By Connie Calipay
A total of 297 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Bicol region are set to join the mainstream market with their uniquely handcrafted designs and delectable delicacies at the OKB Trade & Travel Fair at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City on October 9-13.
The OKB stands for “Orgullo kan Bicol,” meaning Bicol’s pride.
Jocelyn Berango, DTI spokesperson, said that “thousands of buyers from around the globe are expected to crowd the Megatrade Halls 1 & 2, 5th level” for the event.
She said the DTI-initiated OKB Trade & Travel Fair was first staged in 1996 with only 49 exhibitors. On its 23rd year this 2019, a total of 297 MSMEs are set to participate, 46 percent of which, or 137, are new and will bring 659 new products.
“The five-day OKB fair features a wide array of products carefully selected from the six provinces across the region. Products that are up for sale include processed foods, ceramics, furniture/ furnishings, fine jewelry, wearables and home style, holiday decors, and other products that will surely delight buyers,” Berango said.
In a separate interview, DTI-5 (Bicol) Director Jocelyn LB Blanco said, “We encourage everyone to support our local MSMEs by buying their products as they provide jobs in their respective communities. We invite domestic and foreign buyers to take a closer look and become more aware of what these 297 entrepreneurs produce.”
The OKB 2019 also features “Bikolinaria”, a showcase of peculiar Bicolano dishes with a sniffy-mouthwatering aroma that will certainly make food lovers come back for more.
Meanwhile, to be held in partnership with the OKB Association, Inc. and the Department of Tourism (DOT) 5, the OKB-Exciting Bicol Fair has gone beyond being an annual marketing event for the region’s fine products and tourism potentials.
The organizers endeavor to provide MSMEs better avenues to promote their products and encourage them to explore the global market.
“Fair opens on Oct. 9, 2019 at 3 p.m. See you there! Institutional buyers may email us at R05@dti.gov.ph and/or send an inquiry at our FB page, @DTI.Region5,” Blanco said. (First published by PNA, Oct. 4, 2019)