After a long wait, the premier showcase of Northern Mindanao’s artists and designers was formally opened on December 8, 2021, the Feast of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Three years ago we envisioned to have a “preview” store in Cagayan de Oro, where designers, artists, and manufacturers could showcase their crafts to viewers and buyers,” said Chris Gomez of Chris Gomez Creative Design, one of four partners who put their talents and efforts together to come up with the landmark store located at the ground floor of Centrio Ayala Mall (near BPI).”
Conceptualized 3 years ago, Gomez presented his brainchild Ayala Centrio Mall and got an enthusiastic response the mall management and marketing staff.
“One of Ayala Mall’s and Ayala Land’s core values is to take care of its community. Finding a home for one of Cagayan de Oro’s pride is our base foundation for extending our utmost support to Oro Creative,” said Hammer B. Roa, Ayala Centrio Mall Manager.
“Their group has brought pride to this city and has made its mark already on a bigger scale. Allocating a space for these creative geniuses is the least Ayala Centrio Mall can do. It gives us both joy and pride to foster a home for their arts and crafts, products of the passion and love in each member of Oro Creative,” he noted.
To realize the project, Gomez next approached Cocoy Bajuyo and Patrick Gabutina with the concept. The group decided it was high time to promote and market Northern Mindanao products with a high vision of premium and curated items, eventually organizing Oro Creative with Michael Bacol as a partner organization to Ayala Centrio Mall for the undertaking.
“Lunâ (meaning a parcel of land or space in Bisaya) is a curated retail store, creative space, for artists and designers, who want to be part of the growing creative community in Cagayan de Oro,” Gomez explained back in an episode of the Higalaay Festival online series aired during Cagayan de Oro’s August Fiesta Month.
“Lunâ is a creative space, and that is why we provided a space for other artists to showcase their creative output and products with a global appeal in a unique shopping experience
Gomez is a multi-disciplinary creative and advocate of Sustainable Design. Among his many laurels: Finalist, 2011 National Philippine Art Awards; Grand Prize winner (water-based category) 2012 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence Awards, and Finalist, 2014 Look of Style Awards (British Council/Look Magazine).
He is also a Product Development Mentor accredited by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, and a Product Design Specialist of Design Center Philippines (DCP).
Cocoy Bajuyo of Sea Glass Treasures, is another local artist and designer behind the landmark store.
“Sea Glass Treasures is our brand. We are the only ones in the country who was able to make an industry from sea glass, which are broken shards found in the beaches of Northern Mindanao. We focus mainly on costume jewelry like necklaces, rings and earrings, though we also do other art works which incorporate sea glass,” Bajuyo explained.
“It’s about time that Cagayan de Oro with its abundance of designers and artists, should have a proper showroom where they can showcase their products like crafts and their artworks,” he added.
Another of Luna’s prime movers is Patrick Gabutina of Tinabuan Arts and Crafts, a social enterprise based in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, which partners with artisanal communities in Lagonglong and Salay, Misamis Oriental; Butuan and Bukidnon, to showcase their products mostly bags and Christmas decors.
Gabutina won the grand prize for the Fashion Accessories Professional Category in the Habi Kadayawan 2019 held in Davao City with his entry “Purong Bag” (Purong means head dress in Visayan), inspired by the head dresses of the indigenous peoples of Bukidnon and Davao, and made of indigenous materials like hinabul (woven abaca fiber) with tikog (reed grass) fringes, leather straps and carved wood.
The fourth prime mover is visual artist and aspiring designer Michael Bacol.
“I am a visual artist and aspiring designer, more on paintings, sculpture from junk and trash, clay, also design chairs, lamps, bags.”
The group has also invited Angela Soriano who does contemporary slow fashion wearables; Dirkie Roa-Dabay for apparel focusing on resort wear; Pink Flood by Ivan Macarambon for art and artsy objects and furnishings; Neil Rafisura of Salayhandmade Products Industries, Inc.’ and THOMPSON’S Natural for oils and beauty essentials Made in Cagayan de Oro.
“Our objective was to create a collective voice and representation to further promote and strengthen the value of Northern Mindanao craftsmanship in the new level,” Gomez stressed.
At the core of this collaboration was the group’s desire to promote and showcase Northern Mindanao Craftsmanship, an extension of its art, history, heritage and ongoing evolution as a culture.
But more importantly, they felt they needed to come together to support local artisans and communities with their livelihood in these trying times.
“Buying local is not just a statement, but more so a testament to commitment for promoting enterprises with a purpose,” Gomez noted.
Lunâ was originally conceived to be a showcase for local designers who underwent trainings in design competency in 2018 and 2019 under the mentorship of Gomez, in tandem with the Misamis Oriental DTI provincial office and Capitol University under the Business Incubation and Support Center.
“Mao to na born ang certificate program for design competency to equip aspiring designers, and to sustain there must be program for them to practice,” Gomez disclosed.
“We wanted to have a more focused program for creatives with our partners to sustain their livelihood and professionalized their practice. And the only way to achieve this is to work together not only focusing on the SMEs products (food or non-food) but include our creatives in the journey,” he added.
Thank you to our partners, friends and fellow brand ambassadors for your commitment and promoting the same vision with Oro Creative, Gomez said.
“Special thanks to Centrio Ayala Mall management for making our concept come to life.”