Festival Mall marks HERoic Women’s Month with dolls exhibit

Dolls, pretty, dainty dolls!

This March, the International Women’s Month, is being celebrated at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa. This year’s theme will bear the name HERoic: Warrior. Winner. Woman., and will begin with a showcase of that one item that makes the hearts of many girls of all ages aflutter– dolls!

Over 30 exquisite Nenita and Ninay dolls, dressed in their best Filipiniana finery, will be on exhibit at Festival Mall’s Expansion Hall, Upper Ground Floor, Expansion Wing, from March 8 to 18.

Ninay dolls dressed in variations of the Filipiniana attire

The brainchild of fashion designer Patis Tesoro and the BSK, the Nenita (12-inch dolls worth Php 3,500) and Ninay (18 to 20-inch dolls worth Php 5,000) dolls are created with the desire to preserve the richness and beauty of Filipiniana fashion. Looking at the dolls is like flipping through the pages of a history book, where the Filipinas’ way of dressing is documented with utmost care and in exact detail. All dolls are made by hand through a 12-step process that requires six pairs of hands to accomplish, with each doll’s face hand-painted by BSK’s in-house artists.

Minerva A. De Leon, president of BSK National Foundation, says much research is poured in each and every doll that the group makes. “To maintain authenticity, fabrics are all locally sourced. For instance, the dolls inspired by Davao’s indigenous peoples were dressed with fabrics that are really sourced in Mindanao,” De Leon says. Top designers like Rene Salud and Rajo Laurel, who have taught at some BSK livelihood workshops, also sometimes donate extra fabrics to them.

“Mano Po” – a Nenita doll showcasing Filipino values

In 2013 the Kikay dolls (Php 1,750), a more playful and youthful collection than the Nenita and Ninay, were added to BSK’s roster of products to cater to the millennial audience. BSK also takes orders for custom-made dolls, with custom face molds. Among past clients who have had custom-made dolls made for them include Sen. Loren Legarda, and former president Joseph Estrada.

The Kikay doll, developed in 2013 for a younger audience

BSK approaches its livelihood projects on a holistic level. “We give them the basic tools, and then we capacitate them on how to be a micro-entrepreneur by giving them training. We also help them get a simple loan to begin their own business. That’s how we empower women,” De Leon says.

BSK began in 1992 to help women and their families. Yet, men, women, and children of the San Juan City community receive equal opportunity to be equipped with tools like values formation, accounting seminars, and workshops for doll-making, sewing, and making cleaning solutions, among others, with the help of BSK. Its products have also expanded to include furniture, bags, mugs, and garments, continuing to innovate and empower others, especially women, to work.

Pouches and purses made from recycled materials by the BSK women

More than just being a place in which people shop and dine, Festival Mall has also evolved into a space where advocacies are promoted and championed.

“Festival Mall believes in the power of women as a moving force that helps shape society. Their leadership skills largely contribute to bringing customer centricity and excellence in the workplace,” says Rose Nuqui, vice president for marketing, exhibits and conventions, and amusement centers for Filinvest. “Partnering with BSK gives us an opportunity to help the beneficiaries of the foundation by showcasing their products and be a partner in uplifting the quality of life of women and their families.”

Ninay doll inspired by the Ifugao from Cordillera Administrative Region

At the heart of each Festival Mall endeavor is the vision of bringing life to the city and enhancing the lifestyles of the people who live and work nearby. After all, as the premiere Filinvest Lifemall, Festival aims to be seen not just as a retail center, but as a place where people’s needs and passions find an ideal balance. True to its slogan “where the city’s heart beats,” Festival Mall exerts effort to bring noteworthy events and exhibits close to the heart of its community.

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