Conner, Apayao – Salvacion Saboy’s story is a testament to the transformative power of government programs and an unwavering spirit in the face of adversity. As a Balik-Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) beneficiary, Salvacion’s journey from economic struggle to prosperity serves as an inspiration for others seeking sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Originally hailing from Katablangan, Conner, Salvacion and her husband moved to Manag, Conner in 2000, hoping to improve their lives through corn farming. While farming became their main source of income, it proved inadequate to meet their family’s needs. Seeking better opportunities, they eventually relocated to Baguio City where Salvacion’s husband worked as a jeepney driver, and she engaged in housekeeping and the buy-and-sell trade of clothes. This arrangement allowed them to provide for their children and achieve a semblance of stability.

However, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, throwing their lives into disarray. With restrictions in place, Salvacion’s husband had to give up his job as a jeepney driver, and their buy-and-sell activities came to a halt. Struggling to make ends meet, the family endured several months in Baguio City, hoping for an improvement in the situation. As the pandemic persisted, they were left with no choice but to rely on government assistance and their dwindling savings.

When the Balik-Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program was introduced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Salvacion’s family was referred by their barangay to the local government unit for eligibility assessment. Their determination and resilience paid off, as they were deemed eligible for the program. Initially, they received PhP 30,000.00 as transitory assistance. Additionally, they were assessed for a Livelihood Assistance Grant from the SLP and were awarded PhP 50,000.00 as seed capital for their chosen livelihood project.

Salvacion’s decision to focus on native delicacy-making, specifically sinandila proved to be a wise choice. Sinandila is a native delicacy of Kalinga and Apayao made from pounded sticky rice galapong topped with coconut curds.  With her deep knowledge of native delicacies acquired from her parents and the cultural heritage of her community, she recognized the stable market demand for sinandila as a breakfast and merienda treat, as well as during important events and celebrations.

To ensure efficient and increased production, Salvacion wisely invested in equipment and raw materials. Her daily production of up to 300 pieces of sinandila, sold at 5 pesos each, translated to sales of approximately PhP1,500.00. Starting her preparations as early as 3:00 AM, she would sell her products from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM, often experiencing high demand resulting in sold-out products before 8:00 AM.

The profits generated from the business were not only used for daily expenditures but also for the education of their children and the gradual rebuilding of their house. With careful financial management, Salvacion was able to expand her microenterprise, adding materials and equipment to enhance production. Her forward-thinking mindset led her to plan for additional equipment for making bibingka, as she aimed to introduce a variety of native delicacies to her product line. In line with her responsibilities, she prepared to register her business with the local government unit and the Department of Trade and Industry, ensuring compliance with legalities and branding.

Salvacion Saboy’s remarkable journey from hardship to success showcases the transformative power of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). With the program’s support, Salvacion turned her passion for making native delicacies into a thriving microenterprise. Through financial assistance, guidance, and skill development, the SLP empowered Salvacion to build a sustainable livelihood, uplift her family’s economic well-being, and preserve her cultural heritage. Her inspiring story stands as a testament to the SLP’s commitment to empowering individuals and communities, proving that with determination and support, dreams can become a reality.  #DSWD-CAR, Jezebel L. Gumatay, SLP Social Marketing Officer and Jehan Keyaten, SLP Project Development Officer II

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