Fashion

This Year's MaArte Fair at the Peninsula is Inspired By the Legendary Syquia House Parties

Have your pick of the country’s best locally crafted merchandise and shop in an atmosphere of community and fun.
IMAGE COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR
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The house parties held at the fabled Syquia Apartments in the 2000s have been referred to as legendary, and with good reason. The parties, where the eclectic mix of closely knit, highly creative neighbors and their friends generated a unique vibe, were said to have lasted until the sun rose the following morning. This is the inspiration for this year's MaArte Fair. Presented by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines (MFPI), the much-awaited annual fair will feature the same feeling of hospitality that permeated those Syquia open house parties.

Judging from the smiles and jovial mood of all those present at the press preview held at Salon de Ning, one could say the MFPI and valued partner The Peninsula Manila have the theme down to a T.

The MaArte Open House will be held at the iconic hotel in August and will span the area of two separate guestroom floors, occupying 46 rooms. The best part? Everyone’s invited.

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It’s bigger and better this year

The lobby of Peninsula Manila.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

“This year’s MaArte Fair will be even bigger and better than the one we had last year,” MFPI president Albert Avellana says. What began 11 years ago as a table bazaar at the National Museum with just 10 to 15 vendors has grown to this year’s three-day shopping event featuring 65 of the country’s finest exhibitors under one roof.

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Plato’s dictum on necessity being the mother of invention came up as Avellana related how it was the unavailability of last year’s venue at the Pen (renovations are ongoing) that brought on the brainstorm sessions, which eventually led to their devising this year’s innovative “Open House” concept. “The Pen has been our partner throughout the planning of this event and we’re very thankful that they’re giving us full support with the plans for MaArte this year. With the new set up, patrons will be able to visit with the exhibitors, as if they were stepping into their ateliers; this is how we envision this year’s concept.”

A refined shopping experience

A MaArte Fair favorite, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez of TDLG Designs talks about her excitement at having a larger space to work in this year. “We get to design our areas just the way we want to, making each one of our spaces a true reflection of ourselves.” She describes how the new concept allows for a more intimate and personal shopping experience, as patrons are free to linger and get to know the products and the artisans better. 

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Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez’ TDLG returns to MaArte with even more gorgeous combinations of semi-precious stones, wood, and other metals and materials.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

Fine fragrances by Oscar Mejia featuring scents from essential oils native to the Philippines.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

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Maco Custodio’s cool woven sneaks are one of MaArte’s new additions.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

Mico Manalo, MFPI treasurer shares, “This year the fair will be different because instead of the usual bazaar where everything is laid out before you, with the new set-up you’ll get to know the merchants better because you’ll be entering each one’s space. We treat MaArte as one big family in support of the crafts and of the National Museum; and this year, we celebrate the relationships that have been made with not just our merchants, artists and artisans, but also among our regular patrons.”

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Intricately designed iterations of the ever-useful abaniko, by Crafted with Love.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

Handmade and hand-painted home accessories by Haute Home Manila.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

New batch of exhibitors and special collaborations

Apart from familiar exhibitors from fairs past like Aranaz luxury handmade accessories, Piopio handwoven chic apparel, Tim Tam Ong jewelry, and Oscar Mejia handcrafted scents, new participants to watch out for include WVN Home Textiles, Coco and Tres Apparel and Accessories, Vesti Accessories, WYC Wear Your Culture, DSV Studio Handmade Jewelry, Lootware Home, Matthew and Melka by Ken Samudio, and Ibarra Watches, among others. The successful Pinoy ManCave selection will include the creations of designers Lally Dizon, Maco Custodio, and Joel Escober.

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A first look at MaArte newcomer Matthew & Melka by Ken Samudio’s tempting creations.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

There will be special collaborative projects highlighted such as Tatsulok by Natalya Lagdameo, Filip+Inna and Balay ni Atong and a product line by potter Ugu Bigyan together with Gifts & Graces. Plus, fans of locally produced gourmet items can look forward to a great range of goods from new purveyors Auro bean-to-bar chocolates, Felicisimo Gourmet Homecooking, Green Babes, and Tsaa Laya in addition to those featured in pat MaArte Fairs. For those who want to learn more about Filipino arts and culture, the MaArte Talks will provide a venue for an exhilarating exchange of information and experiences, given by select exhibitors. These will be held at The Pen’s Salon de Ning.

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All for a good cause

MCV Designs presents a line of chic handbags that are timeless.
Photo by RISA GARCIA.

MFPI vice president Phyllis Zaballero notes, “Supporting the MaArte Fair will really benefit the cause of MFPI two ways. First, the trunk show is a way of promoting our local artists and artisans; and second, it will ultimately support the National Museum’s initiatives as well as the many projects of our grantees. It is our goal at MFPI to promote and cultivate a museum-going audience especially since museums play an important role in our growth and progress as a nation.”

The party continues after dark

In the spirit of the North Syquia House Parties described by Zaballero as “really unforgettable, for the ones who came and stayed all night,” the fun continues during all three days of the Fair, as patrons may enjoy extended shopping hours until  8 p.m. and then mingle and chat with exhibitors at a more relaxed pace while having cocktails and snacks. Cheers! beverage vouchers priced at P1,500 each and snack vouchers for P350 may be purchased at any time of the day during the MaArte oPen House. “Happy Hour” will take place on the 5th and 6th floors of The Peninsula, Manila.  

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Here's what else you can expect:

Jewelry by Tim Tam Ong.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

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Bags from Vesti.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

Accessories by Natalya Lagdameo.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

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Bags from Aranaz.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

Chocolate from Auro.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

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Women's apparel from Piopio.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

Apparel from Filip + Inna.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

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Sneakers from Maco.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

Apparel from Wear Your Culture.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

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Bottled goods from Green Babes.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

Tea from Tsaa Laya.
Photo by COURTESY OF MAARTE FAIR.

MaArte Open House will run from August 16 to 18 (Friday to Sunday) 2019, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Peninsula Manila. Admission is free.

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Risa Regala-Garcia
Contributing Writer
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