By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
Over 300 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Iloilo and its neighboring provinces showcased their local products at the Iloilo Business Expo: Ilonggo Fiesta 2024 (ILOBEX).
Organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo Chapter, ILOBEX features products from MSMEs, including delicacies, fresh produce, garments, and accessories, among others.
The business expo will run simultaneously from January 23 to 28 at Robinsons Place Iloilo and Festive Walk Iloilo.
ILOBEX features 213 exhibitors at Robinsons Place Iloilo, and 83 at Festive Walk Iloilo.
Robinsons Place Iloilo hosted exhibits from Iloilo City, San Joaquin, Lambunao, and Leganes, as well as entrepreneurs from Mindanao, such as the Tubungan Vegetable Producers Association and the Durian Industry Association of Davao City. The local government of the City of Tacurong also joined the trade fair.
Festive Walk Iloilo displayed products from businesses in the towns of Cabatuan, Sara, Barotac Viejo, Duenas, Concepcion, Oton, the island province of Guimaras, and Iloilo City.
PCCI-Iloilo president, Engr. Fulbert Woo, said the back-to-back trade fairs seek to boost the business linkages of the MSMEs, emphasizing that the fair is hosted by malls in the city which brings them the opportunity to sell their products on a bigger market.
“This ILOBEX will not be only for Dinagyang. We have already made plans for the ILOBEX and we are hoping that we will convey its growth,” he added.
Woo further urged the public to support local businesses, as they are also the backbone of the economic development of the city.
“Let’s continue to support the product. We have so many businesses that we cannot see in stores, but they are online and we are now teaching them to at least make them visible face-to-face and that is the type of trade fair that we hope to see in ILOBEX,” he emphasized.
The realization of ILOBEX: Ilonggo Fiesta 2024 was made possible through the collaboration of the Iloilo Provincial Government, Department of Agriculture-Region 6, and the Department of Trade and Industry-Region 6 (DTI-6) and Iloilo.
Rachel Nufable, officer-in-charge regional director of DTI-6, has encouraged the PPCI-loilo to register the ILOBEX with the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) to protect the program’s brand identity in the marketplace.
She further commended PCCI-Iloilo for its efforts of giving local products of the different towns or districts of the province and the city to showcase their products.
“This is a really big promotion for our MSMEs that will impact the marketability of their products,” she said.
Nufable said ILOBEX and the first-ever ONE Visayas Creative Expo that was launched on January 22 will help local entrepreneurs in their value chain through the sharing of resources and best practices in the business sector.
“You (PCCI-Iloilo) are considered as the models, as the big brothers, and with the many opportunities and challenges that they will be facing, they will become confident — with you guiding, mentoring and promoting their products,” she added.