THE HERITAGE CONTINUES, OUR ORGULLO LIVES ON…
“Orgullo Kan Bikol”, started by DTI-Region 5 in 1996, has since evolved into “OKB” – a fitting name to a project which, through the years, has transformed Bicol MSMEs into direct and indirect exporters, contributing significantly to the region’s socio-economic growth. By 2007, with the infusion of DOT-Region 5’s Gayon Bicol, the event has been institutionalized as OKB-Gayon Bicol.
Now on its 16th year, OKB-Gayon Bicol, the longest running regional trade fair in the entire country, once again takes center stage as it showcases distinct products from the 6 Bicol provinces. These products include wearables & homestyle, processed food, furniture & furnishing and health & wellness. This marketing-cultural event indeed has gone a long, long way. And every step of the way, it endeavors to promote and market the distinct products of our homegrown entrepreneurs to discerning markets.
OKB is our vehicle to develop new entrepreneurs. Every year, about 20% of the total number of exhibitors are new, first-timers, debuting into the mainstream Manila market via this trade event at SM Megamall. This strategy contributes significantly to job generation in the six (6) Bicol provinces.
Reaping the fruits
OKB-Gayon Bicol is now reaping its fruits.
In terms of sales, some P131.2 million pesos were generated since its inception which in many ways perked up the business transactions in the region. This figure only includes the sales generated during the staging of the fair. It has also contributed much to investments and job generation in the countryside.
For last year alone, OKB-Gayon Bicol earned total sales of P17M, the highest sales so far in the history of OKB. This is considered to be remarkable since sales jumped up by 70% of our target, first time that happened, also in the history of OKB. The effect of this outcome to income and livelihood opportunities in the provinces is very significant
It is worth mentioning that we have developed a world-class packaging of our processed food products which are now more competitive and thus, reached as far as the United States of America for its market. DTI also endeavors to support MSMEs in areas of product development by tapping the services of local designers to assist OKB participants in developing new designs for their handcrafted products.
OKB partners and sponsors
To keep pace with the changing times, DTI Region V had been tapping both the private and public sector as its partners. The fair, being an example of a public-private partnership had the OKB Association for its private sector partner. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September 15, 2006, this association will eventually become the frontrunners of OKB Regional Trade Fair in the next years, although DTI will still be very much around to support this activity.
The officers and members of the organization together with DTI are working synergistically to continually improve Bicol products despite difficult times. The organization is still open to other MSMEs who are willing to be members and avail of the benefits derived from the association.
Since 2007, the Department of Tourism (DOT)-5 has become a partner of the DTI-5; hence, OKB-Gayon Bicol was institutionalized. The DTI-DOT tandem is an ideal combination as it really works, given the very substantial sales generated by the trade fair, which has since evolved; not just a marketing event but a cultural event as well. Tourist destinations and the rich cultural heritage of Bicolandia are highlighted which indeed brings to fore the beauty and bounty of the region. With this tandem, “OKB-back-to-back-with-Gayon Bicol” has drawn a lot of people to the fair and brought in excellent sales.
We also mention the ever undying support of our sponsors, the PhilExport, the Local Government Units (LGUs) other Line Departments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP).
Much has to be done yet for Bicol to move steadily forward on the road to progress. A continuing partnership of all concerned sectors is much needed. It is heartening to note that our partners in development have taken worthy steps to strengthen the collaboration. As the partnership moves toward more substantial outcomes, we remain optimistic that the gains of our Orgullo will remain to be our pride; the tradition continues as our heritage goes on.
Mabuhay an OKB!
by: Bhem R. Berango
PIO, DTI-Region 5