This hotel will temporarily convert 46 guest rooms into shops

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Aug 15 2019 06:09 AM | Updated as of Aug 15 2019 07:43 PM

TLDG accessories by Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez. Photo by author

Various clothing brands will sell their apparel featuring indigenous Filipino fabrics. Photo by author

Wear Your Culture jackets featuring indigenouis Philippine fabrics. Photo by author

Maco Custodio shoes. Photo by author

Oscar Mejia artisan fragrances. Photo by author

Pottery collection by Joey de Castro and Siegrid Bangyay. Photo by author

Rameiluis men's accessories. Photo by author

Ibarra, the first locally assembled Filipino watch brand. Photo by author

Vesti bags. Photo by author

Felicisimo Gourmet Homecooking. Photo by author

MANILA -- Two floors housing 46 rooms will be converted into shops for this one-of-a-kind bazaar. Each room will be transformed to accommodate local brands that will sell Filipino-made products, from handcrafted bags to unique jewelry pieces. 

This year's MaArte Fair was inspired by the open house parties of the North Syquia apartments in Malate, Manila. Held during the early 2000s, unit owners of the iconic apartment complex — built in the 1930s — opened their doors to friends in a distinctive gathering. 
“We were very very close group of tenants. And I was there for 21 years because I couldn't leave. At one point, we were always getting together, the idea of Christmas get-together. We said we want our friends to be able to meet our friends. We decided an open house,” recalled visual artist and Museum Foundation of the Philippines. Inc. (MFPI) vice president Phyllis Zaballero, who was a former resident of the apartment complex. 

Basically, unit owners will host their neighbor's friends in an intimate party. All the participating apartments' doors are open, inviting guests to come in. Zaballero shared that some guests even stayed overnight and she describes the open house parties as “unforgettable.”

The fair's organizer, MFPI, wanted the same vibe in this year's event, which is now on its 11th year. The Peninsula Manila will play host to the fair, which will be held from August 16 to 18 and open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. 

“We're very fortunate that the Peninsula has actually given us a new venue for MaArte. This all came from her building, the entire idea of having an open house,” said architect and MFPI treasurer Mico Manalo. 

“When Peninsula decided to give us rooms, we were thinking how can we offer this to merchants and how can we offer the experience to people because it's not your usual bazaar. It's going to be entering into spaces but more intimate spaces. You get to know the merchants better. There was a saying, the experience was in Syquia apartments before, everybody is a friend. If you're friend of my neighbor's then you're also my friend,” he added. 

This year's MaArte oPen house at The Peninsula Manila will be its biggest yet, featuring 65 local merchants. The brands are mostly from Metro Manila but some are coming in from other parts of the country like Cebu. 

Some of the merchants that will sell their beautifully crafted goods include Piopio handwoven chic apparel, Tim Tam Ong jewelry, Aranaz luxury handmade accessories, Oscar Mejia handcrafted scents, Ibarra watches, Siklo upcycled brands, among others. 

“The vetting process is sort of we try to find the balance of the different type of products. We sort of try to not repeat ourselves or repeat an exhibitor so everybody will have their own market and not competing with the same type of product. Even the way the floor is laid out, it's thought off,” explained MFPI president Albert Avellana.

There will also be new participants like Pika Pika+Pinta, Coco and Tres, Maco Custodio, Vesti, Whimsy by Silay Export, Lootware Home, DSV Studio, and more. Local food brands will also participate in the fair like Auro Chocolates, Green Babes, Felicisimo Gourmet Homecooking, and Tsaa Laya.

This year's fair will also put a spotlight on collaborations such as Tatsulok by Natalya Lagdameo, Filip+Inna, Balay ni Atong, and a special pottery line by Ugu Bigyan and Gifts & Graces. 

“When we were planning MaArte this year, we went through the usual, what would the vibe be? What can we do to make it different, very welcoming, and hospitable,” Zaballero said. 

One of the main purposes of MaArte Fair is to raise awareness and raise funds for the MFPI and the National Museum of the Philippines. The organization supports the National Museum and has helped with its various projects. Avellana said that a certain percentage of the sales from the fair will go to MFPI.