loading screen
Social Enterprise | Community

Gono Sesotunawa: A Creative and Culture Hub for Tboli Artist


Kuya Joel is a Bayani Artisan who envisions a vibrant, thriving hub where the Tboli arts and culture lives on.

Cebu City, Philippines
₱135,000.00 funding goal
50 backers
114% funded


ANTHILL (Alternative Nest and Trading /Training Hub for Indigenous or Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers) is a social and cultural enterprise in Cebu, Philippines with a strong mission to preserve our craft traditions and provide sustainable livelihood to Filipino artisans. It is integral in our core of our values to seek innovative and inclusive solutions on how we can build entrepreneurial capacity and ensure that our artisans do not get left behind.  

Bayanihan was born out of the presence of a growing global community showing up for us in the toughest times throughout the pandemic. We aim to activate this contagious spirit of bayanihan once again to connect our artisans directly to the market, expand their reach to a global market and support their desire to weave tradition and technology by learning digital skills in storytelling and marketing. The value and the spirit of Bayanihan is the common thread that lives among us in a way that honours this connection. It gives us the opportunity to grow a community and be of service to each other in a way that fosters resilience and lasting change.

In partnership with The Spark Project, an initial funding from the Australian Alumni Grant Scheme, and our Design Collaborators, we provide a platform for our entrepreneurial artisans to weave new dreams with you!

Joel Blunto and Sesotunawa

 In Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Joel Blunto stands as a seasoned artist, meticulously preserving the age-old art of brass casting (temwel) for more than three decades. His initiation into this revered craft dates back to his formative years, learning the intricate nuances of a tradition that forms the bedrock of Tboli heritage.

Fueled by the profound spirit of unity, encapsulated in the essence of kesesotunawa or working together, Joel embarked on the establishment of Sesotunawa in 2016. Sesotunawa is a social enterprise with a resolute dedication to upholding Tboli culture and fostering sustainable livelihood. The spirit of kesesotunawa finds vibrant manifestation within the very heart of Tboli households dedicated to brass casting, epitomizing the collaborative ethos that pervades each stage of crafting their exquisite brass artifacts.

Embarking on this journey with a modest inventory valued at 3,000 pesos, Joel endeavored to share the narrative of collective harmony with a broader audience, gradually expanding the horizons of his enterprise over time. With the unwavering support of volunteers and ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, Sesotunawa extended its outreach, venturing into the realm of digital presence and fostering collaborations with a growing community of Tboli artists. This progression ignited Joel's vision to empower fellow artists, equipping them with essential marketing skills and nurturing their independent entrepreneurial spirit.

Central to the Bayanihan Project lies Joel's cherished aspiration of building the Gono Sesotunawa. For Joel Blunto and his community of Tboli artists, the Gono Sesotunawa is more than just a structure. It is a space envisioned to serve as a nurturing haven fostering the growth of artistic pursuits, business acumen, and the seamless transference of ancestral arts to forthcoming generations. The Gono Sesotunawa will stand as a testament to our commitment to continuously work for sustainable livelihood and cultural sustainability.

Gono Sesotunawa: Culture and Creative Hub

 The dream to build Gono Sesotunawa comes from Joel Blunto's desire to connect with more Tboli artists and share what they've learned over the years. This special place will be a lively hub where Sesotunawa artists and other Tboli community members work together to pass down their traditional knowledge and skills to younger generations. It will also be a space where they can collaborate with other artists, showcase their unique products, and welcome visitors eager to learn more about Tboli culture.

Before the Bayanihan Project, Joel Blunto purchased a piece of land for Gono Sesotunawa. Sesotunawa has also financed the land preparation including the on-going construction of a strong retaining structure to keep everything stable.

Once built, Gono Sesotunawa, will proudly stand on a slope near the Blunto Residence, offering an amazing view of Lake Sebu. It will be a two- story Tboli house, 12ft by 22ft, made with a mix of concrete and bamboo. The second floor will be a space for Tboli artists to do beadwork, embroidery, and weaving, as well as a place to welcome visitors and showcase Tboli products. The ground floor will serve as an area for post- processing brass-cast products.

The total cost for making this cultural and creative hub is P 134,863 this amount covers the cost of materials and labor requirements.

Project Cost

Total Project Cost: P 201,863.00
Sesotunawa Counterpart: P 67,000.00
Total Amount to be raised: P 134,863 .00 

Land Purchase and Preparation - P 67,00.00
-30,000.00 Land purchase
-37,000.00 Retaining Structure and Land preparation

Concrete Foundation and Footing - P 57,650.00
-6,600.00 - 12 mm RSB (33 pcs)
-4,500.00 - 10 mm RSB (30 pcss)
-10,250.00 - Cement (50 bags)
-4,800.00 - CHB # 4 (300 pcs)
-16,500.00 - Gravel (3 cubic)
-15,000.00 - Sand (5 cubic)

Walling and Flooring - P 30,000.00
-30,000.00 Bamboo

Roofing - P 7,213.00
-5,200.00 - GI Roof 4.8 m (13pcs)
-2,013.00 - GI Ripple Roll 6.71 m

Labor - P 40,000

Sesotunawa Counterpart

P 30,000 - Purchase of land where the Gono Sesotunawa will be constructed.
P 37.000 - Land preparation cost including building of retaining structure and cutting and filling of construction site.

Each item carefully selected for the Bayanihan Project pays homage to the cherished heritage of Tboli craftsmanship, jointly created by Sesotunawa and design collaborator Jeanette Sawyer from MAAARI. Reflecting the essence of the Tboli art of Temwel, every piece is crafted by hand, using locally sourced scrap metals, reflecting our commitment to resourcefulness and sustainability.

At the heart of these creations lies the intricate Tboli design element called Bluko, an elegant swirl inspired by the lush fronds of ferns flourishing in the heart of Lake Sebu. Signifying renewal and nourishment, the Bluko stands as a poignant symbol of the resilience and vitality woven into the fabric of Tboli culture.

With each masterpiece, we celebrate the spirit of (ke)sesotunawa, the art of collective collaboration and creative harmony. As we aspire to establish the vibrant culture and creative hub, Gono Sesotunawa, we not only welcome the skillful hands of Tboli artisans but also embrace the diverse perspectives and creative energies of collaborators from distant shores, nurturing a legacy of unity and artistic expression that transcends boundaries and generations.

TIER 1: Bluko napkin ring - set of 4 PHP 1000

Tier 2: Linulid Earring + Ring Set Php 1500

Tier 3: Bluko Brass Coaster Set of 4 Php 2000

Tier 4: Candle Holder + snuffer PHP 2500

Tier 5: Cone Insense keeper/holder PHP 2700

Tier 6: Bluko brass chime PHP 3000

Tier 7: Bluko Bookend PHP 4500

Tier 8: Blowon Brass Gong PHP 6000

At P 10,000 Kuya Joel will be able to purchase roofing materials for the Gono Sesotunawa
At P 40,000 Kuya Joel will be able to purchase bamboo and roofing materials
At P 65,000 Kuya Joel will be able to purchase construction materials for the Gono Sesotunawa concrete foundation and footing and roofing materials
At P 95,000 Kuya Joel will be able to purchase all construction materials needed to build the Gono Sesotunawa
At P 135,000 Kuya Joel will be able to purchase the materials and pay for the labor cost to build the Gono Sesotunawa.

Unlike other crowdfunding initiatives, the funds received from the campaign will directly benefit the Bayani Artisans. The money gained either through reward pledges or donations will be utilized for the purchase of supplies necessary to put in the work required to fulfill the production of the rewards or contribute to fulfilling their aspirations.

Keeping the BAYANIHAN spirit alive and spreading it to more communities will support the Bayani Artisans to reach their target goal however, if the target goal is not met, the artisan still receives the funds due to them from the campaign.

Thank you for your pledge to #BeABayani!

Name Date
Anya 6 November, 2023
Amae Guerrero 7 November, 2023
Andi Baldonado 19 November, 2023
from Sanso+Likhaan BAG 20 November, 2023
Sanso Bag Donation 20 November, 2023
Sanso Bag Donation 20 November, 2023
CECILIA ALCALA 23 November, 2023
Anonymous 27 November, 2023
Clark Lozads 28 November, 2023
Anonymous 30 November, 2023
aska ota 6 December, 2023
Lena Muhs 9 December, 2023
Lena Muhs 9 December, 2023
Cybele Regalado 10 December, 2023
anonymous 10 December, 2023
Gel 10 December, 2023
a. 12 December, 2023
Allan Michael Matudio 14 December, 2023
Tala Ocampo 16 December, 2023
Tala Ocampo 16 December, 2023
Lara 18 December, 2023
The Sadhaka Project 30 December, 2023
Ice Prudente 2 January, 2024
Patch Dulay 5 January, 2024
Liwliwa Malabed 9 January, 2024
vannie_bugs 10 January, 2024
Julia Escano 16 January, 2024
Julia Escano 16 January, 2024
Soleil David 17 January, 2024
Arlene Granadosin-Jones 17 January, 2024
Des 17 January, 2024
Gloria Sophie 17 January, 2024
AB Lorenzo 18 January, 2024
Bernice R 18 January, 2024
Lara Barrios 18 January, 2024
G. Lopez 19 January, 2024
Chezka Solon 20 January, 2024
Gabs Sagaral 20 January, 2024
Ivy 20 January, 2024
Anonymous 21 January, 2024
Anonymous 21 January, 2024
Josefina Franco 21 January, 2024
Marivic Lesho 22 January, 2024
Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 23 January, 2024
Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 23 January, 2024
Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 23 January, 2024
Jillian 25 January, 2024
grace 28 January, 2024
grace 28 January, 2024
Grace Tamesis 30 January, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

We have a lead time of 6 weeks for the production of the rewards after the end of the campaign. Deliveries would depend on the destination. For local addresses, it would take 3-4 business days while international addresses would take 5-7 business days.
Of course! You can send us a message and we can facilitate an introduction between you and Kuya Joel.
Yes, your pledges would only cover the rewards you choose. We will email you an invoice for the shipping once the rewards are ready to be delivered.
Yes, we do ship internationally! We will email you an invoice for the shipping once the rewards are ready to be delivered.
At the end of the campaign, your pledges will go straight to the artisan to support them in their new venture.
Yes, we will be posting updates on ANTHILL’s social media accounts (@anthillfabric) and sending updates through emails. As a Bayani (contributor), you will also receive emails from Spark Project about the campaign.
You can back this project via Bank Transfer/Deposit and PayPal.
Check your inbox, you should have received payment instructions.
Yes! If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the reward packages on the right side of the page, there will be a field where you can input any amount that you want to contribute to the project
After your payment has been verified, check your email for the next steps. You will be linked to a form where you can provide your delivery details. If you do not receive an email, please contact audrey@thesparkproject.com.
If your backing has been completed, you should receive a confirmation email. If you paid via Bank Deposit and PayPal, you may have to wait for up to 24 hours upon uploading your proof of payment for your transaction to be verified. If you haven't received an email yet and you think there was a technical issue, you may contact audrey@thesparkproject.com.
There may have been an error with the link, please email your screenshot/deposit slip to audrey@thesparkproject.com and we will have your contribution reflected in no time!
If you just want to contribute to the project, and not receive the rewards, be sure to click the “Do not receive the reward” option when you are processing your payment.
If you think there was an issue with your payment, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please email audrey@thesparkproject.com with the subject “Problem with Payment”. *include project name.

1 Comment

  1. Holahyemi Sodiq
    4 months ago

    Dear Campaign Owner, I am genuinely enthusiastic about your campaign. Are you currently seeking Backers to support your cause? if yes kindly contact me through this link below https://www.fiverr.com/s/8QdQ3q or https://www.fiverr.com/holahyemi_taofe

Back this Project

TIER 1: Bluko napkin ring - set of 4 PHP - ₱1,000.00

Set of 4 pcs
3.5 Diameter
Scrap metals upcycled: 80 grams

The Bluko Napkin Rings are an exquisite fusion of art, sustainability, and cultural significance. Crafted from upcycled metal scraps, each piece is meticulously shaped and molded using the traditional Tboli art of "temwel" or brass casting. The intricate design, inspired by the Tboli symbol of growth and vitality, known as "bluko," captures the essence of nourishment and the promise of fresh starts.

These napkin rings are more than just table adornments; they are a testament to the beauty that arises from conscious craftsmanship. Each set comprises four meticulously handcrafted rings, each with a 3.5cm diameter, meticulously fashioned from 80 grams of repurposed metal. Embodying the spirit of sustainability and the rich cultural heritage of the Tboli people, these napkin rings add an unmistakable touch of elegance and meaning to any dining experience.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

8 claimed

Tier 2: Linulid Earring + Ring Set - ₱1,500.00

1 pair earring + 1 ring
Earrings: 9.5 cm Length | 2.5 cm width
Ring: Size 5-6 | Adjustable/Open Ring
Scrap metals upcycled: 20 grams

The Linulid Earring and Ring Set tells a tale of transformation, where discarded materials find new life as wearable art, resonating with a profound connection to the environment and cultural heritage. Drawing inspiration from the intricate "bluko" design, each piece is shaped with meticulous precision through the ancient Tboli art of Temwel.

Embrace the elegance of conscious fashion and the enduring allure of handcrafted artistry. Let the Linulid Earring and Ring Set adorn you, not just with beauty, but with a story that speaks of renewal, tradition, and a harmonious connection to the world around you.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

8 claimed

Tier 3: Bluko Brass Coaster Set of 4 - ₱2,000.00

Set: 4 pcs coasters | 1 coaster keeper/stand
Coaster: 7 cm Diameter
Coaster Holder/Keeper: 6.5 x 6.5 x 4 cm
Scrap metals upcycled: 180 grams

Elevate your kitchen space with the perfect blend of functionality and artistry. Let these Bluko Brass Coaster Set not only protect your surfaces but also serve as a daily reminder of the intrinsic connection between nourishment, heritage, and the enduring beauty of nature.

With every cup or glass it holds, the Bluko Brass Coaster Set weaves a story of tradition and art, seamlessly integrating cultural symbolism into the fabric of your home. Celebrate the spirit of sustainability and the allure of handcrafted elegance with the Bluko Brass Coaster Set, where each piece not only serves a practical purpose but also brings the rich legacy of the Tboli people into your everyday life.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

4 claimed

Tier 4: Candle Holder + snuffer - ₱2,500.00

Set: 1 candle holder + 1 candle snuffer
Candle Holder: 9 cm Diameter | 3 cm Height
Snuffer: 13.5 cm Length | 3.5 cm height
Scrap metals upcycled: 100 grams

Elevate your ambiance with the ethereal charm of the Bluko Candle Holder and Snuffer set, designed not just to hold a single candle but to symbolize a narrative of heritage and craftsmanship. Each piece, carefully shaped and honed, speaks volumes about the rich cultural legacy of the Tboli people and their reverence for both art and nature.

Enhance your space with the captivating allure of this artisanal set, where the dance of light and shadow is complemented by the intricate detailing of the brasscast design. With every use of the Bluko Candle Holder and Snuffer, immerse yourself in a tale of sustainability and cultural appreciation, letting the soft glow of the candle weave a story of tradition and art in the fabric of your environment.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

3 claimed

Tier 5: Cone Insense keeper/holder - ₱2,700.00

1 Brass Incense Keeper + Catch dish lid
Jar: 5 cm Diameter | 7.5 cm Height
Scrap metals upcycled: 150 grams

Indulge in the timeless essence of tradition with the Cone Incense Keeper and Holder, a perfect blend of practicality and cultural artistry. Handcrafted through the esteemed Tboli brasscasting tradition and repurposed from carefully sourced metal scraps, this brass jar represents the embodiment of sustainable craftsmanship and cultural heritage.

The Cone Incense Keeper and Holder not only securely stores your favorite cone incense but also provides a striking focal point in your space. The intricately designed lid doubles as an incense holder and catch dish, adding an element of practicality to its aesthetic appeal. Inspired by the intricate bluko design of the Tboli people, this jar seamlessly weaves in the essence of nourishment and new beginnings, enriching your daily rituals with a touch of cultural significance.

Let the Cone Incense Keeper and Holder infuse your space with the serene elegance of tradition, creating a harmonious sanctuary where the delicate fragrances and cultural artistry intertwine effortlessly.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

2 claimed

Tier 6: Bluko brass chime - ₱3,000.00

1 Brass Chime with 7 bells
Chime: 65cm Height
Scrap metals upcycled: 250 grams

Let the soft, melodious tinkling of the Bluko Brass Chime fill your living space, bringing with it the ancient traditions and beliefs of the Tboli culture. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this chime symbolizes good fortune and serves as a traditional means of warding off negative energies, fostering a sense of balance and harmony within your surroundings.

Embrace the rich cultural heritage embodied in the intricate craftsmanship of this chime, allowing its gentle tones to create an atmosphere of tranquility and spiritual connectedness in your home. Invite the Bluko Brass Chime into your living space, and experience the profound influence of its soothing sounds and cultural significance.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

13 claimed

Tier 7: Bluko Bookend - ₱4,500.00

1 Bluko bookend
Bookend: 14 cm Height | 21 cm width
Scrap metals upcycled: 355 grams

Embrace the seamless blend of form and function with the Bluko Bookend, as it not only holds your favorite literary treasures in place but also serves as an exquisite piece of art. Inspired by the graceful bundled fern fronds, known as bluko, this bookend captures the essence of nature's beauty and the rich cultural heritage of the Tboli people.

Allow the Bluko Bookend to adorn your shelves, bringing a touch of elegance and a story of Tboloi culture to your home or office. Revel in the stability and charm of this timeless piece, which embodies the intricate craftsmanship and symbolic representation of growth and harmony. Invite the Bluko Bookend into your space, and let it narrate a tale of sustainable artistry and the enduring beauty of nature's inspiration.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

5 claimed

Tier 8: Blowon Brass Gong - ₱6,000.00

1 Brass Gong | Holder
Gong: 14 cm Diameter
Holder: 16 cm Diameter | 19 cm Height Scrap metals upcycled: 360 grams

The Blowon Brass Gong stands as a symbol of leadership and community in Tboli culture, where its resounding notes call forth members of the community into gatherings, marking moments of unity and shared purpose. Each piece is a testament to the revered Blowon symbol, representing the timeless values of togetherness and guidance deeply embedded in Tboli traditions.

Embrace the soul-stirring resonance of the Blowon Brass Gong, allowing its melodious echoes to infuse your space with a sense of unity and purpose. Place this stunning masterpiece, complete with its brass hanger, in your home or office, and invite the spirit of leadership and community to enrich your surroundings. Let the Blowon Brass Gong serve as a reminder of the enduring strength and harmony found within the heart of cultural traditions and the artistry of the Tboli people.

*Shipping fees are not included, this will be calculated upon receipt of order.

3 claimed