Teting Purma, 37, also known as Nanay Teting of Sitio Gaang, Brgy. Panaytayan in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, is known by her peers as a woman of many ways. Her family belongs to the Hanunuo-Mangyan Indigenous Group who can produce good quality agricultural crops.
Wearing different hats every day
Nanay Teting sells walis tingting (coconut midrib broom). She makes it by herself and sells it to the nearest public market. Once a week, her husband, Tatay Lino climbs up to coconut trees to check if which fronds can be harvested. Cost ranges from Php 20.00 to Php 50.00, depending on the bundle size. Their profit, however, will still depend on how many brooms they can sell in a day.
Nanay Teting recognizes very well that selling walis tingting is not enough to sustain their big family, so she thought of another enterprise. Her second business venture is piggery. She currently owns native pigs – one sow and three piglets. Once the piglets have grown, she plans to buy another sow to produce more pigs.
Apart from making walis tingting and raising pigs, Nanay Teting is also into farming particularly in planting avocado trees. She sells avocado along with her walis tingting. Nanay Teting’s initial profit in selling avocado turned out well. She realized that planting fruit trees poses the potential to be a profitable enterprise that is why she decided to explore other crops to plant.
When the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with other government agencies, conducted skills training on dragon fruit propagation, Nanay Teting was one of the recipients of the initiative. After receiving skills training and farm inputs through DSWD’s Sustaining Support Services Intervention (SSI) project for the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) beneficiaries, she started to capitalize on planting dragon fruit trees.
New doors for Nanay Teting
Admittedly, she said that it is hard to propagate such a type of cutting. Nanay Teting encountered a lot of challenges -– from the type of soil, source of water, and the fact that she has never even seen a dragon fruit in her life. But she never lost hope. She recognized that what she needs is more information in propagating dragon fruits. That is why she and her tribe requested for another skills training on dragon fruit propagation, product development, and management from DSWD. On this training, they were provided with additional cuttings of dragon fruit trees and more in-depth knowledge on how to manage it. Nanay Teting applied it to her farm and strictly followed what she learned. She eventually reaped what she sowed.
“Masaya at namangha ang mga anak ko…dahil noon lamang kami nakakita ng bunga ng dragon fruit”, excitedly told by Nanay Teting when she saw the first fruit from their farm. After weeks of waiting, it was in August 2020 when she proudly harvested 52 kilos of dragon fruits from her 100 sqms. farm. She was able to sell it and earned Php 5,200.00. Her children also gained an interest in farming. After school, they help Nanay Teting in maintainingheir farm. Their experience in growing this crop made Nanay Teting’s family closer and provided wider opportunities for them. This convinced her and Tatay Lino to expand their farm operation by investing another 100 sqms lot dedicated for dragon fruit production.
Just like her experience in putting up her many enterprises, she also went through trial and error. Some may seem hard to do but with determination and patience, nothing is impossible. At the end of the day, a mother is truly tested based on how she weathers every storm. For Nanay Teting, the center of her life is her family and she will do everything to secure a better living condition for them. She believes that her “many ways”, her walis tingting, piggery, avocado fruits, and now, the dragon fruit production, with conviction and perseverance, will surely help reach her goal.