Monday, October 11, 2010

Beyond the 'bayong'

There’s so much more to the bayong (handwoven native bag) than meets
the jaded eye. Believe it or not, it can be our secret weapon to fight
global warming!

On the eve of the “Global Work Party,” dubbed 10/10/10, a battle-ready
troop of climate defenders stormed a public market in Caloocan City
armed with their good old trusty bayongs.

To mark the global day of action on climate solutions, members of the
Ecology Ministry of the Diocese of Caloocan, the EcoWaste Coalition,
and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives converged at
Langaray Public Market in Caloocan City to rally everyone to
rediscover the use of the lowly bayong.

In one robust voice, the groups declared: “Bayong, the lowly handwoven
native bag made of buri palm leaves or other locally available plant
materials, is the ecological weapon of choice that Filipino consumers
from all walks of life should make the best use of.”

Civic leader Romy Hidalgo of the EcoWaste Coalition asserts, “We can
break our obsession with plastic bags by switching to the ever
versatile bayong that our elders were accustomed to before our society
fell in love with anything convenient and disposable, to the detriment
of our fragile environment.”

He adds, “Let the bayong be our ecological weapon of choice as
citizens, while we ask our political leaders to initiate even bolder
measures, globally and locally, to fight climate change.”

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. commended the Langaray market
vendors for heeding the call for ecological stewardship and
encouraging consumers to drop the ubiquitous plastic bags. The good
Bishop Iñiguez was all praises for the bold collective move by the
Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa (SPTT) to observe every
Monday beginning October 11 as “No Plastic Bag Day” to curb the
unrestrained consumption and disposal of plastic bags.

Bishop Iñiguez sends this urgent message, “Let us take pride in using
the bayong in the palengke and even in shopping malls, knowing that we
are saving the planet, ourselves, and the future generations by
cutting our craving for plastic bags and the ensuing emissions.”

Switching from plastic bags (which are petroleum-based products) to
bayong, according to the groups, will help in attaining the safe upper
limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which scientists set at 350
parts per million (the current level is 390 ppm).

Government data show that plastic makes up 15 percent of Metro
Manila’s solid waste, with food and kitchen waste accounting for about
45 percent; paper, 16 percent; glass and wood, nine percent; and other
discards, 15 percent. Last year, plastic bags constituted 300,176
kilos or almost half of the garbage retrieved from shorelines and
waterways during coastal cleanup operations.

And now, read this: It’s designed for the earth, these bags called
Rula paperbayong made of magazine pages, laminated, and then hand-sewn
for durability. While helping the environment, these eco chic bags
have helped empower a community of women who don’t just weave bags,
they also weave dreams.

“These bags are basically designed to empower the mind to think of
limitless possibilities,” says corporate training specialist Leah
Galisim. “The process of making the bag empowers the mind to be more
creative. I have ladies who did not even finish high school, but when
taught and trained how to create a Rula Bag were empowered to be more
creative. More than the financial rewards, it enhances their
self-confidence. For the housewives in my community, it has given them
not just a source of livelihood but a sense of purpose in life as

Leah traces the history of the Rula Bag: It started as a training
material to empower the mind to be creative and encourage employees in
the workplace to manage company waste like paper more efficiently. It
eventually evolved into a small-scale business that empowers,
encourages, and trains women to be more creative.

Say hello to the Rula paperbayong, which is proudly made of the pages
of magazines and telephone directories, and is water-proof.

Surely, there’s cash in trash. Today, Rula designs handbags, corporate
giveaways, novelty carryalls, purses for fashionistas and corporate

Roll over, plastic bags; here comes the Rula Bag!


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