PART 4: Beyond balyena and uga

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When Rodel Evidente put up his furniture shop a couple of years ago, he had meant it to provide employment for artisans in nearby towns and cities.

Village chief Rodel Evidente(blue shirt) explains to DNX Executive Editor Julius D. Mariveles his craft and trade why Handswork Furniture products are superior than other competitors. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
Village chief Rodel Evidente(blue shirt) explains to DNX Executive Editor Julius D. Mariveles his craft and trade why Handswork Furniture products are superior than other competitors. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

There is, after all, a certain kind of craftsmanship required in making a six-seater dining table, all polished and shiny with shellac, or an ornately-carved heavy armoire for your precious curtains and linen.

So it’s no ordinary carpentry or painting job offered in Handswork Furniture in barangay Burgos, Cadiz.  It’s top-notch woodwork from cabinets, to altars (yes, you read that right), to recliners, rockers, to dining sets, with sturdy material that does not turn into a wobbly heap or wood mite fodder mere two weeks after buying.

One of Handswork Furniture craftsman carefully chisels a pattern of design. Their designs are based on customer's preference. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
One of Handswork Furniture craftsman carefully chisels a pattern of design. Their designs are based on customer’s preference. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

“Our (pieces of furniture) here are better than what is offered in other commercial furniture outlets or shops, which source theirs from Malaysia,” Evidente tells DNX as he makes an expansive gesture at his shop that is littered with tell-tale signs of industry: wood shavings, wood chips, unfinished furniture, a half-carved cabinet, and the unmistakable smells of industrial glue, and sawdust.

Now, the fledgling venture is thriving, with non-stop sawing, painting, polishing, and carving for the business that is currently employing a staff of 10.

And it just gets better.

(READ also: PART 2: Beyond balyena and uga)

INDUSTRY PAYS OFF

The shop currently employs the full gamut of furniture-markers, from carvers to painters, artisans all.

It’s an intricate balance of creativity and hard labor, of skill and art. 

And industry pays off.  All of Evidente’s workers get a share off the furniture piece that they make and able to sell.  On good weeks, an especially hard – and fast – worker could net P10,000 a week.

One of the fast moving products of Handswork Furniture that could last a lifetime. These chair frames are being prepared for their next stage of processing. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
One of the fast moving products of Handswork Furniture that could last a lifetime. These chair frames are being prepared for their next stage of processing. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

Business is also rather brisk, with P100,000 worth of furniture being sold every month, as customers through word-of-mouth heard about the quality furniture being made by Handswork.

“We are superior to others… our furniture lasts longer. That’s what our motto says: Mapanubli nimo(You can hand it down),” Evidente said.

With the kind of quality that Handswork delivers – it could easily qualify as export quality — the shop might be one of those that would benefit from the P8 billion port that Frabelle Group of Companies is going to develop.

“Once the port is operational,” Evidente told DNX, “it will provide a wider market for us.”

DNX TV unit head Banjo C. Hinolan takes the heat of the sun as he capture images and scenes over the Hitalon Bridge, Cadiz City. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
DNX TV unit head Banjo C. Hinolan takes the heat of the sun as he capture images and scenes over the Hitalon Bridge, Cadiz City. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

The port, according to both Local Economic and Investments Promotions Officer Lyn Regodos and City Planning and Development Office Engr. Gilbert Alparito, could usher in more investments that would propel the city into a high-urbanized economic and financial hub. (READ: PART 3: Beyond balyena and uga)

That could also mean that people in the upland barangays would be seeking out opportunities in the city, and might think of resettling there.

That means more housing units, and more housing units equal to more furniture.

The kilometer-long stretch exit road of Cadiz City port. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
The kilometer-long stretch exit road of Cadiz City port. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

It’s inevitable.

The multi-billion peso port, once it becomes operational, would usher in opportunities even for micro, small, and medium enterprises like Handswork.

And that’s just for starters.

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