when graciosa rolled up her sleeves…
ANP is rightly proud of its distinctive tastefulness and progressively ethnic appeal. Qualities lent by a strong core of women recognized as the leading spirits behind ANP.
Milagros Millie Kilayko, Ma. Teresa Tima Lacson, Ma. Cecilia China Gallaga, Lyn Besa Gamboa
By taking the lead in rolling up their sleeves and getting into the business of helping to alleviate the dire local situation, these pioneering women of Negros brought about a continuous source of employment and helped shape the mindset of the Negrense youth. When in the past, the most logical choice was for the farm worker’s son to go back to the farm and the haciendero’s son to go back to the hacienda, the opportunities offered by ANP inspired young producers to take the more promising steps as entrepreneurs.
Millie gave ANP a larger vision and a more professional stance. Under her presidency, the ANP implemented the projects of then President Fidel Ramos’ National Economic Enterprise Development. In partnership with DTI, among others, handicraft producers in the 20 poorest provinces were aided, especially those in remote areas where government troops and rebels were clashing. Many of the entrepreneurs coming from these poor areas have gone on to participate in big trade shows.
Tima, Millie’s partner and wife of former governor Daniel Bitay Lacson, responded to the challenge of her progressive thinking husband and the prominent Negrense ladies in Manila who had themselves started a move to aid Negros through handicrafts. Tima believed in the secret strength and durability of ANP which is the fact that the work has always been kept free of politics. One needed to be a producer to be a member of ANP.
China belonged to the first wave of women to heed the challenge of Bitay Lacson. It was indeed a feat to teach the farmers’ wives to do crafts with work hewn hands. It was during her presidency when undaunted by difficulties; they pursued the rocky trade mission road and moved the showroom to its present site along Bacolod City’s Lacson Street.
Lyn has always been involved with ANP since its inception and carries with her the heartwarming stories of struggling producers who made niches in the local and global marketplace. Always one to aspire for better quality and product excellence, she created the Bulawan Awards that give recognition to product design and innovation, a positive move that effectively ensured the continual stream of fresh product ideas on the shelves of ANP.