The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the rise of community markets or local bazaars that aim to help micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises cope with the challenges that their businesses have faced amid the crisis.
Through these bazaars, artists, designers, farmers, and other merchants were able to not just introduce their products but also help the community by providing food supplies and essential services, which were scarce for a time because of quarantine restrictions.
Even now, when restrictions are lifted and mobility has continued, bazaars remain relevant in communities as they are an avenue for promoting local culture and heritage, as well as sustainability.
This is what motivated Claudette Sendaydiego and Arnold Buenafe to put up the “Celebrate Lokal” market, which runs for a month at Canvas Boutique Hotel.
“We want to help ‘yong local market natin, starting dito sa Puerto Princesa na masuportahan ang mga kapwa naming merchants,” Sendaydiego said.
Additionally, she mentioned how other bazaars in town were so short-lived and not as sustainable for both consumers and entrepreneurs.
“Nakita namin na there were so many bazaars na nauso nung nag lay-low yung pandemya. We were one of the merchants or participants sa mga ‘yon. Pero minsan basta na lang magkakaroon ng bazaar dito at doon without thinking bakit ba natin ginagawa ito,” she stated.
She said again that the bazaar’s goal isn’t just to make money, but also to support the work of Palawenyos by promoting proudly made or produced goods from Palawan. All of these goods are brought together in one cozy place where both locals and tourists can easily get to them.
“Gusto namin [ibida] gawang Palawan, tatak Palawan, at talentong Palawenyo. Lagi nating iniisip dapat may foreigner para kumita ng pera pero paano natin it ibebenta kung hindi tayo tutulungan ng kapwa natin Palawenyo,” she added.
As of writing, the bazaar is catering to the following 29 food stalls, arts and crafts shops, agri-producers, and other services:
Christine’s Buko Pie
Mawe Ihaw-ihaw House
Siomai King ni Shem
NELSONs Hapag Kainan
Kusina Ni Lukas
Crafts and Arts
Asiano ARTS & Crafts
MaartTitas of Palawan Artists Collective
Palawentas Handicrafts & Epoxy Resins Furniture
A&J Agri Product
Kadiwa Producers Market Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Gem Princess Integrated Farm
AR Plant and Crafts
Jao’s Surublien Pasalubong and Souvenir Corner
Pine’s Souvenir Shop
Kiwanis Club of Infinity Palawan
The organizers also plan on expanding the bazaar by bringing it to other municipalities in Palawan, such as El Nido and Narra, in the near future.
Celebrate Lokal is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm until September 3.