Successful transactions between the members of the online barter community. (Photo courtesy of Nannette D. Mata-Timbreza)

Barter, an ancient form of trade by exchanging goods or services for another, is getting a modern comeback after a series of lockdowns which made money a precious commodity.

In Puerto Princesa City, an online barter community was established by a group of friends over a cup of coffee. Jasmine Dela Cruz, lawyers Nannette Mata-Timbreza and Winston Gonzales, inspired by Bacolod Barter Community, decided to start a Facebook group aimed to help people get rid of their stuff in exchange of “something useful” to others.

“The essence of bartering is the exchange of goods without using money. ‘Yong iba na let’s say medyo frugal or nagtitipid, mas okay sa kanila ang barter,” Dela Cruz said.

A member may post a picture of an old or unused item and the other members usually compete for the goods in a public bidding set-up at the comments section. Personal messages and money offers are strictly prohibited to ensure that the trade remains genuine to its purpose.

“Medyo strict kami sa rules kasi habang konti pa ang members gusto namin masanay sila sa rules na no cash allowed talaga,” Dela Cruz said.

Created only on May 21, the private Facebook group gained traction and currently holds more than 3,800 members that receive an average of 253 new posts per day.

“Siguro it helps in different ways to people, in my personal opinion, it helped me get rid of stuff that I don’t use. Sa iba naman, it helped them get what they need without spending money,” Dela Cruz said.

The group enforces simple rules in the online community such as being kind and courteous when doing trade; no hate speech or bullying; no promotions or spams; no trade of alcohol, drugs, or firearms; strict no-cash transactions; and posting only true information.

An applying member to the Puerto Princesa Barter Community is required to answer three membership questions that guide the administrators in determining whether a member can commit to abide by the rules.

“‘Yong iba naman for fun lang talaga, and ‘yong iba nagba-barter ng stuff in exchange sa mga bagay na pwede nila ma-donate like kids books, paper and coloring materials,” Dela Cruz added.

A few days after the community went online, several members have expressed joy in closing deals with each other.

You may check out the community here: :