Posted on March 28, 2021

We owe it a lot to our kababayans who have been still practicing the tradition, culture and customs of our ancestors that have been passed from generation to generation. Making a handmade craft out of scratch is something that will take a lot of time and effort to put into. But to the community of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, this has been a source of living to them.

Mansalay is known as the Ammonite Capital of the Philippines. The women in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro have been known for its traditional, hand-woven bags made of buri that most common palm leaf found in the Philippines, especially in the countryside. These bags can be ordered customized or ready-made. This is one of the traditions that the Mangyan community was still able to preserve through the years.

Yam-Ay Postma is one of the women who has been making the hand-woven bags made of buri palm leaves in Mansalay. In her 63 years of existence, this has been her life’s main source of income. According to her, she has been making buri her source of living ever since she was an adolescent. She started to learn by just watching her mother make the traditional bags and later on was able to take orders through her own hands.

Being a CARD client has helped her and other women in the Mangyan Community in Mansalay. From an additional capital for the materials in her business, she now started to open a small sari-sari store together with her daughter and gradually expanded it.

Yam-ay is indeed very thankful that she was able to survive the pandemic with her family aside from the fact that tourism-related activities have temporarily stopped due to restrictions during the COVID-19 outbreak. “Salamat talaga sa CARD, nakakatulong talaga.” She said after sharing how her family is still surviving the pandemic with the help of CARD Bank. “Nakakatulong sa pambili ng pang-araw-araw.”

Now, the clients of CARD Bank where Yam-ay is residing has increased. She said that the women in her community have also started to save for their families’ future, aside from borrowing capital for weaving the hand-made bags.

CARD, Bank is a member-institution of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) that aims to eradicate poverty through reaching the socioeconomically-challenged communities, just like the people in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.