By Arvin Santiago

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” This proverb perfectly describes the story of Yumabong na Ugnayan ng Liping Antipoleña Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (YULA-KALIPI) Mambugan Chapter.

This group of women, usually mothers, facilitates various livelihood activities. They sell an assortment of items such as doormats, rounded rags (basahang bilog), foot socks, and ready-to-wear clothing. Surprisingly, atsara, dried fish (tuyo at daing), dishwashing soap, and even fabric conditioner are available.

All of the goods mentioned are made by the members. They participated in several trainings provided by the Antipolo City Government to learn new skills they may utilize to improve the quality of their products.

Since their skills are taught to them for free, members of YULA-KALIPI also share their knowledge with others. To pay it forward, they are educating individuals who want to learn how to create doormats. YULA-KALIPI Mambugan is best known for producing handwoven doormats.

This women-focused squad has now reached 14 Sitios in Barangay Mambugan. Their intricate doormat-making lesson is free and available to everyone. Men and children, according to members, are also joining. The skill taught to participants might pave the way for a future business endeavor. The organization is also providing free weaving frames to aid beginners.

According to Treasurer Ruby Magsino, their team is really fortunate since the Barangay is supportive. Their group was given a small space in the old Barangay Hall due to the generosity of Kapitan Marlon Zingapan and wife Lourdes Zingapan (President of YULA Mambugan). This tiny space gives them the comfort of their own home while still allowing them to work calmly.

YULA-KALIPI officers are not doing this only to make money for themselves. They save money through their “impukan” to provide food packs to all members at the end of the year. Their membership number is currently in the 600s. This is one of  the key reasons they put out so much effort every day.

Things might be stressful for them as well owing to their clients’ demands, but the joy they experience from working together motivates them to continue. By meeting each other six days a week (Monday-Saturday), they are reminded that they are not alone in this life.

“Parang stress-reliever na rin namin kasi ito. Sabihin na nating bawat isa sa amin ay may sari-sariling problema sa buhay pero pagdating namin dito, halakhakan, tawanan, asaran. Pang kabataan lang yung ganitong samahan diba. Pero sa amin hindi, parang bumalik kami sa pagkabata kasi masaya kami,” Treasurer Ruby Magsino said.

The members expressed their desire for the organization to thrive. With their ₱25 capital in material, they can already manufacture three doormats they can sell for ₱15 apiece. So if they sell three, they will make ₱45 profit. They believe it is preferable if the resources are easily available. They said they are willing to accept donated fabrics for doormat weaving.