At least 50 incoming day care pupils in Barangay Lagui-Sail, Laoag City are the latest beneficiaries of a locally-organized barter for a cause program which is becoming a trend online, at least in the province of Ilocos Norte.
On Wednesday, four-year-old Ysabel Pastor from Sitio West received her very first eight-color crayons along with pencils, writing pads, sharpener, eraser and a pack of multivitamin syrup from a group of Ilocos Norte cops spearheading the gift-giving activity.
Pastor is just among the incoming day care pupils of Barangay 54-A Lagui-Sail who benefited from the revival of a century-old barter system now being made popular by some Ilocanos here in digital format.
Instead of watching his calamansi fruits to just rot under the trees due to limited buyers and oversupply, Police Senior M/Sgt. Noel Abad, who is also a farmer by heart in Barangay Pila, this city, chose to offer his calamansi fruits in exchange for school supplies to day care pupils.
He then joined a private online group dubbed as “Maru Ilocos Barter”, a place where over a thousand members offer their products or services in exchange of something but definitely no cash allowed for every successful deal.
After posting the mechanics in the group which states: To barter one kilogram of calamansi for five writing pads for Grade 1 or six pieces pencil or four pieces of eight-color crayons, some of the members immediately approved the deal and agreed to meet at a given place and time to exchange items.
“Every year, it has been my practice to conduct gift-giving programs to children. I tried to barter my calamansi fruits in exchange of school supplies online and I am thankful, many supported it,” Abad said.
Young entrepreneur Christine Joy Salvador, owner of Good Vibes Cafe and administrator of Maru Ilocos Barter, said it fills her heart with joy every time a group member shares his or her experience after making a successful deal.
To make it easy and convenient for every maruista (local term for a member of Maru Ilocos Barter) to exchange items, Salvador is offering her shop located at the back of the Provincial Capitol as a drop in and drop off point for the members who made a deal. Her cafe has yet to offer dine-in as space is limited to one or two groups only.
But instead of closing her shop during the Covid-19 pandemic, she made it a point to make her opening more responsive to the change of time.
“One of our corners has turned into a maru corner and it is brings happiness seeing them,” said Salvador as she posted a photo of plants, fruits and vegetables, freshly baked goodies and other products being delivered by maruista at no cost.
One particular deal that generated the most positive response is the calamansi trade-off with school supplies as some members gave more than the expected items, some even just donated supplies even without a trade-off.
“It fills our hearts with joy. Amidst crisis, kindness and generosity reign,” said Salvador as she shared one act of kindness from a young mom from Burgos town, approximately an hour drive from Laoag City who made an effort to exchange deal for a three-kilo calamansi with school supplies on her way back home at night. (PNA)