MaArte Fair: Handmade’s Trail

The much buzzed-about all-Filipino shopping event is back in its home at The Peninsula Manila this weekend and at the helm are the organizers of the celebrated Art Fair Philippines composed of dedicated art advocates Trickie Lopa, Lisa Ongpin-Periguet and Dindin Araneta.

Happening till tomorrow, MaArte, the famous cause bazaar benefiting the Museum Foundation of the Philippines and a celebration of “creative soul of the Filipino,” kicked off yesterday, 19 August (Friday), and will run till tomorrow, 21 August (Sunday).

MaArte Fair organizers (from left) Dindin Araneta, Lisa Ongpin-Periquet and Trickie Lopa. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MaARTE at the Pen

Going on its 13th year, the fair began as a complementary event to HABI, The Second ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium, which is a four-day international conference held in Manila. The fair, then called Market Encounter, allowed delegates the opportunity to appreciate and acquire Philippine textiles and jewelry.

CARO Wilson

Through the years, MaArte became a popular venue for discovering some of the best Filipino artists, designers, artisans, craftsmen and cooks — many of them rising names in the “buy local” circuit while others are what the bazaar could proudly consider as its discoveries.

JUDE Macasinag

MaArte has been headed by members/officers of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. and mounted in different venues. This year, Philippine Art Events Inc., the group that owns and operates Art Fair Philippines and Art in the Park is running MaArte at The Pen 2022.


Trickie Lopa, one of the co-organizers, told Daily Tribune: “When we agreed to take on MaArte, we knew we would be coming in after two years of lockdown, and we had to inject something new to the fair, but keep to its spirit. After all, MaArte has been around since 2009, and it pioneered the efforts to take traditional Filipino craftsmanship to the everyday. These many years later, it was time that MaArte again forged a pioneering trail: This time to shine a spotlight as well on contemporary Filipino designers, notably in fashion, home accessories and furniture. Thus the overarching theme of ‘Celebrating the Filipino Creative Soul.’


“I guess you can say that just as we give each art fair edition serious thought, we employed the same approach to managing MaArte. Whatever we do must be well thought out.”

In 2017, it found a new home at The Peninsula Manila and has since been known as MaArte at The Pen.

In 2020, when the pandemic took over the world, the bazaar went on hold, palpably for safety reasons. Yet, much as other events have attempted to cross the line between offline to online gatherings, the real-time experience of running one’s fingers through beautiful local weaves, trying on an heirloom neckpiece or even tasting local teas and jams just can’t be compromised.

So, for this year’s MaArte at the Pen, the lone way is to bring the bazaar back where it should be rightfully mounted.

MICH Dulce

“This time, we are happy for MaArte to come back live,” Lopa surmised. “Organizing an online component would be the same as organizing an entire event on its own. We know whereof we speak based on our Art in the Park and Art Fair online efforts.”

Engaging and interactive

As Lopa has mentioned, MaArte isn’t just about the hunt for beautiful things but also about enriching one’s knowledge of local history and culture.

Lopa explained, “Personally, if either participants or visitors discover and learn something new, that would be wonderful. We’re bringing a new section on contemporary fashion, with a lot of exciting emerging names.

“We have our MaArte Talks series to deepen discussions. And we have the wonderful SLIM at The Lobby to allow for a glimpse of the genius of National Artist Salvacion Lim Higgins.  Both participants and visitors will surely come away with a rich experience of Filipino craftsmanship.”

Appreciating Filipino craftsmanship Irene Marcos-Araneta shows her support of MaArte at the Pen. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY BY AL PADILLA

So, between exploring exquisite finds, hop over to designated venues for the following: A Special Exhibit: SLIM at The Lobby, a tribute to fashion icon and National Artist
Salvacion Lim Higgins; and PHxMaArte, a section featuring the country’s next-generation designers;

MaArte Talks at Salon de Ning runs at 2 p.m. daily from 19 to 21 August at the hotel’s Salon de Ning.

Today’s talk is on “Philippine Design and Craft Today” with Nazareno/Lichauco’s Rita Nazareno (Zacarias 1925) and Gabby Lichauco (Open Studio).

Irene Marcos-Araneta, sister of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. visits the MaArte Fair Fundraiser at its opening on 19 August at Makati Ave Manila Peninsula Hotel. | PHOTOGRAPH BY AL PADILLA FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

On Sunday, 21 August, “Paris and Manila: A Tale of Two Cities” features Mark Lewis Higgins who will talk about the Golden Age of Haute Couture in two capital cities — Paris and Manila — during the decade of 1947 to 1957. The designers were Christian Dior and Salvacion Lim Higgins.

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