Loribel (37) is naturally creative. Phadelyn, our field worker, and I (Analyn) were amazed when we saw her coin purses during our orientation in their barangay in October. The purses are made of “nito” - a climbing fern mostly found clinging to trees and rocks and twirled zippers. She got the idea from her brother, who once owned a souvenir shop in Loboc. Loboc is an interior town with attractions for tourists, including a floating restaurant and a conservation area for the small Tarsier primates. Loribel has been earning an income from making her coin purses for the past year.
Domingo (41), Loribel’s husband, is a driver for a construction company earning 7,000 pesos (US$140) a month. Loribel supplements his income with 1,500 pesos ($30) a month from her sales of purses. The couple’s combined income is just enough to meet their needs now and those of their two sons, Melvin and Marvin, 15 and 3 years old respectively.
It has been Loribel’s wish to own a sewing machine, which will make it easier for her to make her products. The zippers for her coin purses need to be sewn, and she currently does this by hand. Also, she adds accessories to her products, such as a name tag with the word “Bohol” and an image of a tarsier made of threads, and these also need to be sewn to shape. For now, Loribel can make an average of 150 coin purses per month, and she sells them for 40 pesos each. She divides her products between her three buyers, who display them at tourist spots.
When she first made her loan application, Loribel’s plan was to buy a new manual sewing machine, but in November she informed me that a friend was selling her nine month old sewing machine for 5,000 pesos (US$100). Loribel has tested the machine and it works well. Her friend is offering it to her for 3,000 pesos (US$60) less than the price of a new one, so this is the machine Loribel wants to buy.
The idea of having her own sewing machine excites Loribel. She dreams of expanding her livelihood by making sling bags out of pieces of cloth. With the machine, Loribel expects to increase her production enough to double her present income, perhaps even more. She hopes for the approval of this loan soon, especially now that the Christmas season is fast approaching. She is confident that her products are of good quality and attractive enough to be wrapped as gifts.
Analyn T. Gallibot