METRO MANILA, Philippines – Independent publisher Makó Micro-Press has launched its online shop Makó Micro-Press Sari-Sari Store this October to help fund its operations.
Like an actual sari-sari store, the website boasts of eye-catching stickers, zines, and other merchandise that the brand has become known for.
Juno Santos (not her real name), one half of the two-person team behind Makó and the artist in charge of their designs, said that the online shop was a needed response to the pandemic.
“We decided to open the shop because almost everyone is occupying virtual spaces now. We thought it will also help us adjust to the unavailability of physical spaces and events that help fund our small press,” she said.
Established in late 2017, the micro-press has been publishing material that focus on issues of the marginalized sectors like the urban poor, peasant, and labor communities.
“We want to promote ‘kontra-gahum’, or counter-hegemony. In the world that we live in, the mass media and pop culture — whether inadvertently or intentionally — drowns out the culture of disenfranchised communities,” added Ian Xenon (not his real name).
Xenon is the other half of the design duo and is the one in charge of marketing and promotions.
“We hope that our output will become a space through which (the disenfranchised communities) can represent and express themselves,” he further said.
Prior to the pandemic, its partners have been present in various small press and progressive events, partnering with groups like the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Save Our Schools Network, and Gantala Press for promotional materials, and workshops.
“There were so many workshops lined up – so much so that we called it ‘zine world tour’ in one of our promotional materials. But then the lockdown happened, and all of the plans we’ve made had to be abruptly [and dishearteningly] cancelled,” said Santos.
With the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, any form of dissent may be considered as inciting to terrorism.
Nevertheless, Mako-Micro Press’ partners vow to carry on their goal to inspire others to voice out their concerns and create their own content.
“(We have a) DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture,” said Xenon.
“As citizens, we have every right to speak up, criticize and protest, especially against those in power. I really hope that we can all exercise this through self-publishing or any other DIY art,” he concluded. (davaotoday.com)