Cabacao Unlad Saka SLP Association: Yielding Rice and Corn to Onward Cabacao

Abra De Ilog boasts its high mountains and vast farm lands which makes agriculture the main livelihood of the population. One of the associations that thrives in this business is the Cabacao Unlad Saka SLP Association that started in June 2016. Almost all the members were already farmers who aspired to earn more by creating an association.

Upon market analysis, the SLPA identified rice and corn production as a viable livelihood considering the terrain of the province. The association president, Nerlita Venturanza, merged the two Sustainable Livelihood Program associations: the Rice production and Corn Production. Through this, the resources of the associations are maximized for higher profit.


Aside from the additional income they earn from farming, the association has already produced assets including varieties of seeds and farming machines. Also, they grabbed the ‘Best Dressed Carabao and Kariton’ during the Piyesta ng Abra De Ilog last 2017. The association is currently supplying the local market of Abra De Ilog since the transaction is fast and hassle-free but they are already planning to increase the quantity of their production to expand in the neighboring provinces.

For 120 cavans of rice or corn, a member earns a gross income of Php 40,000.00 per harvest. The SLPA also offers microlending service for the members. They contribute Php 50.00 every meeting to serve as their capital. The income from the 3% interest rate goes to the savings of the association.

They have received a total of 4 water pumps, seeds, and mobile dryer from the Department of Agriculture for their rice and corn crops. Also, members grab every opportunity to learn additional knowledge on farming through attending seminars and training near the area. There are members who explored other livelihood to provide for their family.


Nerlita Venturanza, SLPA President, shared that what challenges her the most as a leader is the lack of persistence of some members. Despite this, she doesn’t get tired explaining the end result when they work hard, be resourceful, and wait patiently during tough times in farming. She shared, “Ang nakatulong talaga sa amin para i-manage ang mga members ay ‘yung pagtuturo sa kanila ng ethics. Dahil alam nila kung ano ang nararapat gawin, mas magiging tapat sila sa tungkulin dito sa asosasyon.”  

“Malaking tulong yung starter kit na binigay samin dahil nangungutang lang ako dati sa traders pero nang maging member ako ng SLP, ang panimulang kapital ang ginamit ko para makaipon ng kaunti. Ngayon, hindi na ko mag-iisip pa saan kukuha ng pantanim sa susunod sa cycle,” shared Nerlita.

The association used every equipment they have to maximize their production volume of rice and corn. Through this, members are able to build their personal livelihood assets including additional livelihood, household items, tuition fee for their children, and many more.

One strategy members do is they leave a portion of their earnings in the association as their personal savings. Through this, they are able to save enough capital for the next planting season. As Nerlita says, “Sa mga kapwa magsasaka, ano mang tulong na natatanggap ay dapat magamit sa maayos, ilagay sa maayos.” ###

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Ambulong SLP Association: The Extra in the Ordinary Banana Chips

In line with the objective of the Sustainable Livelihood Program to create an enabling environment for accessing income-generating opportunities to address basic needs, the scheme of the program is to create a group called SLP Association that will manage a microenterprise. One of the major challenges the program faces is the sustainability of operation of the SLPA itself. In the project implementation stage, beneficiaries are challenged to be continuously capacitated towards self-governance and sustain the operations since there is a limited access to technical assistance, which can be associated to the geographical location and terrain of MIMAROPA. Technical experts and resource persons are challenged to reach beneficiaries from far-flung areas which affects the timely and efficient delivery of services.

In the aspect of marketing the products, most of the microenterprises have no appropriate branding and packaging for their products. Thus, there is a challenge in meeting the standards of the competitive market nowadays. Thus, the Ambulong SLP Association of Brgy. Limon Sur, Looc, Romblon focused on addressing this concern.

Womenpreneurs of Ambulong

Ambulong SLPA is a 100% women-owned business composed of 20 members engaged in banana chips processing. It was funded in November 2017 under the Seed Capital Fund and Cash for Building Livelihood Assets amounting to a total of PHP 245,000.00. Before the implementation of the program, most of the members worked as vegetable vendors and housemaids earning PHP 3,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00 a month. There were also housewives who wanted to earn extra income to support their families.

Upon market analysis, the SLPA identified banana chips processing as a viable livelihood considering the abundant resource of banana in the municipality. They built a small processing center along highway where they sell their products.

To further improve their skills in the chosen microenterprise, members enrolled in series of trainings involving techniques in banana chips processing. After a few months of operation, they have already acquired assets including additional tables and kitchen utensils. They can also afford to purchase bigger quantity of raw ingredients such as sacks of sugar and liters of oil.

Good Practices Leading to Improvement 

Product Enhancement

  • The banana chips became thinner and crispier. They replaced the existing cooking oil they use with the one of a better quality. Though the replacement is a little expensive, customers’ feedback on banana chips is more favorable.
  • After the training, the number of flavors of banana chips increased from two to five. Flavors include Original, Sweet, Salted, Sour Cream, and Pandan.
  • Based on the customers’ feedback, the use of wood than LPG in cooking results to better and tastier banana chips.

Product Packaging

  • The association outsourced a graphic artist to create the official logo of the product.
  • To maintain the crispiness of banana chips, the association sought the technical assistance of DTI to improve the packaging from the ordinary clear plastic sealed through heat sealer machine to resealable plastic pouch.
  • The packaging has label that includes the (1) manufactured and expiration dates, (2) ingredients, (3) weight, and (4) promotional ad of the product.
  • The SLPA has already secured barangay, mayor’s, and sanitary permits. It has also been a CSO-accredited association since 2017. DTI has shown its unwavering support through the provision of packaging and labeling of banana chips that is product-appropriate and bear relevant information about the product.

Lessons Learned

  • The quality of a product is critical in satisfying the customers, thus a business should always maintain the highest possible standards.
  • Always consider the feedback of customers. This will help improve the quality of a product.
  • Food safety and sanitation in a food industry should not be underestimated.
  • Having the right marketing strategy is important to promote and sell the products.

Implications for Replication 

The initiative of the SLPA to seek for technical assistance form external partners/agencies that can potentially contribute to the development of a product is very commendable. Members should find experts who can help provide new knowledge and skills to the project participants.

Microenterprises should prioritize product development and product packaging. Other associations can also outsource an expert to create their own logo and packaging. Also, associations must secure all the important documents to avoid inconvenience in business transactions.  These include business permits, Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding, Constitutions and By-Laws, and many more. ###









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Making Melody in the Life of a Single Mom

Retail industry is a thriving business nationwide, particularly in rural areas. One type of retail is the convenience store, usually put up in or near the owner’s house, that proves the ‘convenience’ and practicality of working at home.

The PPMC Women’s SLP Association is an organized microenterprise managing a convenience store in the municipality of Sta. Fe, Romblon. The women-led association is composed of 20 members from four barangays – Pandan, Poblacion, Mat-I, and Canyayo hence the acronym PPMC.

Melody F. Ocampo, 20 years old, is the youngest member of the association. She is married and blessed with three children. Her husband has an irregular job while Melody tried her luck in business as she lent capital from the lending service amounting to PHP 10,000.00 that she used to put up a convenience store beside her small nipa house. 

After few years of living together, Melody and her husband separated. She was left alone to raise the kids as her husband did not provide any support. An opportunity opened to her when the association was organized. She received a Seed Capital Fund which she used as an additional capital in her existing store.

Later on, Melody put up another store along the highway. She rented the lot for PHP 250.00 a month. Years passed and her store gave her a profitable income. Aside from paying her debts from the lending company, she decided to expand her store by selling vegetables such as squash, eggplant, sitaw, and okra.

Business expansion did not end here as Melody ventured in retailing of feeds where she saw the demand for it. She even sold gallon of purified water. “Lahat ng pwedeng ibenta at pagkakitaan ay susubukan ko makaraos lang,” she stated.

At present, Melody has already invested in many things including her concrete house, motorcycle, and tuition fee of her kids. Melody is very thankful for the opportunity given by SLP. She has proven that the capital given by the government can be effectively utilized through proper planning, hard work, and perseverance. Melody, a versatile business woman, is an inspiration to other solo parents out there not to give up easily.  ###


Lina Phie Macatubal, Project Development Officer II, Romblon

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Bangwayin Peanut SLP Association starts their Peanut Production

Bangwayin Peanut SLP Association is an association in  Torrijos, Marinduque with 22 members who are mostly farmers. They have a proposed group project of Peanut Production, that was funded last July 24, 2018 with a total of PHP 220,000.00.

From August to September, the association has started the land preparation including site selection, land clearing, and land cultivation. Then, they began planting peanut last October with nine salop of peanut seeds to an estimated land area of 300 square meters.

The staff of Department of Social Welfare and Development assigned in Torrijos joined the planting of peanut and gave technical assistance on their projects. After three months from the date of planting, project participants expect to harvest ten sacks of peanut from their first production cycle. Participants target small businesses in Torrijos which use peanuts as raw materials for their products such as peanut butter. The association is planning to expand and increase their production volume for the succeeding cycles of their project and also to seek other possible consumers/ buyers from neighboring municipalities to sustain the supply of peanut. ###


Arjay Historillo, Project Development Officer II, Marinduque

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Bangbangalon Consumers Cooperative, Nagkaisa sa Pagsasaayos ng Kanilang Munting Opisina

Noong ika-30 ng Setyembre 2018, ang Bangbangalon Consumers Cooperative (dating Bangbangalon SLP Association) ng Boac, Marinduque ay nagsagawa ng sama-samang pagsasaayos at pagpapaganda ng kanilang munting opisina. Munti mang maituturing, ito ay nagsisilbing tahahan kung saan magsisimula ang mga pangarap ng pagsulong at pagtawid mula sa kahirapan.

Ang bawat miyembro ay naglaan ng kani-kanilang oras upang maisaayos ang kanilang opisina. Ayon kay Ginang Anelor M. Lamoc, chairperson ng kooperatiba, “dito ilalagak ang lahat ng kagamitan ng kooperetiba na ginamit sa negosyong catering. Dito rin ginagawa ang paghahanda at pagluluto ng pagkain. At ngayong maayos na, maaari na din kaming makapagpulong dito buwan-buwan.”

“Para mapalago ang ibinigay na tulong sa amin ng gobyerno, kailangan naming maghanap pa ng ilan pang mga pagkakakitaan tulad ng mga tindahan o mga processing [center] para mayroong alternatibong magagawa pang iba hindi lang catering at feeds retailing,” dagdag pa niya.

Ikinuwento naman ni Ginang Mercedita Oracion, cook ng kooperatiba, “nakatulong sa aking pamilya ang samahan dahil sa ako ang tumatayong cook sa aming catering.  Ako rin ay isa sa mga nakaka-attend ng mga libreng seminar ng DSWD at sa ngayon willing pa din akong dumalo ng mga seminar para madagdagan ang aking kaalaman.“

“Gusto kong magpasalamat sa DSWD, sa tulong na ibinigay nila sa amin ngayon na malaki talagang kaalwanan sa amin. Kung baga po sa mga naghihirap na hindi makatugon sa pag-aaral ng mga anak. Gusto po namin magpasalamat sa inyo nang lubos lalung-lalo na po sa aming dating PDO na si Sir Adonis (Provincial Coordinator sa ngayon) kahit po kami ay pasaway, kami po ay tinutukan niya,” madamdaming pasasalamat ni Ginang Anelor. Bukod sa teknikal na kaalaman, kooperasyon at pagkakaisa ang ilan sa mga mahahalagang katangian na dapat matutunan ng bawat myembro ng isang samahan upang sila ay umangat sa kahirapan. ###



John Paul B. Abaincia, Project Development Officer II, Marinduque

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Ang Magsasaka ng Palbong: Kwento ng Pag-ani


Si Hossana Brigole Vargas, 40, ang presidente ng Palbong Farmers Association sa Brgy. Batong Buhay, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Ang asosasyon ay sumali noong 2015 at naaprubahan noong 2017. Sa kasalukuyan, si Hossana ay nakaka-apat na cycle na ng pagtatanim simula nang maging miyembro ng Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Noong unang cycle, ginamit ni Hossana ang puhunan na Php 10,000 na Seed Capital Fund sa pagbili ng abono at iba pang kagamitan sa kanyang bukid. Nang dumating ang ikalawang cycle, naisipan niya na dagdagan ang pinagkakakitaan kaya naman nagpasya itong bumili ng mga biik na aalagaan. Dito naranasan ni Hossana ang pinakamabigat na hamon sa kanya bilang isang magsasaka. “Noong 2nd cycle, bale hinati ko ‘yung puhunan ko. Kalahati sa maisan na dalawang ektarya at kalahati sa babuyan,” panimulang salaysay ni Hossana.

“Kung kailan pagulang na ‘yung mga mais, na malaki na siya, inatake siya ng mga daga, ng mga peste sa loob lang ng dalawang gabi. Kinain talaga mula tuktok hanggang dulo. Pagpunta namin doon noong unang araw, konti lang yung bawas. Noong pangalawang araw, as in totally inubos ng daga. Kinain lahat. Walang itinira. 15 days na lang aanihin na sana. Wala talaga kaming napakinabangan,” kwento niya.

“Noong time na ‘yun, nanghina ako syempre bilang tao. Muntik na ako magpakamatay. Buti na lang ‘nung iinom na sana ako ng lason, buti na lang naramdaman ng mister ko. Kaya ayun umiyak ako humihingi na lang ako ng panalangin. Sabi ko ipag-pray mo ako. Hindi ko kaya ‘to. Kasi ang laki ng gastos namin doon nasa Php 70,000 tapos ganun ganun na lang. Dalawang gabi lang tapos inubos na ng mga pesteng daga,” hinagpis ni Hossana.  

“Pero salamat sa Diyos dahil mayroon din namang pambawi. Yung mga baboy na inalagaan ko, iyon ‘yung naging daan para makabawi ako sa mga utang ko sa mais tsaka at the same time ‘yung utang ko sa SLP,” dagdag niya.  Mula sa kinita sa SLP, napalago na ni Hossana ang kanyang bukid at babuyan. Nakapagpundar na din silang mag-asawa ng sariling welding machine kung saan tumatanggap na ng kontrata ang asawa.

BIlib din si Hossana sa kapwa mga miyembro niya na nakapagpundar na din ng kani-kanilang kagamitan at hanapbuhay. Masaya din siya na nabayaran na nila ang paunang utang sa SLP noong ikalawang cycle pa lamang. “Gusto naming patunayan na ang mga taga-Palbong ay hindi lang magaling mangutang. Ang panimulang tulong ng gobyerno ay ginamit talaga namin upang umangat ang buhay,” ani Hossana.

Masasabi din niya na ang asosasyon ay handang tumulong sa kapwang nangangailangan. “Ang project ng SLP, hindi lang kami ang natulungan niyan. Nakatulong din sa labas na hindi miyembro. Minsan may isusugod sa ospital dito sa amin pero walang pera pambili ng krudo ng sasakyan. Eh gabi na noon. Nakahiram agad siya sa amin at naitakbo agad sa ospital noong gabing iyon din ‘yung may sakit,” kwento ni Hossana.

Bilang miyembro naman ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program o 4Ps, hindi din niya nakakalimutan ang responsibilidad sa programa. Nakatatak at isinasabuhay niya ang mga natutunan sa Family Development Session. Ayon sa kanya, “Yung unang pinapangalagaan ko, bilang ako ay Parent Leader, ayoko na ako ang kakitaan nila na leader na hindi nagbabayad. Ayoko isipin nila na kapag bumagsak ka, magiging dahilan iyon para hindi ka makapagbayad. Kaya sinikap ko na maibalik kung ano man yung mga inutang ko. At ganun din ang lagi kong sinasabi sa mga members ko. Marami ding mga members na nasira yung mga tanim tulad nung isa. Pambayad niya sana sa utang niya sa asosasyon pero nasira din ng peste. Pero lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanila na huwag niyo isipin na hindi niyo kaya. Kaya niyo ‘yan. Naumpisahan natin ito kaya matatapos natin ito na tagumpay. Walang talunan.”

Patuloy din ang pagbibigay-inspirasyon ni Hossana sa mga kapwa magsasaka na nakararanas din ng mga pagsubok. “Bilang magsasaka, kapag magsasaka ka kasi, para kang laging tumataya sa sugal. Hindi mo alam kung mananalo ka. Ang laki ng pinupusta mo, pero hindi mo sure kung mananalo ka. Pero bilang kaming mag-asawa ay magsasaka, ang masasabi ko lang ay fight fight lang! Laban lang ng laban! Kasi hindi naman laging talunan. Darating din naman na maganda din ‘yung ating ani. Hindi tayo papabayaan ng Diyos,” ani niya. Sa kasalukuyan, patuloy ang paglago ng hanapbuhay ni Hossana at ng ibang kasamahan niya sa asosasyon. ###



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A Battle Well Fought

A mother has a heart of a soldier. It beats to protect her children. In its veins flow endless compassion and care. Its walls are strengthened by hope and grace. It sees the ugly and transforms it into a multitude of admirable beauty. Its muscles are collections of wisdom that reflects in the heart of her children.

Lilian Garcia, 46, a mother of four has survived countless defeat and has won numerous battles. She married at an early age and since then, she has been fighting to keep her family’s head above water. Her husband, a farmer, barely compensates to the lack of financial capacity to send all their children to school. But her sheer desire to fulfill her dream of seeing all the children finish their education fuels her motivation to fight harder.

A couple’s story

Farming was the major source of income the Garcia couple has in the early stage of their marriage. The meager amount they earn a day cannot cover daily expenses for a family of six. Aurello, her husband, had to wake up at four in the morning to fish so Lilian could vend the catch in hope of stretching their financial stick. Even with two sources of income, the couple barely met the needs of their family.

“Minsan talaga, noon, kapag walang wala na kami makuhanan ng pera, humihingi na din ako ng tulong sa mga magulang ko kapag meron silang extra,” recalled Lilian. Her determination was not weakened by her financial circumstance. Lilian is naturally resourceful. She shared, “ako talaga ang iniisip ko ay mapagkakakitaan parati. Ginawa ko talaga yung kinikita naming sa pagtatanim at pangingisda at yung tulong mula sa magulang ko, inipon ko para makapagtayo ng maliit na sari-sari store.”

The absence of electricity in their area in Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro made it difficult for Lilian to manage the store at night. She remembered having to light up a small candle, hoping it would last until ten in the evening so she can save the money to buy another one.

Her family suffered a massive blow when one of her husband’s leg got paralyzed due to a dysfunction in the veins. Aurello had to stop farming for at least 3 months, which meant losing half of their earnings at that time. “Doon ako talaga sobrang nahirapan, kasi gastos sa gamot sa pang araw-araw pa, kaya talagang hirap na hirap ako,” shared Lilian.

A shed of light

The Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development aims to alleviate poverty by providing financial assistance for livelihood purposes. Lilian is fortunate to be granted a total amount of Php 10,000.00 as a start-up capital for a business. She used the capital to add items to sell in her sari-sari store. Sitio Balagnan is situated far off the town of Abra de Ilog where most markets are.

Residents in their community have to ride a boat for an hour and a half to get to town to stock up groceries consumable in a week or a month.  This gave Lilian an idea to begin retailing rice and other goods in their sitio to help people save time from visiting town for groceries. The sari-sari store and rice retail began to flourish and her monthly income increased. Now, her family has enough money to spend for their daily expenses.

Money became a bit tighter when two of her children stepped in college. A huge chunk of the budget had to be allocated for their studies. Instead of having one of them to stop schooling, she welcomed the opportunity of venturing into another business, the selling of ready-to-wear clothes. Lilian then had extra money saved which she used to buy clothes to sell.

With a clear goal to increase her profit, she was able to earn the capital back and kept all her business afloat. As today, three of her children have already graduated and two of them are now employed. Her store earns steadily and she continuously saves for future use. She assures to deposit a fixed amount of money on a monthly basis.

Sharing the success

Lilian’s dream of seeing all her children complete their college degrees is nearing its realization. She has her youngest at junior highschool and part of her savings will be allocated to his college studies. Lilian proudly said, “Umalwan na ang buhay naming at patuloy pa din sa pagsasaka ang mister ko para malaki pa din ang kita namin sa buwanan.” 

SLP has provided a platform for success to the Garcia family and Lilian is now ready and determined to inspire the community with her story. She is a leader of 25 other grantees and serves as a guide as to how they can spend the cash grants wisely. Lilian has fought adversities and stood resilient against challenges brought by financial incapacities. Like a real soldier, she fought and now marches on the road to the glorious finish to her greatest battle yet – influencing the whole community into becoming a success in their own business venture. ###


Dwight Macabuhay

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Bangbangalon Consumers Cooperative undergoes Skills Training on Meat Processing: Way to Another Income-Generating Activity

Bangbangalon Consumers Cooperative, an active SLP Association, continuously looks for opportunities for additional income-generating activities. Through the help of the Implementing Project Development Officer in the municipality, the SLPA was granted a Skills Training on Meat Processing sponsored by the Negosyo Center of the Department of Trade and Industry. Some of them have already undergone a training but they still want to learn new ideas and techniques in the industry.

The training was conducted last October 26-27, 2018 at the office of the Cooperative in Bangbangalon Looban, Boac, Marinduque. Aside from the thirty participants from the said SLPA, five non-members were also able to attend the training. This act of inclusivity is an evidence of their social responsibility – extending help to other members of the community.

Mr. Adonis T. Analista, Provincial Coordinator of SLP, graced the event as he gave his message to the participants. The Boac Negosyo Center Coordinator, Ms. Sarah Jane Narvaez, was also present alongside the Project Development Officers, Municipal Link, and Social Welfare Assistant of DSWD.

Mrs. Nenita Gonzales of the School of Technology of Marinduque State College served as the resource person. The school has been a partner of SLP in its trainings. A pre-test was given to assess the level of knowledge of participants in meat processing, followed by a discussion on the topic.

The two-day training provided an avenue for the participants to learn how to make meat products such as ham, tocino, patties, siomai, and embutido. Participants were grouped for the actual activities; they were assisted by MSC students who were with the trainers throughout the training. On the second day, they cooked all the processed meat and garnished them using their own creativity.

The Provincial Coordinator of Boac Negosyo Center, Ms. Elayzah R. Mantaring, did the food tasting and selected the best among the output. Participants also shared their experience throughout the training. Certificates and token of appreciation were given to the resource persons for giving assistance and sharing their expertise. ###


Pamela C. Ligas

Project Development Officer II, Marinduque

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