers and collectors from around the national capita region as the season comes closer to Christmas. The fair which started on the second day of November to runs until the eleventh at the Carousel Court, Festival Mall showcasing the products of about 80 exhibitors from CAR such as silvercraft, ethnic novelty items, houseware, furniture and furnishings, fresh and processed food, hand-woven products, woodcraft, bamboo crafts, and collectible antiques manufactured by the creative upland people. During its mid sale program, Ifugao Representative Teodoro Baguilat Jr. verbalized his optimism that this year’s trade fair will exceed past achievements and hoped that mall goers would take with them a piece of Cordillera culture. The solon who likewise represents the indigenous people of the Cordillera in the lower house also expressed optimism that the national government would be more tolerant to wood based products such as the woodcarvings and furniture. The IMPAKABSAT is an annual event spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry to promote the Cordillera Region’s various crafts and industrial products. The acronym IMPAKABSAT stands for the reunited upland provinces namely; Ifugao, Mt. Province, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Benguet and Baguio City completed with the Ilocano word “kabsat” which is understood to mean sibling, brother or sister in Northern Luzon. It can be recalled that these provinces were once separated by virtue of the Separation Bill of 1966 and reunited in 1986 by then President Corazon C. Aquino. This trade fair first came to be known in 1991 when the Cordillera Administrative Region governing bodies at that time and some newly created line agencies that included the DTI initiated a move to boost CAR’s trade capability and help the upland entrepreneurs whose businesses were affected by the killer earthquake of 1990. Now considered as the hallmark of manufacturing industry in the upland region, the IMPAKABSAT trade fair is now considered as a much awaited industrial event outside the Cordillera not only to DTI assisted small and micro entrepreneurs and traders but to local and foreign buyers as well.
The exhibitors came in droves from the uplands of the Cordillera. Moments after their arrival to the exhibit area, their trucks, jeeps, vans and SUVs were unloaded with the results of their labor as they cart their produce to the polished floors of the Festival Supermall.
The Kabayan Dance Troupe sent by their municipal officials performed a splendid Benguet cultural number that drew a crowd and filled the air with the beats of the Gangsa and Solibao.
Felecitas Bandonil, Senior Trade and Industry Specialist of DTI-CAR noted that the entrepreneurs themselves preferred the Festival Supermall in the Alabang, Muntinlupa City because more buyers from the posh villages and subdivisions around the Southern Tagalog area buys more items for their living rooms and interior accents. IMPAKABSAT trade promoters Iluminada Albuyao and Virginia Sacki of Kalinga with Elveys Binwag of Ifugao shows off some of their province's products during the November 2 simple opening of CAR’s regional trade fair at the Festival Supermall. The fair showcased various items like furniture, woven items, silver jewelry, bamboo crafts, processed food and holiday
Promotional activities: The growing popularity of new media and social network sites has been proven to be effective as visitors to the fair claimed that they learned of it from Facebook. The newly updated FB page “Impakabsat Regional Trade Fair: Only the Best from the Cordilleras” reached about 4,001 from October 30 to November 5. Friendly FB regional accounts of the Philippine Information Agency, DTI FB sites within Luzon, the US Embassy Manila Office FB and the Office of Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto were among the few online sites that were tagged with updates about the fair.
Prototype furniture designs such as this sofa set were among the early items that were bought by mall goers.
IMPAKABSAT PROGRAM KEYNOTE SPEECH By Hon. Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr.
A pleasant day to you all, or as we Ifugao’s would say, “Maphod an lgo”. I am both diligent and honored to be before you to champion the pride of the Cordilleras as exemplified by the cordillera region’s various crafts and industrial products. This annual IMPAKABSAT trade Fair, which showcases the uniqueness and diversity of Cordillera, is made possible by the Department of Trade and Industry, and so I am grateful to Secretary Gregory Domingo and the tireless personnel of DTI for keeping up this tradition. This event’s title, IMPAKABSAT, stands for Ifugao, Mountain Province, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Benguet and Baguio City, followed by the ilokano word kabsat, which means brother or sister. Like any brother or sister, the provinces comprising the Cordilleras each have traits that make them stand out from their other siblings, but there is a bond that unites them. In the case of the region’s crafts and industries, that bond comes from the creativity, resourcrfulness and perseverance. The common crafts in the region, such as woodwork, weaving and metal work, require skillful and uncomplaining hands. The end product of these activities is not immediately obvious, and requires much patience to conceive and create. The techniques employed rely on imagination and tradition, passed on from generation to generation. The use of machines, other than traditional implements like garment looms, is often shunned. Though this fair you will be transported to the Cordilleras as you take glimpse of the region’s rich culture. Of course we will be most pleased if you will take some of that culture with you and make it part of your home or workplace. Allow me to be your guide in this cultural immersion. From Abra, we have bamboo and rattan crafts, and loom-woven an embroidered garments. Abra is called the Natural Dye Capital of the Philippines beacause of the abundance of dye-yielding plants in the province, thus we also have coloring products from Abra. Apayao is the key agricultural producer in the Cordilleras. The province harvest rice, corn, coffee, lanzones, citrus, bananas and pineapples. Its residence also creates attractive furniture and houseware. Baguio City is already well-known for its silverware and woodworks. The city’s products also include hone, coffee, peanut and cashew brittle, ube, and jams. Of course, a visit to Baguio would not be complete without taking a few Baguio brooms. We call Benguet the “Salad Bowl of the Philippines” because of its wealth of upland vegetables. Beans, potatoes, peas, cabbage, lettuce and carrots are just some of the produce from province. The residents also create silver crafts or brass wares, woodcraft, loom weaves, handmade paper decors, knitted garments, and various sweets. Kalinga is endowed with both metallic and non-metallic minerals. While I am cautious to endorse the exploration of mineral recourses for a number of reasons, I also recognize that the Kalinga’s richness is a blessing that must be widely tapped. I believe this is possible, with the sincere engagement of stakeholders, especially indigenous communities who will be affected by mining activities. Ifugao has an economy founded on agriculture and forestry. Thus, my province is home to accomplished wood-carvers and weavers of garments and textiles. We have also taken advantage of the One-Town-One-Product program of the DTI to push our province’s development of its coffee industry, as well as the production of carrot juice and raising of tilapia and panggasius. Our last stop is the Mountain Province, home to a growing industry in the production of furniture made from pinewood, bamboo and steel. Bamboo and rattan basketry are also common activities, as well as weaving to create bags, purses, ethnic costumes, blankets and fashion accessories. This year’s IMPAKABSAT hosts about 75 small and medium enterprises engaged in the production, manufacture and sale of various products for personal, home and office use. Last year’s IMPAKABSAT was a highlight in the event’s history, as the fair generated 65 million pesos in sales. The admiration of Cordillera products represented by that investment translated to more jobs and improvements in the region’s economy. The DTI has once again put together an impressive collage of enterprises that exemplify the uniqueness of Cordilleras and represent the fine craftsmanship and quality of the region’s products. I am therefore optimistic that this year’s fair will trump the achievement of last year. I hope that everyone here will take a piece of Cordillera culture with them, and that you will encourage friends and family to likewise give a welcome boost to the industries of the Cordilleras. I also hope that you will continue to support, not only the crafts not only the crafts and works of the Cordilleras, but also the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry as it unlocks new potentials for investment across the country. With that I invite you to take a tour of the Cordilleras through this year’s IMPAKABSAT. Haggiyo Ifugao! Haggiyo IMPAKABSAT! And may all our efforts towards the country’s development be blessed. Thank you and a good day to you all.
IMPAKABSAT Photo folio by Art Tibaldo