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‘Katutubo 2018’: First Philippine native design fest in HK

23 November 2018

Connie Atijon, a multi-awarded weaver who has been invited to various exhibition events in the Philippines and in Canada and Australia, turns out hablon from her traditional loom.

By Daisy CL Mandap

The first thing that struck guests at the first-ever Philippine fashion show to be held in Hong Kong on Nov. 10 was the presence of a woman quietly weaving Iloilo’s famous hablon cloth in one corner of the Sheraton Hotel in Kowloon, where the event was  held.

Even more striking was her use of a heavy-looking handloom weaver made entirely of wood, a sight that looked totally anachronistic in a modern city like Hong Kong.

The events catalogue for “2018 Katutubo Haute Couture” named her as Connie Atijon, a multi-awarded weaver who has been invited to various exhibition events in the Philippines and in Canada and Australia. Her presence at “Katutubo” highlighted what organizers Likhang Pamana wanted to achieve, which was to focus on the weaver as she sets off the magic that ultimately leads to the creation of beautiful native Filipino outfits.

At the opening cocktails for the event, Consul General Antonio A. Morales paid tribute to the four women who set up Likhang Pamana, and conceived the Katutubo runway show and exhibition as their first project in Hong Kong. He said they helped raise the awareness of Philippine culture among the local people.

“It is ironic that despite the fact that there are many Filipinos in Hong Kong, the knowledge of Hong Kong people about the Philippines is still lacking. And we need more of these activities to make them more aware of the richness of Philippine culture, so thank you Likhang Pamana for making Hong Kong people more aware of Philippine culture.”

But Morales said the benefit from the landmark project also extends to Filipinos in Hng Kong.

“We hope that through this event we get a better appreciation of our Filipino identity, recognizing the country’s multi-cultural heritage, and harnessing the power of our culture as a means, not to focus on differences of which we have many…but to bring out commonalities and humanity to the fore.”

Ana Briones-de Guzman, operations director of Likhang Pamana, responded by saying that their group was formed out of a desire to give back to the Philippines by promoting its rich cultural heritage as reflected in its local products.

The three other women who make up Likhang Pamana are Myrna Pama Hill, who serves as PR director; Catherine Tating-Marsden, artistic director; and Jhoannaliza Timbreza-Siao, creative director.

Aside from Atijon the weaver, the other artists and groups that took part  in the group’s initial foray into Philippine arts promotion were Joanique Studio, Kandama Social Enterprise, Narda’s, Zarah Juan, Antique Provincial Tourism, Jaki Penaloza, Joy Anya Hill of Anthill, Regine Sarabia Espinosa, Galleria Camaya and Everyday PNay.  The two-day event culminated in an arts fair on Chater Road the next day, Nov 12.

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