“Where does your kalibutan begin? It begins with you,” says Debbie Palao, creative director of the Kalibutan Project 2021.
Derived from the kalibutan (world) mindset, the Kalibutan Project is an initiative to address specific problems that micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) are facing during this pandemic.
“Starting with the designer, continuing to the MSME and finally to the end user, we each need to have a keen awareness of how we make things, why we make them, and what it means to the people that will use them.”
The program is spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry Region 7, supported by the Design Center of the Philippines, with the participation of 39 MSMEs and a select group of product and visual communication designers.
Of the 39 small and medium enterprises, 15 are from Cebu, 10 from Negros Oriental, four from Siquijor and 10 from Bohol.
In the process of meeting with the MSMEs and collaborating, the designers have been inspired by stories, cultural references from each town and making use of their five senses to come up with new products.
The Kalibutan Project starts with the Legend of Maria Cacao, a mountain goddess who lived in a cave in Argao. We sail through her “Ship of Stories” with the different textures and colors her golden, Hinablon-clad boat puzzle allows us to interact with.
Then we stop and listen as we head out to Maria Cacao’s cave in Mount Lantoy. “Balay ni Mangaw,” a Hinablon-accented tent, will be a perfect hideaway for those who want to be in tune with the peaceful quiet as the wind blows in.
We journey on to the beautiful seaside of Cebu to catch food to bring home safely, keeping it in our “Biyahe Basket Bag,” a rattan woven bike basket accented in natural and classic colors.
Finally we climb to the top of the breathtaking mountains of Balamban, Cebu, see the sights with “Hanging by the Bundoks,” a wall peg organizer inspired by the landscape of mountain ranges of Mt. Manunggal, the third highest peak on the island of Cebu.
Launched last Dec. 16 at the Ayala Center Cebu, the Kalibutan Project 2021 will showcase these DIY kits and more made by artisans and designers. The DIY portion is meant to involve the buyers in the creative process.