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“Patronize local products, services, and businesses that preserve our cultural heritage” – Makati Poblacion entrepreneurs

April 30, 2021

MANILA, 30 April 2021 — Entrepreneurs of the trendy Poblacion area in Makati highlighted their collective efforts in making the district the urban center and bright spot of hope for arts, culture, and environmental sustainability during the 43rd episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic, “Makati Poblacion: Empowering Local.”

The online conversation hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda featured young, creative entrepreneurs including Samantha Nicole Samonte, Programming Director of Futur:st; Rachel Harrison, owner of Zambawood Private Event Space; Architect Jed Yabut, rattan artist and CEO and founder of Jed Yabut Future and Design; and Chef Christine Zarandin, founding chef of Wantusawa Oysters.

The guests shared their stories of success despite the challenges of the pandemic, as well as how their businesses advance environmental sustainability and preservation of cultural heritage through supporting local artists, farmers, and communities.

“Futur:st opened in 2018 and shared the same vision of Today x Future; nurturing local, independent, and conscious creatives by providing a platform to showcase their works without prejudice and with full support. Upon opportunity to reopen during the pandemic, we highlighted further artistic collaborations through mindful fashion pop-ups, kitchen takeovers, art exhibits, and many more, ” said Ms. Samonte.

“We give fun and purpose to differently-abled people by providing them with skills and employment opportunities. Over a million people in the Philippines are living with disabilities and there’s a huge need to find ways to integrate and include them in the society,” said Ms. Harrison.

“Our company is basically a mixture of the heritage of rattan furniture which blossomed back in the 1980s, mixed with contemporary silhouettes and designs. Our pieces of furniture are multi-purpose, compact, and practical. We’re very 100% Pinoy. It was all designed by me, and we’ve worked with local artisans, and everything that is used as a material for our products is all sourced locally,” said Mr. Yabut.

“‘Yung aming supplier is very different from the natural or the traditional way of growing oysters here in the country. Usually kasi yung mga bamboo, nakakasira ng corals, kaya ang ginagawa ng Crystal Bay Farm is flinofloat nila yun mga Bamboos para it’s not touching the bottom of the ocean, that way hindi nahaharm ang mga corals. Also, what we do is make sure that the coastal water is clean, but through the years we managed to clean them by balancing the ecosystem from the corals to the fish to the oyster farm. Kaya masarap ang aming oyster, pagdating sa Manila, may ginagawa kaming malinis na proseso, literally, from Farm to Table ang ginagawa ni Wantusawa,” said Zarandin.

As a long-time advocate of cultural heritage and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Legarda lauded efforts that help people bounce back from the pandemic by providing job opportunities for local artists, farmers, and communities while preserving the environment.

“Salamat sa pagbibigay ninyo ng panahon, but more than that, sa inyong pag-survive sa pandemic in a fashionable, creative, and skillful way. Nagbibigay kayo ng pag-asa sa mga kabataan,m, nagbibigay ng inspirasyon na maaaring mabuhay sa panahon ng pandemya, figuratively and literally, at nagbibigay ng panibagong buhay sa mga negosyo. Let’s patronize the products and services of those we see here today,” Legarda concluded.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. ###