Let me ask you a question, what do you actually think when you hear about pandan? Most probably, some would be reminded of buko-pandan salad or that green pointy leaf that is put in cooked rice to smell good. How about native? Maybe, you’d be reminded of those handicrafts that are made by native tribes but who would think of pandan and native that is “in” and very chic? In the Negros Trade Fair, I was able to meet Marichu D. Cusi, the proprietress of Kiculo, a store specializing on handmade bags that caters to the classic taste of women. Her bags are made by highly-skilled workers using pandan leaves. I asked if this pandan leaves were the same as that being used to make rice smell good, she immediately answered maybe anticipating my question that the pandan leaves used are related to the one culinarily used but stronger and more durable.
Kiculo was named after her daughter Kitkat Cusi-Lobaton, the one who originally started the business with a passion for trendy fashion using native materials like pandan. The business prospered and gained wide customership through their various contacts in the Association of Negros Producers as well as the various Negros Trade Fairs they joined in for the past years. However, since her daughter was beginning to be busy with her family, the business was threatened for closure due to the lack of time. Seeing the wide potential of the business, Mrs. Cusi volunteered to handle the business herself. It was a learning experience since she did not have knowledge beforehand on how the crafts were made or how the business ran but soon enough, she was able to learn the ropes and develop new fashion styles herself. Her new designs are well-thought and well-critiqued with the help of family and friends.
Everytime a new design is made, she would consult her daughter Kikat and her friends if they like the new design. If there are some suggestions, necessary changes are made to improve the design. The bag pictured above are one of her best sellers and the design has been in the Trade Fair for six years now yet people never gets tired of buying this design. This can be attributed to the fact that the design integrated to the bag is a classic one that never fades in style. Native themed bags never goes out of style owing as well to the bag’s durability and handiness. Indeed, the booth was able to gather the likes of Sen. Loren Legarda and Irene Marcos Araneta, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ daughter, to check out her products in the booth. Kiculo holds shop at No. 24 Quezon Ave., Bacólod City and has products available at the ANP Negros Showroom. You can reach the shop by phone at (034) 435-4518 or check out new items at their website, http://www.kiculo.com with updated designs from their inventory.