This weekend the Kaya Collaborative Fellowship travelled from Manila by plane to Cebu before taking a ferry to Bohol for more identity, leadership, and diaspora-bridging workshops.
Our stop in Cebu was brief, just one day and just one glimpse at the entrepreneurship community, but in that time we saw that Cebu is a place for connection, creativity, and social output. After visiting the public library to hear about YLC, Youth for a Livable Cebu, a group that advocates for environmentally and health friendly infrastructure to make living in Cebu enjoyable and sustainable for years to come, and then having some of Cebu’s famous lechon, this undercover intern took on another role: Model.
ANTHILL Fabrics Gallery, located in Cebu City and standing for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Indiginous/Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers, works with traditional weaving communities across the entirety of the Philippines to make traditional weaves fashionable, relevant, profitable, and something to be proud of. ANTHILL sources hand-woven fabrics to then incorporate into their chic clothing designs. The Kaya Collaborative fellows had the privilege of modeling the clothing that will be sold in upcoming events in the Philippines and the USA. I was lucky enough to wear a dark green and gray open sweater that was so comfy and warm.
Multiple outfits, a lesson in traditional culture, hair and makeup, and hours of photos later the Kaya Co. girls finished up our photoshoot. We went straight from the ANTHILL Fabric Gallery to Cebu’s newly opened A-Space, a new branch of the already existing Manila A-Spaces. There, Kaya Collaborative met with some more creative entrepreneurs. A space had a very minimalistic vibe (everything from the walls to the furniture was grey scale) but some of the people working with and out of the space were beyond vibrant.
Still riding my post-model high, I mingled and met, Carlo, the creator of a Cebu lifestyle blog called ZeroThreeTwo.com, and even met an artist from local Cebuano record label, 22Tango, named Lourdes Maglinte. Out of nowhere a guitar was found and we got an impromptu concert.
I saw so much in so little time that I had to wonder, why does everyone consider Manila to be the end-all, be-all of creativity and innovation for the Philippines? The provinces are just as bright, even if just out of the international spotlight.