Earning More From Sabutan Handicrafts
From her native but elegantly designed sabutan handicrafts, Rosalinda T. Espaņa, of Brgy. Suklayin, Baler, Aurora proves that she doesn't need to be a corporate executive to earn a good income every month.

Sabutan is a specie of pandan that grows from two to four meters tall and can be found in mountains, terrains and forested areas.

In Aurora, sabutan fibers are woven into hats, baskets, handbag, fans, wallets, mattresses and throw pillow covers. The handwoven sabutan of Aurora have found a niche in the local and international market and is now becoming the pride of the province.

Rosalinda has been into garment business selling curtains, bed sheets, appliance and throw pillow covers for many years until in 2001, she decided to shift into sabutan handicraft making. Thus, Mene's Crafts and Things was established. This is in support to the call of the Provincial Government of Aurora to promote sabutan made products which the province is known for.

The growing sabutan industry in Aurora also generated employment in the communities. Rosalinda, for instance, is a regular buyer of woven raw materials in San Luis and Baler towns, thus helping the weavers in the community improve their source of livelihood. "I am happy because in my own ways, I can help my fellowmen earn additional income," Rosalinda said.

A small bundle of plain sabutan costs P35 to P45 while the colored sabutan costs P50 depending on the size. Sabutan handicrafts at the Pasalubong Center in Baler Public Market are sold at P120-P450 for bags, wallets- P15-P95, fans- P35-P50, hats with decoration- P125, envelope bag- P150-P185, boxes- P150-P550, and throw pillows- P150-P220.

Rosalinda joins different trade fairs in the region to promote her products. Through her participation to these events, she was able to get customers who are based in Cebu and Davao. Her products also became the favorite 'pasalubong' of foreigners and Filipinos living abroad.

In return for what she earned from her business, she is willing to share her knowledge to those who are interested to engage in sabutan handicraft business. "I am willing to teach them and I encourage them to go into this kind of business because it is a profitable venture," she said.

Seeing the great potential of her business, Rosalinda, however, needs additional capital to expand her production. Thus, in 2004, she requested the help of the Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc. (ASKI), Baler Branch. As a new member, she was granted P5,000 initial loan under the Individual Lending Program (ILP) of ASKI.

When she completed the repayment of her loan and because of the growing demand of her products here and abroad, she again sought the assistance of ASKI and borrowed P50,000 to meet the needs of her customers.

Increasing her production would also mean additional requirements of raw materials, thus sabutan weavers are assured of continuous income.

In 2009, more opportunities opened to Rosalinda's business. ASKI offered to display and sell her products at its marketing center in Cabanatuan City, she also had bulk orders from the Provincial Government of Aurora and Sen. Edgardo J. Angara whenever they have visitors.

According to Rosalinda, the sabutan handicraft business is a great help to her family. "I was able to purchase a brand new tricycle, farm equipment and provide education for my children. They are now professionals in their chosen careers," she said.

At present, she plans to engage in palay production to maximize the 2.5 hectares rice field she bought and the land pawned to her.

Being one of the successful clients of ASKI, Rosalinda was recognized as an outstanding micro-entrepreneur during the 2009 Gawad KAUNLARAN (Kabalikat sa UliraN Laban sa Kahirapan) awarded by the People's Credit and Finance Corporation and the Central Luzon Association of Microfinance Institutions.
"I am happy because in my own ways, I can help my fellowmen earn additional income"
© Copyright. Alalay Sa Kaunlaran(ASKI), Incorporated
All Rights Reserved 2013
Designed by: iSynergies, Inc 2013