Hazel and I visited Angelica’s family at her home in Taw-ayan, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 after interviewing Christopher Eran about his banana trading loan application in the morning. We had met Angelica the day before when she was our guide up the slippery slope to meet the Batomalaque brothers.
Angelica’s parents, Juditha and Rolando Manandic are both 38 years old. The couple have seven children, including Angelica, with the eldest being 19 (9-months pregnant and living with her partner), and the youngest being 5. The couple’s second daughter, Charmaine (17), has suffered from rheumatic heart disease since she was a child.
The family came to Taw-ayan in August 2014. They had been forced to leave their home in Pinosu-an when the landowner took back the land Juditha and Rolando had been cultivating. They received no compensation for the crops they left behind. The family had to start from scratch again and the children stopped going to school. Angelica is 14 years old, yet her last schooling was in grade 5. When asked if they had plans for the children to go back to school, Juditha replied “My sister is currently working as a domestic helper in Manila, and she promised to send funds home so the children could start school again in June 2015”.
To earn a living, Rolando cuts trees and Angelica helps him carry the timber (10-feet long) to the main road where it is sold for 20 pesos per foot. Rolando also helps on his son-in-law’s family farm with the cultivation of eggplant, okras and bananas. Juditha on the other hand, trades coconut shells earning a net income of 500 pesos ($11) a week. Her mark-up is 0.75 pesos per kilo. These same coconut shells could sell for 9 pesos per kilo in Dumaguete, the provincial capital but to sell there, she would need a big weighing scale, a truck and a contact in Dumaguete.
I ask Hazel how she thinks we might be able to help the family. PSHF could help with a loan for Juditha to have working capital for coconut shell trading but she says they would need to have a thorough understanding of how the trading works in practice first. As for the children’s education, only Charmaine is still in school and she lives with her grandmother. Perhaps, there would be scope for Angelica to take up a vocational training in the future but for the time being, she appears settled and happy to be at home helping her father and mother with their respective livelihoods.
Angelica (far left) with her family
Angelica with Suen