Just as it is rich in history, Bulacan is also rich in culture and tradition. It is home to literary giants like Francisco Balagtas and Jose Corazon de Jesus; as well as a large number of National Artists – Virgilio Almario, Guillermo Tolentino, Honorata de la Rama, and Jose Joya.

Just as they are talented in the arts, Bulakeños are highly educated, enterprising, and industrious. Many are known for their excellent craftsmanship in making jewelry, leather products, buntal hats, furniture, and garments.

This is why Bulacan is called the SME Haven of Central Luzon and the Cooperative Capital of the Philippines. Design + innovation + craftsmanship truly make TATAK BULAKENYO products special.

Mallgoers had a glimpse of the TATAK Bulakenyo crafts when My City, My SM, My Crafts recently made its seventh stop at SM City Marilao. 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.

Marilao Vice Mayor Andre Santos, Municipal Administrator Froilan Angeles, and Councilors Debbie Reyes, Arnold Papa, and Irma Celones graced the event and proudly viewed their products. Atty. Percy de la Cruz representing Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Bulacan Provincial Tourism Officer Katrina Ann Bernardo, Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gregoria Simbulan, and legendary pastilles wrapper artisan, Nanay Luz Ocampo were also present.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Domestic Trade, My Craft’s project partner, showed their full support with the presence of Director Rhodora Leaño and Provincial Director Zorina Aldana. In her speech, Director Leaño said that, “My City, My SM, My Crafts is indeed a journey of discovery and pride of being Filipino.” Equally proud were members of the Marilao Tourism Council led by Mr. Ricky Manalo.

SM officials led by SM Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon, SM Supermalls Vice President for Operations Bien Mateo as well as SM City Marilao Mall Managers Hazel Bernice Reyes and Bernadette Velasco gave guests a warm welcome.

They enjoyed the program, which included a video presentation featuring the crafts of Bulacan with tourism advocate and theater actor Vicente ‘Bong’ Enriquez, son of food historian Mila Enriquez, as the guide.

It was a shining moment for Bulacan when international jewelry designer Arnel Papa showcased his world-class sparkling pieces in a fashion show featuring beauty queens including 2010 Binibining Pilipinas World and 2011 Miss Humanity International Czarina Gatbonton. Proud Bulakeños gave the presentation a standing ovation.

A special section was also devoted to Bulacan’s traditional crafts, pabalat (or pastilles wrapper art), puni making, and singkaban, delighting the audience with live demonstrations.

One of the program highlights was the awarding of the winner of the Singkaban Centerpiece contest with workshop participants in competition. Reynaldo Marcelo’s beautifully crafted centerpiece got the judges’ nod for the top prize, for which he received P5,000 worth of gift certificates.

Judges included DTI Director Rhodora Leaño, legendary pastilles wrapper artisan Nanay Luz Ocampo, Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chair Gregoria Simbulan, Bong Enriquez, and the Philippine Star’s Grace Laurel.

But the My City, My SM, My Crafts centerpiece was clearly the Craft Market inspired by the traditional Bahay na Bato in Luzon. 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 Marilao shoppers.

The Craft Market included the fashion jewelry collection of international jewelry designer Arnel Papa, one of a kind beaded jewelry by Armyth’s International Accessories, and luxe leather products from Chelsea Leather and Services Corporation. Innovative modern furniture from the Simbulan Group of Companies, artisan holiday décor from North Wing Corporation and European inspired vintage Christmas décor from LDR Handicrafts were also very popular among shoppers.

Other great Tatak Bulakenyo finds: buntal bags from Franbel Native Products, artistic eco friendly pieces from Uni-Art Home Décor and Furniture, functional and decorative baskets from Siloworks, and creative bamboo products from Plaridel Bamboo Crafts.

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 Marilao launch is the seventh in the My City, My SM, My Crafts road show after SM City Santa Rosa, SM City Lucena, SM City Batangas, SM City Davao, SM City Naga, and SM City Cagayan de Oro. The next stop will be in SM City Dasmariñas.