The Rellen couple; Virginia and Crisiolo, both in their early 50s, do not know how to read or write as they barely completed second grade in elementary. Both come from big families in the neighbouring town of Guijulngan, Negros Oriental where parents do not prioritise schooling over farm work. Both Virginia and Crisiolo did weeding on private haciendas from a young age and this is how they met as often times their family worked together.
Virginia and Crisiolo have been married since January 1987 and they have six children; one is married and living separately, three are single parents working in Manila and their three children are living with Virginia and Crisiolo along with their two other children aged 11 to 13 who are studying in a public school nearby.
For a number of years, Crisiolo has been working as a mason/carpenter in Dumaguete City, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental to support his family. He sends 10,000 pesos a month to Virginia and keeps 2,000 pesos for himself to meet his basic needs. He goes home to visit his family in Obat twice a month. Virginia is able to meet all the family’s basic needs from Crisiolo’s remittances but it can be a struggle to buy medicines when one of the children is down with flu or asthma.
There is a half hectare piece of idle land near belonging to Crisiolo’s brother which Virginia is keen to cultivate. She is applying for a loan to plant peanuts and corn. The loan will be used to hire a worker to plough the field and to purchase a few kilos of seedlings. September is the season for planting and Virginia is hopeful that with this farming venture she will be able to harvest an average of five sacks of peanuts and corn every six months. She will sell the peanuts and keep the corn for home consumption. A sack of peanuts is worth about 1,000 pesos so a year’s harvests should give her a gross income of 10,000 pesos ($200). Virginia is excited about embarking on this new farming venture and looking forward to the approval of this loan.
Ireen O. Ingles
PSHF Negros Oriental