Taotao Souvenirs aims to address the forgotten cultural identities of all ethnic groups in the Philippines by creating representations through great products and various educational materials about culture. It has initially started with wooden dolls and intends to diversify on its second year; from wood to porcelain, to refrigerator magnets, to dolls in glass cases, to keychain dolls.
For the first few years, Taotao Souvenirs aims to complete the 41 indigenous groups of Mindanao and the 13 ethnolinguistic tribes from the Bangsamoro. It is working closely with well-known Anthropologist Dr Erlinda Burton, curator of Xavier University Museum and Museo de Oro’s resident artist for 35 years, Mr Nonoy Estarte. In the future, it envisions creating a complete indigenous group home set, complete with home objects from a particular tribe such as a cooking set, guitars, hunting set and the like. Imagine a Barbie doll house but for indigenous ethnic groups that will make their cultural identity a mainstream knowledge.
It is part of Taotao Souvenirs’ philosophy to create authentic products that underwent detailed research with the help of consultants, anthropologists and Indigenous peoples (IPs) themselves. The social enterprise primarily intends to work directly with stay-at-home Indigenous Peoples/Moro/internally displaced mothers. Currently, they are working closely with the stay-at-home mothers from the Higaunon indigenous group in Sansolihon, Cagayan de Oro and are helping them earn additional income.
Eventually, Taotao Souvenirs intends to help the IDP mothers who were displaced due to conflict in Marawi City. The IDPs may have some traumatic experience brought by the siege. Through painting and other activities, Taotao Souvenirs hopes to contribute to their psychological healing and the social enterprise may become more than just an income generating activity.