First Exhibit in International Arts and Crafts Festival Expected to Increase Awareness and Interest in Philippine Handicrafts

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19 August 2013 Tel Aviv, State of Israel. Philippine handicrafts may have been featured in Israel through previous trade and cultural fairs and other promotional activities, but awareness and interest on this sector are expected to increase after the country mounted its first exhibit in the 38th International Arts and Crafts Festival, also known as Khutsot Hayotser, which was held in Jerusalem from 5 to 17 August 2013. The country's participation in the annual cultural event was made possible through collaborative efforts between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Philippine Embassy.

The Philippines was represented by Ms. Janeth S. Hanapi, a master weaver from the ethno-linguistic group of the Jama Mapun, and Archt. Mary Rajelyn Javier-Busmente, who took part in planning and coordinating the exhibit. Both were sent by NCCA under its Culture and Diplomacy Program Gweaverrant.

The Philippine booth featured various colorful and intricate designs of hand woven "tipo" or "banig" (mat), which may be used for both functional and decorative purposes. Apart from these, the exhibit also included "banig" boxes from Basey, Samar, round "ikat" from the Higaonon Tribe in Bukidnon and placemats from Albay, Bicol.

All the hand woven mats displayed during the fair were designed and made by Ms. Hanapi herself. During a brief interview, Ms. Hanapi, who comes from Barangay Isumbo in Sofronio Española, Palawan, said that the art of "tipo" weaving was one of the oldest crafts of their people passed from generation to generation. She added that she started learning and practicing the craft at the early age of nine. She now shares her knowledge and weaving skills by teaching at NCCA's School of Living Tradition for Jama Mapun Mat Weaving.

The International Arts and Crafts Festival is one of Jerusalem's biggest cultural events during summer, attracting thousands of locals and tourists from all over Israel. This year, the festival recorded 44 participating countries, including the Philippines, and over 10,000 visitors every evening. -- END --