Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Hope In Villar Foundation

The Villars, who would have not known that name, especially the check mark. I know for sure most people would easily identify it already even if it only shows the first letter of their family name, which is the letter V.

Even before, the Villars have already marked their names in the area of Las Pinas. I know this because I have watched and followed their strive in making the water lilies that clogged the Las Pinas-Zapote River into something more productive and provides great opportunity to settlers in the area. They have made those water lilies a source of income for the people living along the river.

Though this was the only project that I have known from the Villar Foundation, specifically through the effort of Ma'am Cynthia Villar during her term as Congresswoman in Las Pinas, I know that their projects did sure make a change in the community. A small act does not instantly changes every thing but it takes time to build a strong foundation through that small acts. Like the Villar Foundation which was founded in 1992 by the Villar couple, Manny and Cynthia. Before then, the foundation was unknown to many but because of the couple's effort in making the City of Las Pinas a model city, they have established programs and projects beneficial to the community and to the environment.

Two decades after the establishment, the Villar Foundation had enormously grown. Creating more projects and programs for the people and making livelihoods a good source for the community in need. They sure take the path of the teaching “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime,” and this can be seen in the communities and barangays of Las Pinas.

Recently, I joined a tour in the southern side of the metro, I think. It was at Las Pinas City. The group were there to visit the different livelihood projects that caters by the Villar Foundation. It made me recall my field trip days. Where we are educated about the different places but for this instance it's more of a life learning experience. As part of that learning experience we were able to interview Ms. Cynthia Villar, the founder and chairman of the Villar Foundation but before the interview we were toured first in all of their livelihood projects.

First stop, the Twinning and Weaving Nets from coconut husks. We were toured there and they were able to introduced to us this livelihood project. At first I was curious about the end product and its use but as the guide further shows and explains the processes, he also answered my curiosity. The weave nets are used by most construction works especially when creating a rift raft to hold the soil and avoid any landslide.

I was amazed that their livelihood project was placed in a barangay and the people from that barangay were employed in that project. According to Ma'am Cynthia Villar "they don't have to ride in a jeepney to get on to their working place, they can just walk and bring along their kids with them while working." That's a really big help for them, that's why we set up our livelihood inside the barangay." They employed 40 families and can earn Php3,300 in a week. Take note that is each family.

The raw materials which is the "coconut husks" are free. Coconut vendors bring those waste material to the livelihood center.

Second stop, Weaving Blankets for Calamity Victims. According to our guide, the weaving blankets were initiated with the thought of creating blankets for calamity victims. The produced blankets are given to calamity victims since blankets are one of the major necessity after a calamity.

Blanket weavers can produced up to three (3) blanket in a day which make them earn around Php4,300 in a month.

Third stop was the Composting Area and The Production of Hollow Blocks. If you're familiar with the people gathering food left-overs for their pigs, then this is also the same with it but this one is for the purpose of composting or commonly called as organic fertilizers. Headed by the so called “bio-men”, these people goes door-to-door around the community asking for the left-overs instead of throwing it in the garbage. Our guide shows how it is being done and even let us see the end product.

Our guide also shows us what they do with the plastics. The dreaded plastics that also clogged drainages and causes flash floods. These plastics are shredded, mixed with sand and cement, and created into bricks or hollow blocks. A much more interesting way to recycle plastics.

The fourth stop was the Crafting Baskets out of the Water Hyacinth or commonly called Water Lily but before heading to our fourth stop we were toured first at the place where the water lilies once clogged the dam. Some of the bloggers even tried riding their ferry in crossing the river.

Their creativity and the love for their hometown may have been influenced by one of the famous instrument in Las Pinas, nonetheless but the Bamboo Organ.

Different baskets were shown to us. It was amazing that something crafty like that came from water lilies. I remember this livelihood project being featured in different TV shows before.

After the tour we were met by Ma'am Cynthia Villar in their house and welcomed all our inquiries while having lunch. She explain to us that she's hands-on on all the undertakings of the foundation, which is what I like about her that makes all the projects and programs even more successful. Also makes her more aware of each and every details of the foundation. She even said that “I can answer anything you ask about the foundation”.

The day was full of great information and great ideas to ponder and live with.  How about you, what do you think of this programs?

If you want to know more about the Villar Foundation just visit their website at or you can personally visit their livelihood projects to see for yourself.

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