DOT lauds private sector help in boosting Cordillera tourism

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Cordillera region welcomes the initiative of the private sector to come up with activities that drum up tourism and boost the livelihood of those engaged in the sale of tourism-oriented items such as souvenir items. 'We are very glad that we have the private sector, the Baguio Arts and Crafts Collectives Inc. (BACCI) that is spearheading the Mandeko Kito,' DOT-CAR regional director Jovita Ganongan said in an interview on Monday. She said the Mandeko Kito, an annual activity for selling various items made by local craftsmen, is a venue to promote the items. 'Tourism is also about shopping for products from the destination by the tourists and the Mandeko Kito arts and crafts fair has always been a crowd drawer,' Ganongan said. 'We want to invite people to come and discover what we have so we have Mandeko as one of those that provide that need of the tourists.' Rommel Marcelo, executive director of the 2023 Mandeko Kito and a member of the BACCI board of directors, sai d they started the weekend artisanal fair on Nov. 17 at the University of the Philippines-Baguio Museo Kordilyera Museum. He said the fair will continue to showcase the items made by more than 30 crafters from the Cordillera, La Union, and Tarlac for three more weekends on Nov. 24-26; Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10. 'All the products are made by hand, it is made with passion and that you can only see at the fair,' Marcelo said. The items on sale include metal, bronze, and rock-based visual arts works, handicrafts made of wood, bamboo, and crocheted, fashion accessories, hand-painted bags, and other items, handmade pots, keychains with Baguio vegetable designs, wood picture and painting frames, handwoven products and silver craft products of the Pilak Silver shop. A demonstration of traditional tattoo and backstrap weaving is also an attraction at the site. Marcelo said when the Mandeko Kito started in 2017, only Baguio and Cordillera-based crafters joined the fair. 'We started to open the doors to crafters from other regions so that we have a variety and the buyers are assured of the quality with the highly vetted producers in the fair,' he said. Source: Philippines News Agency