HABI president Mia Villanueva is determined to uphold the enterprising spirit while fostering imaginative thinking.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s September 2023 Issue.
Growing up in a home where one takes part in a lot of giving and sharing is definitely a life filled with blessings. Coming from a family who unconditionally engages in philanthropic activities, has honed the character, values, and good person of service that is Mia Villanueva.
At a very early age she was already exposed to these random acts of kindness. “It’s from my mother, she was into a lot of charities, we were always doing these things like helping people. What I saw during her time was more like a dole out or soup kitchen,” Villanueva says. But for her, this concept of giving needs to have another facet or perspective of having more value. She adds, “It’s always how can you help, what can you do? But it has to be something you enjoy also or else it’s not going to be sustainable.”
The Woman Of Now
15 years ago, this market girl (who has a fondness for palengke shopping and bayong basket handicrafts) created her passion-driven accessories brand called MCV Designs which is her playground in creating pieces using the extensive materials and weaves of the Philippines.
This woman of now is no newbie in the world of trade and fashion. For more than a decade she has been a managing committee member of the immortalized Salcedo Community Market, been a board member of Hands On Manila (a foundation that focuses on volunteerism) for a term conceptualized and operated Museu boutique (a retail brand in the early 90s located at the now extinct Greenbelt Shopping Plaza), and eight years of extensive experience in finance and corporate banking.
The Big Dream Of Sustainability
In 2016, this business savvy retailer who’s a wife, mother of two adults, two dogs, and a rescue kitten entered HABI (The Philippine Textile Council) as a vendor. This jump started a journey which began from becoming a volunteer, to a member, to board member, and to head of vendors in 2018-2019 and 2022.
Today she is the president of this globally renowned and well-respected platform who champions local textiles, weavers, preservation of culture, and traditions–and the list is endless. But for Villanueva, education is top priority for HABI to know who we are, our weaves through our books, films, and talks. “Our bazaar cannot be just another bazaar. It can’t be just a selling thing. We have to make it a destination. Yes, you can buy and sell because it’s fundraising but there’s another aspect to it where you can learn about it,” Villanueva says.
The country is a rich landscape of patterns, colors, and history that can be made modern through well supported research, relevant innovation, and contemporary designs. She says, “Everybody has to work. It’s not a free ride, by ‘helping-helping.’ You really have to earn your keep.”
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia September 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Text LUIS ESPIRITU
Photos KIERAN PUNAY OF KLIQ, INC.
Sittings Editor MAWI FOJAS DE OCAMPO
Shoot Coordination MAE TALAID
Shot on location CASA BUENAS AT NEWPORT WORLD RESORTS