This same spirit imbues the 22nd trade fair that ANP will hold on Oct. 3 to 8 at the Rockwell Tent, Rockwell Plant, in Makati. Billed “Fresh Ideas,” the trade fair, according to Reena Peña, this year’s trade fair chair, will showcase the finest and the most innovative designs and concepts of the 61 producers in Negros who will be participating in the fair, with the collaboration, directly or indirectly, of young designers from Negros who have made their name here and abroad. These include Raul Aguilar, a furniture and furnishings designer; Rafael Montilla, a furnishings designer who had studied in Milan; Mary Ann Suajico, a designer of gifts and houseware; Josef Sagemuller, a gemologist and jewelry designer; and Raffy Totengco whose Rafe brand of handbags is the craze in New York. And there are other featured designers, like Bingle Clemente, who makes fabulous bags out of discarded tarpaulins and streamers. “But we’re not deleting the old favorites,” says Peña whose company, Silay Export, is a producer of world-class gifts and houseware. “We’re updating these classic and traditional pieces and making them more in tune with the times. Even the Philippine market is evolving, influenced by an influx of style and market trends from abroad. In short, it’s an endless challenge for ANP. There’s always room for innovation and improvement.” The trade fair, Peña says, caters to the discriminating local as well as Asian market, including well-traveled tourists who know what the best buys are in this region and big-time buyers who understand what appeals to a global market. “And then, there’s the food,” says Peña, “the incomparably appetizing dishes that Negros is famous for.” These are the traditional dishes along with newly concocted delicacies—sweets prepared with Negros muscovado, delightful takes of the piaya, tapenades, dips with saluyot and local vegetables—that, Peña promises, will make your visit to the ANP trade fair in Rockwell worth your while. At the trade fair, Peña says, “we are not only giving you the best in food, furniture and furnishings and fashion and accessories that Negros can offer, we are also giving you the very soul of Negros to bring home with you.” And the uplifting story that began years ago when the women of Bacolod crafted lovely things with their hands and prepared the pattern for a big industry.