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"From Crabs to Cash"
Client Name: Nelma Apitong Address: Sitio Lamintao, Talisay, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo
Sitio Lamintao is one of the coastal villages in Brgy. Talisay, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo. It is a 20 minute tricycle ride, more or less, from the town proper.
Nelma Apitong, or known to her friends as “Emang,” is in the buy and sell business of fresh crab meat.
Prior to this crab business, Emang and her husband Nilo was operating a fishing boat which is known as “Hulbot-hulbot.” Emang said: “I convinced Nilo with all efforts that we will stay in Sitio Lamintao with a reason that we can make a good living in fishing. At first he was hesitant, but because of his love to me and the positive note of my idea, he gave in.”
The hulbot hulbot and fish vending by the couple had flourished at a start, however it was short lived because the fishing laws make the hulbot hulbot as one of the prohibited fishing gears by the government. As a result, Nilo sold the hulbot hulbot.
They took another luck by starting a new business in selling fishing materials such as fishing nets, twines, and hooks among other things. However, according to Emang, “we were not lucky at this time. The store was not selling well and it went bankrupt.”
It was also at this time that Emang delivered her 2nd child, in double jeopardy, she got sick too for almost 4 months. According to Emang, “my husband, Nilo, was at a loss just to make our both ends meet. I really pity him.” She further quipped that, “there were times then that we cannot even buy rice for our food. I have to ask from our neighbor for a cup of rice just to have food for my older child and Nilo too.”
Four months later, Emang felt better from her illness. She joined other fellows in sewing damaged fishing nets owned by other people. From this she earned a daily income of more or less 100 pesos for the labor.
Emang and Nilo did not lose hope. She said I have this belief that “the seeds of positive thoughts will reap a good harvest one day.”
Indeed the said belief was proven true when the opportunity came right in their doorsteps. A person working at RGA Crab Meat Plant based in Negros had visited Sitio Lamintao looking for a contact person to be in charge in buying crabs from the locals and would bring the product to their newly established plant in Estancia, Iloilo.
Nilo accepted the offer but the partnership with RGA was short-lived. Despite the termination with RGA, Nilo and Emang continued the business having in mind that it will make good later.
In 2001, TSKI entered Sitio Lamintao and Emang didn’t hesitated to join the PKK program and availed a loan amounting to Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to augment their capital. Her excellent performance in repayment gave her the opportunity to avail higher loans.
To date, Emang is an active METP client with a loan amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00). She has been a member of TSKI for ten years. The crab business is doing good. They were able to establish ten motor banca for crab catching. The couple is hoping that their business will continue to grow so that they can improve their family's standard of living and at the same time help their neighbors by providing employment.
Emang and Nilo never hesitates to help whenever somebody needs a helping hand in the community.