Dog planters help abaca crafters hit by pandemic
By Mavic Conde
Who can resist dog pets like shih tzu? Even plant enthusiasts are not immune to their cuteness. Attesting to that is the surge in orders for abaca dog-inspired planters from Albay province.
Gerald Volante, an architect and the product maker from Malilipot town, told Bicol Mail that his product has now reached the United States and Canada, besides the current orders from all over the Philippines, and has helped almost 30 families in his village whose livelihoods depend on abaca.
Volante went back to his hometown from Manila before the nationwide lockdown was imposed last year and has been working from home since. Out of boredom and the instinct to help out, he came up with new product designs.
“I observed during that time the livelihoods in our community were halted, so I thought of an online product that is trendy at the moment,” he said.
That is a dog planter (inspired by her niece’s shih tzu pet, Tasya) which is made with an abaca basket adorned with cute dog design.
He said he’s also keen on exploring other abaca products because he thinks architects can also help communities even with small items. This includes the used alcohol containers designed with abaca to help with waste problem. His products have become the Rukit Dukit Handicrafts.
“Rukitdukit is a Bicol term which means labor-intensive, reflecting the long process involved to create abaca handicrafts,” he said.
An online seller called “The Necessity” told Bicol Mail that it finds the product attractive.
“There is something in this product that captures my attention, although I don’t really know what it is. Maybe because of its cuteness, or maybe because it really looks like our dog at home, or maybe because it has been hand made with love and care by our own kababayan. Nevertheless, I have a good feeling that this product will give more sales and costumers,” the seller said.
In fact, “our [customers] love it, especially the pet and plant lovers,” the seller added.