Basketmaking in Pangasinan village thrives amid pandemic

Basketmaking in Pangasinan village thrives amid pandemic

URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan – Some 15 families in Barangay Bituag here continue to earn their living from making baskets amid the pandemic.

Myrna Velasquez, 68, one of the pioneers of basket making in the village, said the demand for woven baskets soared during the quarantine.

“Before the quarantine due to pandemic, we only made 500 baskets a week but now it has doubled,” she said in an interview on Monday.

From four families, there are now 15 families involved in basket making in the village, she added.

Velasquez said basket making in their place was started by his brother, Andres Macalanda, who had learned the craft when he was detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in San Carlos City.

Following his release from BJMP, he had a contact with a company based in San Fernando City, Pampanga that exports handmade baskets and it consigned him to produce certain pieces of the basket.

“My brother had us trained to do woven baskets. The company provides all the materials and we make the baskets,” she said.

She added they were paid between PHP12 to PHP70 per piece depending on the size of the basket they finished.

“Families working here are mostly farmers like us. There are senior citizens and as young as 17 years old, but not below 17 years old. And they do the work at the comfort of their homes,” Velasquez said.

Mary Joy, 32, a mother of five, said she is thankful their work continued and their income even increased despite the lockdown in the past months.

Woven baskets are a trend these days as they are used to complement pots of indoor plants, as planting also a fad during this quarantine. Hilda Austria /PNA –