Tahum Pop-up Festival: A Local Revolution

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The local revolution or the love for local Filipino products finally took high grounds in Iloilo City. Thanks to the successful and first ever Tahum Pop Up Festival.

Last February 22-23, the first ever Tahum Pop-up Festival gathered almost 60 exhibitors to showcase the best local products in the country.

Exhibitors from Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo converged at the Iloilo Business Park to offer a wide array of local crafts from home and lifestyle products to food, jewelry, and fashion.

Being the first all curated Filipino Pop Up in Western Visayas, organizers of the project, the Assumption Iloilo Educational Foundation Inc (AIEF) – Assumption Iloilo said net proceeds will go to AIEF’s scholarship program.

Aside from this, part of the net proceeds will also be donated to an indigenous community in order for them to elevate and improve their craft, AIEF-Assumption Iloilo added.

Assumption Iloilo Educational Foundation is the arm of Assumption Iloilo that gives the gift of Assumption education to deserving scholars.

Aside from showcasing their products, the exhibitors and the organizers shared the same objectives – that is to influence the public to love, promote, and support Filipino products and to help deserving scholars of Assumption Iloilo Educational Foundation.

But personally, I think they achieved more than that.

More than reawakening the love for Filipino products, Tahum Pop Up Festival collated inspiring stories from the exhibitors themselves which opened the eyes of the consumers to look beyond and appreciate the stories behind the aesthetics and visual appeal of “Tahum”.



Mr. Vincent Ascalon, owner of Custorero Studio, a clothing brand in Manila shared how his craft was also able to help local tailors in the metro.

“I help the small-time mananahis in Manila because they usually just do alter or fix clothes. Through my business, I was able give them livelihood. It’s also one way for them to develop their creativity and become hardworking because I am here to help them,” he said.

As a designer who was already able to participate in the international scene, Mr. Maco Custodio of Maco from Manila explained how he was able to incorporate and help three communities in their products.

“We incorporate three communities, first is Rizal for the weaving in Antipolo, in Baseco, Manila that is where we get some of the materials and Marikina for the shoes,” he said.

By offering a more forward take in fashion but at the same time helping communities, Mr. Custodio said he wants to inspire young budding fashion designers.

“Right now, in the time where everyone copies what they see, I think it is a good time that they can copy this so that they can also copy the entire thing of helping a community,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kikulo which is a brand from Bacolod offering handwoven bags made from Pandan and wood was born with the goal of helping the wives of the farmers in Victorias, Negros Occidental.

Through working with women to revive traditional arts and crafts and providing them with livelihood to augment their family’s income, Kikulo hopes to empower women in the rural community.

It’s sister brand, Tickled Tripple is also helping the Gawad Kalinga community in Negros through their products such as tote bags, canvass bags, and macramé bags.

“It’s really to help out, to give an opportunity to the less fortunate people to help them earn money, they cannot get a job in the corporate school but with this kind of craft, they can easily learn a skill and they can earn like a regular employee working in office,” shared Ms. MM Cusi, owner of Tickle Tripple.

Ms. Cusi shared how it is special for them to be able to participate and help in the advocacy of Tahum.

“Aside from the fact that we are just neighbors, we also wanted to try the market and Tahum it’s really the advocacy. When you see anybody who helps, because it’s also our advocacy, we also want to help them as well,” she said.

One of the exhibitors of Tahum was also a famous fashion designer from Iloilo, Mr. Nono Palmos.

Mr. Palmos described his collection, Filipineo as something that modern Filipinos would wear.

“The name Filipineo is like a modern Filipino because I blend the local fabric like hablon from Visayas to modern fabrics,” he explained.

The international designer also took pride in doing shows abroad to promote local weaving community.

“For the love of weavers in the community, when I did a show in Switzerland, I promoted Filipineo including four regions, from our fabric here in Western Visayas and pina in Aklan, Kadang in Northern Luzon and Yakan in Mindanao,” he said.

Mr. Palmos said it is fulfilling to be able to help the local community through his designs.

“It’s fulfilling to help the community and yung creativity moas a designer. I’m glad na maraming nageembrace ng ganitong concept,” he added.

Tahum became also a venue for jewelers to showcase their local creations and the stories behind their successful products.

Mr. Adante Leyesa of Manila shared how his brand was able to support communities throughout the country.

“We support communities throughout the country. Our intricate products are composed of various techniques and majority are handmade. They are fusion of communities from Luzon to Mindanao,” he said.

Mr. Leyesa said joining the Tahum Pop-up Festival is the brand’s way of supporting its mutual cause.

“It’s basically supporting the cause of Tahum. We’re supporting of the cause because we believe in the cause,” he said.

Meanwhile, aside from helping local communities, Mr. BJ Chavez said through his brand, BJ Chavez Jewelry he wants to introduce Ilonggo to embrace a more forward type of fashion.

“Ilonggo are creative and fashionable. I think it’s about time that Iloilo is introduced to this kind of thing, I know Ilonggos are ready to embrace more forward type of fashion,” he said.

In a beauty-driven world, where everything is based on the looks and worldwide standards, Tahum Pop Up Festival more than its cause have broken barriers and started a local revolution that empowered local Filipino products and opened our eyes to the stories behind it.

As resounding as it gets, “Tahum” which is a Hiligaynon word for beautiful, reminded me of one famous line from one of my favorite books, The Little Prince, “What is essential is invisible to the eye” and that I think is the very essence of Tahum Pop-Up Festival.