Crisiolo and Virginia, both in their early 50s are both farm laborers working on a sugarcane farm getting paid 150 pesos ($3) each for a day’s work. Crisiolo used to be a construction worker in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental’s capital, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, his company had to stop its operations. Criosolo is a carpenter by trade but unfortunately he was one of the workers to be retrenched. Virginia is happy however to have her husband back home time with the family.
The Virginia and Crsiolo have been happily married for almost three decades and together, they have six children; one is married and living separately, three are single parents working in Manila and the two youngest live with the couple. The three children of the single parents, aged 2 to 5, also live with them.
It was in August 2019, when we first came to know Virginia; she applied for and received a loan to cultivate her brother in-law’s half hectare piece of land with peanuts and corn. She was able to harvest 8 sacks of peanuts which she sold for 9,000 pesos as well as 10 sacks of corn which she kept for home consumption. Virginia was really happy with the results of her farming and fully repaid her loan ahead of schedule.
Virginia and Criosolo are now applying for a second loan, this time to enable Criosolo to buy a carabao and a moldboard. With the entire province returning to normal activity, Crisiolo is keen now to focus on ploughing which is paid double the rate of weeding. He has been scouting for an adult carabao since last month and fortunately he has learned that the neighbour of a relative is selling his carabao and moldboard.
Crisiolo is excited by the prospect of ploughing with his own carabao and equipment. He would earn more as a construction worker but he is happy to do a job he enjoys and to be with his family again. Construction work was becoming tough for a man of his age, particularly when he was working on high buildings with his feet on scaffolding. With farming, he can go to work early in the morning and go home to have lunch with his family. Crisiolo and Virginia are most grateful for the loan and we are happy to help them.
Winelin De La Cruz and Ireen Ingles
PSHF Negros Oriental