Being a tropical country, the Philippines is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. In the province of Batangas, particularly in the Tingloy Community Development Project (CDP), Buli (also referred to as Buri), a species of palm known to be the largest in the world, is utilized by the women of the community to make various profitable products.
Coming from indigent backgrounds or traditional groups, girls are primarily expected to grow up to fulfill their destinies as mothers or housewives. Beyond the individual well-being of the child, Good Neighbors believes that in order to assure that each Filipino child is cared for and loved, development initiatives need to go beyond just targeting children stakeholders as the family, the very basic unit of society, has great impact on the overall living situation of children. Thus, Good Neighbors also delves into development and capacity-building programs targeted for social, societal, and cultural influencers such as teachers and parents.
By acknowledging the reality of the community as well as identifying the opportunities available to the constituents, Good Neighbors initiated the Tingloy Manggagawa ng Buli (translated as Tingloy Buli Makers) or TAMBULI as a part of the efforts of the organization’s Income Generation Department in 2016. Because of this effort to organize a group with a potential and common ground (buri-making), the group’s first output was a tile frame made from buli and a side table constructed by three father members. Unfortunately, some members encountered personal difficulties that hindered the group’s overall proactivity and organization.
TIMBULI was then reactivated during the 3rd quarter of 2017 through the initiative of the current field manager of the Tingloy CDP. A series of consultations and meetings were done initially before concluding to form a new group of people along with a new set of membership and organization guidelines that ultimately aided in addressing the areas of development of the previous TIMBULI structure. In order for the members to capacitate themselves, introduce new designs, and come up with entrepreneurial innovations, the CDP made it a point to conduct product development trainings which was in partnership with the Community Craft Association of the Philippines (CCAP). This was ultimately based upon foreseen organization and community needs. The said training was fruitful as it provided participants’ with the technical aspects of the buri products which was ultimately a knowledge gain for the members thereby allowing them to see the raw material under a relatively new light and understand the need to innovate in order to entice or sustain the their consumer’s interest.
After these capacity-building efforts, TIMBULI was able to produce two products: a woven box with a cover and a basket, both of which were featured during the I-LIKE Celebration held in January of 2019. From then on, the weavers began to receive orders from private individuals that further gave them recognition in and outside of their province before they were eventually recognized by the Tingloy local government that opened up even more opportunities for them.
Although TIMBULI products are all still under development, there is nothing that gives it more value than the hardship, industriousness, and perseverance that has been intertwined with each strand of each product made from woven buli. With initiatives like TAMBULI and with proactivity like those shown by its members, Good Neighbors hopes that citizen empowerment will continue to add building blocks to the goal of providing each child with the life that they deserve.