Beautifully handcrafted neckpieces by the artisan women of Manila made from upcycled Coca-Cola pull tabs took center stage during one of the preliminary events for the 65th Miss Universe Pageant. The artisans presented each contestant with her very own neckpiece during a sunset cruise around Manila Bay and a dinner at the Pico de Loro Cove at Hamilo Coast in Batangas.

Beyond the glitz and glamour surrounding the prestigious Miss Universe event is its heart – women empowering women. During the cruise, the candidates took the time to talk with the artisan women to know their stories and admire their handiwork, while also sharing their personal experiences and journey through the pageant.

"This is a great way of showcasing the artistry of the Filipino women artisan to the world and it also highlights how women are contributing to the empowerment of other women, wherever they may be in the globe," said Adel Tamano, director of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Philippines.

Each neckpiece was individually crafted by the women artisans in their workshop located in Tondo, a district in Manila known as one of the most densely populated and poverty-challenged areas in the country. The work of art they produce provides additional income for the artisans. The women engaged in the workshop are mostly single mothers and sole bread-winners who play a challenging role in supporting their respective families.

The Artisan Women of Tondo is among the various women economic empowerment programs supported by Coca-Cola Philippines under the 5by20 global initiative. The women artisan program was made possible in partnership with ASA Philippines Foundation, a leading local microfinance institution in the country that helps uplift the poorest of the poor communities.

"In line with its commitment to empower women across the globe under the 5by20 initiative, Coca-Cola will continue to provide an enabling environment for women in its value chain so they can be help themselves become sustainable and their families and communities uplifted," said Gilda Custodio-Maquilan, Coca-Cola Philippines 5by20 lead andsustainability and community affairs manager.

In addition to neckpieces and accessories, the artisan women of Tondo also produce handbags, clutches and other home décor from pull tabs found in Coca-Cola cans. The Artisan Women of Tondo, through the help of Coca-Cola Philippines and its partners, is planning to expand its product line and market reach in order to achieve sustainable livelihood.

Artisans make up one segment of entrepreneurs Coca-Cola is enabling through its global 5by20 initiative. In the Philippines, the company is enabling thousands of underprivileged women through the 5by20 Artisans and the 5by20 Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program.

To view and purchase items made by 5by20 artisans, please visit the online Coca-Cola Store