MY DESSERT buddy Satori Pelayo and I were enjoying our Korean Bingsoo at SM Lanang Premier two Sundays ago when artist Amanda Echevarria, who was having a snack with her son asked, “Have you seen the interactive exhibit at the Food Hall?”
Thus, we chanced on the last day of the event.
The interactive exhibit, Colors of the South, was organized by Swito Innovation Hub last April 5 to 7, 2019. It featured the works of three Mindanao-based social enterprises: the Balay-balay Architecture Puzzles, Tao-Tao Souvenirs, and the Marawi Tourism Social Enterprise (MTSE). The exhibit was funded by the British Council’s CSO-Seed Advocacy Grant.
“I believe that there is potential in using arts to promote an advocacy and its proof of concept can be evident in the works of the social enterprises we have featured here”, said Glorypearl Dy, exhibit project head.
The enterprises included in the interactive exhibit are dominantly new initiatives at the incubation stage, the exhibit was a mix of play and lectures.
The Tao Tao Souvenirs showcased products that include the Sagaya dolls, wooden dolls painted with clothes inspired by the Indigenous clothing of Mindanao Indigenous Communities. These are made by mothers of the Higaunon Community in Tuburan, Misamis Oriental and are made of scrap construction wood.
Tao Tao Souvenirs founder Lovella Naces-Eduave, a teacher from Cagayan de Oro City, said that they wanted to educate the world about Mindanao culture through the souvenirs. The warm reception their dolls got during the exhibit inspired her to work more with their community partners. For the fun part, Tao Tao had a mug painting contest challenging participants to paint about peace in Mindanao.
The Meranaw entrepreneurs of the Marawi Tourism Social Enterprise (MTSE) set up a Marawi Journey Board Game co-created by Swito Architecture Designs focusing on the positive images and heritage of Marawi. These included KM 0.00 (Kilometer Zero), the original reference points of all roads in Mindanao, which is in Marawi; tasting of Maranao sweets dodol and broa, and a stop that asks the participant to perform a Maranao dance with a cultural dancer.
“Culture and heritage should not be forgotten in this conversation about rehabilitation,” MTSE head Annas Deriposun said.
MTSE has partnered with Balay Balay Architecture Puzzles to manufacture Torogan miniature puzzles while providing livelihood for internally displaced persons due to the Marawi siege. The aim of the miniature puzzle is to promote the royal house of the Meranaw called the Torogan, which was awarded the distinction of a National Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.
Jen Soriano Sabianan, project manager of CSO-SEED said, they intend to build a stronger SME sector through promoting social enterprises as these not only enhance income and create jobs, these also establish more meaningful and relevant development strides.
Swito Innovation Hub CEO Arch. Gloryrose Dy-Metilla said they plan to stage another Colors of the South exhibit by the end of the year with more Mindanao-based social enterprises.