OKB-Gayon Bicol, the longest running regional trade fair in the country, opened its 16th-year run today at Megatrade Hall 2 of SM Megamall. OKB is the acronym for Orgullo Kan Bicol (Bicol’s Pride), a rightfully earned tag for the impressive showcase of products proudly made in the six provinces of the Bicol region: Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.
The regulars of Bicolano trade are still and will always be there—pili nut products, abaca craft and spicy food—but with a distinct difference. They have evolved, with constant innovation, into competitive products fit for the world market.
Now, abaca need not be boring brown, nipa palm can go gourmet, and the once lowly malunggay and some unknown seaweeds can be turned into healthful products. Given proper packaging they are fit to ship to foreign shores.
Some interesting items at this year’s fair include these furniture pieces and lamps that use abaca and nito vine.
Native bags and various food products ready for the world.
The fermented sap of the nipa palm is turned into organic vinegar…
…that is ideal for dips and salad dressings, and as pickling agent. To taste is to believe.
Native blackberries known as lipote (also baligang, igot or amhi) make excellent wine. Producer’s name is Yulaik (you’ll like this one…oh yes, you will!).
Dried sea foods (and processed meat products) from Masbate are also on display.
Other products noted: pili pulp and pili nut oil not only for culinary purposes but also for health and wellness. Pili shells are also used for decorative items and fashion accessories.
The growing list of noodle variants now includes seaweed noodles from Tiwi, Albay.
Red clay, likewise from Tiwi, is crafted into trendy lamps and vases.
These colorful t-shirts show the tourist attractions in Albay… and state what’s true about Bicol and its people–they’re simply hot!
[OKB-Gayon Bicol runs from October 4 to 7, 2012. My next post will focus on Catanduanes exhibitors at the trade fair.]