In celebration of Cebuano Hands
Edu Jarque (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The people of Cebu have a well-deserved reputation for the beautiful and the artistic. Legendary furniture and fashion find their home here, from the metropolitan sphere of the province to its countryside artisans, and the manifestations of their creative visions and passions find their way into the homes of discerning Filipinos and foreigners all over the world.

In a celebration of the labor of the hands, glimpses of this vast realm of talent were carefully orchestrated by SM Prime Holdings vice president Marissa Fernan during the Exquisitely Filipino exhibit at the North Wing Atrium of SM City Cebu for the duration of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conferences and Meetings held in the city earlier this month.

With the active support of the provincial government of Cebu, the Department of Trade and Industry and the SM Group, delegates had the opportunity to appreciate and marvel at the hand-picked samples from the island’s most-desired showrooms.

Eighteen creatives from the craft houses participated in the showcase, with truly exquisite items ranging from furniture and home-décor to gift items, bags and accessories. Each was made with local materials, formed with unique and well-developed aesthetic sensibilities and resourcefulness that created a perfect confluence of both the traditional and the modern.

It began with the sparse yet intriguing simplicity of Vito Selma’s wooden silla, the elegant lines of intricate carved timber to the natural form of mounted petrified wood.

There was the curious use of nautilus shells as the bodies of an eagle and fighting roosters. Even an ostrich egg was used as the core for a flamingo table accent, with the bird’s intricately rendered features almost lifelike. Another shell was utilized as the main core of a lamp-sized stylized galleon, complete with sails of goat skin and conus seashells for the body parts of figurines named the Terpiscorean Tinikling Dancers.

Pacific Traders as also produced one of their best-selling chairs of finely woven and polished fibers, finished and suitable for all seasons, and reasons, as it is an instant star wherever it sits.

Debbie Palao and Ina Gaston of HoliCOW devised an elegant and immensely comfortable sedia. The perfumed candles of Luisa Home from the 808 LS Design Group Inc. were on display, with fragrances which can enliven and shift the mood of any home.

Notable was Lhee Isabel Taneo’s mosaic of tiny cone shells, with a play on the material’s natural gradations. At 22, she is the youngest of Qube Gallery’s roster of Cebuano artists.

To launch the exhibit, a fashion show was held in the Evening of Fashion, Arts, and Culture which featured ten designers of Cebu’s Fashion Council led by its president Philip Rodriguez. SM Cebu’s orchestra played classical pieces while the island’s top models took to the ramp – the shy inday was long gone, emerging as the woman of confidence.

Each couturier was assigned to interpret and be inspired by a Visayan word: Mia Arcenas given sidlak or shine, Arcy Gayatin mahugaway or luxe, Yvonne Quisumbing bayanan or shell, Edwin Ao bagsik or fierceness, Albert Arriba handumanan or memories, OJ Hoffer katin-aw or clarity, Jun Escaro bugnaw or coolness, Philip Tampus gunas or texture, Cary Santiago gikulit nga borloloy or carved ornaments, and Philip Rodriguez harana or serenade. The evening gowns and formal wear were spectacular, made more vibrant with accessories provided by Bon-Ace Fashion Tools Inc., Cebu Intertrade Export, and D’Oro Barandino.

With a showcase of the best of Cebu and possibly the Philippines, Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, who likewise chairs the APEC Senior Officials Meeting, highlighted a deeper meaning to the relevance of the industry, as she invited Cebuanos and all Filipinos to promote and celebrate island-born craftsmanship.

“Artisanship and our heritage of design have become sources of livelihood for many families all over our nation. They are the realization of artists’ dreams to be recognized, and the fruition of small and medium scale enterprises that are given light within the global market,” she said.

“Once again, we have the unique opportunity to share the best of what Cebu can offer. I give my sincere gratitude to our home-grown artists for sharing their boundless talents. They truly make me proud to call myself a Cebuano, and I believe it is true for all of us in our beloved island,” Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III remarked, as he thanked the organizers.

Indeed, Cebuanos are a proud people and for good reason – they are a melting pot where talent doesn’t simply exist, but blooms and shines.


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