Flat broke. That’s how one barangay in the northern Iloilo town of San Dionisio was the day after Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Brgy. Agdaliran’s landscape, once dotted with coconut trees, was flattened. And since the few palms that survived the storm could take up to five years to recover, the people were now deprived of their livelihood. Flat broke, pun intended.
Meanwhile, across the sea in Bacolod City, Jojie Locsin of Tumandok Crafts Industries, a manufacturer of home furniture and accessories, was deep in preparation for new product lines she would unveil at the 29th Negros Trade Fair.
Participants for this year were encouraged to share the blessings of the event to Filipinos badly affected by the calamities of 2013, as well as those living in poor communities needing livelihood assistance. Jojie was, in fact, in search of how to interpret the fair’s theme, “Smiles Beyond Borders.”
Luckily for Brgy. Agdaliran, the nuns of Sievas de Maria Ministros de los Enfermos donated money for materials and labor to build 155 houses.
Luckily for Tumandok, the project director was its former head designer, Carlos Lanuza. And this is where the opportunity began.
Agdaliran badly needed livelihood, and Tumandok could always use more materials and craftsmen. Besides, where human welfare is at stake, when victim and helper meet, it is never serendipitous.
Carlos contacted Jojie and it didn’t take long for the two to push the opportunity ahead. Cut-off pieces of coco lumber from the project in Agdaliran were brought to Tumandok. The discarded slabs were turned into valuable resources.
These became the main raw material of the Haiyan Collection of tables, lamps, trays, and picture frames.
Some of the coco lumber came in narrow strips, but now stand tall as the defining design element of the Haiyan Tube Lamp. The designers and craftspeople at Tumandok possess the eye to see opportunity in the face of adversity.
The opportunity for Agdaliran doesn’t end with the creation of the Haiyan Collection. It continues to be in progress, and if things fall into place, it will be enduring.
Jojie says that Tumandok now plans to establish a processing factory in the barangay, seek out other sustainable raw materials, train the locals in processing, and start a new livelihood. How shoppers will receive the Haiyan Collection will greatly impact that decision.
Tumandok prides itself with the ability to manipulate raw materials and turn them in high-quality home pieces. Aside from coconut, many products also use banana, sea shells, nito vine and other sustainable materials.
The options are limitless, with fabric cut-outs now inlaid in colored fiberglass candy dishes.
For 2014, Tumandok will launch five bold design lines, the Zebra, Poinsettia, Vine Pottery, Golden Banana, and Golden Pottery collections.
Add a thematic thread into living spaces with these designs on tables, wall art, lamps, vases, trays, and picture frames. The Vine Pottery and Golden Pottery collections are constructed using powdered stone technology, incorporating sawdust, rice hull, and charcoal.
Nito vine provides a nice climbing accent to complete the contemporary look of the Vine Pottery pieces. Meanwhile, Golden Pottery is accentuated with golden capiz shells.
Visit the Tumandok’s booth at the 29th Negros Trade Fair on September 24-28, at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.
The 29th Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair held annually in Metro Manila and organized by the Association of Negros Producers.
To know more about Tumandok Crafts and Industries, visit www.tumandok.com.
(All photos are owned by the 29th Negros Trade Fair Smiles Beyond Border and Tumandok Crafts and Industries)
VIEW: Explore Negros Occidental with the Choose Philippines fun map to Bacolod City: