By Dhel Nazario
Women weavers from Talakag, Bukidnon were able to enhance their respective mat designs and produce globally competitive and marketable products thanks to a program launched under the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – X through PSTC – Bukidnon.
Molina Bayug was one of the weavers who attended the training on the innovation on Mat Weaving. With her eagerness to learn, she weaved her own designed round mat made of “tikog” (Sagittaria sagittifolia Linn.) and “sudsud” (Juncus fistulosus Guss.) which were provided to them.
For Molina, weaving is her means to earn a living. She had started weaving mats more than 5 years ago. Traditional mats are the only products they have before, which were sold from P137 per span (known as “dangaw”). These mats, commonly known as “banig” were sold house to house around their community since they do not have a permanent display area.
From weaving and selling mats, Molina is able to support the needs of her family including sending her 3 children to school.
Aside from mats, they learned to weave bags, placemats, and hats, among others. A total of 20 housewives attended the training where five were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Marawi siege.
The woven products of Molina and other weavers are now sold from P400 to P1,700 each depending on the size of the mat. These are displayed at BigHoop Charities, Inc. – a Non-Government Organization and Negosyo Center in Talakag, Bukidnon.
With the mat innovation training, local weavers can now display their products at Trade Fairs and in some events in the municipality such as fiesta and farmer’s day and were even exported to other countries.
In December 2017, two months after the training, two round mats of Molina were sold to Jessica Robertson, a foreigner who visited the area during the 6th Foundation Day of Project Kasaligan.
For the women weavers in Talakag, Bukidnon, CEST is not just a DOST project that taught them to weave mats but empowered them to achieve their dreams of a brighter tomorrow.
Photo cap: Molina Bayug with the Round Mats of various sizes produced by the weavers are being displayed at BigHoop Charities, Inc. after the conduct of the training.