The City of Puerto Princesa lies at the heart of the island province of Palawan. The province is an archipelago of 1,780 islands and is located along the western border of the Philippines. With a land area of nearly 1.5 million hectares, Palawan is the country’s largest province.
Until recent years, extractive industries such as logging and mining dominated the economy of Palawan. Today, the island’s economy benefits from tourism, but the majority of the population is still farmers and fisher-folks. The nature of these livelihoods is seasonal; therefore underemployment and its accompanying lack of economic opportunity and remuneration are chronic.
Educational attainment level is low; consequently a significant portion of the population is either unemployed or engaged in relatively low-paying, seasonal employment. As farming and fishing technologies are primitive and yield only subsistence levels of income, there is hardly enough to tide families and communities through the periodic “dry spells.” Few families can secure even the basic necessities of life such as adequate shelter, nutrition, health, education and hope for a better future. Too often, women from these families are left with the task of nurturing their households in spite of this challenge; as a result they must find means for additional income by doing odd jobs that yield insufficient gains such as laundry and household chores for others.
It has become the main program of the Rurungan Sa Tubod Foundation to provide an alternative livelihood for these women by training them in traditional weaving techniques while assisting in the sustainability of a consistent income.