MANILA – Creativity is innate among Filipinos, even in transforming scraps into attractive and useful crafts.
That’s why Jennifer Lynne Espenida and two of her friends decided to put up an online business named “Alibot PH” on June 20 last year.
Espenida said she and her friends coined the term Alibot PH by combining “abubot” (trinkets) and “libot” (to go around).
“We like traveling and as we explored the Philippines, we noticed how talented Filipinos truly are. We wanted to showcase their craftsmanship to a wider market,” the co-owner of the business told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Alibot PH, she said, makes sure that the handicrafts it sells are locally made and eco-friendly.
“This shop is our passion project. Aware of the current situation of our planet, all the items we feature are locally sourced and promote sustainability,” Espenida said.
From trash to treasure
Trash can indeed be turned into a keepsake.
The first and main product that Alibot PH featured to its customers was the Malindig wind chime from Luzon.
The wind chime, Espenida said, is crafted from liquor bottle scraps and natural, sustainably harvested Capiz shells that create soothing sounds as they dance in the wind.
“The wind chimes have two sizes. (The) small Malindig wind chime, which is 14 inches long, is sold for PHP100 per piece, while the big Malindig wind chime, which is 17 inches long, is sold for PHP300 per piece. Both chimes are available in six colors — red, blue, green, pink, yellow, and purple,” she said.
Alibot PH also sells the glass Sibuyan lamp, which comes with a candle holder inside. Each lamp is sold at PHP175.
Last Christmas, the online business also offered customers some Christmas ornaments that were made of abaca.
“We sold angels, Christmas trees, and lanterns. Products cost from PHP100 to PHP300 and most products are sold in bundles,” Espenida said.
The pandemic has also prompted Alibot PH to sell Habi face masks, which it sources from the north, for PHP120 each.
She said they have begun selling the handwoven face masks as the government allows the use of washable face masks due to depleting supplies of disposable face masks amid the health crisis.
Espenida said she is looking forward to traveling again with her friends after the pandemic to look for new products to offer to their customers.
To protect the environment, Espenida said Alibot PH tries to be innovative by packaging their products in recycled paper bags, boxes, and shredded paper.
She said they make sure that the products are safe and secure when delivered to their customers in Metro Manila.
“Our products are made of glass and at first we really wanted to stop using plastic or bubble wraps. It was doable for deliveries within Metro Manila. What we did was recycle our packaging for deliveries,” she said.
Espenida, however, acknowledged that they could not avoid using bubble wraps for products that will be transported to areas outside Metro Manila.
“For outside Metro Manila, we reuse the bubble wraps from the deliveries that we received before. With that, we were still able to help reduce waste. We also encourage our customers to do the same,” she said.
Alibot PH does not have a physical store yet. Still, it is able to attract customers through its Facebook page, Espenida said.
“We use Facebook ads and post on Facebook groups to gain customers. It works for us so far,” she said. (PNA)