Sample of Mayat-an bags

Rovilyn Mayat-an of Asin Road, Baguio City is not new to trade fairs and selling expositions. In fact, she has attended numerous Impakabsat trade fairs and other marketing promotions initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR). Recently, her products were seen at the Session Market Showcase at Session Road and at the Mandeko Kito Artisans Virtual Marketplace at the Berkeley International School also in Baguio.

Mayat-an Handicrafts derived its trade name from an ancient Benguet family name which is also a statement of the brand’s mission to preserve the traditional ethnic designs and artisan skills inherent to the lifestyles and culture amongst people of Cordilleras.

Various designs of products like hand bags, purses, backpacks caught the attention of buyers and trade fair goers for its uniqueness. Many of Mayat-an’s work combines handcrafted bamboo and rattan baskets with traditionally woven fabrics and textiles. Adding to the uniqueness of her products, Mayat-an says that her handbags are both fashionable and functional. The “self-defense” bag, which looks like a bag with a stone as base, is a woven abaca attached to a base made from a mixture of sand and resin. This technique allows it to be hard enough to defend self from potential assailants. Having a stone for bag might really throw off the bad people from trying to harm you.

Other designs from the brand uses rattan and a species of wild bamboo called ‘anes’, which is known among the locals for its resistance to decay and pest attacks. “We choose the only bamboo that is mature enough, you need to cut it so the tree can grow new shoots” said Mayat-an adding that these are sourced mostly from the thick forests of Sablan, Benguet.

Aside from bags, Mayat-an also fabricates old T-shirts into eco-bags, which she freely gives for every purchase of her products.

Mayat-an started designing and creating her own bags when she was in college. Her friends and classmates took a liking to her work and wanted the same for their own use. They were her first clients and their enthusiasm for her work inspired Mayat-an to expand her designs. Hence, the start of the brands journey to its commitment to produce unique and quality woven products.

Family members served as the initial workers of the brand. As Mayat-an’s business expanded and demands surged, she tapped the talents and skills of weavers from her community to increase production.

Photo shows Rovilyn showing one of her creations to then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004 during a year-end bonfire at Lualhati Compound, Baguio City.
Photo shows Rovilyn showing one of her creations to then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004 during a year-end bonfire at Lualhati Compound, Baguio City.

Noting the preference of her buyers for unique and stylish yet sustainable, traditional, and culturally relevant designs, Mayat-an chose to stay in the niche of “nature products” that is consistent with the public’s concern for environmental protection and preservation.

Recently, Rovilyn Mayat-an along with 30 officers and sectoral representatives comprising the newly created Creative Baguio City Council (CBCC) took their formal oath of office administered by City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, Chairman of the CBCC. Mayat-an is included in the CBCC Committee on Crafts and Folk Arts together with John Arvin Molintas and Clinton Anniversario with former University of the Philippines-Baguio Chancellor Dr. Raymundo Rovillos as co-chairman.

The Impakabsat is the region’s annual regional trade fair under the agency that aims to showcase the best products from the Cordillera.

Date of Release: 26 August 2021