On April 1, a great gathering of bamboo aficionados and curious minds gathered to help Kawayan Collective “baptize” their first batch of treated bamboo. The gathering included academics, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, farmers, political leaders and neighbors from all walks. One attendee commented, “I know half of the people here, and the other half I am excited to meet.”
For co-founders, Ray and Amy Villanueva the day was reminiscent of their wedding day eight years prior. A big crowd of friendly faces gathered in support of their new venture together: Kawayan Collective. And while April 1 marked the ceremonial start of the company, the journey really began seven years ago at Foundation University when Ray and Amy helped University President Dean Sinco launch Estudio Damgo, the first design-build program of the Philippines.
Estudio Damgo’s goal is to empower students by challenging them to design and build a community structure in their last year at university. These projects are designed to realize dreams of a community and to serve the general public. These are clients who do not typically have the resources to hire an architect. Examples of completed projects are a daycare classroom in Malaunay Valencia, a multi-purpose hall in Bajumpandan, Dumaguete, and soon to open later this month, a 3-story landmark structure for the Baslay Farmer’s Association.