LOCAL CRAFTS. Some of the arts and crafts produced by local artisans that are on display at this year’s “Tahum” pop-up festival that opened at the Iloilo Convention Center on Friday (Feb. 21, 2020). The three-day festival, organized by the Assumption Iloilo Educational Foundation, Inc., promotes local art and supports the education of Assumption scholars. (PNA photo by Gail Momblan)

ILOILO CITY -- Driven by the love for local arts and crafts, a Catholic school in Iloilo opened the pop-up festival “Tahum” at the Iloilo Convention Center here Friday.

Some 90 artisans from Western Visayas, Manila, Cebu, and Bohol were exhibiting their products at the three-day festival organized by the Assumption Iloilo Educational Foundation, Inc.

“’Tahum’ opens its doors to premier pop-ups where artisans and patrons meet to celebrate our fondness for locals,” Marjorie Florete, foundation president, said in her speech.  “Tahum” is a Hiligaynon word for beautiful or nice.

Fashion, lifestyle, accessory, and indoor dining arts and crafts, souvenirs, visual arts, and food have caught the eye of festival-goers.

Now in its second year, Florete said “Tahum” exhibitors are all one-of-a-kind.  “All the 90 exhibitors here are unique and there is no duplication,” she said in an interview.

The exhibitors also have the advocacy to uplift communities and help individuals, as through the festival, they provide scholarships to deserving Assumption students who have financial difficulties.

“The net proceeds will go to deserving students (who) will receive a six-year scholarship(s) at the Assumption,” Florete said.

“Tahum” benefited four scholars last year, she said, noting that this year, the number of student-beneficiaries will be identified based on the festival proceeds.

“This year, because of your support, we are hoping for more (scholars). They will be recipients of the scholarship from the start of their senior high school education,” Florete said.

Mary Ann Colmenares, owner of Handmade Gallery based in Negros, continued her support for the advocacy of the foundation as she participated in its second year of the festival.

Handmade Gallery produces intricately-made ceramic products.

Colmenares said they diversified with different media, such as natural fibers from the weavers of La Castellana, Pulupandan, Pontevedra, and Guimaras.

“It’s very important that we provide livelihood and jobs to woman weavers. We support the advocacy of Assumption alumni and it is also one way of promoting what we do,” she said.

Juler Fernandez of JAF Handicraft, meanwhile, joined this year’s “Tahum” through an invitation from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 6 (Western Visayas).

The Aklan-based products feature pineapple and silk blend, cotton and abaca silk blends.

“Aklan is known for hand-woven fabrics but my products are modern. It’s innovation. We do blending and we adapt to trends and style,” Fernandez said.

He said the advocacy of JAF Handicraft is aligned with that of Assumption’s as they also support communities.

“We go to communities. We train people so we do product development and we carry their products during (the) fair. Now if their products have orders, then we go back to the community and at least they have sustainable income,” Fernandez said.

He also thanked the DTI for the continued support so they could showcase their work in product fairs.

Florete, meanwhile, said “Tahum” would pave the way to improve local products.

“We hope we’ll inspire each other and we hope they can pull their resources together so that we can collaborate and improve our products,” she said. (PNA)