By Keithlyn Bernardino
Produkto Lokal has come a long way. It started as a brainchild of three young Ilonggos who wanted to help promote entrepreneurship among the youth by inviting them to showcase the products of their hobbies. The first weekend fair was a gathering of more than 35 crafters. Since then, Produkto Lokal has evolved into a weekend fair that gathers not just crafters but food entrepreneurs as well. The people behind Produkto Lokal have also grown in number. It is blessed to be backed by young, passionate, and creative minds.
Produkto Lokal is now on its third year. It has gone through a lot of challenges such as running the fair with limited resources especially manpower and dealing with inclement weather. Storms caused the weekend fairs to be cancelled several times. But just like any Filipino, Produkto Lokal is resilient. Learning from every experience, it kept growing back like banana shoots – sprouting unexpectedly here and there. Produkto Lokal has also inspired others to organize fairs, encouraging more youth to establish their own businesses.
What sets Produkto Lokal apart from other fairs is the fact that it is not just a fair. It has become a platform where the locals can showcase their ingenuity, talents, and advocacies. It does not only support local entrepreneurs but local artists and musicians as well. It also gives youth organizations a venue where they can raise the public’s awareness of their advocacies.
Last August 23-25, 2019, after being quiet for seven months, Produkto Lokal hung its famous colorful banderitas again, this time at Festive Mall Iloilo. Twenty local entrepreneurs, nine budding local artists, and four youth organizations participated in the fair. The youth organizations were able to actively promote their causes in public. Dugong Bughaw advocated for HIV/AIDS Awareness, Earthing.Ph and Youth Proyekto Philippines promoted environmental protection, while the University of Iloilo-College of Management and Entrepreneurship together with Youth First Initiative Philippines advocated for Youth Entrepreneurship. Produkto Lokal has become a venue for the community to support each other’s causes. By uniting and cooperating, these youth organizations were able to bring a small but significant impact on the community.
This September, the Ilonggos will experience something different and meaningful in Produkto Lokal. The Youth First Initiative Philippines, the mother organization of Produkto Lokal, will be launching the first Sustainable Weekend Fair in Iloilo. The Produkto Lokal Sustainable Weekend Fair will promote responsible consumption and production by encouraging its exhibitors to switch to eco-friendlier product packaging and its customers to refuse single-use plastics. The exhibitors with the least solid waste generated for three days will be awarded while customers who will bring their own eco-bags, tumblers, reusable straws, utensils and food containers will be given discounts. To support this advocacy, the Produkto Lokal Sustainable Weekend Fair in partnership with other youth organizations will be holding talks and workshops on segregating, upcycling, sustainable fashion, and composting.
A wise woman once said, “We owe to the future the kind of world we live in now so it is our responsibility to preserve and protect it.” By being responsible consumers, we can give the future generation a liveable Iloilo City – a clean and healthy city with a vibrant economy.
On September 27-29, 2019, with your tumblers, reusable straws, and eco-bags ready, head over to Megaworld with your barkada and support our very own Ilonggo products! #supportlokal #produktolokal #madewithpassion