DTI opens Sinulog fair, OTOP PH Hub

Johanna O. Bajenting

THE Department of Trade Industry (DTI) has opened two retail exhibits on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, that are meant to help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) gain market exposure and boost revenue at the height of the Sinulog festival celebration.

DTI unveiled the annual Sinulog Fiesta Fair in SM City Cebu and Cebu’s first One Town, One Product (Otop) Philippine (PH) Hub inside the seaport terminal of Pier 1 in Cebu City.

For Boholana entepreneur Marie Frances Macabenta, participating in the Sinulog Fiesta Fair means an opportunity to access a big market, especially that it is annually mounted inside a mall that records high foot traffic.

Macabenta, who already participated in several fairs organized by the DTI office in Bohol, said the exposure brought her various cacao products to the shelves of big malls in Tagbilaran City.

“It brings awareness to the public that we exist. Our products have already reached overseas like the US, Canada and Australia,” Macabenta said.

She said she would personally manage her booths so she could interact with the customers on what products are currently in demand in the market.

The Sinulog Fiesta Fair, organized by the DTI-Cebu Provincial Office, the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation Inc., will run from Jan. 16 to 26, 2020.

Josefina Lumanjoc, who manned the Ver&Ver Handicrafts Trading, said the fair is a big help to her business.

“It boosts our sales performance and brings us more customers,” she said.

There are 49 exhibitors and 34 booths in this year’s Sinulog Fiesta Fair, which is comparatively lower than last year’s attendance of 96 exhibitors, where it generated P10.2 million in sales.

This year’s fiesta fair will only run for 11 days compared to last year’s 18 days, with extension.

“This is because we are preparing for the 500th quincentennial celebration. We will double the number of booths and we are intensifying our product development for the tourists and pilgrims that are expected to flock here,” said DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte.

The participants of the fair are from select enterprises under the Otop, Kapatid Mentor Me, Philippine Commission on Women’s women entrepreneurs, the Great Women Project 2, featuring MSMEs with cacao-based, wearables and homestyle products.

The product lines exhibited in the fair are gifts, decors and houseware, wearables and fashion accessories, processed food, cacao and coffee.

Cebu’s first Otop PH Hub

Meanwhile, DTI 7 unveiled Cebu’s first Otop PH Hub inside the seaport terminal of Pier 1 in Cebu City. It is the fifth Otop Hub in Central Visayas.

Caberte expects the products featured in Otop PH Hub will sell fast since the seaport terminal is a chokepoint of both international and local tourists going to neighboring islands of the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Otop Hub in Pier 1 is the first Otop PH Hub to be launched in Cebu Province in partnership with the DTI, Cebu Port Authority and Cebu Gifts, Toys and Houseware Foundation Inc.

“It is a retail space where Otop offerings from Cebu and other provinces can be found,” she said. “It is DTI’s flagship market access program that serves as a marketing vehicle and incubation platform to promote and champion Otop products.”

Other Otop hubs in the region are located in Bohol, Siquijor and Dumaguete.

“We are hoping we could open another one. We are really targeting areas where many tourists pass so they could see and buy the different products Cebu has been pride of,” she said.

The Otop Hub features different pasalubong items ranging from jewelry and accessories, processed food to other high priority products like agri-based food.

The DTI said there are now 35 Otop hubs operating in the Philippines after it was relaunched in 2017.

The program has assisted 6,519 MSMEs and developed or improved a total of 4,960 products and prototypes.

In Cebu Province, over 200 MSMEs have participated in Otop Next Gen initiatives.

Close to 80 MSMEs have already availed themselves of the intensive product and market development services under the Otop program.

Otop hubs can be found mostly in airports, terminals, pasalubong centers, tourist spots, Negosyo Centers, public markets and other consumer-frequented locations, including malls.