The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Puerto Princesa Underground River, has been one of the areas deeply affected over the course of the lockdown .
With tourism activities being put on hold until its reopening about two months ago, communities near the site which depend their livelihoods much on this industry, have been finding ways to cope with the situation.
“Dahil pare-parehas po tayong nahihirapan, lalo na ang ating mga kapatid na katutubo, dahil sa pandemya, ang management ng park (PPSRNP) ay gumawa ng paraan para matulungan silang maiangat ang kanilang antas ng pamumuhay,” Mary Ann Andrade, community organizer for PPSRNP, said.
The PPSRNP management, in cooperation with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), launched “Tindan Y ang Comunidad” to help the indigent population by providing a market for fresh produce, preserved food products, and arts and wood crafts, among others.
These products are all crafted, harvested, and manufactured by tourism frontliners, citizens, and communities at PPSRNP and Palawan Eco Agro Park (PEAP), struck by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Tindan Y ang Comunidad was only put-up during the V sa V: The Viet Village Market in January this year, the PPSRNP and PSFI have been assisting the communities in Barangays New Panggangan, Marufinas, Tagabinet, Cabayugan, and others adjacent to the Underground River area, for almost three years now.
Partnering with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), PPSRNP and PSFI have been conducting trainings for the IP communities on farming, gardening, food handling and processing, crafts making, and community organizing.
Currently, Tindan Y ang Comunidad has a booth at the Garden Show & Furniture Display area at Tarabidan sa Dang Maria, which opened last February 12 and will run until today, Feb. 14, every 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Products such as banana, kamoteng baging at kahoy, ube, fresh buko, mushroom, tapa and tocino, daing, bagoong, sukang tuba, kapeng barako, dishwashing liquid, plants, handwoven baskets, bamboo straws, organic soap, and souvenir shirts are available at the booth, for an affordable, farm-to-market price.
Tindan Y and Comunidad also advocates for less use of plastic, so customers are encouraged to bring eco bags for their shopping.
They have also received an overwhelming number of delivery orders, supporting and buying local, after posting online. For orders, you may check out PPUR Community products tags on Facebook or visit Mickel Ollave, community organizer for PPSRNP’s Facebook account.