Catanduanes rocks at OKB-Gayon Bicol 2012

I counted at least 15 Catandungan entrepreneurs at this trade fair, which opened yesterday at SM Megatrade Hall 2—a good number considering the 80-plus from all over the Bicol region who are exhibiting their best homegrown products in this annual event. (Please see my earlier post on OKB-Gayon Bicol 2012).

More than the good turnout it’s the range of products that pleases me about this event. New and refreshing initiatives are clearly creating some productive dynamics in this once sleepy isle in the eastern seas.

I’ve read about quilting in Catanduanes and was pleasantly surprised to see some actual products at the event. The detailing and craftsmanship of the hand-sewn bags, pouches, potholders and comforters are of the type that finds good market overseas. The labor-intensive venture not only provides livelihood to families in Virac, Bato and Baras towns but also keeps formerly idle housewives and other family members off the gossip factories. (For inquiries, call Ma. Louella Vargas, Nizacch Crafts, 09195016138 or eych­

It was nice to see Sudsea Products again after it made it to last year’s Bicol Fair and romped off with the Best Dressed Booth Award. Sudsea President Nena Schwalb started designing fashion accessories in 1987, which saw a ready market in Germany and other parts of Europe. Today she turns out around 1,500 contemporary designs per season—each one bearing her creative input. (Nena Schwalb, 09301901 or

Nena proudly shows a neckpiece with coco shells as its main material

Terestian Craft makes novelty items (lamps, frames, boxes, cards) and home furnishings using handmade paper. It started production in 2000 and has been supplying its creations at Balikbayan Handicrafts and some shops in Boracay. Owner Teresita Sebastian gets help from daughter Melany in designing their products. (Teresita or Melany Sebastian, 0915-9678785 or

These wine holders use handmade paper and abaca leaf sheaths or bakbak

Furniture and home furnishings form another important sector in Catandungan trade. This year’s exhibitors include Etbal Enterprises (Edgar Balmadrid, 0946-1166524); Marclo Enterprises (Engr. Luis Magtagñob, 0999-8814968 or; Selinrail Trading (Sergio Rodriguez, 8204647 or, and Ronnie’s Rattan Crafts (Ruby Lumbao, 09072767841).

In the Food Products section, I noted Teves Pilinut Candies (0930-2686525); Nelia’s Food Products (Airen Giray, 0918-6371102); Catanduanes Deli (Lynn Margarita Molina, 09469793673); and Belen’s Pinahamis na Pili (Evelyn Bonifacio, 0909-7156449 or

I also came to meet the man behind Impling’s Latik and was fortunate to grab a box of his famous delicacy. There weren’t many of this treat to go around as he only brought a handful, but the good news to Manila-based Catandunganons is that Sir Impling will have his latik available to us when he starts his ‘offshore’ production very soon.  (Simplicio Mendoza, 0921-6116079).

There were other suppliers of native products (bags, rugs, carpets), including one from my hometown San Andres, whose contact details I failed to get. If any of those concerned comes by this blog post, please send in your contact details and I will include them accordingly. In the meantime, you can hang me, maybe. 😦

Surfing in Puraran has always been a major draw for Catanduanes. At the fair to promote exciting possibilities was Cecil Estrada Soria (09157649123 or

The best time to experience surfing, establish trade connections, and discover other travel attractions in Catanduanes is this October during the Catandungan Festival. For details, please call (052) 811-3229; email or visit


5 thoughts on “Catanduanes rocks at OKB-Gayon Bicol 2012

  1. Wilma Reyes Domingo

    Hi Chit, I’d been following your blog and as always, they are very informative and useful, one more reason why I wanted to visit again. Thank you!

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