Utzurrum: Tatsulok collection at HoliCOW

Art for authenticity and tradition, why not?

Organized by the Holistic Coalition of the Willing (HoliCOW) and MaGNA CMGN Solutions Inc., their event’s aim was to showcase products inspired by the craftsmanship of various communities and indigenous people.

The event? “TATSULOK sa Cebu,” a lifestyle pop-up featuring three unique artists each with their exclusive creations and designs: Balay Ni Atong, with Al Valenciano’s silk scarves and other embroidered pieces; the contemporary Filipiniana outfits and bags from Filip+Inna by Lenora Luisa Cabili and the heirloom and antique jewelry of Natalia Lagdameo.

HoliCOW manager Kae Batiquin said: “Our relationship with these designers dates back to 2018 when we hosted their first pop-up. We’re happy to have them back, as they bring pieces curated for the Cebu crowd. Individually, their designs celebrate and uplift the work of Filipino artisans all over the Philippines.”

Furniture designer and HoliCOW co-founder Debbie Palao shared: “More importantly, our products are designed with authenticity and sustainability in mind. HoliCOW will always be here for our advocacies which are many.”

As a background, Valenciano of Balay ni Atong did research on traditional textiles for museums, and worked with communities in the Ilocos Region, to learn how these are woven. He then sold finished products to friends.

After the research was done, he still assisted the weavers in marketing, this time with a professional touch: Directing them on colors and designs based on tradition. Al also exports handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces to specialty boutiques. He has also gained recognition for his innovations in preserving sustainable silkworm culture, to produce exquisite silk fiber.

Filip+Inna founder and designer Cabili, once a Bayanihan dancer, has been exposed to the country’s indigenous tribes, and Mindanao groups like the Maranao, Bagobo, Yakan, T-boli, etc. along with the Visayan piña weavers, Mangyan in Mindoro, embroiderers of Taal and Lemery in Batangas, Lumban in Laguna etc.

“We are targeting traditional culture with these tribes and try to incorporate contemporary style in their clothing,” she said.

And with her love for fashion, she wanted to create something different.

Indeed, her Filip+Inna collection includes Pinay-inspired pieces like kimonas, camisas, ternos, tapis and saya, all products of her weaving center in Lake Sebu.

Meanwhile, Natalia Lagdameo was already an avid collector of heirloom pieces like colonias and tambourines. She would restore items in good condition to original format.

“With pieces that are no longer whole, I redesign them into new ones using antique components. My jewelry is inspired by antique and heirloom Filipino designs made of brass and embellished with precious to semi-precious stones,” she said.

Lagdameo’s best-selling creations are the Giniling bangles, thin gold-plated brass bangles worn layered on the forearm by the indigenous group of the Cordillera region. Most of her communities are based in the Cordilleras up north. They work with modern pieces designed by her and manufactured in the traditional way of sand cast and box cast for the brass items.”

She hopes to keep the project going toward the future so that the younger generation can learn the craft and so on.

What a lofty ideal! Good luck to all of you.