I’ve been meaning to write an update about the “Iloilo-APEC-chairs” issue last Thursday. But I’m never good with immediate reactions. So I slept on it and let a few days pass. Now there are no more emotions.
A quick recap –
The Yusay Consing Mansion was set up with Ilonggo-made products on display and for sale. The logo of APEC appears prominently in the front lawn. Photo by John Rou, as it appears in Iloilo City Government Facebook.
On Iloilo City’s preparations for APEC —
Lawyer Helen Catalbas, director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) office in Western Visayas, said the tours would highlight century-old mansions and restored buildings, Iloilo churches, and local delicacies.
Another popular attraction of the tour is Casa Grande, a mansion built in the 1920s at Molo District that once was owned by the Yusay-Consing family. The house is right across Molo Church, also a popular sight for its Gothic-Renaissance architecture.
Casa Grande had been acquired and renovated by the SM Group, and was opened to the public on Sept. 17 in time for the Apec meetings. The mansion, which showcases Ilonggo products and other native wares, has since drawn hundreds of visitors daily.
Source Inquirer September 25, 2015
Two hours after I posted the story, I got a text from Stevan Tan, SVP of SM Supermalls. “It has reached my office – about the issue of an Iloilo furniture maker who copied your chair and showcased it in our Molo Mansion in Iloilo. We immediately called the attention of the exhibitor and had it pulled out already.”
In January 2014 I posted this on my Instagram. A friend of mine found these chairs in Iloilo City. Back then I was still actively selling DAPHNE® chairs in Dimensione. I had warned readers about these alleged poor imitations.
Since this story came out, I heard from lawyers, students, readers, and Ilonggo people who were disturbed by what had been done. One of them told me that those chairs were actually on display in the University of San Agustin. The owner of the furniture factory’s daughter had recently graduated from interior design class. And their son just got his architecture license.
I am touched by the expression of support from many readers and viewers, especially from my fellow Ilonggos. The silver lining is that I actually heard from people who were able to trace our common roots. Not only am I half-Ilonggo, I also gave one year of my adult life to help Iloilo and Guimaras in nation-building after I graduated from university in Canada. I was sent to the Philippines by Canada, specifically to that region, to manage an urban planning program funded by my Canadian government. (My first return to the Philippines was via Iloilo).
I was moved by this photo from a long-time reader. She is a Filipino working abroad. I remember she emailed us about purchasing this DAPHNE chair for her daughter. She wanted to give it to her daughter as a surprise. She couldn’t come home that Christmas. And if I recall, we had arranged the delivery of the chair to her home.