MALILIPOT, Albay – A number of dog-designed baskets are slowly giving life to the abaca industry of this town located on the north-east foothills of Mayon.
32-year-old Gerald Volante, an architect who resides in Brgy. Calbayog here started weaving what is turning out to be a magical product that is selling briskly since late last year.
A dog lover, Volante has been producing “Shitzu” plant baskets since the pandemic, a time when people started to turn to plants as temporary distraction while dealing with a quarantined life.
“Naisip ko rin na nung lockdown, usong-uso yung mga plantita, platito, kaya ginawa ko yang mga ganyang designs,” said Volante.
Volante’s product, which is made from abaca fiber and is sold online, has helped create awareness regarding their industry in Albay.
“Yung barangay naming ay sa unahan lang ng Brgy. San Roque kung saan naputol ang daan dahil nag-landslide. Yung tulay din naming na komokonekta mula Brgy. San Roque ay nagiba din. So pahirapan makapunta dito pero madami pa ding pumupunta,” said Volante via phone.
To date, his growing business has been providing income to his own basket makers apart from inspiring his fellow Bicolanos in the industry to craft more baskets with different, attractive designs.
“Yung bayan kasi namin, abaca products ang ikinabubuhay. Kung dati, gumagawa lang ng simpleng basket, o kaya mga string makers o naglulubid, ngayon gumanda na ang kita namin. Meron na rin kaming 30 workers dahil tumaas talaga ang demand,” added Volante.