CRAFTED BY MANY HANDS

RUTH SANCHEZ MANES
ASHI-Antique Northwest Branch- Pandan, Antique

“Ang paghahanapbuhay na walang halong bisyo ay umuunlad talaga.” (A business without vices will surely prosper.) This is how Mrs. Ruth Sanchez Manes unties here story on how her business turned vast. From banig weaving to bags and hats made of bariw leaf, abaca and buri. Her handicraft business is one of the suppliers of 20 Boracay Island Kiosk as an Island Souvenir. They are also the sub-contract suppliers of four known private handicraft businesses in Manila including 11 branches of SM City in the Philippines.
INHERITED SKILLS
Bag weaving was inherited from her parents. At the age of 22, Mrs. Manes was already managing the marketing aspect for their product. The business was stable not until they decided to venture into captured fisheries. They invested a huge capital on a big fishing boat that could carry 25 fishermen for the fishing operation. Two years after, earlier than expected, the fishing boat was destroyed by a typhoon. That was the biggest downcast of their business.
Being a business minded and resource oriented person, she joined ASHI just to be back in the circle of business. As she mentioned, she found new hope for capital, as well as the family’s security through microinsurance. With her husband’s support as a laborer, they join hand in hand and started bag weaving again and a hog raising with PhP5,000 starting capital. They only have two children both in elementary that is why they were able to manage their finances and slowly retrieve what they lost.

CREATING OPPORTUNITY
As their business grows, the livelihood of the people within and the nearby communities also becomes active. Aside from her sister who stands as the costing expert and 1 delivery boy, they have 50 twiners (these are persons who prepare the pandan leaves into twines as the raw materials) and 70 weavers of differently designed bags. Unlike other businesses, persons involved in this handicraft business reside in their own houses. They own their time as long as they would be able to meet their target items every week. They are paid according to the product design and style. Raw materials are provided to the weavers as well as its molders. is monitored by their parents to ensure the quality.
Mostly, the weavers and the one who prepares twines are ASHI members. Since twining is very simple and easy, 5% of the twiners are composed of children age 10 and above. They make it as a part time job during weekends for their “baon” in school. Quality control
Even the elders aging sixty and above are also participating in preparation of raw buri and bariw leaves. While having spare time, they cut the buri and bariw leaves and made it ready for drying and dyeing before selling it as raw materials.

PROCESSING OF RAW MATERIALS
Bariw and Abaca leaves are planted by farmers; but mostly come from the wild in the mountainous barangays of Pandan Antique. They can be gathered in barangay Sta. Cruz, Guia, Buang, Mag-aba, SitioTuburan, Sto Rosario and San Andres. Upland Barangays includes Napuid, Badyangan, and Maadyos. Buri on the other hand come from Macato, Libertad. These raw materials are locally available in nearby barangays which serves as a promising livelihood of the people due to the market demand of the product.
Since Boracay is one of their top markets, the business also experiences peak and lean months. They are having a volume return of investment during summer and a very minimal income during rainy season. According to Mrs. Manes, not only the sales are affected by the rain and typhoons but also their raw materials. Typhoons could wash out their raw materials due to land erosions and strong winds. Furthermore, raw materials can’t also be yielded at its best quality since buri, bariw and abaca are not water- friendly.
Even the elders aging sixty and above are also participating in preparation of raw buri and bariw leaves. While having spare time, they cut the buri and bariw leaves and made it ready for drying and dyeing before selling it as raw materials.
Bariw and Abaca leaves are planted by farmers; but mostly come from the wild in the mountainous barangays of Pandan Antique. They can be gathered in barangay Sta. Cruz, Guia, Buang, Mag-aba, SitioTuburan, Sto Rosario and San Andres. Upland Barangays includes Napuid, Badyangan, and Maadyos. Buri on the other hand come from Macato, Libertad. These raw materials are locally available in nearby barangays which serves as a promising livelihood of the people due to the market demand of the product.
Since Boracay is one of their top markets, the business also experiences peak and lean months. They are having a volume return of investment during summer and a very minimal income during rainy season. According to Mrs. Manes, not only the sales are affected by the rain and typhoons but also their raw materials. Typhoons could wash out their raw materials due to land erosions and strong winds. Furthermore, raw materials can’t also be yielded at its best quality since buri, bariw and abaca are not water- friendly.

 

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