While traveling around the Philippines, Anya had the opportunity of witnessing our country’s diverse, intricate indigenous artistry. She saw a huge cultural gap between the elders and the younger generation of women, many of whom undervalued the bearing of their ancestral customs on their daily lives.
With her mother Annie, she co-founded ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, to revive and promote Philippine weaving traditions by using the fabrics in contemporary, chic clothing designs. “Our Filipino fabrics are ‘heart woven’. They were historically considered our second skin, representing our culture, heritage and sense of identity. It is important for us, then, to honor and wear them with intention. We are meant to wear our tribe with pride.”
Today, she collaborates with almost 100 artisan women, many of them mothers, from the Bulbulala Farmers and Weavers Association in Luzon, Handcrafters of Mary Enterprise in Visayas and the Daraghuyan Community of the Bukidnon Tribe in Mindanao.
“There’s strength that comes out from being a mother. In Bisaya we say ‘Kinakusgan gyud ang mga babae, labi na ang mga ina.’ That really shines through among our weavers because they do what they do because they are mothers… That actually ripples to other women, inspires other women, nurtures other women, empowers other women.”
Bridging compassionate entrepreneurship with sharp business sense, Anya was awarded Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader in 2011, Go Negosyo Young Creative Entrepreneur in 2014 and Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) in 2016.
Anya receives the Young Entrepreneur of the Year given by the Grand Business Chamber Awards