BOLINAO, Pangasinan – Buri-made products in some villages of Santiago Island in this town have been a source of income for several families amid the pandemic.
Betty Carolino, a 53-year-old mother of three and a buri-product maker in Barangay Salud here, said their craft has been a huge help to her family since last year when the coronavirus started.
“Ang asawa ko po extra-extra lang sa construction pero dahil sa pandemic noong nakaraang taon, natigil siya sa pagtrabaho. Pero malaking-malaking tulong po ang paggawa ng mga bags at banig sa aming pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan (My husband works as a construction worker but not on a regular basis. Due to the pandemic last year, his work was stopped but making bags and mats out of buri has helped a lot with our daily needs),” she said in an interview on Monday.
Carolino said they used to accept pre-orders to sell products to different customers but they made regular income when the owner of Kawayan Nature PH, Precious Cayaon tapped them to make products she would sell through her company.
Kawayan Nature PH is a Philippine-based company supplying and promoting eco-friendly products. Their products are sold through the online shopping platform, Shopee.
The buri-made products are also available through the provincial government of Pangasinan’s ‘Pamanang Yaman, Produktong Pangasinan’ project wherein a truck carrying goods of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the different towns and cities sell these in the province.
Cayaon asked them to make bags and mats in different sizes, colors, and designs.
“Kumikita kami PHP15 kada pinakamaliit na product hanggang PHP400 kada pinakamalaking product (We earned from PHP15 per small product up to PHP400 per big product),” Carolino said.
She added her income increased during the pandemic when product demand, including from Maldives and other countries, increased through Kawayan Nature PH.
“Sapat na sapat po para sa pangangailangan ng pamilya namin. Kahit yong asawa ko nung walang trabaho dahil sa pandemic ay tumulong na din sa paggawa (It was sufficient for the needs of our family. Even my husband helped in the buri-product making when he lost his job due to the pandemic),” she said.
Buri bag and mat making have been common livelihood for women in their village.
“Bata pa ako gumagawa na kami nito. Marami kasing puno ng buri dito sa amin (We were already doing it since we were children. There are a lot of buri trees in our village),” she said.
Carolino said leaves from a buri palm tree are gathered and dried in their barangay roads.
Once the leaves turn white, these will be flattened and smoothened with the use of a bamboo stick and will be rolled before undergoing slicing process. These will then be made into bags and mats through weaving by hand.
Carolino said the scourging heat being experienced in the province is helping hasten the process of drying the buri leaves.
She added they are also preparing for the rainy season by collecting and storing buri leaves as early as now. (PNA)