DSWD Learning Visit – Ikot sa CALABARZON 2018 – Part II

November 16, 2018 – 2nd day of our Learning Visit, and I was excited as I am just like the 1st day. We had a delicious breakfast at the Pagsanjan Falls Laguna Lodge, where we stayed after visiting Paete, Laguna. We had fried bangus, egg and friend rice perfectly partnered with coffee while overlooking the quiet river leading the way to Pagsanjan Falls. This day was filled with curiosity, as we will explore different communities and places.

Our first drop was at the town of Luisiana, Laguna where we visited the Lala Ladies and their products, another beneficiary of the SLP (Sustainable Livelihood Program). 

LALA LADIES SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD PROGRAM ASSOCIATION

Since their organization in 2016, the Lala Ladies has been producing various pandan woven handicrafts such as bags, purses, storage boxes and cushions that come in various sizes and colors. Through the efforts of the SLPA and their local government, these handicrafts were showcased in different trade fairs in and outside CALABARZON region. 

The moment I stepped into their handicraft store, I was in HEAVEN! Gosh, I love native bags! And it was awesome that these native bags were all made from Pandan leaves. Imagine how zero-waste it is, if in case it was already damaged or you no longer need it, it is completely biodegradable. As you well know, that I am also an advocate of the “Zero-waste/minimalist lifestyle” so seeing with my own eyes how these things were made, were just awesome!

I met Ate Venus R. Banta, the President of the Lala Ladies Sustainable Livelihood Program Association. She said they started on September 30, 2016 and they are all 4Ps beneficiaries. All of these 4Ps parents were gathered and formed a group of 20, and they are also makers of Pandan Handicrafts. They were given by DSWD a grant of P200,000 (P10,000/each), and another P100,000 for the Association and 2 machines (like the presser) as their working capital. 

Through the help of the trainings from SLP  they managed to grow their livelihood business. DSWD assisted them with business registration, BIR Filing and linked them with DTI for Trades and Exhibit Fairs. Each of the members also help in the promotion of the groups’ products, and aims to target the orders in time. They were able to earn at least P2,500/week and it helped a lot to augment their household income. The ladies were also proud to be featured in different tv shows, and proud that their products are being showcased in different trade fairs and bazaars. I am so impressed with their Association as it shows true cooperation among their members and they are all talented; the help the DSWD extended to their group is really a BIG HELP to those who are lacking in capital. This also help preserve their tradition and indigenous knowledge through teaching new members the skills needed to do these pandan handicrafts. 

Materials: Pandan leaves (most of these were harvested in their local store or in their own backyards)

Process:

  • Pananagpas – the cutting of Pandan leaves from its tree
  • Pag-hihininik – the process of removing of thorns in both sides of the leaves and removal of hard and excess part of the leaves
  • Pag-lilinas – cleaning of the leaves using an instrument “agpang” and cutting it into its correct size (thick and thin measure accdg. to the product that is being made 
  • Pag-iilo – the process of thinning using a presser machine
  • Pag-lalala – finally, the process of weaving 
Paglilinas
Paglilinas

I tried weaving a basket, the leaves should be placed in an alternate manner, it was easy but you have to pull the leaves tight (and this was the hard part for me haha!). Oh, leave it to the expert weavers. 

Pag-lalala or Weaving

Finished Products:

Almost anything can be made out of pandan leaves like bags, baskets, trays, placemats, coin purses, laundry boxes, storage box, clothes for fashion events, and many more!

Instantly, I remembered that I need to buy a souvenir or like a door prize for our Thanksgiving Party in our Cooperative so instead of buying to big malls or groceries, our team (via group chat) agreed to buy egg baskets from Lala Ladies, and another member also asked me to buy for her, so I bought 60 pcs of egg baskets, 1 egg basket for me, 1 bigger bag, and 3 coin purses. The Lala Ladies were all happy, smiles lifted, and thanked me for they said “an early Christmas gift.” But on the other hand, I should be the one thankful for finding these goodies, an instant  checked off my list of things to do for the party. And these woven materials are a good way to start a livelihood business, just add a little creativity and this finished product can go a long way. 

Brgy. San Jose, Luisiana, Laguna

Lala Ladies SLPA

  • 20 MEMBERS
  • P200,000 capital assistance

To know more about the Lala Ladies, you may visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/slpluisiana/

Beside the Lala Ladies Handicraft store is the Tahisiana Enterprises SLPA, but I was not able to interview their members, so I just took some photos of their production area.

Tahisiana Enterprises SLPA

While the Lala Ladies is focused into weaving, the Tahisiana Enterprises focuses on dressmaking. They are located just beside the Lala Ladies handicraft production and store area. 

You may check out more of Tahisiana Enterprises on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Tahisiana-Enterprises-180952082585468/

After Luisiana, we headed to Lucban, Quezon and had a short visit to Kamay Ni Hesus. Check out my blog Short Visit to Kamay Ni Hesus. From there, we checked in to Patio Rizal Hotel, the Hotel was located just in front of the Lucban Municipality, and perfectly situated beside the town plaza. See full review of this hotel on this link Patio Rizal Hotel and Restaurant.

Our next drop is at the Lucban Farmers and Traders Sustainable Livelihood Program Association.

One of the main sources of income in the Quezon Province is farming. Traders and farmers often struggle and borrow money from loan sharks. This problem led to the formation of the Lucban Farmers and Traders SLPA (LFTS). 

The Lucban Farmers Trading Post is a project of the local government unit of Lucban, the goal of this Trading post is to create a venue for farmers in and out of Lucban to have a common ground for trading. Most of the traders that were given SLP assistance do trading in Divisoria. 

I got the chance to interview Mrs. Maribel Ho, one of the seller/trader and member of the LFTS. She narrated that joining the Association last 2 years when it was started was by force. There were resistance on the side of the traders on why they were being re-located in the Lucban Farmers Trading Post. They had confusion since they were quietly just doing business on their own homes then suddenly being asked to be stationed out of of the main town, and were “forced” to do trading here in the post. The first year was a struggle according to her, since the post have no potential clients yet, and they have to pay back the grant weekly. The group had a “mis-understanding” of how the grant works. But eventually, after 2 years now, the Association and the Post started to grow, there was an increase in commercialism in the area, and they were able to bring own produce (harvest) to Manila and vice versa. The traders only stay up to 2pm (those with deliveries), and then head to Divisoria while the remaining products were on display and for sale at the stalls that they are paying for P30/day. Mrs. Ho said today, after 2 years, she can say that the Lucban Farmers Trading Post and SLPA is a big help for them and increased their income. They earn as much as P800 – P1000 per day. Some of their members were also 4Ps beneficiaries. 

Here’s Mrs. Ho with her warm smile after our small chat, she was glad to share her story and was a little bit shy when we took a selfie. 

Next, I got to talk with was Mr. Bionic, he is the Vice President of the Lucban Farmers and Traders SLPA. He is a farmer and also a trader. He said he just rents the land, hires the farmers who grow crops and other vegetables in season. After 2 months, the biggest income potential ranges from P30,000 and up. Whew! that’s a good income! But sometimes, crops died during stormy weathers, or if caught with pests, or disease. Mr. Bionic, gave us bags of sayote and sweet potato (camote) which we divided among our team so all of us got to taste Lucban vegetable produce. 

Of course, I bought some vegetables from Mrs. Ho’s stall – cabbage, baguio beans, eggplant, carrots, bell pepper, lettuce, and onions. I thought it was cheaper than in Tagaytay, but they say they also get these types of vegetables from either Baguio or Tagaytay. Their local produce are sayote and camote. A kilo of sayote costs only P17/kg, in Manila it costs P35-40/kg. 

Our last community visit was at the Calumpang Sustainable Livelihood Association in Tiaong, Quezon. 

Calumpang SLPA is composed of 100 members, they received a grant of P1,020,000 from DSWD. All members of Calumpang SLPA were also recipients of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps). Out of this amount, they were able to build a Community Store, a Party Needs Store and a Water Refilling Station. The income were recorded on a daily basis, and are shared to the 100 members as a dividend. The Calumpang SLPA are also on its way to register as a Cooperative (the next level target of SLPA), in order for them to be more independent and do more with their capital. The business registration, BIR requirements, bank withdrawals were all being monitored by DSWD, they were mentored so they can run the business well and not put their capital into waste. Withdrawal of money cannot be done without the supervision of DSWD. All members should be informed of the in and out of the financial status of their Association. 

Water Refilling Station
Party Needs Store
Community Store

After Tiaong, we headed back to our hotel at Patio Rizal and it was still early so we had more time and explored Lucban.  See more of my Lucban adventures here —

I have yet one more day of the DSWD Learning Visit, I can’t wait to share it with you. 

Click the FOLLOW button and watch out for more stories. 

Lots of love,

The Transport Queen

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