Davao is many things to many people. On one hand, it is known as the Orchard of the Philippines, with its bounty of tropical fruits and exotic flowers, not to mention its wonderful wildlife. On the other, it is considered the center of trade and business in the southern part of the country, and a popular tourist destination.

More than that, it brings together the many traditional cultures who call Davao City their home – the migrants from Luzon and the Visayas, as well as members of the ten cultural communities that live together harmoniously in peace and friendship.

From woven wonders from the Tadeco Livelihood and Training Center to Yvette’s happy bags, to innovative Maria’s Vinecrafts to Crystal Sea’s artistic fusion of tribal fabrics and pearls to the exquisite Bagobo arts, Davao’s crafts culture celebrates the traditional and the modern, the indigenous and the global.

Mallgoers had a rare glimpse of Davao’s rich cultural diversity when My City, My SM, My Crafts recently made its fourth stop at SM City Davao. A joint project of SM, DTI’s Bureau of Domestic Trade, and the Philippine Star with support from CITEM and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, it is a celebration of traditional arts and modern Philippine design in the cities where SM has malls.

Department of Tourism Regional Director Art Boncato, DTI City Director Teolulo Pasawa, City Tourism Officer Lisette Marquez, and Malaysian Embassy Consul General Zawawi Tahir graced the event together with NCCA Bagobo Cluster Head Datu Elmo Laidan and former Cluster Head Sonia Mangune. Prominent Davaoenos – Davao Crocodile Farm’s Sonny Dizon, and Hijos de Davao officials, including President Jackie Dizon, Rochelle Rabat del Rosario, and Benjie Lizada were also present.

SM officials led by SM Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon, as well as AVP for Marketing Russel Alaba, and SM City Davao Mall Manager Lynette Lopez gave guests a warm welcome.

They enjoyed the program, which included a video presentation featuring the crafts of Davao with local television personality Ian Garcia as the guide, and a cultural performance featuring the Bagobo Tagabawa group from the Toril District. A fashion presentation showcasing intricately woven costumes from the Obo, Klata, and Tagabawa subgroups likewise amazed the audience.

One of the program highlights was the awarding of the winner of the Lamp Making contest using indigenous materials with workshop participants in competition. Loryne C. Bongabong’s elegant 3 lamp design using banana fiber, abaca rope, and bead accents got the judges’ nod for the top prize, for which she received P5,000 worth of gift certificates.

Judges included DOT XI Regional Director Art Boncato, City Tourism Officer Lisette Marquez, DTI City Director Teolulo Pasawa, and the Mindanao Commission of Women’s Patmei Ruivar.

But the My City, My SM, My Crafts centerpiece was clearly the Craft Market inspired by the traditional Maranao House in Mindanao. This beautifully designed showcase was a treasure trove of the best of the best crafts in the province, and was an instant hit among SM City Davao shoppers.

The Craft Market included lamps, décor items, and paper crafts made from bago-bago vine and abaca from Tadeco; exquisite bags from Crystal Seas; colorful crochet and straw bags from Yvette’s Bags and Beads Collection; wine holders, vases, and home items from Maria Vinecrafts; and the best of the best from the Davao EcoCrafts Store.

A special section was devoted to Bagobo aesthetics– the meticulous carving of weapons; the elaborate decoration on inlaid metal boxes with bells; and the ornamentation of their abaca fiber dress with embroidery, shells, beads, and metal discs. Mallgoers were also awed at the works of the late Salinta Monton, NCCA Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee and National Living Treasure.

My City, My SM, My Crafts is a take-off from the previous My City, My SM campaign, which promotes tourism, and My City, My SM, My Cuisine, which highlights the culinary specialties in cities were SM has malls.

A celebration of traditional arts and modern Philippine design, it aims to showcase the best of the best Philippine crafts in each host city, providing livelihood opportunities, as well as a platform for cultural exchange.

The Davao launch is the fourth in the My City, My SM, My Crafts road show after SM City Santa Rosa, SM City Lucena, and SM City Batangas The next stop will be in SM City Naga.