Showing posts with label Talisay Fishermen Association. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Talisay Fishermen Association. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Olalala...Bohol's 'coco bra' for summer keepsake

Scene: The docu-drama of the Regional   Huwarang   Pantawid   Pamilya   Search   2016 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII  was aired last Friday and Saturday on Cebu Catholic Media Network (CCTN) channel 47. It featured the Torrentira  Family  of  Barangay  Dagnawan, Sagbayan town, in Bohol.  The Torrentira family won last year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya Regional Search and also placed 2nd  runner up at the national level.

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week was actress Valerie Concepcion for a vacation. The tour was arranged by Wow Bohol Travel and Tours (09081724641/09176838051)
Scene: At least 2,800 incoming kindergarten and elementary pupils from San Isidro, Carmen, Inabanga and Sagbayan towns have received school supplies from GMA Kapuso Foundation for its annual Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan project.

* * *
For many travelers to this Bohol’s anomalous town, which is at least 99 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran, the town fulfils the province's promise of easy breezes, slow days and perfect beaches.

What may come as a surprise are the twists recently added to the town.

New resorts are constructed along the famed beaches of Anda, while some resorts undergo major refurbishments.

The exquisite coconut bra or “coco bra” is an added 
twist to Anda town, in Bohol province, where members 
of Talisay Fishermen Association (Tafias) are crafting the
 unique brassiere for souvenir item.  Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
New cafes. New spas. New pools. 

And the latest?

The coconut bra!

It may sounds Hawaiian, but coconut bra, a woman’s brassiere, is now crafted here by the members of the Talisay Fishermen Association (Tafias).

The coconut bra, “coco bra” for short, is made of real coconut shells with braided raffia or hemp strings to tie around the neck and the back.

It is one size coconut bra which fits most adults who dare to wear it.

“The coco bra is probably better described a coconut bikini top,” said Robin Gurney, founder of AndaKidz, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization which focuses on the hungry kids of Anda town, which is supporting and helping Tafias projects.

“Coco bra just sounds snappier and cooler,” he added.

When coco bra was introduced to the market last March, it caused a stir among foreign men and expats.

“Philippines is a tropical destination for tourists (domestic and international). Many when they are in holiday mode make instinctive, impulsive purchases of tourist souvenir items,” Gurney said.

Coco Bra
Coconut bra sells well in Hawaii, he said.

The coco bra and hula skirt are iconic images of hula dancing and party wear at Hawaiian luaus. The 1961 movie “Blue Hawaii” starring Elvis Presley, featured Hawaiian women wearing coconut bras.

“We had seen that in Hawaii the coconut bra sells well so we tried to do a Filipino version because they are many coconuts in the area which could in theory be up-cycled to higher value products,” he said.

At least 50 Tafias members, mostly fishermen and out of school youth, were trained to produce wide range of coconut and bamboo jewelry, said Gurney.  The materials and tools were donated and provided by AndaKidz as part of project co-funded by Estoninan Development Cooperation.

Through Tafias, its members get paid to make the coco bra and other native jewelry, added Gurney.

They can make at least 50 coconut bras for a day.

“I estimate 100 per day is possible, more if we have supplies and labor. It’s very scalable,” he said.

Gurney hopes Tafias can find resellers and stockist in all tourist beach destinations.

"The coco bra is new but we have had orders from Estonia and Boracay so far,” Gurney said.

In Bohol, coco bra is available at Coco Loco Cafe in Poblacion, Anda town, for P300.

The Coco Loco Cafe also sells other Tafias products ranging from fashion items -earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles and even a bow tie made of coconut shell, to homemade organic ice-creams and the tilapia chips.

However, the most selling item is the coco bra.

“Isa sa mabenta dito ay ang coco bra. Maraming mga dayuhan na pumupunta dito para bumili sa amin ng mga souvenirs,” said Rizza Amoguis, staff of Coco Loco Cafe.

In Barangay Talisay in Anda town where the Tafias center can be found, AndaKidz also helped Tafias put up an eco-friendly community center which uses plastic soda bottles and liquor bottles as walls.

The community center also boasts of a children’s library, children’s play dens, musical instruments and study tables and spacious halls where community volunteers also put up trainings and discussions.

Bohol farmers plant melons

The drought affects rice farmers very significantly. It is expected to last until last week of May or early weeks of June this year, said Hermes Hinlayagan, weather forecaster of the local Pagasa.

The current dry spell has pushed water tables deeper underground and is drying up some creeks and springs.   Although rainshowers have experienced in some towns, there is a need for water.

With drought jeopardizing Bohol agriculture, some farmers in some towns are fighting to survive. They have  shifted to  other crops that are drought-resilient, such as watermelons, bitter gourd (ampalaya) and string beans..

Some farmers in Lila and Dimiao towns are planting watermelons and string beans to beat the dry season. Donald Quim grows watermelons for  extra income for the family while the drought is drying up the land in the province.  Watermelons and beans thrive well during dry season.   Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
In Lila town, at least 100 farmers are in the fields in the morning and afternoon in coastal barangays of Taug, Tiguis and Lomanoy.

Donald Quim, 46, of Barangay Taug, started planting watermelons in the 300-quare-meter farm last year after he was convinced  by his wife Luzviminda, 53, that these melons are profitable. Last year, he earned P7,500 from 375 watermelons, which he sold for P16 to P20 a kilo.

This year, Quim said he spent at least P 1, 750 in farm inputs, including watermelon seeds for P750 and fertilizers for P1,000.

He said watermelons could survive  hot weather akthough the still needed to be watered twice a day.

“Maka-survive ang watermelon basta lamang naay source nga makuhaan og tubig. Basta mabubuan sila maka-survive yamu ang melon. Buntag ug hapun  ang bubo. Mao na nakalami namo diri dapita sa Lila kay naa mi tubig. Magamit namo ang basak after harvest sa panahon sa tag-init,” he said.

Quim said his pocket should not dry up this dry season.

“Kakugi rana. Twice a day . kada semana mag-abuno. Check-up the farm tingali naay magbinuang,” he said.

Generally, the fruits are ready for harvest after 65 to 90 days. One vine can produce four to five fruits. Smaller fruits usually weigh 3-4 kilos, but bigger melons weigh 5-7 kilos.  He sells it for P15-20 per kilo which is lower compared to malls and markets in Tagbilaran.

If Quim has to compare planting rice and melon, he would prefer the former since it is profitable.

His last rice harvest was in the middle of March this year in his 1,000 sq meter. He was able to  to harvest 20 sacks of rice. 

“Dili pa na net. Gamay ra og abot ang basakan,” he said.

In the neighboring town of Dimiao, at least 50 farmers in Barangay Balbalan, known as the “watermelon country” in Bohol, were a bit late than Lila farmers. They just started planting watermelons last March.

Ricado Cagas, 50, planted watermelons last first week of April in his 300 square meter farm. He said he is expecting to harvest them this June. His wife Rosita, 34; and three children-RR, 24; Lemuel, 22; and Gladys, 21 are helping him managing the farm.

He said he spent at least P4,000 for farm inputs for seeds, fertilizer and chemical spray.  Last year, he was able to sell melons for P20,000.

Farmers grow a Sweet 16 variety of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew.

Cagas said he liked panting watermelons because the waiting time to make a profit was shorter.

“Lami ang watermelon kay makakuwarta dali. Ang humay kay dugay anihun kay 120 days. Ang watermelon mga 1 month and tunga,” he said.

Another farmer, Eduardo Lagrada, took advantage of planting water melons this dry season.

 “Sayang ang panahon kung dili mutanum og melon nga maoy tiempo nga tigtanum. Usik bah. Mentras iyang panahon tamnan para dili masayang. Makatabang sab,” Lagrada said.

He grows watermelons to prepare for the coming classes in June.

“Gipangandaman sab ni ika-pangabri sa klase bah. Dako sab ikabatang sa panahon og tigklase. Makapamalit og kinahanglanun,” he said.
GMA Kapuso Foundation In Bohol. 
Both farmers in Lila and Dimiao have claimed they have the sweetest and delicious watermelons. Farmers are selling watermelons in makeshift sheds along the national highway.

However, not all farmers grow water melons this dry season.  Some grow ampalaya (bitter gourd) and string beans like Eleuterio Patana, 57, of  Barangay Datag, in the same town, who started planting ampalaya last month.  Another farmer Sergio Bakilid, 56, also planted string beans. He said string beans could thrive in the heat.

“Batong ang permanente itanum ingaron basta tag-init kay mulahutay og way tubig,” said Bakilid.

Farmers in Barangay Quinoguitan in Loboc town have also planted watermelons. Those in Carmen and Sierra-Bullones also grow pineapples, aside from watermelons.

Boholano farmers are still watching the skies and staring at their parched lands they have no option to fight drought than wait for rain.

*   *   *

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.