From left: Tuffwow members Poloyapoy, Antopina, and Docor pose with the planks made from engineered bamboo.
From left: Tuffwow members Poloyapoy, Antopina, and Docor pose with the planks made from engineered bamboo.

Cultivating Livelihoods, Crafting Futures

EMBRACING the essence of tradition and innovation, Toledo City celebrates World Bamboo Day featuring an initiative the local community can proudly call their own.

In 2021, Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) subsidiary Therma Visayas Incorporated (TVI) partnered with Kabilin Bamboo and Nature Farms, along with the Bato Barangay Council, to launch the Ka-BAMBOO-hayan livelihood program, which transforms the giant woody grass into useful products like tiles, armchairs, and tables. It began with a humble yet powerful goal of empowering small communities through economically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods.

As urbanization reshapes many aspects of the economy, the importance of supporting local products also becomes even more worthwhile. True to form, not only does Ka-BAMBOO-hayan provide an opportunity for residents to cultivate bamboo as a sustainable resource— resonating with the ethos of World Bamboo Day— but it also unlocks new sources of income to help the locality’s economic growth and development. 

Ka-BAMBOO-hayan improves financial well-being and raises the community’s appreciation of having bamboo in their environment. Consequently, it also widens their environmental consciousness, making the program align with the principles of AboitizPower of helping advance businesses and communities in a sustainable manner.

In collaboration with the Toledo United Farmers, Fishermen, and Women Workers (Tuffwow), a local cooperative, Ka-BAMBOO-hayan took a significant step forward in furthering human capital development in the community when it started providing skills training in bamboo manufacturing. Essential equipment like woodworking power tools were donated by TVI.

**media[465034]**Johncent Poloyapoy, a trainee who passed the skills training program, said that the job requires hard work and dedication.

“First, we harvest the bamboo – any kind that we could use. Next, we treat the bamboo for a few weeks, making it ready to be utilized as a raw material for the engineered bamboo product. We then chisel the bamboo either into planks or tiles. These products then will be turned into pieces of furniture and fixtures,” Poloyapoy explained.

The Ka-BAMBOO-hayan project also aligns with Toledo City Mayor Joie Perales' vision of making bamboo among the city’s major products. 

“We hope to make Toledo City a ‘Bamboo City’ in the future by, among others, continuing Ka-BAMBOO-hayan, and further refining it to eventually become a scalable and sustainable model of grassroots economic development,” Mayor Perales said.

**media[465031]**As World Bamboo Day comes, excitement surges within Tuffwow as they intend to showcase their bamboo crafts, said Tuffwow Treasurer Manuel B. Docor. 

“Gusto namo ipakita among mga na gama para sa celebrasyon kay ang Toledo City ang ga host ani. Among gi paaningkamutan na ma perfect among gipang himo (We want to showcase our crafts for the World Bamboo Day celebration [on September 18] especially since Toledo City is [this year’s] host. We aim to perfect our showcased crafts by then),” Docor said.

**media[465032]**Tuffwow President Roger Antopina said that the training, tools, and livelihood provided by Ka-BAMBOO-hayan cushioned  the community from the effects of inflation and aided families in attaining economic sufficiency.

Antopina also added that the Ka-BAMBOO-hayan project is a sustainable approach to furniture making, explaining how it just takes three to four months to grow bamboo whereas ordinary trees take several years to reach the appropriate age for harvesting. 

“Nagtuo ang uban na ang kawayan di makalabaw sa tradisyonal na kahoy. Pero ang tinud-anay, mas lig-on kini, nya mas sayon ug paspas patubuon (There’s a misconception wherein bamboo lumber can’t surpass traditional lumber. The truth of the matter is, bamboo lumber is actually more sturdy and easier to grow).”

The initiative, supported by TVI, not only catalyzes opportunities but also empowers communities to pave the way for a brighter and greener future.

With each step of the Ka-BAMBOO-hayan project, from cultivation to crafting, the collaborative efforts inspire a future where tradition, innovation, and social responsibility intersect, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. (SPONSORED CONTENT)

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