Alvin Patano was born to a very simple family. Alvin is 37 years old and her husband Arnel is 39. They have 3 children, Arnel Jr. (13 years old), Vinrachi (9 years old), and Shadee Drex (7 years old).

Life for the family was not easy, Alvin was unemployed and dedicated herself to taking care of the family. She didn’t have any source of financial help, while Arnel her husband, was only a “habal-habal” driver.   Even being a “habal-habal” driver, Arnel was not able to earn enough for the family, because there were too many drivers in the area, and only very few passengers to cater to. The only other financial help they have, was a part-time and small time business that Arnel held on to. Arnel took extra effort to buy chicharon products from Zamboanga City and delivered them to his customers. Even this was not enough to get their children to school.

In 2012, Alvin became an SLP participant. She also volunteered for KALAHI-CIDDS, and thought

that this is a way to make herself more productive. Being a participant, somehow, helped her learn things about business and other ways of livelihood.

When skills training was introduced to them by DSWD worker, she realized that this was going to be an opportunity for her and her family to get through their financial difficulties. She immediately proposed that chicharon would be a promising product for their group. She thought that instead of buying chicharon from Zamboanga, why not produce their own chicharon. This seemed to be a good idea, because she already had knowledge about how chicharon is done. This too was not easy since a number of their group’s members were hesitant about the idea, and it looked like she was not getting full support from the group.

Alvin, being positive about the idea, still pushed for the proposal, she also worked and eventually managed to convince members to support her. Fortunately for her and the group, the proposal was approved.

Eventually, the proposed project turned from a dream and slowly became a reality. On the 9th of November of 2015, their chicharon production opened and operation began. They named their business TIPABECPA, which means Tiayon Pantawid Beef Chicharon Producers Association, they started with 86 members, and Alvin became one of the Board of Directors.

When Production started, the group bought 55 to 150 kilos of raw beef skin from the local market of Zamboanga. They clean them well, cut them into desired sizes and cooked the beef skin. There are 3 different stages in cooking, they blanche the raw skin for 8 hours until they become tender, then the skin get seasoned and left   overnight. The next day, the seasoned skin is deep fried, left cool and then packed. Each kilo of beef skin costs ₱55 pesos and produces 20 to 25 packs of cooked chicharon. Each pack sells for ₱4.50, and the group earns not less than ₱10,000 per production. All of the group’s members help in the production while Alvin’s husband, Arnel, delivers their products to their regular customers, who purchase wholesale from them. Some of the other members also sell their products in retail.

However, like any other small time and starting business, struggles are always present. After doing good for several months, sales started to go down, and disposal of products became slow. To add to the trouble, raw beef skin also became scarce. But the group’s positive thinking helped them get back to their feet, they tried a new marketing strategy and soon enough, things were back on track.

TIPABECPAS’s Chicharon eventually reached the shelves of the stores in Zamboanga City and other neighboring areas. The group is convinced that together with Ipil’s fast developing phase, their chicharon will also be known to a wider market.

Today, Alvin and the group believe that this project helped them so much, that they are now able to provide for their family’s needs, “Sauna maglisud jud mi kay usahay mag absent pa akong anak, maglisud pa kanang inadlaw ba, sa pamasahe. Pero karon naa na jud mi makuhaan nga makahatag jud mi sa amoang mga anak ug pangpag adlaw-adlaw nga pangkaon.” (In the past, it was difficult for us to send our children to school and sometimes they have to be absent in class because we could not provide them their fare. But now, we already have a source to pay for our children’s daily expenses, especially for food.) Alvin added.

During an interview with Alvin, saying “thank you” never felt enough for her. As she shared her story, she was genuinely smiling as she was saying “Nagpasalamat jud kaayo ko ani nga project kay tungud niani, dili lang ni sa amoa, kun dili sa amoang miembro pod uban nga kursunada pod kaayo makahatag kini sa ilahang dugang income. Salamat.” (I am very thankful because this project has helped augment our family’s and other interested members’ income. Thank you.)###


Written by:
Bernely Sheilaine L. Nemil