Recognizing the significance of culture and tourism in empowering micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), showcasing local products, and promoting the province as a premier ecotourism destination, Antique Representative and Senator-elect Loren Legarda continues to invest invaluable support in culture-based livelihood and protection of natural wonders all over the province.
Legarda’s longtime advocacy was top of mind when she recently launched the Antique Trade and Tourism Fair in the newly restored Old Capitol Building, an event that was held in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Provincial Tourism Office, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, and the Antique Hotel and Restaurants Organization.
“Antique is considerably a small province, but each of the 18 municipalities has its unique features including cultural and heritage landmarks, historical significance, natural wonders such as rich landscape and seascape,” the veteran legislator said.
“Nararapat lamang na ating mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang bawat munisipalidad na maipakilala ang kani-kanilang ganda.”
“Nararapat lamang na ating mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang bawat munisipalidad na maipakilala ang kani-kanilang ganda sa buong Pilipinas at maging sa buong mundo. This trade and tourism fair is an opportunity for our kasimanwa to showcase the natural wealth and the potential of our home province as a premier ecotourism destination that will also provide sustainable livelihood and employment opportunities,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
To make her home province a premier ecotourism destination, Legarda has been supporting local micro enterprises like the Bagtason Loom Weavers Association (BLWA) in Bugasong; the Malabor Abaca – Piña Weavers Association (MAPWA) and the Tibiao Active Weavers and Knotters Association (TAWKA) in Tibiao; the Pahinis Muscovado Sugar of Laua-an Multipurpose Cooperative (LMPC); and the Ati Bukidnon Tribal Organization in Libertad, among many others through government programs that will improve their products and sustain their businesses.
She has also partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to bring local enterprises to Manila through the National Arts and Crafts Fair, and in partnership with the Department of Tourism, invited tourists to visit Antique through the showcase of products in Antique Harvest.
“Local food and products are always part of the experience when visiting a province. This is why we help our local industries that produce Antique’s best products such as tablea, muscovado sugar, handwoven patadyong, handmade clay pots, and handicrafts made of nito, buri, bariw, abaca and bamboo,” Legarda said in a previous statement.
“Local food and products are always part of the experience when visiting a province.”
The preservation of Antiqueño heritage is also an essential part of her plan, not only to boost tourism in the province but also to ensure that its culture and traditions will be passed on to the next generations of Antiqueños.
Legarda, together with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), has been supporting the School of Living Traditions (SLT) of the Pantad Ati Indigenous Community in Sitio Pantad, Igcalawagan, Tobias Fornier.
This SLT teaches the Ati Language, nito and buri weaving, and the Meroy Kareñosa dance to the youth of the community.
Moreover, to support Antique local artists, she likewise announced the opening of the Antique Artists Fair in the only remaining Balay nga Bato in Antique, one of the cultural initiatives of the three-term Senator to preserve Antique’s culture and heritage.
“Arts and culture reflect the identity and history of a community. Having a strong sense of identity is important in ensuring that progress is inclusive and lasting,” Legarda reminded everyone. “Patuloy po nating suportahan ang ating mga lokal na produkto at patuloy na pangalagaan ang ating kultura para sa mga susunod na henerasyon,” Legarda concluded.