The Heritage Town

Arsenia Barrion Ocampo

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This talented woman of humble beginnings eventually found herself receiving the Panday Pira Award for Pioneering in Embroidery for Export. In 1914, Arsenia was sent as a pensionado to the School of Household Industries to learn fine embroidery by hand and machine, where she solely became synonymous with fine embroidery. When she returned to the Philippines, she taught her neighbors what she learned abroad. Her life suddenly changed its course when she crossed paths with an American agent of American embroidery. When this agent learned what Arsenia could do, he asked her and some other ladies to embroider materials for his corporation. Arsenia did it best and proved to be the only one to finish the tasks on time. She earned good profits from this new responsibility. Before long she established a “casa” distributing thousands of baby dresses and night gowns, which became the next lucrative livelihood in embroidery. Other Taaleñas followed suit and soon more “casas” sprouted in town. Arsenia is celebrated for her pioneering and embroidery prowess that changed the course of embroidery and uplifted the economy of Taal.

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