Handicrafts for Yolanda

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Damang Wall Art by Jojo Vito Designs Gallery

Being a designer of my own handicraft business, It has been my desire   to design products which are not only visually appealing but products with social relevance.

In line with the goal of the Association of Negros Producers of which I am a member to reach out to communities severely affected by typhoon Yolanda, I started to search from the net for places where I can visit.

Yolanda was one of the hardest and deadliest typhoon ever recorded, devastating portions of  Philippines, particularly the Visayas area, in November 2013.

My aim for the visit was either  to work with some groups with the same objectives  or work with the communities on some livelihood projects using my personal expertise and business experience. Another objective was to source for some materials available in the place and making the locals as my suppliers thereby giving them an alternative livelihood.

I choose to  visit three Islands severely battered by Yolanda as follows: Molocaboc in Sagay, Negros Occidental, Bohol and Bantayan Island in Cebu.

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Shells from Molocaboc being sold at Sagay during Market day.These shells after being eaten as cleaned and processed for handicrafts

MOLOCABOC ISLAND

Molocaboc is a barangay of Sagay City in the province Negros Occidental. The people of Molocaboc practically depend on fishing for a living and most of them lost their fishing boats when Yolanda struck. Molocaboc is rich with marine natural resources such as sea shells abundant in the shorelines. These seashells  after being eaten  are processed by the women to be sold as handicrafts component.

BANTAYAN ISLAND

Bantayan Island is one of the worst-hit islands in the Philippines caused by the devastation by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Poultry, Fishing boats, houses… A majority of these were wiped out by the super typhoon. As of this writing, many were still dwelling in the tents.

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A consultation meeting with the people in Bantayan Island

BOHOL

Before the super typhoon, Boholanons was already forced to be  in a tent after their houses were destroyed by the 7.2- magnitude earthquake on October 15. While they were still in a very long way to recouping from the earthquake that killed more than 200 persons  they were hit by two typhoons: Typhoon Wilma, which triggered floods and a week after that the Super typhoon Yolanda.

The remains of the Loboc Church after the Earthquake.

Photo by www.thehappytrip.com

I looked at those visits in the Islands as a point of no return. Seeing their situation and hearing their stories months later on the  typhoon made me commit to do something that would somehow be of help to them. The dole out periods are over and the people from these places don’t want to receive dole outs anymore. They want jobs, they want livelihood, they wanted to restore their self-esteem and wanted to regain their self-worth by earning for themselves.

Back home, I immediately started to do some designs and sketches of some handicrafts which I gave to Humanitarian Open Source Touched (HOST) a Non-Government Organization which offers livelihood for the people of Bantayan. I also started to do some designs which I intend to do with my own design team at Jojo Vito Designs Gallery. Likewise, I started to order some materials which I saw abundant in the Islands.

MY YOLANDA INSPIRED DESIGNS

MARANG LAMP BY JOJO VITO REDUCED

Real sea urchin shells meticulously attached to a large fiberglass ball to create this art piece lamp named “Marang”

 

THE MARANG LAMP

One of the delicacies famous in Bohol is the sea urchins normally sold by vendors in most beaches. Sea urchins, sometimes called sea hedgehogs, are small, spiny, globular animals. In Bohol, you will see many people would eat the meat of the urchin straight from the shells.

Using these shells, I designed a huge ball suspended lamp fully covered by sea urchin shells resembling a Marang fruit abundant in Negros. The main frame of the lamp is made of fiberglass covered by crushed mussel and capiz shells. The stem of the lamp is made of fiberglass in baluster shape and rendered with gold leaf creating a contrast with an organic and natural color of the shells.

THE ADNALOY DIVIDER

Using  shells from Molocaboc, I created a room Divider named  “Adnaloy”. “Adnaloy” is Yolanda spelled backward. Spelling Yolanda in reverse, for me, represents the desire and prayer of the people of Molocaboc to rise above their situation and reverse the negative impact brought about by the super typhoon.

Adnaloy  is a three-panel divider with a mahogany wood frame. Sculptured shells made of fiber glass were added to create drama and added texture to the design. Stringed Small shells in various lengths and sizes freely hang on specific spots, creating a sense of fluidity in the design.

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 The 3-panel Adnaloy Divider in Mahogano frame adorned with fiberglass sculptured shell components and stringed multiple shells from Molcaboc Island.

“DAMANG” LIGHTED WALL ART

Abundant along  the Island of Bantayan are little Button Top Shells which we called in dialect “batad”. Button top shells were normally used by the children to play in the countryside. Urged on  by my fun memories of childhood and with the games kids played in the countryside like “Bug-oy” (game using button top shells) and “Pahibag Damang” (spider fighting), I created a lighted Wall Décor using these Button Top Shells. The wall décor which measures 4×4 ft has a lighted subject which resembles spiders. The Button Top Shells were meticulously wrapped around the wires mimicking the legs of the spiders. The lighted body was created with inlaid Capiz shells laminated on a fiberglass. The wall art is entitled “Damang”, a vernacular term for a spider.

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Lighted  Damang Wall Art

THE FESTIVAL DOLLS

These dolls are representations of various festivals in Negros Occidental. Made of fiber glass and dressed with various materials such as semi-precious stones, sequins, fabric, feathers and shells from Molocaboc and Bantayan Island.  In my desire to extend further, I committed to a local church in Bantayan Island the 20% from the sales of these dolls which I will  donate to help them in the construction of one church destroyed during the typhoon.

 

Festival Dolls by Jojo Vito Designs Gallery in various designs  which was awarded  the 2014 Bulawan Award by the Association of Negros producers

I recognized  that making these people as suppliers or donating a portion of my income will never be enough compared to what is actually needed in the place. But I always believe that with everyone’s  little help these islands will soon be back again in shape or even be better.

Interested parties may contact us at the Jojo Vito Designs Gallery at # 119 Kapitana Dikang St.-Alunan Avenue, Bacolod City, Philippines. Tel 0922-8516729.

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Festival Doll inspired by Sinigayan Festival of Sagay City ,Negros Occidental.Dressed with shells from Molocaboc and Bantayan Islands.

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57 Comments

  1. Anne Reyes

    yes, no need for a big project just to create impact in the community. what you are doing is a direct help to the people in need. By making these people as suppliers , you are actually giving them livelihood. WE WILL SURELY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT. Many Yolanda victims has not recovered yet. and what they need now is livelihood and jobs that will install back their self-worth and purpose in life.

  2. Wow, the people who made these crafts are very creative and a lot of patients. You can make a lot of money thru handmade products and help these communities.

    • Thank you Raquel. Yes, making these products really entails a lot of patience.But what is more important are the benefits it can bring to the people in the community.Hopefully , long term benefits.

  3. what you’re doing for them is really helpful. I hope our government can mirror on this too. Instead of giving short term supplies, it’s still better to give them Jobs.

    • Thank you Kiko. In fairness, we are getting support from the government agencies like DTI and DOST. In fact , I was invited by DTI to be the resource person for the people of Molocaboc, one Island in Negros hit by Yolanda to help them in designing their shell crafts. I will also be selling these items which I will design for them.

  4. I love the uniqueness of your designs.
    But what I admire most is your worthy advocacy behind your art’s beauty.
    Congratulations and more power.

  5. Very nice. Hope I can visit Bantayan in the near future. But I really like your programs and projects. Life well spent. 😀

  6. I am truly impressed by your creativity. But more than the aesthetics of your products, what I like best is the story behind these especially the intentions to help the Yolanda Victims. Even up to now many people affected by this typhoon has not yet fully recovered. I pray for the success of this mission.

    • Thank you.Yes, each time we have tours or customers visiting our gallery, we would always tell the stories behind the products we are producing. We believe that by continuously doing this we will be making more people to get involve and share our advocacy.

      • Fiestang Pinoy

        The dolls are very good promotional material/souvenirs for our local festivals. Promoting local festivals is a big help to the local economy..

  7. wow, I didn’t realize that simple shells can be made into beautiful products like these. More than that, I like the intentions behind these handicrafts and that is to help people. Surely people will love this.

    • Hi John,yes in the midst of adversity, help can come in many forms. We can help by directly giving, but after a while we really need to help people find a new livelihood so that they can rebuild their lives. We are blessed with natural resources and we can always use these for crafts,etc.

  8. Giving jobs instead of simply giving alms is a great cause.Keep it up.We will support this advocacy.

    • Thank you Dara. We need more people like you to support this cause. Simple sharing of this article to reach more people who wanted to help would be of great help already.

  9. Support must be sustainable, we cannot be forever giving alms to our brother in need. Teaching them and providing livelihood will enable them to enrich themselves using especially the available resources around them. I have bought some “Yolanda” products recently and will continue to buy to support people from these communities. Hope more people will be buying these crafts too:)

    • I agree with you F Pinoy and thank you for buying products like this. We can’t all go to the place and extend help. But by buying these products we are already helping them in effect.

    • Thank you Rochkirstin Santos. While I was in the Island and saw these materials, I already knew what I want to do. So the moment I went back, I already work with my men to start doing the project. Maybe I was really moved with what I saw 🙂

    • Thank you Ms. Lani.I guess they have no choice but to be hopeful after the typhoon.That’s why we also need to at least do what we can even in the littlest way to be of help to others.

  10. Congratulations for having these crafts using Yolanda Materials. We have ordered from your store some leis which we used for our convention. We had really requested to use the shells from Bantayan instead of ribbon and other materials. Our guests were very happy knowing the story behind their leis. We will order more products like this in our next activity.

    • Your patronage will surely go a long way. We continue to order these materials from Bantayan and Molocaboc.At least even by just making theor our supplier we are giving them some sort of livelihood.

  11. WOW! It’s very impressive that those materials have been turned into something really useful.

  12. Great designs once again and it’s nice that they use unique materials for this one.

  13. Are those images above really your designs? Wow! I’m really impressed with your creativity. Hope to see more of your designs soon.

  14. i love the festival doll design very creative, thanks for the post like this!

    • Thank you, Andrew Olano. Yes, we have a lot of nice materials around which we can use for a handicraft. We just need to be resourceful.This is part of our advocacy.

  15. i love the festival doll design very creative! where can we buy that?

  16. Your creations are phenomenal! I wish to visit our gallery some time soon, putting Bacolod on our next to visit this year. Kudos for being thoughtful of our kababayans too!

    • Thank you Sr Gil. Hope you can visit our gallery in the near future. We open our gallery to students as well. I understand, you are connected in a school.

  17. I like the concept of designs telling stories of hope, which is really encouraging.

    • Thank you Franc Ramon. Yes, for each of the products were stories of hope and I hope that these stories will touch the heart of others so that they will participate in this cause.

  18. The Marang Lamp is mesmerizing!

    • I hope that you can visit the Island soon. Some people in the Island are still living in the tents. I believe that tourism can be of big help to the people in the community. Don’t forget to buy some locally made souvenirs when visiting the Island.

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