RED BOX is a design development program aimed at harnessing talent and creating the next generation of Philippine designers. Initiated by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), with Manila FAME, Asia’s Premier Design and Lifestyle Event as its primary platform, the program introduces young designers, who are matched with local manufacturers to create innovative products that reflect their unique design sensibility.

In 2014, CITEM launched the first ever Red Box Design Talents. From hundreds of entries, 14 designers were shortlisted and mentored by the country’s most prominent design icons; and collaborated with local manufacturers to develop their respective product collection. From the 14 finalists, four talents emerged as the grand winners and exhibited in select trade shows in London, Milan, and New York City.

For Cycle 2, CITEM has teamed up with the Design Center of the Philippines to bring the competition to the next level and ensure the sustained development of the next generation of young Philippine product designers.


12 Finalists of the Red Box Design Talents Competition Cycle 2 revealed!

The 12 Finalists of the Red Box Design Talents Competition 2016-2017 (Cycle 2) were announced during the Katha Awards Ceremony in Manila FAME on 21 October 2016.

The finalists for Furniture are Daryl Refuerzo, Raisa Vargas, and Patrick Yamzon; for Home Accents: Ian Grecalda, Clark Mendoza, and Emerson Sojor; for Apparel: Dino Bancoro, Cheska Cadorniga, Hilder Demeterio, and Regg Macasiray; and for Fashion Accessories: Meme Dakay and Tal De Guzman. They will undergo skills training and prototype development from November 2016 to April 2017.

From the 12 finalists, four (4) grand winners will be selected and announced in the April 2017 edition of Manila FAME, where they will also showcase their new products under Red Box.

In photo (L-R): Ian Grecalda, Emerson Sojor, Clark Mendoza, Patrick Yamzon, Daryl Refuerzo, and Raisa Vargas

In photo (L-R): Ian Grecalda, Emerson Sojor, Clark Mendoza, DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado, CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos, Patrick Yamzon, Daryl Refuerzo, and Raisa Vargas

In photo (L-R): Dino Bancoro, Regg Macasiray, Cheska Cadorniga, Meme Dakay, and Tal De Guzman

In photo (L-R): CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos, Dino Bancoro, Regg Macasiray, Cheska Cadorniga, Meme Dakay, Tal De Guzman, and DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado

Red Box Design Talents Competition 2016-2017 Finalists


Daryl Refuerzo
Rizal Province

Daryl Refuerzo is a licensed architect who has been practicing for four years. His first visit to Manila FAME several years ago opened a “whole world of design possibilities” beyond architecture. Daryl, who found particular interest in designing furniture, aims to put up a multi-disciplinary design studio for architecture, furniture, and furnishings in the future.

Pat Yamzon
Manila City

Pat Yamzon, from the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), considers himself a “responsible designer” as he believes that the role entails a respect for space, end-users, and the environment. He likes simplicity and the philosophy that form follows function. As a designer, Pat wants to help the Philippine SMEs which have been instrumental to his growth as a designer.

Raisa Vargas
Quezon City

Raisa Vargas is an architecture graduate who was particularly inspired by her experience as a design intern of Kenneth Cobonpue. Before joining Red Box, she participated in Manila FAME October 2015 as a Manila Wear exhibitor, showcasing geometric leather and wooden bags reminiscent of architectural moldings.


Clark Mendoza
Bataan Province

Clark Mendoza is a junior designer at the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP). He takes inspiration from heritage places and objects, such as the interior of the 47-year-old building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which influenced his Red Box entry, a hanging lamp collection. Through design, Clark aims to help SMEs and the country. In the future, he plans to teach—“sow seeds” in young minds to design not for themselves, but for others.

Emerson Emrys Sojor
Iligan City

Emerson Emrys Sojor likes combining function and art. He wants to design what brings him joy so he could share it with others. In the future, Emerson aims to take this passion for designing to greater heights. He wants to become a registered interior designer with his own brand, promoting Philippine culture, and serving as a mentor for the country’s next generation of designers.

Ian Grecalda
Quezon Province

Ian Grecalda wants to “push boundaries” and deviate from trends. He likes organic designs, having been raised in a coastal town with a rich biodiversity of coral reefs. Through his works, Ian wants to revive the dying crafts in the Philippines. The base of some of his pieces, for instance, consists of the local taka papier mâché art from the town of Paete, Laguna that uses carved wooden sculpture as a mold.


Cheska Cadorniga
Quezon City

Cheska Cadorniga runs “Sefra Babewear,” her own lingerie and accessories brand. She designs for independent and confident women, creating “beautiful contradictions of personality and style” with the mix of hard and soft materials. Cheska is on a crusade to get rid of the stigma that women who wear lingerie are scandalous. Through her designs, she encourages women to wear lingerie not for men, but for themselves.

Dino Bancoro
Albay Province

Dino Bancoro is a self-taught designer who started as an avid fan of YouTube tutorials and an Instagram user for his jogger pants’ designs. He recently started his own brand named DNO Sports Luxe, which focuses on streetwear and men’s wear. Dino’s design inspirations are diverse, ranging from music, motor vehicles, and shoes, to spiders and QR codes.

Hilder Demeterio
Manila City

Hilder Demeterio is an architect by profession. He draws inspiration from architecture when creating his designs. His collections place more focus on the technique and the craft rather than a “narrative concept that is theatric.” Hilder aims to penetrate the global community to promote the Philippines.

Regg Macasiray
Parañaque City

Regg Macasiray describes herself as “an unfinished artwork who finds comfort in the streets.” She believes that being “out there” gives her a sense of completeness. Regg is currently experimenting on different aesthetics, exploring what would best express her style. In the future, she aims to continue designing, inspire others to pursue design, and to help make fashion flourish in the Philippines.


Meme Dakay
Cebu City

Meme Dakay loves to manipulate colors and is drawn to bedazzled materials. She takes inspiration from the ocean, nature, and fantasy. As the designer of her namesake brand, she collaborates with local craftsmen and uses local materials such as hablon and shells. Meme seeks to promote Filipino creativity and craftsmanship through her accessories that “empower the women of today.”

Tal De Guzman
Marikina City

Tal De Guzman is the founder and designer of Risque Designs known for artisanal footwear collections. She defines herself as “a storyteller of Philippine culture” through the processes and materials she uses. For example, her collection titled “Society Hems” portrays makeshift houses in local urban poor settings. Tal, who also exhibited at Manila FAME in the past few years, envisions her designs to outlive her, continuing to perpetuate their stories.




Jim Torres

Jim Torres is an industrial designer based in Pampanga. His passion and enthusiasm in furniture design has led him to an apprenticeship with Industria Edition where he was able to express his design sensibilities. After the competition, Torres participated in the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City in May 2016, and was featured in the Interior Design Magazine as part of the Emerging Designers in ICFF.


Kristel Blancas

Kristel Blancas is an interior designer who also specializes in furniture and lighting design. Her designs are inspired by forms found in nature. She aspires to discover new and efficient solutions to both design and construction. Blancas participated in Salone Internazionale Del Mobile in Milan, Italy, in April 2016, after winning in the Red Box Designs Talents 2015.




Micki Olaguer

Micki Olaguer’s appreciation of architecture and artworks of different cultures ignites her passion in creating bold yet whimsical jewelry pieces. After the competition, Olaguer represented the Philippines during London Fashion Week’s International Fashion Showcase (IFS) at the Somerset House, London, United Kingdom in February 2016. She also won at the 2016 LOOK of Style Awards (LOSA) for her graphic jewelry using the mother-of-pearl jewelry.


Thian Rodriguez

Thian Rodriguez has a background in fashion design, multimedia application, and theatre arts. His concepts are rooted in his love of art, as well as his desire for identity and change. After the competition, Rodriguez represented the Philippines during London Fashion Week’s International Fashion Showcase (IFS) at the Somerset House, London, United Kingdom in February 2016.


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the primary government agency of the Philippines with the dual mission of facilitating the creation of a business environment wherein participants could compete, flourish, and succeed and, at the same time, ensuring consumer welfare.


The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

CITEM is committed to developing and nurturing globally competitive Philippine MSMEs, exporters, designers, and manufacturers by implementing an integrated approach to export marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.


The Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), formerly known as Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines (PDDCP), is mandated to promote design as a creative tool for improving the quality and competitiveness and branding of Filipino products in the global market; as a strategic tool of value creation for sustainable economic growth and development; and as an innovative tool for enhancing the quality of human life.