By Jason Andrew Vila

During the celebration of Independence Day, mothers and other shoppers of Robinsons Antipolo were given lessons in basket weaving and entrepreneurship – so that they can market their crafts – on the sixth day of Pistahang Rizalenyo organized by the Samahan ng mga Rizaleño sa sektor ng Agrikultura at Pagkain (SARAP Inc.) in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Mothers from different Barangays of Antipolo were taught basket weaving by Shane Parreño who was invited as the guest speaker. They shared not only the basic weaving techniques that the participants can do to create modern bayong bags which come in different forms and designs. These include handbags and shoulder bags to sling bags and more personalized and styled bags of their own creation.

Parreño also shared marketing skills that parents and small-business owner aspirants can use to market the bags they create if they decide to make a business out of the skills they learned from the seminar.

“[Ang] Important po ay alam natin ang basics. Madali na lang ang mag mix ng color (pagandahin),” Parreño said as she and a trainer demonstrated how the plastic strips made from recycled materials can be utilized to create bayong bags.

Although “bayongs” are not groundbreaking or new, they were shown to not only belong in the wet and dry market but can be modified into trendy and fashionable pieces.

“Lawakan po natin ang creativity natin,” said Parreño encouraging the attendees to innovate and be creative with the bags they create as they differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. “Innovation. Dapat ready po tayo! We need to think outside of the box.”

Parreño also shared the breakdown of the costs people will need to spend if they wish to start the same business. These include plastic strips that are weaved to make the bags which costs ₱1,800 per roll and weighs 10 kilos as well as sharp scissors as the plastic strips are fragile and can easily split if not cut properly. She also encouraged more creative people to paint the bags to make it more personalized and unique.

Parreño also shared the importance of monitoring the cost to keep the business profitable. “Importante ang costs para alam mo kung meron kang kikitain.”

The program started at 10:30 AM, two hours earlier than intended to make way for the Antipolo City Band which performed after the seminar. The seminar lasted for three hours and was made possible by SARAP Inc. and DTI in partnership with Robinsons Place Antipolo and Mayor Jun Ynares.