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First ONE Visayas Creative Expo showcases the best of Regions 6, 7, and 8

ONE Visayas Creative Expo
(From L) Ms. Melanie Ng, Chairperson, EDC Region VII; DOT VI RD Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, Hon. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, RDC VI Chairperson; Hon. Arthur Defensor Jr., Iloilo Governor; Atty. Jobert Penaflorida, RDC VI Co-Chairperson and Mr. Allan Ryan Tan, Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) President raise the Senior Sto. Niño as part of the opening ceremony of the ONE Visayas Creative Expo on January 22, 2024 at SM City, Iloilo.

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
January 24, 2024

ILOILO CITY – The vibrant and diverse culture of the Visayas region takes center stage as the first-ever ONE Visayas Creative Expo opened its doors at SM City Iloilo on January 22, 2024. With more than 50 exhibitors hailing from Regions 6, 7, and 8, the week-long expo promises to be a celebration of the best products, destinations, and festivals that the Visayan islands have to offer.

The Creative Expo 2024 is a culmination of the One Visayas initiative led by the Regional Development Councils in the Visayas, supported by the chambers of PCCI Visayas and the Buy Local, Go Lokal initiative of the DTI. It serves as a strong follow-through to the Go Lokal Kabisay-an Nakatundan Fair during the 2023 Private Sector Representatives National Convention in Iloilo City.

Marievic Bonoan, Director of DTI's Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotions, highlighted the success of the 2023 Go Lokal Kabisay-an Nakatundan Fair, generating a remarkable 1.48 million in sales. “Following the successful initiative, we are joining hands once again for the One Visayas Creative Expo 2024 Go Lokal Go Visayas which will feature MSMEs from all the three regions of the Visayas representing the sectors from infrastructure, communications, tourism, agriculture and trade and industry,” said Dir. Bonoan in a virtual message.

The PCCI in the Visayas (Regions 6, 7, and 8) has unanimously passed a resolution supporting the One Visayas Creative Expo in time for the Dinagyang celebration on January 22-28, 2024. The Dinagyang Festival is anticipated to draw over a million spectators, mostly tourists.

The expo aims to raise awareness of Go Lokal as a retail brand for innovative and high-quality products from our local MSMEs, aligning with the DTI’s mandate to promote the efficient marketing of local products.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VI is one of the organizers of the event, in collaboration with the PCCI Western Visayas and RDC VI. The expo aims to provide a larger platform for local products and promote them on the international stage.

Hon. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Chairperson of RDC VI and City Mayor of Bacolod, emphasized the significance of ONE Visayas in providing opportunities for regional development. "The challenge is for the Regional Development Council together with the Department of Trade and Industry to take the lead in providing bigger platforms for our products and promoting them internationally," Mayor Benitez stated during the opening ceremony.

Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida, PCCI Western Visayas governor, emphasized the collaboration among the three Visayan regions. "We would like to strengthen the collaboration of all three regions of the Visayas. This aims to be the starting point, but we intend to roadshow this in all the areas of the Visayas. So Iloilo will take the initiative at this point," he explained.

The exhibit areas at SM City Iloilo's activity center was filled with the best products, showcasing the collaboration of DTI Western Visayas with its counterparts in Central and Eastern Visayas. The Department of Tourism, the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources are also actively participating in the expo, among others.

The opening program featured key festivals celebrated in honor of Señior Santo Niño, adding a cultural touch to the event. "For the first time, this is bringing under one roof Regions 6, 7, and 8 under One Visayas because that’s our goal – to really push to get interconnected. We have a lot of opportunities and potential as a region," said Atty. Peñaflorida.

The ONE Visayas Creative Expo 2024 which runs until January 28 is poised to be a landmark event, showcasing the rich tapestry of the Visayan culture while providing a platform for economic growth and international collaboration.