Philippine MSME sustainable products capture Expo visitors - GulfToday

Philippine MSME sustainable products capture Expo visitors


The Go Lokal X Marahuyo boutique shop at the Bangkota (Coral Reef) Philippine Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

What shall happen post-Expo2020 Dubai? For the Philippine micro-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs) that comprise 99 per cent of the total businesses in the Southeast Asian archipelago, it would be more than life shall go on as usual. They are looking forward for their goods and products to be continually patronized not only in the region but also in other parts of the world.

Janet Chua, chosen by Manila’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to be the operator of the Go Lokal X Marahuyo boutique shop at the Bangkota (Coral Reef) Philippine Pavilion, shared with Gulf Today the good news.

It was on Thursday when she led the inauguration of the first-ever exclusive Filipino shop in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically in Dubai Hills, featuring curated top-of-the-line hand-crafted novelties: "Our experience running the Go Lokal X Marahuyo at the Bangkota (in the Sustainability District) encouraged us to set up at least one shop for Filipino MSME products in Dubai.


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The response of the Expo visitors from Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike was very positive. Sales was very good and people have been asking us where they could buy our products after Expo.”

Prior to the Oct. 1, 2021 opening of the international event, two sea cargoes of the curated items had been shipped to Dubai. Repeat orders of saleable items such as grains for the diabetics, artisanal handmade bags, as well as Capiz shell and solihiya (rattan) wickers were flown in thereafter. "Four shipments have been done so far since November. Another two are expected to come next week.” Chua is no juvenile in the export industry.

She has been the brains as well as the artist for the manufacture of Philippine fashion accessories since 30 years back, from her home province of Cebu in the Visayas. She continually reaps valuable new and repeat clients in the USA, Europe and Japan under her own Cyprea International Inc.

On the upper hand of Filipino products, she emphasised the Bangkota theme which, more than environmental sustainability, gives more weight on the cultural sustainability-people being the main driver of what happens: "The international market (has become) conscious in the issue of sustainability, the recycling of natural resources and the creation of jobs for small communities that do things largely by hand and not through big machines and big factories in very urban areas. Lower labour costs in the Philippines and access to our rich natural resources is a clear advantage for us. (As we convey) through our pavilion, Filipinos are innately creative, artistic and talented; very good at producing artisanal products. So we must have a (fully-dedicated) Filipino shop in the international market like the UAE so that the work of the (artisan) Filipinos will be recognised (globally). The UAE is a vibrant economy.

Thanks to the Expo2020 Dubai. Definitely, Dubai has a very robust tourism industry. Setting up a Filipino shop in this market would be very beneficial for the Filipino MSMEs who can creatively do with our natural resources which make us unique.” A fellow journalist incidentally came to connect Chua with Cyprea: "Yes, she is the lady who has helped many from our village in terms of livelihood and livelihood projects.” Bangkota (Coral Reef) Philippine Pavilion director Rosario Liwanag of the DTI differentiated the Go Lokal! with the Marahuyo.

Go Lokal! is the DTI flagship programme provided for free for the Filipino MSMEs since 2016, for "brand management and market acceleration.” With assistance from 24 DTI "retail parners,” total so far is 155 retail stores that have generated as much as Php428 million (Dhs30,204,024.08). It could be a concept store, pop-up store, in-store selling and because of the pandemic, the e-commerce by way of tie-ups with digital marketplaces.

To date, 859 MSMEs have so far benefitted, "359 of which were mainstreamed and have become regular suppliers of our retail partners.” Marahuyo is the "high-end spin-off of Go Lokal! It is positioned as the overseas brand since the DTI intends to bring and introduce the concept and business model in the international market. The objective is to provide the same vehicle for mainstreaming Philippine products specifically to priority markets like the USA, the UAE particularly Dubai, and to European countries, considered as major markets for luxury goods and design-driven products with personality, refined design sensibilities, and strong branding.”


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