The much anticipated International Bazaar 2018 finally opened its doors to the public last November 25, 2018 at the PICC’s The Forum 1, 2 and 3. The annual shopping extravaganza started with a colorful opening ceremony attended by ambassadors, consuls, their spouses, and other members of the diplomatic corps. The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., and his wife and International Bazaar Foundation (IBF) Over-all Chairperson Mrs. Maria Lourdes Barcelon Locsin were on hand to welcome the guests and exhibitors.
To declare the International Bazaar 2018 open, special guest of honor, Madame Cielito Salvador Avancena, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Locsin, IBF President Consul Helen Ong, IBF Vice President Consul Betty Ang, IBF Treasurer Ms. Alice Guerrero, and President of the Spouses of the Heads of Mission (SHOM) Mrs. Susan Fries, lead the sounding of Mindanao Agung gongs owned by the late National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag.
A festival of lights then signaled the opening of the doors to the public. Shoppers and bargain hunters immediately trooped in to see what the embassies and consulates, together with chosen Filipino entrepreneurs and exhibitors had to offer.
Crowd drawers were Swiss chocolates and cheeses, gadgets from China, porcelain and happy coats from Japan, olive oil and paella mixes from Spain, fresh produce from New Zealand, fine wines from Australia, port from Portugal, handwoven items from Timor Este, tunics and jewelry from India, panama hats from Colombia. Not to be outdone were the Philippine booths that showcased world class quality items like handcrafted jewelry, metal hammered clutch bags, colorful hand sewn shawls and organic oils.
The International Bazaar, founded in 1966, continues to foster strong bonds of friendship among members of the diplomatic community in Manila. It has raised funds in order to keep up with the socio-civic projects and charitable initiatives it has started.
This year, the IBF has decided to add to the 26 beneficiaries and the 40 college scholars, a livelihood program that will help bring hope to women in depressed areas.