Journey with the Mangyan
“Masisipag naman tayo, pero bakit hindi tayo umaasenso?”
(We work diligently, and yet we do not progress) – Cardel (mangyan trainer to tawbuid tribe)
This is what the Mangyan have been wondering about. They work hard in their rice fields and vegetable/fruit farms but they are still struggling to make ends meet (livelihood’s and family’s as well).
MBC’s partnership with Pinga-isang Lakas ng mga Tribo ng Mangyan (PLTM) started back in 2014. They’ve gathered their tribe leaders and members of their council to try our program.
Part of the partnership is to give the Start Your Business training to the first few tribes along with their own Mangyan trainers (who were trained also by MBC). We have gone to two tribes already. The Tawbuid Oriental tribe in Safa Oriental Mindoro and the Tawbuid Occidental tribe in Balani, Occidental Mindoro.
Last March 14-18 we finished the last leg of our SYB training with Tawbuid Oriental tribe. We visited their place (a 2 ½ hour-hike, after a 7-hour travel by van from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro) 3 times and stayed there for 4 days each visit to finish the usual 5-day SYB training. Their pace is slower because of their reading and writing skills. But their perseverance and enthusiasm to learn is the best we have seen yet. Their difficulty in reading and writing did not deter them to finish their first draft of their business plans.
This training has served as a morale boost for them. They have always felt less in comparison to the lowlander businessmen or the “Tagalogs” as the Mangyan call them. This is due to their lack of business knowledge and formal education. And most of the time, some of these Tagalogs would take advantage of this insecurity. But with the knowledge that this training has brought them, they gained confidence that they can compete in the market, even with the Tagalogs.
Cardel, one of the Mangyan trainers, said that “We were not aware of these things before, like market share or realizing as early as possible if our business will gain profit or if the potential profit will be enough for the business to survive the next months or years. And if it will not profit, will we still push thru with the business?”
Learning that your business will not be viable or is not gaining enough profit is a discouragement. But that is a reality, though a tough one, that the Mangyan had to accept. But we also tell them, that this is not the end. They just have to think of another one (business idea). It pushed them to think of other opportunities. It made sense to them, that even if they work hard, but without enough market or enough number of products to sell, they wouldn’t get their needed profit – their hard work and money invested would be pointless. Their discouragement did not last long. They got back from it and worked for another business plan. It was not easy to go back to square one, in terms of planning. But with the knowledge and training that they had plus the assistance from MBC in making business plans, they were willing to continue. They have hope that what they are doing now, will get them somewhere – somewhere better than before.
Their persistence and most importantly, their trust in the Lord that He loves them and will always be taking care of their needs, even their physical needs, won over their setbacks (in paper/planning or even in reality). They trust Him that He has a purpose when He gave them their lands and crops, and also He has a purpose when He gave them the opportunity to be trained in business.
Progress is maybe a longer journey for our Mangyan brothers, but the important thing is, it has already started and that they are getting there… by God’s grace of course.