The pandemic has pushed some Filipinos to return to centuries-old trading system: barter.
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the Philippines hard, Filipinos have started flocking Facebook groups to trade their possessions for food, or in this case, help other people.
To help others, Jennifer Vedua, a baker from Binangonan, Rizal is bartering her cakes in exchange for personal care products.
“Iniisip ko na tulong ko na rin sa mga magulang na hindi afford bumili ng cake para sa mga anak nila dahil nagtitipid lalo na sa oras ng krisis na kinakaharap ng mundo (I’ve thought of this initiative to help parents who cannot afford to buy a cake for their kids, because money is tight right now amid the global crisis),” Vedua told Manila Bulletin.
“Meron kasing isang babae na nag-chat sa akin na kung pwede barter daw yung cake na ginagawa ko, ako naman di ako nag-alinlangan pumayag naman ako. Sabi ko pwede po, then sabi nya para lang daw may cake ang anak nya kahit ipalit nya yung bag, conditioner, at skin care (A woman messaged me one time, asking if I could barter my cake in exchange of bag, conditioner, and skin care. I didn’t hesitate to agree),” she recalled.
Vedua has been baking for five years and owns Sweet Fairy Cakes and Eatery.
She started bartering her cakes in June, since then, a lot of people have been inquiring about her cakes in exchange for their own goods.
“Once na mag-post ako sa isang page ng barter, madami na nag-ooffer ng mga gamit na pwede ipamalit sa cake na gusto nila (Once I post my cakes on Facebook barter pages, many offer their own items that can be exchanged for the cake they want),” Vedua added.
Vedua told fellow Filipinos to “never lose hope” even amid the global pandemic.
“Sa mga nag-s-struggle ngayong pandemic, ‘wag na ‘wag mawawalan ng pag-asa. ‘Wag ilugmok ang sarili. Mag-isip kung paano dumiskarte at kumita, pwede rin naman sa paraan ng ganitong pag-barter, hindi mo alam nakatulong ka na, may napasaya ka pa (To those who are struggling this pandemic, don’t lose hope. Just think of how you can earn, bartering is another way to earn money, it can also help other people and make others happy).”
For Analiza Moises Guerrero, a teacher from Laur, Nueva Ecija, bartering her plants online is her way to help students with their studies.
Guerrero is bartering her potted plants in exchange for bond papers.
“Nakita ko po kasi na magkakaroon kami ng kakulangan sa bond paper dahil sa patuloy na pagdami ng aming mag-aaral. Ramdam ko po na kahit may budget mula sa gobyerno ay kukulangin ito (I thought that we would have a shortage of bond paper due to the continuous increase in the number of our students. I feel that even with a budget from the government, it still will not be enough),” Guerrero told Manila Bulletin.
The initiative started only as Guerrero’s birthday wish last September 1.
“Naisip ko i-barter ang mga nanahimik kong halaman sa bakuran na alam kong in-demand ngayon (I thought to barter my plants in our yard because I know they are in-demand right now),” the teacher said.
“Lahat po ng halaman na pinangba-barter ko ay sa akin, mga tanim ko po, ang iba ay nahingi kong cuttings sa school namin. Dahil agricultural school kami, na-inspire akong magtanim at mag-propagate na sya kong pinakikinabangan ngayon pamalit sa mga bond paper (All the plants I barter are mine or cuttings I got from school. Since we are an agricultural school, I was inspired to plant and propagate, so now I am capitalizing from them so I can trade them for bond papers),” Guerrero continued.
Guerrero said the collected reams of bond paper directly go to the students of Ricardo Dizon Canlas Agricultural School.
Reuters identified over 100 barter groups in the country, some with as many as a quarter of a million members since the country entered a hard lockdown mid-March.
Barter trade has a long tradition in the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands that can make transportation of goods difficult at the best of times.