Venancia Batinsila (46) was the fourth in a farming family of 13. The family income was not large enough to feed so many children so when she was 12, Venancia left home to live with a relative in Tagbilaran City, Bohol island's capital, and be a working student. She was a house helper during the day and a student in the evening. She went as far as her second year in college, studying Commerce course but then she had to stop for financial reasons. Soon after, aged 19, she went to Manila and was employed as a house helper.
In Manila, Venancia met Francisco, a carpenter in the subdivision where she was working. He was also from the Visayas island region. They were married in 1990 and after six years were blessed with a daughter; Venice Anne, who is now 16 and a 4th year high school student. The couple left Manila in 1997, as they could no longer afford the living costs and they wanted Venice to grow up and go to school in Bohol. They rented a lot in Tagbilaran for 500 pesos (US$11) per month and built a two-roomed wooden house. Life in Bohol was peaceful and comfortable until Francisco in his mid 50's developed diabetes and high blood pressure. His health remained poor until he died in February 2008 at the age of 64.
Venancia, now a widow, is the sole provider for her daughter, and is working as a cook in a local pension house in the city, earning 5,000 pesos (US$115) a month. In December 2010, Venancia was assisted by a PSHF loan of 3,000 pesos (US$70) to make 'tableya', (cacao tablets) used for flavoring hot drinks and rice porridge. At first her business did well, but gradually she began using up her working capital to pay for her daughter's school projects as part of her media production elective course. This resulted in her 'tableya'production being curtailed.
Venancia did however repay her loan on time, and she is now applying for a reloan but for a different purpose. She would like to add a room to her house, put two beds in it, and accept two 'bed spacers', workers or students who will rent the room for 700 pesos (US$15) each per month. The loan amount will be spent on buying lumber, plywood, nails, etc costing 2,500 pesos (US$60) and the balance will be for paying the carpenter. The additional income is vital for Venancia now that Venice is expected to graduate in April 2012. She needs money to pay her graduation fees and also to save for her college enrollment. Venice is planning to specialize in Fisheries if she passes the test for a scholarship offered by the Science and Technology Department.