The sudden effects of COVID-19 might have challenged how the world does business, but Filipino artisans are ready to turn this threat into an opportunity.
The Filipino lifestyle community gathered today to listen and learn from a live webinar spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) export promotion arm, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). The latter tapped international expert and ByHand Consulting Co-Founder Karen Gibbs to share actionable insights that can be harnessed to our exporters’ advantage even during this global pandemic.
Gibbs shared that the global handmade market is the hardest hit right now, stressing that the retail brick and mortar store model will likely find it difficult to survive in this economic landscape. However, she also emphasized that there is a silver lining amidst all of this. “Confidence in the market will always bounce back and the consumers will not go away. It is just a matter of finding new ways to get to them,” Gibbs shared.
To address this, Gibbs outlined what US retailers are doing right now that can be adapted in the international marketplace. First and foremost, it is high time to invest in digital and engage customers with interesting and relevant stories and content. She also underlined the importance of product innovation or creating new products that are appropriate with the times, like products for safety, for workspaces at home, for fun activities, or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kits, and self-care and comfort items.
The webinar also highlighted that the pandemic is ushering in a new era of responsibility and that consumers are making the big shift towards sustainability. Diversification of the market can also be expected, meaning specialty handmade products may get more attention.
“The key to achieving this and the priority for global artisans now is to really connect and relate to your customers, Gibbs said.
“Create a brand identity that will tie together your different digital tools like a website, email and social media strategy that will effectively reach out and touch the hearts of your clients,” she added.
ByHand Consulting is known for helping global artisan industries in building relationships, strengthening entrepreneurial skills, expanding markets, promoting craft traditions and increasing sales of handmade products. With an extensive network in the US home décor and fashion accessories markets and around the world with innovative artisan brands, ByHand Consulting offers a portfolio of marketing and coaching programs to equip global artisan entrepreneurs with the knowledge, strategies and connections to grow their businesses.
Gibbs was joined by a design panel composed of Filipino artisans such as Zacarias 1925’s Creative Director Rita Nazareno, Industrial Designer Stanley Ruiz, and E. Murio’s Tisha de-Borja Samson.
They shared how their respective companies are coping in these challenging times and answered questions from the live audience.
“My key takeaway and what I want to instill in our local exporters from today’s session is that it is essential to forge ahead and be innovative in this time of uncertainty. Rise to the challenge by offering honest and authentic content and taking advantage of the digital frontier,” said CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.
“CITEM is mandated to promote the Philippines’ export goods and services through signature events and country participations in overseas trade fairs. Included in our roster are Manila FAME, IFEX Philippines: NXTFOOD ASIA, CREATE Philippines, and the Sustainability Solutions Expo (SSX). But as most of our events are deferred to next year while some are still in wait-and-see mode, we want to continually empower the manufacturing and export community that we serve,” Suaco-Juan shared.
“By using the digital landscape to our advantage, we can convey a valuable message across. Today, we heard how the world’s biggest markets such as the United States are responding to the challenges set by this global pandemic. It is up to us now how we will strive and adapt to these changes,” said Suaco-Juan.
The webinar is a first of many to be expected from DTI-CITEM as the agency works on ways to gear up MSMEs and artisan communities while following the “new normal” measures set by the government.
“Aside from tapping digital platforms, we are working together with key institutions, innovators and resource speakers to encourage growth through learning and business collaboration among our stakeholders. These stakeholders include creatives, influencers, fashion icons and design experts whom Manila FAME has been working with for years—decades even—in promoting the Philippines to the world,” Suaco-Juan added.
Manila FAME, CITEM’s flagship trade show for the Philippine lifestyle and design industries, is scheduled from October 15-17, 2020. An online counterpart—a digital trade and community platform—will launch this October alongside the physical show.
To stay up to date on the latest e-learning opportunities and government support programs, Filipino exporters and MSMEs are encouraged to follow Manila FAME through their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or visit www.manilafame.com.
The fact that the fashion industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic is known to all of us. Stores have shuttered (some for good), production has halted, and some customers have realigned priorities away from their wardrobes.
A number of the Philippines’ artisanal brands were making headway just last year with a good showing at the Premiere Classe Trade Show in Paris last year. 2020, though, has proven to be a challenging year, and in order to help the country’s local producers of handrafted items, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and ByHand Consulting is hosting a 2-part webinar tomorrow, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
The first part is titled “The U.S. Market Today: A Perspective for Global Artisans”, the talk will be led by Karen Gibbs, co-founder of ByHand Consulting, a company that helps global artisan businesses “build relationships, strengthen entrepreneurial skills, expand markets, promote craft traditions, and increase sales of handmade products.” At a time when trade shows and international travel have been cancelled, going digital is an imperative for the fashion industry. In answer to this, ByHand reviews digital marketing tools and shares insight to creating a digital strategy that can help global artisan businesses connect with their customers.
Part 2 is about “Connecting with Your Customer: Digital Marketing Tools to Strengthen Your Customer Relationships.” At a time when trade shows and international travel have been cancelled, going digital is the best way to reach out to customers to build relationships and address their needs. In answer to this, ByHand reviews digital marketing tools and shares insight to creating a digital strategy that can help global artisan businesses communicate and make connections.
Karen will be joined by panelists Rita Nazareno of Zacarias 1925, industrial designer Stanley Ruiz, and Tisha de Borja-Samson of E. Muriofor an open forum where viewers can ask more questions.
Whether you’re an industry player, a student, or an enthusiast, there will certainly be a lot to learn. The webinar will be aired live on the Manila FameFacebook account. Be alert and ready for an insightful morning tomorrow!
THE Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) export promotion arm is encouraging exporters to explore online platforms after trade shows were canceled in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM ) promotes Philippine export goods and services through various events, including overseas trade fairs. CITEM in late March said its events for the first half of 2020 have been canceled.
“Stronger digital synergy is the way forward in these trying times since events have been canceled or postponed across the world. Our exporters, particularly the micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs), should tap strategic social media platforms and digital tools to widen their online reach and continue their working relations with their clients and stakeholders,” CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan said in a statement Tuesday.
“Exporters can also take advantage of available webinars on business, logistics and online marketing, among others, on how they can navigate or bounce back from their current situation,” she said.
Ms. Suaco-Juan said CITEM is also collaborating w ith institutions and resource speakers, including creatives and design experts, to promote the Philippines online.
She spoke at Project Ripple PH ’s weekly show on Tuesday, joining business professionals and creatives to discuss “influencer marketing” in the Philippines. She will also be joining an online conversation w ith the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines, PHx Fashion Conference, and SoFA Design Institute.
The DTI in a statement Monday said agricultural exports entered three new international markets, with maiden shipments of avocados sent in China, cacao products shipped to Belgium, and coconut milk arriving in Russia in March and April.
“COVID-19 may lead to market access issues and non-tariff measures. It maybe more difficult to comply w ith stricter regulations, certifications, external and domestic regulations. The DTIEMB commits to assist exporters, especially MSMEs, to comply w ith these requirements and introduce their products to the world,” DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen M. Perlada said.
He has been encouraging exporters to increase their e-commerce presence, especially during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) im posed on Luzon. — Jenina P. Ibanez
Steve Sy, one of the country’s top online merchants, is hiring more people to support the expansion of Great Deals E-Commerce Corp. despite the novel coronavirus pandemic that has paralyzed the operations of other businesses and forced people to stay at home.
“As we prepare for the ‘new normal’ and the ‘HomE-conomy’, we at Great Deals are looking for talented individuals who would like to be part of our team—from commercial, key account managers, operations, to management trainee,” Sy announces on his social media account.
The coronavirus pandemic described by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as a “humanitarian crisis and development crisis” which forced people to stay at home under the enhanced community quarantine guidelines of the government became a tipping point for the surge of electronic commerce in the Philippines.
“The inflection point of e-commerce here in the Philippines happened during ECQ,” Sy, the 46-year-old founder and CEO of Great Deals, says via a messaging app.
“We have built new channels and accounts and have grown our daily orders more than 200 percent without any campaign,” he says.
Sy says Great Deals, which works with online shopping platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, Zilingo, Shopify, Magento and GrabMart, is on an expansion mode to meet the rising demand among consumers who prefer to stay at home.
“We are opening more cloud stores in major cities in Metro Manila to be able to deliver in 30 minutes or less,” he says.
Great Deals, established in 2014 in Quezon City and recognized by Lazada as the King of Online Revolution for Fashion in 2016, is now considered the leading e-distributor in the Philippines that provides end-to-end e-commerce services such as digital content, website design, online shop operations and management, pricing, digital campaign, analytics and business intelligence, warehousing, packing, inventory system, delivery last-mile delivery, returns and cancellation process.
While it initially became known for handling fashion brands and household items, Great Deals has diversified into consumer goods, pharmaceutical products and food. Among its recent clinets are NutriAsia and Century Pacific Food Inc.
“We’re always finding ways to provide convenience, especially in these uncertain times. Now, you have one less reason to go out. Stock on your favorite condiments while staying at home,” Sy says in a Facebook post.
Sy, who graduated from De La Salle University with a degree in Business Management, attended the e-founders fellowship course at Alibaba Business School in 2019. Early this year, Great Deals raised $12 million from Navegar–the largest private equity firm in the Philippines–to expand its IT infrastructure, warehouse capabilities and technology solutions.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development agrees that the coronavirus outbreak may have accelerated the growth of e-commerce globally this year. Data show that e-commerce sales reached $25.6 trillion globally in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017, according to the UN’s trade and development body.
It says the 2018 e-commerce sales value, which includes business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales, was equivalent to 30 percent of global gross domestic product that year.
“The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, tools and services, but the overall impact on the value of e-commerce in 2020 is still hard to predict,” Shamika Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, says in a statement.
In the Philippines, online shopping platforms continue to operate amid the lockdown imposed by the government. Shopee, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, launched the P200-million Seller Support Package to help Filipino SMEs and sellers navigate the current economic climate during the ECQ and beyond.
The package aims to support sellers in terms of lowered commission and operational costs, increased sales and marketing support and assistance to new sellers online.
“During these challenging times, it is important for us to find ways to help our sellers and SMEs maintain long-term business sustainability. The launch of the Shopee Seller Support Package is part of our larger commitment to support our local communities through this Covid-19 period. We will continue to work closely with our extended network of partners, sellers, and shoppers to adapt our business and initiatives were required, as we remain united in getting through this together as one big community,” says Martin Yu, associate director of Shopee Philippines.
Anchanto, a technology company that equips retailers with e-commerce capabilities, says nearly 30 percent of its more than 2,000 Filipino businesses onboard the platform were able to continue their operations during the ECQ.
Abhimanyu Kashikar, country head of Anchanto Philippines, however, admits that the pandemic has also substantially affected the e-commerce landscape in the country. “Indeed, the lockdown that has followed the pandemic has impacted all the businesses, and e-commerce is no exception. But the e-commerce businesses are relatively in a better position as compared to traditional retailers that are forced to shut shop completely, and are able to run operations with lower volumes,” he says.
Kashikar says among the challenges faced by the e-commerce sector during the Luzon-wide quarantine are in the areas of logistics and last-mile delivery as many villages restricted the movement of vehicles and individuals.
“For e-commerce, warehousing and logistics including last-mile delivery plays a very important role. With movements being restricted, running overall operations is becoming difficult for e-commerce businesses along with other industries,” he says.
Kashikar says while the overall e-commerce volumes have gone down, the demand for essential products has actually gone up. At the same time, he believes that many enterprises now see the greater value of e-commerce.
“Even though as we go through tough measures such as lockdowns and practice social distancing, life moves on and people continue to have needs. Businesses have realized this and hence they are trying to figure out ways to keep their operations running and serve their customers,” he says.
J&T Express, an e-commerce delivery company, recently resumed its operations nationwide. It says that in compliance with the memorandum from the Department of Trade and Industry, it is allowed to transport certain goods such as essential and hygiene products, vitamins and medicines and other dry goods.
“We are grateful that the Philippine government allowed us to continue our operations. Since the enhanced community quarantine was imposed, we have seen difficulties in the transportation of essential goods. In these challenging times, we make sure that important goods such as healthcare essentials and other dry goods safely arrive in areas where they are needed the most,” says Dean Ding, J&T Express chief executive officer.
J&T Express says while it has resumed operations, it still strictly follows and implements social distancing in all its branches.
“Since we resumed our operations, we make sure to strictly follow the guidelines provided by the authorities in securing the welfare of our employees. In line with this, regular temperature readings are conducted before the start of every shift. We also provide face masks, gloves, disinfectants and sanitizers because we value the safety of all our employees and customers,” says Ding.
Digital solutions also offer SMEs an opportunity to tap not only domestic consumers but also the export market. The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotion arm of the Department Trade and Industry, advises SMES, exporters and other stakeholders to take advantage of available digital tools and online platforms towards greater business collaboration and learning amid the pandemic.
“Stronger digital synergy is the way forward in these trying times since events have been canceled or postponed across the world. Our exporters, particularly the micro-, small- and medium-enterprises, should tap strategic social media platforms and digital tools to widen their online reach and continue their working relations with their clients and stakeholders,” says CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.
Sy, the founder and CEO of Great Deals, however, says the focus of the company’s operations right now is the “HomeE-conomy” or the people who stay at home to prevent the spread of the disease.
“As the new normal ‘HomE-conomy’, the new consumer behavior is focused at home. This means we need to heighten health and hygienic awareness, focus on quality and safety assurance and maintain our desire to stay at home,” he says.
The Department Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), has urged Philippine exporters and its stakeholders to take advantage of available digital tools and online platforms towards greater business collaboration and learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
CITEM is the export promotion arm of DTI mandated to promote the Philippines’ export goods and services through signature events and country participations in overseas trade fairs (OTFs). Included in its signature events are Manila FAME, IFEX Philippines: NXTFOOD ASIA, CREATE Philippines, and the Sustainability Solutions Expo (SSX).
“Stronger digital synergy is the way forward in these trying times since events have been canceled or postponed across the world. Our exporters, particularly the micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs), should tap strategic social media platforms and digital tools to widen their online reach and continue their working relations with their clients and stakeholders,” said CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.
“Exporters can also take advantage of available webinars on business, logistics and online marketing, among others, on how they can navigate or bounce back from their current situation,” she added.
To promote the digitalization among MSMEs, DTI recently held a series of free webinars, titled the “CTRL + BIZ: Reboot Now!”, last April 29 to May 2 which was targeted for MSMEs who are interested to transform their business digitally.
Under this webinar series, DTI hosted masterclasses and dialogues on how and why businesses should utilize various e-commerce platforms, logistics services and digital marketing strategies to promote their brand and products online. Resource speakers who took part in the three-day training were representatives from top e-commerce, logistics, and financial firms, including Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, Google, Paymaya, Unionbank, GrabExpress and GCash, among others.
Upcoming online telecasts peek into the future of PH fashion and influencer marketing
“Aside from tapping digital platforms, we are collaborating with key institutions, innovators and resource speakers to encourage growth through learning and business collaboration among our stakeholders. These stakeholders include creatives, influencers, fashion icons and design experts whom CITEM has been working with for years—decades even—in promoting the Philippines to the world,” Suaco-Juan said.
In line with this, Suaco-Juan will co-host an episode of a program on May 5, titled “Re/Start.” Organized by the at the Project Ripple PH, Re/Start is a weekly show that seeks to challenge the ideas of industry innovators in the field of business, creatives, and wellness. It is set to air on Project Ripple PH’s Facebook page.
Co-hosted along with Stephen Ku (Chief Executive Officer, Echochannels), Re/Start’s pilot episode titled “Did the pandemic kill the internet star?” will give an overview on the current state and future of influencer marketing in the Philippines.
The pilot episode will be joined by five digital leaders and influencers, namely Alexander De Leon (Regional Head of Product Marketing, Instagram Asia-Pacific), Jim Guzman (Network Head of Social and General Manager, Dentsu Aegis Network), Neil Trinidad (Country Chief Marketing Officer, Lazada Philippines), Erwan Heusaff (Content Creator and Social Media Influencer) and Carlo Ople (Content Creator and Digital Entrepreneur).
Meanwhile, on May 6, Suaco-Juan will also moderate a discussion that will look into the future of Philippine fashion in an online dialogue, titled “Fashion: Change,” with some of the most recognizable names in country’s fashion design and retail industry, namely Rajo Laurel (Designer, Rajo Laurel, VP of FDCP), Roxanne Farillas (Co-Founder, Plains and Prints), Amina Aranaz-Alunan (Designer, Aranaz, President of FDCP).
Fashion: Change is part of the FASHION FORWARD DIALOGUES, a series of online conversations to spark hope and innovation in the post-COVID-19 era, organized by the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines, PHx Fashion Conference, and SoFA Design Institute. Interested participants in Fashion: Change may register for free at www.phxfashion.org/dialogues.
To stay up to date on the latest e-learning opportunities and government support programs, Filipino exporters and MSMEs are also encouraged to follow CITEM through their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). (PR)
Happy third birthday to my blog, www.speakoutsam.com! I will keep this entry short and sweet, as we are all on quarantine anyway. Here are some things I learned while being a blogger:
Networking is simply an exercise in communicating your why. In my case, I share my passion for social entrepreneurship, handmade, and positive thinking. There is nothing intimidating with being myself when facing others.
My blog can be used as a landing page for my Human Nature online store (please support! We deliver during the ECQ!). My blog entries have also served as a means for my customers to get to know me better.
I am thankful to all the companies and institutions for their trust. My blog has enabled me to attend learning and networking events at places such as the ADB, AIM, PCC, Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, Shopee, Zapateria, and CITEM. No story is too simple to share. By being my authentic self, I am able to earn the trust of these companies. I am grateful for the seminars, events, and opportunities which I enjoy through this blog.
I am grateful for the blogger community for welcoming me and making me a part of their world. I enjoy learning from fellow bloggers and I hope to see them again after the quarantine!
It is possible to use my blog to share what is good and right. I love featuring small businesses and local brands.
Thank you for being a part of my journey! I pray that http://www.speakoutsam.com will grow and be filled with more meaningful stories.
THE cancellation of trade fairs in the first half of the year cost the Philippines nearly P3 billion in export sales, and this is expected to shoot up should organizers decide to call off events for the second half, a likely possibility if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
Data obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that exporters lost at least P2.91 billion worth of sales from the suspension of local and overseas trade shows in the first and second quarters. For the period, no less than eight events here and abroad were either deferred or canceled, as states try to contain the spread of Covid-19 within their respective jurisdictions.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), reported that it postponed CREATE Philippines and the maiden run of the Sustainability Solutions Expo (SSX).
Further, five overseas trade fairs, namely, South by Southwest and Summer Food Show in the United States, International Food and Beverage Exhibition in Japan, Fuorisalone in Italy and the Taipei International Food Show in Taiwan, were called off by organizers.
The deferral of CREATE Philippines and the SSX and the cancellation of the five events abroad are estimated to result in $55.9 million—around P2.83 billion—in sales losses for exporters, the Citem said in an e-mail to the BusinessMirror.
Likewise, the postponed National Food Fair, originally slated from March 12 to 15, had a projected sales of P83 million. Some 268 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from 16 regions were supposed to participate in the event to sell their products.
According to the DTI’s Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, if the ban on mass gatherings will be retained for the whole of 2020, then it will be left with no choice but to call off as well the National Trade Fair (NTF) in October.
Last year the NTF generated P86 million in sales for the 285 MSMEs that exhibited their goods in the annual trade show. The NTF this year was projected—before the pandemic broke—to tally better.
Trade Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said the events were moved to a later date to ensure the safety and security of participants, as the Philippines struggles to curb its Covid-19 cases that now number over 7,000, one of the highest in Southeast Asia.
“2020 was set to be a big year for Citem, especially with the launch of SSX, the country’s first international sustainability trade show. However, we opted to postpone these signature events, along with CREATE Philippines, to prioritize the health and well-being of our stakeholders,” he explained.
The missed sales in trade fairs will rise further if the Citem projects for the second half, such as the Manila FAME, are canceled, along with overseas events that generate multimillion-dollar orders for MSMEs.
Trade shows awaiting developments on the pandemic are: PHX Tokyo; Malaysia International Halal Showcase; Interior Lifestyle China; China-Asean Expo; Maison & Objet, Premiere Classe and SIAL in Paris; and the China International Import Expo (CIIE). Their organizers were forced to take a wait-and-see mode on uncertainties caused by the health crisis.
Many of these trade fairs provide significant amount of sales for MSMEs. The CIIE, the first dedicated import expo in the world and one of China’s largest events, saw the Philippines double its sales last year to $300 million, from $124 million in 2018.
Estimates by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, showed the cancellation of trade shows worldwide in the first half will result in economic losses of €134.2 billion, roughly $144.9 billion. This figure is seen to go up with the rescheduling of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, and the anticipated postponement of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
In response, the DTI is eyeing to put up a digital platform for the country’s export products to make up for lost promotional opportunities in the canceled events.
For home and lifestyle items, the DTI is looking to create an online marketplace where frequent visitors of the Manila FAME can go to to find design products. An information-driven platform, on the other hand, is on the DTI’s pipeline to serve as marketing tool and promotional database for the country’s food and beverage exporters.
Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., favors pushing through with the local trade fairs set in the second half, to provide the export sector opportunities to make up for losses incurred in the first half.
However, with the extension of the lockdown in many areas of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, he said exporters will continue to produce at lower volumes due to the unavailability of workers and the disruption in flow of goods. To this, Ortiz-Luis posed a question: “If the trade shows push through, what will be there to exhibit?”
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Creative Disruption is a phrase originally attributed to TBWA’s founder, Jean Marie Dru, who made it the core philosophy of his agency to disrupt the marketplace with creative ideas that fundamentally reframe & change the marketing playing field to the advantage of the disruptor brands.
Yet over the last several weeks, the world has seen a disruption of unprecedented scale not seen since the last world conflicts of the 1940s. The prolonged enhanced community quarantine put in place in the Philippines and many other countries have led to a real disruption of economic activities in many sectors, including the creative sectors.
In a Business World feature dated April 16th, The Philippine Institute for Developmental Studies (PIDS) released the results of its survey that estimated the scale of economic disruption to be between P276 Billion (Best Case) to P 2.5 Trillion (Worst Case). The PIDS survey detailed estimates from different sectors such as Manufacturing, Retail, Services, Services, Financial Intermediation, Agriculture, etc. Unfortunately, the scale of disruption specific to Creative Industries is not reported in this article.
For the last 3 years, CECP has been pushing for greater visibility and tracking of the economic contribution of creative industries to the national economy. The last available national level data on the contribution of creative industries was collated by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) based on 2010 available data. This IPOPHIL report estimated the contribution of formally registered creative businesses to be about P625 Billion (7% of 2010 GDP) and employed around 550 Million Full Time Employees. Unregistered creative businesses and freelance creative workers were unfortunately not counted in this 2010 report. No recent national level study on creative industries has been conducted since 2010.
In a crisis period such as this, the lack of visibility on the magnitude and state of creative industries makes the sector vulnerable to being deprioritized when it comes to short term aid, subsidies and recovery funds that will be essential for the community to rebound.
In an effort to understand the scale of impact on Philippine creative industries, CECP has been collating qualitative stories and a few quantitative surveys in the hopes of bringing the needs of the sector to the attention of government stakeholders. At this point, I do not feel confident at having robust quantitative data, but I will attempt a qualitative summary of the various creative sectors from what I have read and feedback I have personally received so far.
For Arts & Crafts, the disruption comes in the form of cancellation and postponement of art shows as well as crafts fairs. While Art Fair Philippines was able to complete its annual show in February, Art in the Park had to be cancelled even before the ECQ was officially announced. For Crafts, while the major trade shows such as Manila FAME, MaArte and Artefino are usually scheduled for the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year, already some organizers are prudently announcing postponements. The closure of all museums and art galleries, as well as the cancellation of all tourism travel have also put a halt to sales of art and crafts. Being a Baguio resident and a board member of the Baguio Arts & Crafts Collective Inc. (BACCI), the Covid-19 crisis has already wiped out all the projected earnings of the Arts & Crafts sector for the most lucrative time of the year – Panagbenga in February to March and the Summer months of April & May. Thus BACCI is looking for ways to help the Baguio Arts & Crafts Community survive the long rainy season that is to come.
Creative Services and Media, such as Advertising, Broadcast Television and Digital Media, while affected by the restrictions of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, are largely able to cope with the situation. TV, Radio, and Digital Media continue to provide essential news as well as air pre- produced shows for the public, supported by advertising from brands.
David Guerrero, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of BBDO-Guerrero and current President of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies Philippines (4As Phils) says that after an initial adjustment period to work from home arrangements, advertising agencies in general have been very busy responding to briefs from their clients to create agile advertising that respond to the crisis. Great advertising work such as the “Smile” campaign of the Department of Tourism and the Frontliners Tribute campaign of Vicks were developed against the odds of lockdowns and quarantine.
Yet, this is not to say advertising and media are not affected. Several advertising agencies have announced cost saving measures to ensure continuity of employment for their staff during this period. The Advertising Suppliers Association of the Philippines has also announced a suspension of all productions shoots as well as much of post production. They have also issued an appeal to clients to accelerate payment for projects completed prior to the lockdown. Furthermore, there have been more than a few advertisers who have decided to pause advertising because of the lockdown (travel, entertainment and restaurants for example) or because the companies decided to reallocate advertising spend to donations (like Coca-Cola and Ligo). The scale of advertising cutbacks will only be fully appreciated by the end of April when ad placement data becomes available.
In contrast to Television, the Film Industry is badly affected as it has been hit by a double whammy because both production and theatrical expositions have been suspended. For this reason, the Film Development Council of the Philippines acted very quickly to provide assistance to film and audio-visual freelance workers through their Disaster/Emergency Assistance & Relief Program (http://fdcp.ph/dear-program). This program is designed specifically to assist film and audio-visual workers with between P5,000 to P8,000 financial assistance if they show proof of disrupted projected during the ECQ period.
Just like the FIlm Industry, Performing Arts & Live Events have also been dramatically affected. All theater and concert productions have been cancelled. As actors and production crews are paid by rehearsal and performance days, many in the theater and music industry have been left without any source of income. For this reason, the theater community launched an initiative called OPEN HOUSE, an online fundraising project by Artists Welfare Project, Inc. together with Philstage, Theater Actor’s Guild, SPIT and Third World Improv, in cooperation with Ticket2Me, for the benefit of the performing arts community.
The Philippine Animation Industry which does majority of its work for overseas clients such as Disney & Cartoon Network has likewise been badly affected both by projects that have been postponed and the inability to operate out of their animation studios due to the lockdown. Animation Council of the Philippines President, Miguel Del Rosario, says all the major animation houses have suspended operations. While some of these Philippine animation studios are still trying to service active projects through work from home arrangements, access to quality bandwidth and proprietary animation software is making work from home very challenging. These factors mean the animation studios are performing at less than 20% of their usual production capacity, which if prolonged, means risking the fulfillment of current contracts.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are the Creative Freelancers. A creative freelancer is a technically skilled person who is self-employed and is not contractually committed to a particular employer long-term. Creative freelancers are paid by the hour, day or by agreed project deliverables. The Freelance job market is also known as the “Gig Economy”.
Every creative industry depends on creative freelancers to varying degrees. When I worked in the ad industry as part of the Publicis Group, freelancers would account for about least 15 to 20% of all the creative work done. In other fields such as Film, TV and Audiovisual production, majority of workers would actually be paid per project. For performing arts and music, the permanent full- time salaried worker is actually the exception rather than the rule.
While there is currently no accurate estimate of how many creative freelancers there are, previous reports from Manila Times and Rappler have estimated Online Filipino Freelancers to be between 1.1 to 1.5 Million people based on data from freelancer.com and Paypal.
The Creative Freelancers perhaps have been among the most badly affected by the crisis because disruption of projects means a complete cessation of income. There are no regular salaries to rely on.
Jodee Aguillon, who runs the Pineapple Lab Creative Hub and Fringe Manila Festival, launched a web-based survey ilostmygig.ph to estimate the losses of Gig Workers. The survey was answered by about 300 respondents who reported total losses amounting to a whopping P56 Million just for the ECQ period. The lost gigs affected 2,633 people (the respondent and their project teams) with an average lost income of about P21,000 per person. According to Jodee, most of the people who answered his survey came from performing arts and events production.
For Digital Freelance Workers, AJ Dimarucot, founder of the FilipiNomads Creative Freelance Facebook Community, conducted a survey amongst the online freelance community as well. Based on 334 responses, prior to the ECQ, 81% of respondents earned between P6,000 to P60,000 with less than 3.6% earning at the lowest income level of below P5,000/month. Since the ECQ, the proportion of people earning less than P5,000/month has ballooned to 53%! With majority of Freelancers being breadwinners, the disruption to online freelance creative work is significant.
As an attempt to summarize the various stories, anecdotes and surveys I’ve seen so far, I’ve “borrowed with pride” an analysis framework done by Board of Innovation which looked at 5 factors to assess the likelihood of an industry to bounce back quickly from this Covid-19 crisis. These 5 factors are:
Large Gathering Are Essential
Close Human Interaction is Essential
Hygiene is Critical (or perception thereof)
Dependent on Travel (Business or Leisure)
Service or Product is Postponable or Expendable
I then used the Philippine Culture Statistics Framework to map out how the different creative & cultural sectors would be affected, giving a rating of 5 for most severely impacted, to 1 being least severely affected.
Cultural & Natural Heritage and Performance & Celebration are the most vulnerable because of their dependence on large crowds as well as tourism. These sectors are likely to take the longest to bounce back, therefore prolonged aid and assistance will be required.
Visual Arts & Artisan Products seem more resilient, because they don’t need massive crowds to be able to sell. However their vulnerability is that these sectors are largely NOT online thus are highly dependent on physical face-to-face selling. Crafts are very dependent on tourism revenue, and overall this sector is seen as a postponable/expendable purchase. So likely this sector will also see very slow recovery.
While Books & Press seem a bit more promising, the truth is this sector has been on a decline for many years due to loss of advertising revenue and also the shift to free (or pirated) online materials. The resilience of books will really come more from the need for continuous education, and press will be primarily online based.
AV Broadcast & Digital Media will be the most likely to bounce back quickly, as both broadcast media (TV Radio) is essential to all Philippine households, and their revenue is carried by advertising. Digital media (social and web browsing) likewise has become essential in the Philippines and are sustained by advertising as well as subscription to streaming services. The exception to this Cinema (as in Films seen in movie houses) which will likely have as slow a come back as Performance & Celebration.
Finally Creative Services. This could also bounce back quickly, but the biggest hurdles would be services that require face to face client interaction, and audio-visual productions that require many people on set. But if smaller productions, or greater use of animation & CGI is used, then there is a chance for this sector to bounce back faster.
To summarize, Cultural Creative Sectors (Cultural, Performance, Arts) will be badly affected while Commercial Creative Sectors (AV Broadcast, Digital Media, Creative Services) are more likely to bounce back. For all sectors, there is urgent need to reinvent business models and pivot to “Low Touch” digital channels and delivery systems in order to survive.
This analysis of course is subjective in nature, though I did base it on all the information and feedback I’ve received so far. I can provide the full excel table behind the analysis to anyone interested in collaborating to check/correct the assumptions I’ve made per industry.
I’d like to close this lengthy piece with an anecdote of hope. An often quoted Chinese proverb states that with every Crisis there is both Danger and Opportunity. More than 20 years ago, when the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis devastated economies all over the region, South Korea’s industrial chaebols were not spared from restructuring, resulting in massive job losses. There was urgent need to find new areas of economic growth.
Thus in the midst of the crisis, South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung laid the foundation for for what would become known as the Korean Hallyu (or Korean Wave) by refocusing the economy Innovation and Cultural “Soft Power”. Today, Korean tech brands such as Samsung rival the best of US and Japanese brands, while Korean music, TV shows and movies have achieved both massive global sales as well as creative recognition.
So my hope is that in the middle of this crisis, Philippine Creativity finds a way not only to survive, but also to reinvent and thrive in the New Reality that is bound to face us in the post crisis world.
We asked professionals in various fields on how they get work done while in isolation
I try to be productive by establishing a schedule for the tasks I have. The first few days of the quarantine was, honestly, unproductive because I just rested and was trying to push myself to work. When I created a routine similar to how I would normally work, it helped to bring that “work mode.” I am currently working on my dissertation manuscripts as well as some documents or reports in my clinical practice. As part of an international interreligious coalition, we are also looking at how we can support religious communities in this time of a global health crisis.—RENZ CHRISTIAN ARGAO, registered psychologist and psychometrician.
I’m helping with the information dissemination at my hospital, guiding everyone where to go, what to wear, and what to do during this time of Covid-19. We usually start at 7:30 a.m. and end up around 12 a.m.—WINLOVE MOJICA, dermatologist.
I am currently working from home, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As much as possible, I try to answer all my patients’ medical concerns online.—JOCELYN JULARBAL-AROMIN, pediatrician.
As of the moment, I’m trying my best to stay calm despite the pandemic. I have been reconnecting and engaging myself closer with the people that matter the most to me online to make sure all of them are safe. I also feed myself some daily news to keep me updated. I have always been into gardening and my plants have always kept me happy, most especially in difficult situations. Right even before this pandemic, gardening has always been my outlet to release stress and anxiety. I am currently reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I have been learning and filling up new meal recipes on my personal cookbook. I just made my own pizza from scratch, which feels amazing. Every afternoon, I would always sketch and paint to let my creativity flow. I also play classical and soothing nature music to create a lighter ambiance. I am also working on a new fashion collection.—CHEETAH RIVERA, fashion designer.
Well, I am trying to keep myself busy by doing major cleaning. You will be surprised at what you will find when you do it. You will find those things that you already forget and also re-discover. I also bond with my pets, my dogs and cats. They make me busy also this time around.
I also cook, I’m trying to be creative with some dishes. Every 6 p.m. I make sure to exercise with whatever equipment I can find here at home. But of course, with the help of my coach. He gave me some routines to follow. Nothing serious—just a basic 30 minute-workout. In the evening after dinner, I sit down for a movie or two or some series from Netflix. Luckily during this lockdown, I haven’t got an anxiety attack because I always make sure my mind is busy and occupied. I am also back to painting. When I cleaned my cabinets, I found my painting materials. I also depotted some plants. All my activities around the house kung ano ano lang to make my mind occupied and I try not to do the same thing every day.—ALBERT KURNIAWAN, makeup artist.
This quarantine has taught me to spend time with my family—to rebuild connections and nurture the different relationships I have with my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and my husband. Oftentimes, I tend to forget how important it is to allot time for the people who truly matter and this lockdown is a lesson that we should never take fam-time for granted.—MYRRH LAO TO, fashion stylist.
keep a regular schedule to keep me busy and productive. I start with a daily breathing exercise and meditation, followed by yoga. Then, I spend about three hours working on my computer and phone to edit videos for my company. Of course, I have more time with my fur babies so I play with them. Lastly, I get to cook for everyone in the house.—REX ATIENZA, fashion stylist.
Experimenting on new breakfast recipes like ube and coconut pancakes, making snacks and meals to be given to government hospital staff, and working on how to strengthen our food safety and sanitation practices when we open our restaurants. Also, appreciating family time and bonding.—JOSEPHINE MENDOZA, Tollhouse chef and owner.
Since everyone is worried about food or busy with eating during the quarantine, I try to post cooking tips of everyday dishes on my Instagram account in hopes to somehow encourage everyone to still eat well during this time and, at the same time, impart something to the foodie community. It may not be significant, but it is one way for me to reach out to people stuck in their homes. Also, I try to keep things as normal as I can, start my day with a workout, stick to my daily diet routine, work on blogs, and vlogs if necessary. All this just to keep my extrovert self sane.—NATHANIEL UY, foodie.
Busier than ever? I have the @Covid19FoodDrivePh that’s been keeping me up 24/7. At Enderun, we’re full steam ahead with the online classes with 80 percent of the students engaged. I teach a class but also supervise teachers assigned to me. I am also studying for a fairly difficult wine certification exam and stupidly signed up for two more certificate courses online. I also cook and try to sneak in some exercise. I have yet to get started on the spring cleaning though. Need to take down the Christmas tree first.—BEL S. CASTRO, associate dean of College of Hospitality Management, Enderun Colleges.
So far, I took a few online classes that I’ve been wanting to take for a while now. It’s a digital illustration using Photoshop, digital illustration using Illustrator, and Procreate. I started also homeschooling Leia using mytitas book @kidstarter and a few tips from other fellow mamas. I also started to do yoga. I never liked yoga but since the lockdown I guess it was the easiest for me to do at home. I found some videos online that I enjoyed. Not much of the meditating type. I got to organize my room a bit. I guess I’ll be doing one room at a time. Cooking should be next. We walk our dog trooper as a family every day. We never did that.—SAM VALENCIANO, wife, soccer-mom, and photobum.
One, I make sure I finish my task for the day. Two, I take breaks. Lastly, I find time for my hobbies: reading, painting, and calligraphy.—AXL ROSS KAWAGUCHI TAMANUT, calligraphy artist .
The priority is keeping my family healthy. After breakfast, mornings are spent in the garden. We stay under the sun to get some vitamin D. At the same time, we practice grounding by having our bare feet on the grass. All this is done over a few rounds of UNO with the kids. Meals are mainly made from unprocessed ingredients—although we are guilty of snacking on chips. We love Filipino food, so it’s a lot of healthy meats, broths, and vegetables. I’m trying to get the kids involved with food preparation by having them choose what we will be cooking. I also have a lot of online work even before the quarantine, so it’s business as usual for me. Since I work in the digital and social media industry, our work is a lot more in demand now since our clients only have their social media pages to communicate with their customers and communities.—TJ SULIT, father, director for GC Business Solutions Inc., co-founder and co-Team Head for Origins Brazilian JiuJitsu.
I do housework and carpentry, like repair cabinets that need fixing and wall repainting. For the past few days, I have been busy installing vinyl floorings in one of our bedrooms. For the remaining days of the ECQ, I’m planning to repaint our gate. It’s kind of hard, however, to accomplish a lot of things because hardware stores are closed during this ECQ. When I’m not doing what usually a dad would do in his spare time, I play videogames. So far, I have four supercars in GTA V.—TOPHER OLIVA, part-time college instructor, Adamson University.
Aside from my daily routine, I maximize this time to do the things that I don’t usually do when I’m working at the office. WFH makes my time more flexible. I got the chance to hear mass online, reconnect with friends, and spend quality time with my family.—SG REYNON, professor, UST Angelicum College.
Honest answer, I am the usual me—productive as ever, even with community quarantine. I am used to working by myself.—JA SEGOVIA, college lecturer, PLM, FEU-Manila, Southville International School and Colleges, and Manila Times College.
As the program head of MMA at MINT College, my first instinct was to provide the students a continued sense of normalcy as classes went online. But as days went by, it became more challenging for both teachers and students as one’s health and time with family had to be prioritized. Since the suspension of online teaching, I now have more time to help with the bigger situation. For instance, I saw a post from a doctor working at RITM. She had an open call for kids to make Get Well Soon cards for their patients. I immediately reached out to my students and we all committed to answering the call. It may be a drop in the bucket, but during this difficult period, every act of kindness helps. And in heeding the call, I am hopeful that the students will further learn how their creativity makes a difference in the lives of others.—LIZZA GUTIERREZ, MMA program head at MINT College.
Now that I’m at home a lot instead of the office (our company has implemented work-from-home arrangements and reduced workweeks to stay safe), it’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.I’ve been sketching and coming up with designs, as well as focusing on planning for the future since these are very uncertain times. As Regional Development Council chair for Central Visayas, I’ve also been helping out with our local government units in looking for solutions to the many challenges brought by this economic and health crisis. Let’s hope and pray for all this to end soon.A routine I follow looks like this: a healthy breakfast followed by an hour of working out, then drawing and sketching. Afternoons are devoted at the office of the presidential assistant of the Visayas where I help my good friend Sec. Michael Dino liaison with the medical and business community.—KENNETH COBONPUE, multi-awarded furniture designer.
As an interior designer, all my projects are on hold as per client request. No production then means no income. Because of technology, though, we can do presentation or communication of designs online. Only the construction phase is on hold. In the meantime, I’ve been busying myself with my MA paper, my new collection for the next Manila FAME, and two other design projects which we are currently discussing online. Before I get to my work mode, though, I do yoga and gardening every morning.—WILHELMINA GARCIA, interior and furniture designer of JunkNot Creatives.
Our projects undergoing construction were put on hold, though the rest of our projects, which are on the design development stages, are still ongoing and are being worked on by our team from their homes. I miss personal, face-to-face interactions with clients, which do not compare with virtual. In terms of long term impact, meanwhile, I believe there’s a learning from this event. Architecturally, it presents fresh challenges and creative provisions for any future event similar to this. New standards will sprout to address new scenarios. We’re also continuously working on the details of the Bangkota exhibits for the Dubai World Expo. We’re master planning some developments and doing some tower designs. These projects are keeping me busy while staying at home. I like the fact that it’s more quiet here, a perfect environment and time to work on designs, aside from being online in our virtual office.
I try to stay productive and efficient. I’m challenged by this situation on how to operate the office remotely, and also challenged our managers to be as efficient as they can in making this setup work. We’re discovering new ways of running the office effectively. Plus our people are learning to work more independently. It’s a practice of integrity, of not being monitored and yet you’re expected to show results of your works. I start my day with a prayer, a habit even before the Covid-19 quarantine. After that, I do my stretching and usual workout, nothing hardcore, just to keep my body active. I follow up with breakfast before starting work in my virtual office, checking my emails and engaging the group in chats and teleconferences. Once I get all my instructions out, I can now have my quiet time to attend to corporate matters, and to design which I excitedly look forward to doing every day. I am happy to spend more quality time with my son, painting and doing creative projects every other day. I also get to watch Netflix with the whole family, which I previously couldn’t do.—ROYAL PINEDA, architect at Royal + Budji Architecture + Design.
I have been very busy lately! All our housekeepers left because they wanted to be with their family. I have been doing all the household chores on my own and I think this is my workout now. During rest time, all I do is hug Amos and Azi (my children), Bagel the beagle, and Ariel if he’s done watching Netflix. What’s more? I have to fix my garden, too! I love taking care of my oregano, sili, and kaffir. It gives me the pleasure of enjoying our house super clean. We’re also selling ice cream here at Ayala Alabang village, but we’re still practicing proper preventive measures. I found it therapeutic! But my day won’t last without praying for my family, friends, our country, and the whole world. I know God will put an end to this situation. God listens.—MICHELLE GARCIA, cluster director of marketing communications at Marriott Hotel Manila.
Aside from looking after guests in our care during this time, I remain in close coordination with our team in supporting our associates most affected by current circumstances. Health and safety are key during this period, and I adhere to a balanced diet so that I can look out for the rest of the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila family. We keep in touch as well with our clients as we understand this event has far-reaching effects beyond our industry. We uphold our values of trust and compassion as we continue to be supportive partners to them.—FRANK REICHENBACH, general manager of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.
Since Sheraton Manila has been identified as one of the certified hotels that can operate this ECQ to accommodate those in need of a safe place to stay in, I have spent most of time managing the entire hotel with a skeleton staff and that everyone (associates and guests) is well taken care of. This is also while ensuring my family is also safe and healthy at home. The past weeks have given me the opportunity to reset my personal and professional life, focusing and doing the basic things in life that matter the most.—ANNA VERGARA, general manager of Sheraton Manila.
The Philippine participation in the recently concluded Gulfood 2020 proved successful as the delegation surpassed its export sales target for this edition.
Philippine food products featured in the recently concluded Gulfood held at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) last 16-20 February 2020 were well-received by trade buyers and visitors alike as the Philippine delegation promoted the country’s top-performing food exports.
Headed by Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Trade Promotions Group (DTI-TPG), the delegation with 24 exporters from the Philippines’ food sector booked a total of $102 million dollars in reported export sales at the event, which surpassed this year’s target of $93 million.
“The positive reception and performance of Filipino food products in Gulfood reaffirms the demand and market opportunities for Philippine food exports in the Middle East and North African region,” Macatoman said. “This outcome is a signifier and an invitation for local food companies to strengthen their export capabilities to better capture this promising market segment and further promote Philippine products globally.”
The participating companies carried with them a variety of fresh, processed and pre-packaged food products to showcase for the Middle East and North African (MENA) markets. Bestsellers from the Philippine exhibitors include food preserves, fresh and processed bananas, mixes and sauces, condiments and frozen shrimp. On-site demos and samplings were also conducted at the FoodPhilippines pavilion to supplement the promotion of these products during the show.
Visitors at the show particularly noted the superior quality of the seafood and newly introduced frozen meats on display at the Philippine Pavilion. Banana chips were also among the more in-demand products with foreign buyers looking for larger quantity packaging of the local snack food.
The Philippine participation in the 25th edition of Gulfood was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM) and in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Dubai.