Along the roads of some barangays in Ramon Magsaysay Municipality, you will see rolled weaved bamboo strips displayed that will catch your attention. These are called “Amakan”. Amakan production is known to be the livelihood of people in this area. One of the residents known for making quality Amakan is Jocelyn M. Arias, 47.


Jocelyn has eight children, six are living with her while the other two are away from her trying to make a living too. She has been a widow for almost 3 years now.she lived a life that was simple, but difficult. She was originally from the municipality of Dimataling. When an armed conflict occurred in their place, they fled to their relatives in Ramon Magsaysay. There, she met her hardworking husband to be, Robert. He works as a laborer in a coconut and corn farm. He sometimes helps harvest fruits or sometimes cut coconut trunks and he gets paid a small amount of money. He makes up to a thousand pesos for these, but these does not happen in a daily basis. He sometimes brings home 3 sacks of corn which can cover-up their 5-month consumption. However, a lot of times, during the off season, there are days that he does not have a job.


With the situation she and her husband are in, Jocelyn took initiative to find a solution. She does home manicure services in their neighborhood or to her good friends. She cearns 300.oo, the most, doing this. Their income goes for their payment for their electricity, water, food and school requirements. They do not have to worry about their rice since Robert provides for it. Doing manicure is just Jocelyn’s sideline, which she learned while watching others do it way back high school. Even if doing manicure services make faster money, weaving Amakan is still a better option, and income is bigger. Therefore she sees to it that she never misses a day doing it.


“Nag tan-aw ra ko mag suon-suon ko sa igsoon sa akong bana. Hangtod sa naapil ko sa ilaha, maglala og magloti. Dili nako sayangon ang panahon nga wla koy ginabuhat kay daghan mi sa akong pamilya.” Jocelyn said.


Jocelyn taught her children how to do manicure and make and Amakan weaving too.


“Magtinabangay dyud mi. Bata palang sila ako na sila gitun-an para makahibalo sila kay magkatigulang biya ko. Para naa sila kahibaw nga mobuhi nila.” Jocelyn stated factly.


During summer and semestral breaks, her children spend their time helping her weave Amakan. They can produce up to 20-35 rolls in a week. It costs 50pesos per roll which makes them earn 1,000-1,750pesos per week. However, when classes start, production of their Amakan becomes low. From a maximum of 7 rolls a day, it goes down to just 1-2 rolls.


“Dili man pod nako ipa-focus ang mga bata nga maghimo sila kay ga eskwela sila. Akong pangandoy nga makahuman dyud sila kay pobre gud mi. Wala koy ipabalon nila kung mangaminyo sila puhon. Maayo ng grado walay mag ilog kung gusto mo eskwela. Gabii ra mi magbuhat kay moskwela sila tanan sa buntag” Jocelyn said.


Even if life is hard, Jocelyn makes sure she provides for their children’s needs in school, as well as their daily basic needs. Just as she thought things could not get any worse, a tragic event happens.   In 2015, her husband died due to colon cancer, an illness that we all know is hard to cure. This event left her struggling to provide for her family, alone. She exhausted all her energy, to produce Amakan rolls, the only way she could help the family survive.


“Nangita dyud ko og pamaagi para makabalon akong mga anak, para malipay pod sila og magkogi moeskwela.” She said.


Fortunately, she was a member of DSWD’s Pantawid Program and this came in as a big help. It was laso because of this program that she later on she also became a member of the Sustainable Livelihood Program. She has been a member of Bobongan Sustainable Livelihood Program Association since 2016.

The association where Jocelyn belongs to started operating on July of 2017. The association started a store in barangay Bobongan which was strategically built along the road. Jocelyn is confident that she can earn money through this association because they roll their money through their production. Her Amakan production is purchased by the association regularly and sells them at the store. This has become an advantage for her because it was easier for her to dispose her products. Jocelyn is everyday thankful for the creation of their association and be part of it.


“Pobre god ko, wala koy asa nga panginuhaan. Maskin unsa kalisod nako, dili dyud nga dili mi makakaon kay ang SLPA namo dili man moundang. Sigurado ko nga maka-income dyud ko.” Jocelyn said.

“Nagpasalamat ko sa SLP kay nakatabang ni sa pagpa-eskwela sa akong mga anak og sa among pang adlaw-adlaw nga panginahanglan. Dako pod og katabang ang asosasyon sa amoa, salamat sa kining proyekto nga gihatag sa amoa nga nakasuporta dyud sa amo.” Jocelyn happily said.