The Success Story of MS Marbelyn Narso, Bariw Processor
By Sally R. Villasis
Regional Applied Communications Group
Aklan State University
Photos by Sally Villasis and Niño Manaog
Marbelyn Narzo must have been destined to be a bariw processor.
At the age of 12, this native of Buenavista, Nabas, Aklan was introduced to weaving bariw (or pandan palm and buri palm) into sellable products and has since been in the business for the last 33 years. Even though those early days were hard, Narzo now looks back to the experience with pride and gratitude.
Currently the Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of Nabas FITS Center, Narzo considers bariw processing a decent job. Having been exposed to the industry of bariw processing at a young age, MS Narzo has mastered the processing of bariw products. From bariw, Narzo makes hats, mats, placemats, wall décor, flower vases and tissue folders, among other novelty products.
Nabas FITS Center is monitored by Aklan State University, (ASU), its partner member agency (PMA) under the auspices of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).
In various instances, she also acted as trainer for other bariw processors in her town of Nabas and the neighboring town of Ibajay in Aklan. In recent years, she also reached Bohol as resource speaker where she shared her expertise to other processors.
For her raw materials, MS Narzo uses green bariw leaves. She removes the thorns and midrib of the leaves, a process locally known as pagriras. Then she hangs the leaves to air dry for about two to three days and exposes them to sunlight for one to two days. Locally, these steps are called paglamayo ag pagbuead.
After which, Narzo has the dry leaves softened thru pagpaepag (pressing). She then rolls and strips them using a stripper. The size of koehad (strip), Akeanon for sliced strips, depends on its use. Only then are the bariw leaves ready for weaving. One bundle usually consists of 32 pieces of green bariw leaves.
Hats. MS Narzo finishes two hats in a day, spending 8 working hours. A hat which costs P25 is made in 4 hours giving her an income of P50 daily. The bariw weaver says she earns P25 per bundle of bariw leaves less P5 for materials and P20 for labor. With average of two hats made per day, she can produce 40 hats for one month.
Bags. MS Narzo can weave one bag measuring 4” x 15” x 12” out of two bundles of bariw, and sells them at P150 each. When expenses are deducted, P10 for materials and P20 for labor, she earns P120 for one bag. She can make one bag per day or 24 bags per month, which earns for her some P3,360 per month. In making bags, MS Narzo is assisted by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) in the designs.
Coin Purses. MS Narzo makes four coin purses out of one bundle of bariw leaves. She sells them at P20 market price, or P80 for four pieces per day. After deducting P5 for raw materials and P20 labor, Narzo earns P55. MS Narzo says she can turn out 4 coin purses in one day or a total of 96 pieces per month.
Placemats. From a bundle of bariw leaves, MS Narzo produces four placemats which she sells at P25 each. After deducting P5 for raw materials and P20 labor, she earns P75 daily from these products. Working for 20 production days, she produces 80 placemats a month.
Now, things are looking up, working in favor of this diligent weaver. Currently market is good for processed bariw leaves in Boracay and Kalibo and even overseas. For Boracay alone, MS Narzo delivers a total of 60 bags, 30 hats and 24 coin purses on a weekly or twice a week basis. These and other opportunities make MS Narzo smile. She says her success can be credited to her experience.
Having been in the bariw industry for more than three decades, she has seen the highs and lows of their local economy. But MS Narzo expresses optimism. For her, every Filipino has the skill he or she can use to achieve. “It all depends on how badly you want to excel,” she says.
MS Narzo enjoys spreading the word on bariw processing because she believes it’s real livelihood through which household women at home can earn a living and take care of the family at the same time.