Right on the third floor of the Gawad Kalinga Pinagsama center in Brgy. Pinagsama, Taguig is the GKonomics Design Lab and Showroom, a showcase of all the products that various Gawad Kalinga communities across the country produce as part of their livelihood training. After all, with dignified homes come the need to empower and help the community become self-sustaining. By providing GK residents with marketable skills, and teaching them good business practices, GKonomics hopes to pave the way to economic independence and wealth creation in all GK communities.
According to Divine Duran, who is the communications director of GKonomics, "Our mantra is, with every product, we share a story and with every purchase, a purpose." Given such a noble cause we of course accepted her invitation to attend the launch of their first ever showroom. With Ate Divine's cousin Nina, who is one of my bestest friends, we trooped over to Taguig, and braved three flights of stairs despite our bulging bellies i.e. Yes! We are both expecting Dragon babies! *Cue fire breathing here, hahaha!*
Here I am pregnant at 14 weeks, my BFF Nina at almost 6 months!
Divine Duran, Communications Director with Marivic Poblador-Pineda, Product Development Director, GKonomics
The launch was graced by Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga, interior designer Ivy Almario who designed the GKonomics showroom, Archie King & Bobby Rodrigo
If you are looking for souvenir items for a wedding or a party, unique and meaningful gifts to give to friends who have everything, or pasalubong from back home, then it's worth a trek to visit the Showroom and Design Lab. Apart from being able to buy what's on display, you may have items custom made to your taste or color motif, place wholesale/bulk orders in advance, or just visit to check out the interesting products they have on display.
Like these baskets, totes and hats made from "Bankuan", a local material sourced by a GK community in Camarines Sur:
This slouchy Bankuan bag is my favorite, and I can imagine Japanese ladies loving these! They do like straw totes!
Totes, wallets, tissue box holders and iPad cases made from Zesto doy packs. These are made by residents of GK Sunshineville with the support of Maraming Bayani Foundation who provides the community with the raw materials used to create these products. I have seen these around in New York and Singapore actually!
Capiz products by GK Sta. Rita in Las Pinas. I remember Ate Divine's brother Angelo gave capiz tealight candle holders as giveaways for his wedding a few years ago. They also had these lighted and put on display right on the guest tables. Very pretty!
This sparkly evening clutch is made from...guess what?! A discarded video tape! How amazing is that?
Then there are candles galore in all shapes and sizes. Some of the pieces are quite funny, like the mini lechons! Hahaha!
Then there are Assumption Iloilo Cookbooks available for Php600 a piece. Proceeds from the cookbook sales are used to build homes for the less fortunate through a partnership with Gawad Kalinga.
This Hope box made from Pandan leaves are made by the weavers of Dr. Rafael San Agustin Legacy Village in San Carlos, Negros Occidental. The calados from the emblem and bookmark was learned from the Spaniards and adapted by Filipino woodworkers.
Products made from indigenous fabrics and weaves made in partnership with Randy Ortiz and GK Sulu as part of their social artisty program.
The totes above are partly made from inverted tarpaulin actually! Here's the reverse, it used to be a Mighty Bond billboard ad:
Bags, clutches and coin purses made from colored plastic bags:
The gift boxes for Theo and Philo chocolates are made by residents of GK Pangil in Laguna. If you are looking for makers of pretty gift boxes, GK Pangil could probably make some for you too!
More than just pretty and practical gift items, there are interesting finds in the showroom as well. Such as this Monobloc chair cover! It really adds character to a nondescript plastic chair, especially a scuffed and battle scarred chair that has been around for years:
Then there's the Kawayan Tech bike made by residents of GKonomics communities who are trained in bike making. You can actually custom-order these bikes at the showroom and have your bike come in the colors of your choice. Although I would prefer seeing the natural beauty of the kawayan actually.
There's actually a lot more to discover in the showroom, and everyone is invited to drop by, say hello, shop and share ideas! Congratulations to Mr. Tony Meloto, his team of Gkonomics ladies who are all women not only of leisure but also of substance, and most especially the GK communities! May the Gkonomics Showroom and Design Lab continue to be an incubator of great things discover, create, and share with the world!
The Gkonomics Design Lab and Showroom accepts customized orders for company events and special occasions, including individual purchases and bulk orders from local and international organizations.
Where to Find:
3/F GK Brgy. Pinagsama (inside green gate)
Western Bicutan, Taguig City
(Go past Maria Reyna de los Apostoles Church)
GKonomics products are also available at the following stores:
Echo Store - Serendra Branch
SM Kultura - Megamall, North Edsa, Mall of Asia, Makati,
Mananzan Handicrafts - Intramuros.
You may shop online through gkonomics.shopinas.com and the products will be delivered to you via Air21. GKonomics can deliver in the Ortigas, Mandaluyong, and Makati areas with a delivery charge of P50 only.
You may also place your orders through Thess Barrameda, Sales and Distribution Coordinator at mobile number: 09064127014. The products can be sent through the regular courier system but corresponding charges will apply.