ArteFino: Renew, repurpose, recycle

Since it first started in 2017, ArteFino has come a long way from its roots as a one-week artisan fair, and that is all thanks to its founders.

Arte Fino founders (from left) Marimel Francisco, Maritess Pineda, Susie Quiros, Cedie Lopez-Vargas, and Mita Rufino | photographs courtesy of artefino

Through the Daily Tribune’s online show Spotlight, Managing Editor Dinah Ventura was able to chat with all five founders — Marimel Francisco, Maritess Pineda, Susie Quiros, Mita Rufino and Cedie Lopez-Vargas — and it was easy to see how this well-loved annual event has managed to survive and even evolve despite the pandemic.

After two years of going online, ArteFino is going back on-site for the ArteFino Festival 2022, and this time, it will run for five weeks. The mantra of this year’s fair is “Renew, repurpose, recycle,” which not only gives shoppers the chance to discover and patronize sustainably made local products but also allows its founders to rediscover what they loved and missed about having an
on-site ArteFino.

SUSTAINABLY-MADE local products are showcased in this year’s ArteFino.

“Connecting with people is what I really enjoy and what I’ve missed during the past two years,” said Francisco. “Each product really has a story to tell and they’re all so interesting.

“It’s an experience,” she added. “The buzz, the electricity, the energy that goes around, it’s really like a festival. You come in there and touch base with people that you haven’t seen for a while, and sometimes they end up staying the whole day.”

“Personally, it has given me an appreciation of what we can do with our Filipino products,” said Rufino. “It makes me feel really good to be able to help our own and really appreciate our communities.”

With the passion of the five movers, there’s no reason to believe ArteFino will go back to being an online-only marketplace. Filipino culture and its artisans are so varied and unique, and platforms like ArteFino allow them to be showcased to fellow Filipinos, giving the founders a robust sense of optimism about ArteFino’s future.

Crafts and designs from communties across the Philippines find a platform in ArteFino.

“My greatest excitement is to discover a new sector, brand partner or product,” Pineda said. “There’s not a time of the day I don’t think of, ‘What’s the next product we can do? Who’s the next vendor we can help?’, hoping that eventually, it will become really something that so many people will be aware of and will give value to our cultural heritage.”

For Rufino, ArteFino has helped her understand Filipino culture better, and she wants to continue exploring this with the brand in the future. “My dream is to be able to visit all these communities that we work with. I’m so looking forward to that. We are rich in creativity and craftsmanship. We are really so good and we can compete on a global level.”

“For me, ArteFino is passion,” added Lopez-Vargas. “We want to make a long-term difference whether it’s through the culture that we share or toward nation-building.”

“And ArteFino is family,” said Quiros. “I’m looking forward to expanding relationships, helping the communities we keep in touch with and growing together. My hope for ArteFino is to be bigger. We’re now local, but we want to aim for the world.”

Shop over 150 brands at the ArteFino Festival 2022, running 25 August until 28 September at the Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.

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