Advocacy Lifestyle

Celebrating Filipino Ethnicity through Vesti

The true and unified Filipino ethnicity is not quite clear to many.  Filipinos have long been divided by regionalistic differences.  In a small country like the Philippines, people have to contend with different dialects, practices, clothing, behavior, and products.

The Filipino Race

The human race has a general classification of race which is primarily based on color.  Caucasian represents the white races, Ethiopian represents the black races, Mongolian represents the yellow races, Native Americans represent the red races, and the Malay represents the brown races in which Filipinos are included.  It has to be noted however that the definition of race goes beyond color.  Color is just probably the easiest point of identification which can be used to classify.

The Filipinos are in good company with the Thais, Malaysians, Burmese, and the Pacific Islanders in belonging to the Malay race.  In spite of belonging to the same race however, these groups have obvious differences.  This is not all surprising since Filipinos have marked differences as well regardless of the fact that they occupy the same country.  This fact has been partly blamed to the topography of the country consisting of islands which tend to physically separate Filipinos and the foreign influence which each part of the country has been subjected to.

Unity in Diversity

There are efforts being exerted to bridge the gap that has been identified to produce one Filipino identity.  The institution of the Filipino language that seeks to include words from Visayas and Mindanao instead of purely limiting it to the Tagalog dialect from Luzon is one such effort.  Another is the alternate representation of the national Filipino costume specifically in international events to include styles identified with other regions of the Philippines.  Even the products branded as Philippine made now include a wide variety, each coming with its own identity from its specific region.  The only difference now is that they now represent the Filipino ethnicity at its best.

There are materials identified with specific regions.  Mindanao has long been known for making indigenous fabrics such as Tinalak, Yakan, Hinabol, Abaca, Mindanao Silk, and Jute, among others.  Their use for more mainstream products was a long time coming.


When designer Martha Rodriguez found a best-seller in her hands in December 2010 via a circular sling bag made from abaca which she herself designed, it was almost expected that something productive will come out of it.  Vesti was born not long after as a brand of bags that will showcase indigenous materials from Mindanano but will come in modern designs and embellishments.  Vesti has since been operating under the tagline “Clothing Ethnicity with Modernity”.

The key design of Vesti bags is its woven material.  The carefully-woven Mindanao material is shaped to produce bags that are modern and functional while fitting the lifestyle of modern Filipinas.  The founder’s goal of building Mindanao pride with her products has finally bore fruit as she is wont to say: Yabang Mindanao, Yabang Pinoy.

My Say

It is amazing how the beauty of Mindanao’s culture and artistry can be seen from seemingly everyday products like bags.  This shows that we need not go to great lengths to show how much we love our country.  We can start by patronizing locally made products that will answer our personal requirements.  Let us help celebrate Filipino ethnicity through Vesti.

59 Comment

  1. Which class i have attended, Sociology or History class? Great info sis. I agree much with your observation. We should patronize our own local products. It is about time that we forget what we call “Imported Mentality”. Our products are world-class. A little push from consumers and these products will be world-known.

  2. we should support our locally made products and be proud by using them… in doing this, we help the workers who do these products… we help the country. Yahweh bless.

  3. These fabrics were a certain distinction..
    It’s a real Filipino treat, and ingeniously made.
    Very appealing! hope more and more of countrymen would support in promoting this cultural heritage. 🙂

  4. It feels great to see how creative and innovative entrepreneurs are using our own native products as raw material to their own products for the use of certain consumers, it shows how diverse Philippines is yet we are united as one Filipino looking upward to sustainable dev’t of the business sector, Phil. as a whole

  5. Until now I still have my tinalak coin purse that I bought in the Philippines decade ago 🙂 Very sturdy indeed and got a lot of compliments of how different it is too. Those are very attractive to foreign market.

  6. ooohhh maybe it would be nice to have a laptop bag or some kind of a messenger’s bag look with it. I always appreciate ethnic items and to have a bag (for my laptop) with that look would really be something

  7. Ito ang atin! I so proud to be a Filipino much more a Mindanaoan. I have seen how the Yakan cloth is made in a Yakan village in Zamboanga City some years back during the bloggers summit held in that city. I even bought a few table cloth and wallet.

    These bags are great gift item for modern and corporate Filipina.

  8. That’s Filipino craftsmanship at its finest. We should learn to show our appreciation for Filipino talent by patronizing such products. Sometimes, foreigners dig these more than we do.

    1. It is quite sad when foreigners appreciate local products more than Filipinos do although there are positive signs that more and more Filpinos are starting to better appreciate locally-made products.

  9. Like all other countries, Philippines has lots resources including it’s own people’s crafty ideas. With proper government support, these ideas on crafts for trade purposes will excel.

  10. The uniqueness of our ethnicity is the factor that keeps us more different from other country. Bind with different culture, tradition and taste of fashion! I Love VESTI PRODUCT!

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