Our first Artisan is known in their hometown as an “amazing grandma” She is the one who created the “diaper gown,” which is now owing her collection of fans from.
Her name is Margie, I call her “ate Marge. She is 57 years old, and she was born in Martina, Davao City, Philippines. Currently, she lives in Southern Leyte with her children and grandchildren. Though life maybe hard, she doesn’t complain, because she believes that life is all about being positive and that no one can not evade what has to come but faith in God may relieve you from the further struggle.
Ate Marge is an artisan who specializes in creating Abaca handicrafts since 1994, when she learned her first handicraft- the Abaca hat from the three-day training given by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in our region on the same year. Out of the 28 participants of the training, she was the only one who continued weaving the abaca hat even if there was no order. She accumulated a quite number of the same woven hats and since there’s no customers yet, she just displayed it in her living room wall, for quite sometime it remained a display.
Until someone from Masbate, (a province of the Philipines located on the northern part of her residence and about 370 km in distance, more like a 10.5-hour drive to be exact,) became her first customer and lqyer on became her regular buyer in bulk and sells it to the tourists of his province. And there it started, her handicraft business.
After a year of that significant milestone, the same government agency which gave her the training, the DTI, called her to be their one of the many exhibitors in Limasawa Centennial Celebration in March 31, 1999. After that exhibit, she registered her business, attended pieces of training and seminars and became an exhibitor in different major league of exhibitions in the Philippines like which was held in MagaMall in Manila, Wow Philippines, SM City Cebu, Regional Trade Fair and Sandugo Festival in Bohol.
At this time, she is gaining popularity in the field of handicraft business because she has met few major customers who owns big shops in renowned malls in the country. She was hoping that everything will fall into place, but it turns out, her faith in her fate is testing her patience because the same major client defrauded her by refusing to pay the delivered goods worth no more than 50,000 Php or 1,000USD. It was quite a loss for her, but she didn’t give up. At one point, her faith is once tested again, but this time, her workers’ deception worked well behind her back. The orders are made directly to her coordinator, while this coordinator steals her customers and buyers, and it was too late already before she knew it, when the business has gone array.
It’s unfortunate of her to have met those kind of people when her business is starting to flourish. And she almost lose hope, until we’ve met in person in my office, her agency coordinator introduced us, that’s when I heard and knew about her. She has a lot to offer, but with the right person to partner with in order for her to thrive. We can’t deny the fact that, there are people who take advantage of other’s weakness. I’ve seen her vulnerability, she can give trust so easily, but, I understand how she is because she believes that, “a person is a life worth cherishing for whether you just meet him or known him for a long time, it’s the same. But if time teaches you with trust issues, that’s the only time you back away to protect yourself, after all we’re human too.” She is pure, not condemning, an aesthetic mind and soul but plain when honesty is required. That’s how I came to believe in her talent.
For some reason, the business meeting became an interview, she aroused my interest and realistically speaking, I share the same views with her when it comes to business ethics. Upholding honesty in business dealings can take you anywhere, but you need guidance from the one who knows better in your field. Advice from your mentor is the best gift you can enjoy which may last a lifetime.
For 26 years, she’s considerably an expert in Abaca weaving. She conducts her own training, teaches others who want to learn and helping the government to sustain and in leveraging the handicraft industry, which I believe her name is imprinted on the same local industry already. Sadly and practically, her life’s still the same. She just hope that she can establish goodwill in her field, which she really deserves. A little bit of a rainbow is all she needs to shine and give off light to those who are weaving in the dark.
She shared some of her handicraft with me and with her persmission, I am allowed to showcase how good she is. I know there are a few more Marge in he world hving the same passion on her craft, they jst needed a little attention.
Kudos to them and success for the coming years.
Below are Ate Marge’s Handicraft, hope you’ll love it!💕