No orders, it’s more of a luxury than need. No sales, jars were left on the corners – but full of faith.
Painter cum pastor, Romeo, the 67-year old ‘padre de pamilya’ of Tabaco clan in Barangay Pulung Cacutud narrated how their family survived the pandemic.
Their business, Tabaks Handpainted Products Handicrafts, supplies hand-designed jars, jarlets, clay pots and wooden kitchen wares to a partner merchant in Quiapo, Metro Manila.
Romeo shared that before the pandemic, they used to earn P30,000 weekly.
“Pinakamabenta po ang fork and spoon namin. Binabagsak po namin ito sa Quiapo at nadidistribute sa Vigan, Baguio, Palawan, Boracay at Cebu bilang souvenir items,” Romeo said.
But during the pandemic, the world stood still and all orders from their partner merchant stopped due to logistics complications.
Rosario, Romeo’s 70-year old wife, shared that during that time, people wanted to survive and chose to spend their money for food instead of souvenirs and non-essential items.
“Ala pu talagang order anyang pandemic, imbis na panyali dang souvenirs panyali da namu pung pamangan,” Rosario said.
Then the couple shared they’ve found a post from the OTOP Store Facebook page inviting small business owners to display their products for free.
The Tabaco couple inquired at the ACEDIPO led by officer-in-charge Irish Bonus-Llego and were immediately accepted as partner merchants in OTOP Store.
“Mabilis lang po ang kanilang naging tugon sa aming inquiry at agad naman kaming nakapagdala ng aming mga producto sa OTOP Store,” Romeo said.
Romeo said painting has been his passion since the 70s despite working at the Bureau of Lands. He was assigned in Manila, got married to a Kapampangan and decided to pursue his love in painting here in Angeles City.
“Jar lang muna tayo noon hanggang sa naragdagan ng wooden fork and spoon, clay pots at iba pa. Noong nandito pa ang base, ginagawa mo pa lang bayad na. At ang nakatutuwa nga po ay kapag nakikita namin sa mga magazine at mga shooting sa pelikula, ginagamit po nilang props sa mga dingding nila,” Tabaco delighted.
Aside from painting, he’s been receiving allowance as a pastor for 30 years at the Compassionate Jesus Fellowship, a Bornagain church near their residence.
“Sana po ay matapos na itong pandemic na ito. Mahirap po pero sa awa ng Diyos, makakabawi rin po tayo,” he added.
The Tabaks ethnic-designed jars, jarlets, pots, and wooden kitchen wares can be ordered at the OTOP Angeles Store facebook page.
Items are also available online via OTOP’s Shopee Store shopee.ph/otopangeles