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Weaving towards success

Buli weaver Mary Ann Parado
From livelihood to hobby. Twelve years ago, Mary Ann Parado starting weaving buli bags as a source of income. Now, even when her life has significantly improved, she continues to weave bags to bring happiness to other people.

April 6, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – For the longest time, creating handicrafts has been one of the major businesses in the Philippines. Handicrafts promotes the Filipino heritage and culture. In the Quezon Province, one of the most popular raw products is buli or the buri tree.

Buli is a common palm found in the Philippines and can live up to more than 30 years.

Being widely found and due to its life span of more than 30 years, the palm tree became a popular resource in the province. In fact, it became the inspiration for the Bulihan Festival every April in Sampaloc, Quezon Province. During this time, local producers and investors display their buri products.

Mary Ann Parado is a local Buli weaver and microentrepreneur who used to join this festival. She started making buli products in 2010, allowing her to sustain the needs of her family of five members. Her income from this business also supported the educational needs of her children.

However, Mary Ann’s road to success was not always smooth. There was a time when she almost lost hope. She received an order from three buyers who refused to make payments. This almost drained her capital.

This is also the time when she met CARD Bank, a microfinance-oriented rural bank. The bank does not only provide financial assistance but also access to microinsurance, business development service, marketing support and educational support to its clients. She later on became enticed with the benefits that CARD Bank offers. With the low interest and flexible payments, she decided to become a client.

Her first loan amounted to PhP5,000. Because she managed her fund well, she can now avail a higher loan that she can use in her other businesses aside from buri making. Her handicrafts like hats, bags and wallets are now distributed to various parts of the country. She has also started to customize her products to be used as gifts and souvenirs for birthdays and weddings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she also found ways to adapt to the new normal. She started online selling of her products, expanding her network nationally and internationally.

“If my life would be compared to a thing, it's definitely the buli. Producing a buli handicraft involves twisting, criss-crossing and entwining. But after the complicated process, it turns into a beautiful and useful product. Same goes with my life, there might be unpredictable twists in my fate, criss-crossing with my decision-making, and sometimes I might get entwined with problems, but still I know, everything will fall in their places,” Mary Jane shared.

Mary Jane has been a client of CARD Bank for twelve years, while her husband has also been a CARD client for four years. Through CARD financial assistance, the couple managed to sustain their business which is locally known as Prado Handicrafts. They have also availed educational loans for their children to support school maintenance. For them, the help they received from CARD is enough to keep their business alive despite the many challenges.