Bgry. Agdaliran, San Dionisio, Iloilo after Yolanda…
Opportunity in the Face of Adversity
Hopeless, homeless. Maybe these words were not enough to describe Brgy. Agdaliran, San Dionisio a barangay in northern Iloilo the day after Typhoon Yolanda.
Barangay Agdaliran’s landscape once dotted with coconut trees was flattened. While a few coconut trees survived the wrath of Yolanda, it would take years for these trees to recover, resulting in the loss of sustenance for the bulk of the people in the community.
Meanwhile, in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Tumandok Crafts Industries owned and managed by Joji Locsin, maker of home furniture and furnishings, was deep in quest for fresh product lines she would uncover at the 29th Negros Trade Fair. The Fair exhibitors this year are encouraged to share in the blessings of the event to Filipinos badly affected by the calamities, as well as those living in poor communities needing livelihood assistance.
Fortunately for Brgy. Agdaliran, a project to build 155 houses started to grind from the money donated by the nuns of Sievas de Maria Ministros de Los Enfermos.What a coincidence for Tumandok, the project director for this housing project was its former Operations Manager/ Designer, Carlos Lanuza. And this is where the opportunity begins. Agdaliran badly needs support, and Tumandok can always use more local materials available in the village and craftsmen as well.
And this is where the opportunity begins. Agdaliran badly needs support, and Tumandok can always use more local materials available in the village and craftsmen as well.
It got out very easy for Joji and Carlos to push the opportunity together as both of them were playing on the same vision – to help people in penury. The discarded coco slabs which were not used for housing were turned into valuable handicraft materials. These excess parts of coco lumber from the project in Agdaliran were used as the main raw material for the Haiyan Collection of Tumandok Crafts Industries. The Haiyan Collection includes tables, lamps, trays, and photograph frames. Some of the coco lumber came in narrow strips, but now stands tall as the defining design element of the Haiyan Tube Lamp. An added component like capiz shells were added to make the collection more visually attractive. Indeed, Tumandok’s designers and artisans possess the eye to see opportunity in the face of adversity.
The Haiyan Collection will not be an end for the livelihood opportunities for the people of Agdaliran. It continues to be a work in progress. Joji said if this collection will be a success in the market it would mean more employment for the people in the community.
Tumandok plans to establish a processing workshop in the barangay, seek out other sustainable indigenous materials, train the locals in processing, and take up a new livelihood, she added. The market’s response to the initial project of Tumandok will surely influence that decision. Indeed, there can be an opportunity in the face of adversity.