Sapal People’s Handicraft: A community-based best practice worth emulating

The weavers working on a sleeping mat. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
The weavers working on a sleeping mat. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

The Sapal People’s Handicraft and Processed Food Center in Barangay Sapal, San Lorenzo, Guimaras is a classic example of women empowerment by way of providing a sustainable livelihood to augment the meager income of farmers around the community.

A huge indoor slipper welcomes the visitors at the entrance. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
A huge indoor slipper welcomes the visitors at the entrance. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Pandan, a plant being used to weave different products like bags and sleeping mats. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Pandan, a plant being used to weave different products like bags and sleeping mats. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

While it has become an attraction by itself being included in the bucket list of tourists visiting the island province of Guimaras, the center is a communal work place and source of income for a living of the residents nearby from those who plant and maintain pandan plants and buri, to the weavers and the center staff who run the office.

The production area. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
The production area. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Women working on the fresh local pandan leaves before being dried. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Women working on the fresh local pandan leaves before being dried. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

Each member is given the chance on a day to day basis to manage the office and each has a role for every product being produced for display and selling.

Different products on display for sale. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Different products on display for sale. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

The center has started mass  producing hand-woven bags, slippers, bed mats, hats, purse, hand bags and even laptop, cellphone and iPad pouch.

Actual demonstration of how weaving is done. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
Actual demonstration of how weaving is done. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

A local pandan plantation is being maintained by the farmers around the center in order to secure a steady supply of leaves in cases of huge orders and during peak seasons where novelty products are made-to-order like hot
cakes.

The marker outside the production building. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera
The marker outside the production building. Photo by Clark Vilalruel Antiquiera

In case one is interested to see and buy these native handicrafts, feel free to call Punong Barangay Evelina Salcedo at 09123346332 and 09123758534. Remember, for every item you buy, a mouth is fed and a child is sent to school. IMT