Trying to make ends meet since the quake-A A +A
Saturday, November 2, 2013
ANTEQUERA, Bohol -- Basket weaver Rio Dequia’s wife Leizel, 22, gave birth to their second child Isabela Rayne seven days ago.
His family has been living in a small tent on a vacant lot surrounded by farms in Barangay Danao since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last October 15.
“Lisod na magkasakit kay wala’y kwarta (We can’t afford to get sick),” said Rio.
The 32-year-old said they have to endure the cold every night. They’ve opted not to return to their damaged house since rocks are still cascading from the hill behind it.
Despite the disruptions in their lives, Rio said he continues to make baskets. He said he just sold one to a middleman for P190, but he only brought home P150. The P40 was partial payment for the P800 he owes the middleman.
Rio, who has been weaving baskets for six years, said he had to borrow money so he could buy raw materials like buli and uway that are shipped from outside Bohol.
As for the P150, Rio said it was only enough to buy 380 grams of milk for his one-year-old son Mark David.
He said they’ve received relief goods so they still have enough rice to cook. If they run out of rice, he said they’ll go back to eating corn grits. “Sa wa pay linog, mais-mais lang mi,” Rio said.
According to the Antequera Municipal Government’s website, the town is a fourth-class municipality with 21 barangays and 107 puroks. The 2010 census states it has a population of 14,481 people.
Antequera is known for its basket-weaving industry, which is one of the major sources of income for residents, especially the women.
The baskets are “widely accepted in the world market” and they are “woven in almost all households after which are brought to the market for selling on Sundays or to the cooperatives.”
Rio said some barangay officials wanted to create a cooperative, but several middlemen protested, because they were afraid to lose their income.
“I know a middleman who became rich buying baskets. He now owns an apartment building in Tagbilaran City that he rents out,” he said in Cebuano. “Kaming manggamaay maoy luoy (We get the raw end of the deal).”
Before the quake, Rio earned at least P1,700 a week.
He learned the craft from his mother Julita.
Making baskets is not easy, said Rio, who used to be a laborer in Tagbilaran City.
He said his back often hurts because he works from morning until the wee hours of the following day.
Some of his neighbors, he said, are ill because they lack sleep.
He said he can’t leave his wife alone because their children are still small.
When Isabela Rayne and Mark David are big enough, Rio said he will abandon basket weaving and work as a laborer outside Antequera.
He said he wants a stable income.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 03, 2013.