Products

These World-Renowned Bags Give Life to 400 Typhoon-Stricken Filipinas

Samar, Western Samar

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Belle Piccio | Oct 07, 2014


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Banago, pronounced as “ba-nah-go,” is a collection of handcrafted and handwoven bits and pieces meticulously made by artisans.

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Some of these collections are home accessories and bags made of vibrant colors with exotic patterns. The unique and colorful patterns are based on the body-painting traditions of the Philippines’ ancient tattooed “Pintado” warriors.

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With every piece you buy, you also help the country recover from the storm's destruction (Yolanda hit last November 8, 2013). Since Banago gives back by supporting the local communities and their households, you're bringing smiles to people while bringing the island-chic style to the city.

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Banago products are made by 400 women in Western Samar. It provides livelihood to most of the women, who in turn support their families.

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The 400 women weavers and artisan embroiderers.

Banago has made a mark in the international fashion scene. It has made its way to fashion magazines like Vogue, Lucky, Elle, and Glitter Japan, to name a few.

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The Woman Behind Banago

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Renee Patron is the founder and creative director of Banago. She’s a Filipino-American who went back to the Philippines in 2011 to take care of her ailing grandmother who had had a stroke.

Renee, born in LA and a former New Yorker, quit her job as the creative director for Pret a Porter Paris to start her own business in the Philippines. She put up a business that she knows she can use to give back to the people and live simple.

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Mana Diling, one of Banago’s head artisan embroiders, with her freshly dyed and dried palm leaves.

Her company, Banago, exports and supplies to stores like Nordstrom, Tommy Bahama, W Hotel Boutiques, and Anthropologie.

To learn more about Banago, watch the video:

What’s in the Name & the Rise of Banago

Banago [ba-nah-go] is named after a beach in Guiuan where Renee’s mother grew up. Guiuan was directly hit by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.

In just a blink of the eye, Renee almost lost everything. It also took the homes of her workers, caused about $150,000 (almost Php6.5M) worth of damages to her business alone.

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The supertyphoon and the storm surge took away their production facility and the raw materials of wild grass from which their products are made.

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3 months after Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. What some saw as impossible, the Banago team both in the Philippines and in the US have accomplished and are continuing to build even stronger.

Thanks to Kickstarter, she and her team were able to raise more than $20,000 (around Php860,000) to jumpstart Banago. They are raising money to bring orders back through the products available at Kickstarter.

The profit will also be used to pay for rebuilding, materials for the women, and wheat planting for the farmers. Banago is slowly making a comeback.

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Life may be a struggle in the Philippines after Yolanda according to Renee, but she has no regrets leaving the comforts of her home in America in exchange for a simple yet contented life in the Philippines. Because she knows that she is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of Filipino women.

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To learn more about Banago products, visit www.kickstarter.com.

(All photos are from the Banago FB page, otherwise indicated.)


View other Filipino creations with uplifting stories:

Rattan Backpack Charger: Proudly Pinoy Powerbank!

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Giant Glowing Living Balls to Save Tacloban From the Darkness

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Rebuilding Broken Lives with Resplendent Broken Tiles

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Light Through the Rubble: Handcrafted Lamps & More for Yolanda Help

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Haiyan Collection: Supertyphoon-Inspired Crafts That Help Communities

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