>Bohol conquers Boracay

>by Rey Anthony Chiu

Beachwears, fashion accessories, headgears, shawls and souvenir items highlighting Boholano craftsmanship grace Boracay booths during the recent 2nd Visayas Once-Town-One-Product (OTOP) Fair.

According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bohol sources, the local delegation, comprised of Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) displayed raffia loom-woven products, bamboo-crafted furniture, coco-shell, fashion accessories, natural fiber summer and casual headwear, beach sandals, native material inspired souvenir and novelty items, furnishings, natural fibers and shawls including food items and horticulture inputs.

The Bohol group joined the fair to further promote locally-crafted products now becoming international fashion trends.

Led by a team from the DTI with Provincial Director Nanette Arbon, exhibitors occupied two selling areas at the La Carmela de Boracay Resort along with some 99 other exhibitors from Regions 6, 7 and 8.

Region 7 under DTI regional Director Asteria Caberte set up 35 exhibits, Region 8 had 25 exhibits while host Region 6 had 39 exhibits, a DTI press material stated.

Aside from local government unit-backed exhibitors, Bohol also showcased the Philippine Australian Community Assistance Program’s Focused Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS) assisted groups from Catigbian, Loboc, Maribojoc and other towns.

FOCAS 1-Assisted Groups displayed pandan bags, romblon mats, coco-shell placemats and VCO.

Other local crafts entrepreneurs include raffia bags from Inabanga’s 3SHA Handicrafts; shell bags from Tubigon’s Bohol Countryside Souvenir Enterprises of; world renowned Antequera OTOP baskets and the Bohol PROFOOD “food pasalubong”.

The 2nd OTOP fair is organized to provide more exposure to locally made products that have proven to be competitive in the international markets, and is focused on selling products by the SMEs of the three regions under the DTI OTOP Philippines program, said Marisol Balistoy during a phone interview.

While sales were not as brisk in the absence of institutional buyers in Boracay, at least products- exposure-wise, it was worth it, Balistoy said.

It may be recalled that during the 1st Visayas OTOP Fair, two Bohol exhibitors tipped the sales scales as top sellers with Inabanga’s raffia along with Tubigon’s Countryside Souvenirs.

OTOP is one of the priority programs of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs in the countryside. (PIA)

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