How do you enable the Spark within? Spark Fest 2018 in Cebu brought an amazing roster of people coming from various fields. From creative entrepreneurs down to social doers, it was an event that was truly one for the books.

Spark Fest is an annual community conference that started back in 2017 hosted by The Spark Project. It’s a platform that connects social movers and entrepreneurs in the Philippines. Attendees of the said event can learn and interact with the speakers and panelists.


This year, Spark Fest came to Cebu. Last June 16, 2018 at the UP Cebu Performing Arts Hall, a celebration of creativity and innovation took place.  For this year, Spark Fest in Cebu aimed to look at the current startup ecosystem here in the city and how aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs and changemakers can work their way within that ecosystem.

The roster of speakers included Steve Benitez, Butch Carungay, Cham Lopez, Monica Villarica Cusi, Jude Gitamondoc, David Cua, Lynn Pinugu, Jonnette Alquizola, Ceeli Martinez-Miranda, Michiko Gandionco, Patch Dulay, Carlo Delantar, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Nannette Arbon, Tina Amper, Franco Soberano, Charm de Leon, Ken Ngo, Christina Gaston, Richard Dacalos, Mark Deutsch, Mel Yan, Ara Chawdhury and 22 Tango Records’ Cattski Espina.


One of the topics during the conference was “Starting Movements That Do Good”, which Cattski Espina, CEO of 22 Tango Records, took part of. In the panel discussion, she talked about creating a community of music creators and music consumers grounded on achieving sustainable local music.

Furthermore, she discussed the four components 22 Tango Records is built on. First is music creation. 22 Tango Records has a pool of talented artists and musicians who work from songwriting to production, down to release and promotions. Second, is music experience.  The live music experience 22 Tango Records’ brand of events provides is quite different from the usual bar gigs around the city, wherein live music is basically used as a backdrop during events. The shows are usually done in coffee shops, and alternative venues such as art galleries, a library or museum.  The goal is for the artists to express themselves, at the same time creating a listening culture with the audience. The third component is the continuing music education program where #GrowCebuMusic comes in.


“This is a campaign that take on many forms–it could be summits, conferences, forums, workshops, seminars, showcases and exhibits. This was initiated because we wanted musicians to have a platform where there is continuing education not just on the music end but also with technology, branding and professionalism,” says Espina.

And the last component deals with music production. Last year, the company decided to invest in a professional recording studio, Room Eleven, that aims to elevate and professionalize the recording service in Cebu. It prides itself in providing high-quality equipment and a creative environment.


Spark Fest Cebu was indeed a place where you can spark your entrepreneurial dreams and draw inspiration in turning them into a reality. The diverse group of speakers were able to share their individual experiences in their respective ventures. It is through their valuable pieces of advice given during the conference that would motivate their audience to ask: what inspires me to create?


Words by Patty Candaza

Photos by Ruffy Heredia