“Reuse the past, recycle the present, save the future.”

For barangay leaders and other members of the School Governing Council in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, they all took to heart what this means and made it their own ethos in influencing and shaping the mindsets and behaviours of people in their communities toward the 3Rs of solid waste management- reduce, recycle, reuse.

Synergeia, with the support of Coca-Cola Foundation and Bongao’s local government, provided a training and workshop on the concept of climate change and the necessary processes to understand and apply the 3Rs to save their communities from the impacts of waste on environmental degradation.

In particular, the participants were taught to recycle old textiles and clothing materials and transform them to reusable things for the home or office. These can also be sold, thus helping communities to have additional sources of income or livelihood.

Bongao’s Mayor Jimuel Que said, “This builds on our efforts to achieve environmental sustainability by having increased awareness of what we can do in our communities to reduce, recycle and reuse our wastes. Let us continue to be vigilant of our actions to ensure our efforts will not be put to waste.” #bongaolgu#cokefoundation

A Hope for a Better Life

Our hearts are filled with joy.  The livelihood training workshops which Synergeia has been conducting under the ADB TA “Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 through Community-Led Interventions,” funded by the People’s Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRCF), have provided hopes for a better life for many trainees in Marawi, Omar and Tamparan.

Jamail Batingolo is one of our trainees in the vegetable gardening from Marawi City.  He knew nothing at all about vegetable gardening.  But after his training, he made a life-changing shift from driving a tricycle to vegetable farming which he thinks is a safer and healthier way of earning a living.  

Jamail is considered a leader among their group of trainees.  He is full of enthusiasm whenever he shares their success in vegetable gardening.  Their group found a wholesale buyer from Iligan who bought their produce at P17,000 gross. The members had an equal profit share after deducting their expenses and setting aside seed money.  we are assured that their “business” will continue.  The budding farmers have become entrepreneurs as well.

Jamail and his group are thankful to the ADB for allowing them to improve their livelihood.  This video of Jamail Batingolo shows him expressing his joy and gratitude:


“To be honest, Ma’am, we don’t really know how to grow crops but we learned because of the training. We planted pechay, eggplant, cucumber, and beans. By God’s mercy, we were able to harvest, sell and buy some rice and sugar from our profit. We set aside funds to buy seedlings. Because it has been raining now, the vegetables are less desirable compared to the first batch. But it is okay because we can eat them if we cannot sell them. We are very happy.  Everyday, we wake up and see the fresh vegetables we have planted.  We harvest some and cook them so we don’t have to buy food outside.” 

Something’s Cooking in the Mothers’ Kitchens

In Omar, Sulu Province, mothers Fatima and Nurisha had always wanted to start their own small home-based business and earn additional income for their families. They were thankful and happy to be included in the batch of 20 mothers who trained in food processing, preservation, and jam-making last summer. 

Using locally-available vegetables and fruits, the mothers were taught to make pickled ampalaya and papaya, pickled seashell and crab meat, chili and garlic paste, shrimp paste in coconut milk, jackfruit and guava jam, sweet potato jam, banana marmalade, marinated fish, smoked fish, and fish floss. 

The mothers were full of enthusiasm to learn and never missed a training class.

Aside from food processing, the mothers learned how to compute their production costs and profit. They were taught simple packaging and marketing techniques.  They discovered that understanding the likes and habits of their target customers would be an effective way of marketing their products. 

After the workshop, the mothers immediately applied their learnings.  They put up a small booth near the municipal hall where they could sell their products.  They saw a thriving market among the residents and non-residents who go to the municipal hall every day.  And to their joy, they found customers who bought their chili garlic and shrimp paste in coconut milk.  Their first P2,500 earning was indeed a treasure.  

Synergeia is thankful to the ADB TA “Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 through Community-Led Interventions,” funded by the People’s Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRCF), for the livelihood trainings in Omar, in Marawi City and in Tamparan in Lanao del Sur.  The trainings have been providing skills to improve the economic opportunities of community members whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic. 

Mothers in Omar were proud to show their products, their labor of love.