87 talented craftsmen and designers were featured in government-backed fair Likha’s 3rd edition earlier in June, while a local volunteer initiative helped put the spotlight on “Filipino soft power through cultural heritage” during the event at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Established in 2021, Dama Ko Lahi Ko is a non-profit, non-political grassroots movement that celebrates Filipino culture through a shared sense of national identity. In the four-day event, they put up a two-day series of talks on June 8 and 9, under the theme “Sining ng Lahi, Yaman ng Bayan “to impart a cohesive story of cultural heritage and legacy.”

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“Through our collaboration with Likha, we have witnessed the profound impact of storytelling in preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage. By sharing the rich narratives behind our traditional crafts, we not only honor our past but also inspire future generations to cherish and sustain these invaluable traditions,” said Len Cabili, Co-founder of Dama Ko, Lahi Ko and Creative Director of Filip + Inna through a press release.


Post-talk panel discussion led by (L-R) Eric Zerrudo, Executive Director, National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Ahmad Nour-al-din Tamano, Jr., Provincial Tourism Officer, Lanao del Sur; Walid Pangcoga, Tourism Operations Officer, Lanao del Sur; and Charisse Aquino-Tugade, Founder, CulturAid.


The first day of talks on June 8 featured esteemed speakers Charisse Aquino-Tugade, who discussed Decolonizing Community; Walid Pangcoga who shared insights on Heritage and Tourism in Lanao del Sur: A Focus on Tugaya; and Ahmad Nour-al-din Tamano, Jr., who talked about Meranaw Artisans.

Charisse Aquino-Tugade, Founder, CulturAid, said that “craft is the tangible representation of the knowledge that people pass down between generations.”

On June 9, the discussions continued with insights from Marielle Nadal Reyes on Designing Embroidery Patterns; Professor Mitzi Marie Aguilar-Reyes, who talked about The Role of Women in Weaving (Patadyong); Professor Rita Gudiño who shared her Meaning-Making through Ceramic Sculptures, and Dr. Norma Respicio, who discussed Defining Community Cultural Identities through Textile Weaving.

Professor Aguilar-Reyes highlighted the sacrifice it takes to live a life of crafting:  “To help augment the income of their husbands, the woman weavers acted as steadfast partners who persisted to weave even during the wee hours of the night, do house chores, tend the farm, wash the clothes, cook, and look after children.”

(Bottom, L-R) Marielle Nadal Reyes, Entrepreneur, Craft MNL; Rita Badilla-Gudiño, Program Director, Tahanan Pottery & Faculty Member, Department of Visual Communication, Industrial Design Program, College of Fine Arts, UP Diliman; Norma Respicio, Researcher, Writer, and Faculty Member/Professor Emeritus at Department of Art Studies, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman; Mitzi Marie Aguilar-Reyes, Former Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Faculty Member, Dept. of Visual Communication, College of Fine Arts, UP Diliman, joined by the Dama Ko, Lahi Ko team

The collaboration between Dama Ko, Lahi Ko and Likha successfully highlighted the richness of Filipino craftsmanship and the stories behind these traditions. By merging the worlds of traditional weaving and modern design, this partnership not only celebrated the nation’s cultural heritage but also paved the way for its future sustainability.

Photos and press release courtesy of MullenLowe MARC