Philippine Self-Help Foundation

Twenty-nine-year-old Marcelo lives with his wife Sarah (30), and son Mark John (4) live in a two-roomed native house built on a 100 square meter lot given to him by his father Amado as a wedding gift.

Marcelo is a fish vendor. He gets his stock from the fishing port of Dauis port, a 30 minute motorcycle ride from his home. He has a carrier on both sides in which he can place a pail containing the fish. He peddles his fish in Sikatuna and the neighboring towns of Balilihan and Sevilla. A productive day gives him a net sales income of 300 pesos ($5.50). However, there are days when Marcelo cannot sell such as during bad weather or when fish are not in season.

In 2018, Marcelo and Sarah bought a 2,500 sq. meter rice farm from their savings from working in a mall here in Tagbilaran City. Sadly in July 2019, Marcelo started to experience severe stomach upsets which were to continue for six months. Marcelo and Sarah decided to pawn their rice farm because he could no longer work and besides he had to pay for his medication. Marcelo kept up his  fluid intake to avoid fatal dehydration. He had several check-ups but was never given a clear diagnosis. In the end, he was diagnosed with an acute ulcer and prescribed antibiotics, but they proved to be ineffective. Marcelo even sought out a faith healer. Then, someone told him to try “malunggay” (moringa) puree, and after drinking it for almost a month, his condition improved.

The contract pertaining to the pawning of his land was for three years and was due to end in July. Marcelo asked for an extension from the pawnee and was given until this December. He has not saved any money to redeem his land as his fish vending was severely curtailed during the pandemic which meant his income declined. Furthermore, his family home was severely damaged in last December’s super typhoon (Odette) family’s home and he needed funds to make repairs. For these reasons, Marcelo came to our office to apply for a loan to enable him to redeem his farm. 

Marcelo’s rice farm has historically yielded 20 sacks of unmilled rice in each twice-yearly harvest. He would plan to keep ten sacks for home consumption, give his father, Amado and his two brothers, Junior and Julius 20 sacks in recognition of their help him with the farm work and sell the remaining ten sacks for 5,000 pesos ($90). 

Marcelo and Sarah are excited to regain possession of their rice farm and most grateful for the loan.

Analyn T. Gallibot

PSHF Bohol

November 2022