Ilocos products shine in Hawaii trade fair
by Cristina Arzadon
LAOAG CITY (4 December) -- Native products will bind Ilocanos in Hawaii during a five-day international trade exhibit to wind down the centennial celebration of Filipino migration in the island state next month.
Local producers of popular Ilocano products like basi (native wine), cornick and sukang Iluko (native vinegar) will have their own booth at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu from December 13 to 17. The booth will be under the name of the Laoag city government.
Along with Laoag, the cities of Vigan, Baguio and Cebu are also reportedly setting up their booths.
Laoag Mayor Michael Farinas said the international exhibit would be a fitting event to reintroduce Ilocano products to Filipino communities in Hawaii and open up business opportunities for the export industry.
"This is a good opportunity for our local producers to promote Ilocos products and sign up trade agreements in the international market," Farinas said.
He said the participation of Ilocano producers in the exhibit would also strengthen the bilateral trade between the sister cities of Laoag and Honolulu.
Other Ilocos products like the inabel (hand-woven cloth), duhat and mango wine and other souvenir items would form part of Laoag's exhibit.
Benjamin Arce, the mayor's executive secretary said, the city government had planned to bring along sample packages of longganisa and bagnet but struck down the items from the list when told that the food products would have to go through a strict screening process.
He said exhibitors are required to shell out $450 for the booth they will occupy but Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman is said to have assured Farinas that the display area intended for Ilocano producers would be given free of charge.
"We will also have the privilege to set up our booth beside the area intended for the Honolulu city government, we are sister-cities after all," Arce said.
The Hawaii government was also helping local producers to facilitate their visa application to ensure their presence during the international trade expo.
The city government started preparing for the trade fair early this year after Hanneman visited Laoag in December last year to promote cultural exchange and bilateral trade. (PIA) [top]