PRESS RELEASE:The foregoing is a press release from the Association of Negros Producers.
By: Alan Gensoli
Adnaloy Divider with shells from Molocaboc Island as the main component
Hope is the first element to recovery. And nowhere is that more critical than on disaster-stricken island communities where relief is not always swift and livelihood alternatives are sparse. Realizing this, Jojo Vito of Vito Prints & Pieces in Bacolod City strapped on his sandals and backpacked to Bantayan in northern Cebu and Molocaboc in northern Negros, two islands caught right on the path of Typhoon Yolanda.
At the tent city in Bantayan, Jojo met a church leader who was helping residents peddle shells they collect at the beach. Jojo contracted to buy the shells in bulk and at double the price so that half of the income would go to rebuilding the church and half to the pickers. Moving on to Molocaboc and finding the same hopelessness there, Jojo then hired locals to gather discarded shells from consumed shellfish. Returning to his factory, he developed 10 products embracing “Smiles Beyond Borders”, the theme of the 29th Negros Trade Fair.
Damang Lamp by Jojo Vito, “botton top” shells Bantayan Isaand as the main component
Hope now shines bright through the Damang Lighted Wall Décor, embellished with Bantayan shells. The piece mimics the shape of a spider, or “damang”. It was recognized for Design Excellence and Craftsmanship at the 2014 Bulawan Awards of the Association of Negros Producers. Meanwhile, strings of Molocaboc shells hang like curtains on the Adnaloy Divider. The moniker is uncanny at first, but heartwarming next. Adnaloy is Yolanda spelled backwards, as if to reverse the effects of the typhoon by giving alternative income sources to distraught island residents.
Festival Dolls by Jojo Vito
The two shells come together in a festival of design highlights. Jojo has created the Festival Dolls Collection, six collectible dolls dressed in costumes of popular fiestas of Negros Occidental, including Bacolod’s famous Masskara. The Festival Dolls won the 2014 Bulawan Award in the Novelty Category, including Best in Visual Impact and Best in Craftsmanship. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the dolls will be donated to the church reconstruction in Bantayan. Hope springs eternal, indeed, and especially at Christmas. Since the trade fair ushers in the “ber” months and holiday shopping, a “Christmas for Yolanda” tree decor, trimmed with Bantayan and Molocaboc shells, has gone into production.
Marang Lamp by Jojo Vito with Sea Urchin Shels from Bohol as the focal point
Bohol is not to be forgotten. Before there was Yolanda, there was that powerful earthquake that rocked this island province. A visit there inspired Jojo to engage displaced fisherfolk to collect sea urchins that wash up on the shore. Once pesky, the sea urchins now hang pretty on the Marang Lamp, a design inspired by the marang fruit.
These 10 products developed by Jojo Vito to benefit devastated communities confirm his ability to turn around new designs quickly. The discipline has allowed his team to deliver customized creations to clients. Many, in fact, seek him out during the trade fair to place their orders. Design diversity is also reflected in his iconic Masskara Festival masks which, this year, will come in new shapes, patterns, and colors. The only element consistent will be the smile, a feature of all Masskara Festival masks. “If tourists and shoppers at the trade fair will bring home these smiling masks then we can truly say that our smiles have gone beyond borders,” Vito quips. Also new at the trade fair will be his Father and Son relief sculptures that will complement the Mother and Child line.
Organized by the Association of Negros Producers, the 29th Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair held annually in Metro Manila. Catch the creations of Jojo Vito at the Vito Prints & Pieces booth from Sept. 24-28, Glorietta Activity Center, Makati City. For more, visit www.jojovito.com. Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jojovitodesignsgallery.
The Tent City in Bantayan Island
Consultation Meeting with Bantayan Communities