(Photo courtesy of Jessica Madrazo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A brand of hand-made Matigsalug products is being prepared to meet international standards so it is ready for export this year.

This was revealed Wednesday, August 16, by Rosevic Lucilla Del Rosario-Cembrano, president of the Mindanao Trade Expo Foundation, Inc.

The products are made by the Matigsalug Council of Elders Marilog District, Davao City Inc. (MACOEMADDACI), under the unified brand Nasabeka, to which in their language means unity.

The recently-opened Mindanao Trade Expo at the Abreeza Mall showcases their products which include baskets, fashion accessories, and wearables.

Bridging Nasabeka to the international market is an initiative carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the private sector.

“We have decided to adopt this community because we know the potential of the products which they have been making all these years. This has been part of their culture, and technology was transferred to them by their ancestors,” Cembrano said.

Nasabeka was born out of the 12-month multi-stakeholder project spearheaded by DTI-XI, Therma South Incorporated (TSI) and the Aboitiz Power aimed to provide an alternative source of livelihood to the tribe.

In 2013, the DTI-XI through its Shared Service Facility (SSF) project, provided 12 sewing machines to the Matigsalug while the TSI donated P200,000 worth of sewing tools and raw materials to help the community with the project.

MTEFI Executive Director Marian Mahinay-Comilang said they are targeting to partner the handicrafts to exporters since the handicrafts are only accessible in their Tribal Hall in Marilog district, some 35 kilometers away from downtown Davao.

“This is the first step for Matigsalug handicrafts to invade the global trading arena,” Cembrano said.

The Matigsalug craftmakers, one of the lumad tribes found in Mindanao, cromprise the 210 medium small scale and micro enterprises (MSMEs) registered to the exhibit.(davaotoday.com)

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