The Heartwarming Stories of the Barter Communities in the Philippines
2020 has been a tough year for all of us, especially due to the global pandemic situation. The quarantine and safety protocols implemented all over the country to reduce the spread of the virus has greatly affected the economy, with the unemployment rate at record high reflecting the effects of Covid-19 economic shutdown on the citizen. However, the ones mostly affected by it are those who earn income on a daily basis such as farmers and market vendors, living hand to mouth.
That’s the backstory of how barter trade made its comeback and is now becoming increasingly popular again in the Philippines. Barter trading is an age-old exchange method used by our ancestors. It has been used for centuries and long before money was invented. People exchanged services and goods for other services and goods in return. In ancient times, this system involved people in the same area, however today bartering is going global thanks to the internet and social media platforms.
In Koronadal, market vendors and small-scale farmers found many of their products like vegetables and fruits unsold as consumer spend greatly decreased. Thanks to a local volunteer, Kira Tacujan, who created a Facebook Group called Barter Challenge Koronadal, now the vendors can swap the produce for essential needs such as other food and grocery items.
Barter Challenge Koronadal is a brilliant initiative as it opens the opportunity for not only the local community, but also benefactors from outside the city to pledge their support for the vendors.
There’s also the Koronadal Barter Community group on Facebook, which is an affiliate of Iloilo Barter Community.
Members of the Iloilo Barter Community (IBACO) post photos and videos of items they want to let go and products they want in exchange. If a deal is made, the ones involved will discuss how to make the swap.
Charity Delmo, the community’s creator, said the idea behind bringing the barter trade to Iloilo is to help Ilonggos obtain their needs without spending cash, while at the same time help business owners from outside the city to get their resources.
Usual barters are gadgets for fruits, kitchen wares for face masks, and infant needs for plants among others. IBACO group has also witnessed some famous people such as social entrepreneur Janvie Amido and TV reporter Joyce Ann Clavecillas successfully making their barter trades.
It’s reported that IBACO now has more than 20 affiliate groups in other parts of the country and even among Filipino communities abroad including those in Australia, Italy, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.
When the global economy faces a potential collapse, Bacolod citizens show the world that money is not everything. The Bacolod Barter Community becomes their new normal in business trading, which may continue for quite a long time. In Bacolod City, the most trending word nowadays is “barter” with hashtag, #BBCo.
Initially when Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue started the private barter group on Facebook, it was only for friends around Bacolod City. Now they have 20,000 posts per day with 20 moderators who work for free!
The founder even held a simple contest where people can share their most amazing barter stories, and 10 stories were picked. Some were cute, some were funny, but most importantly a lot of the barter stories involved helping other people.
More than just for getting their necessities, these online communities have proved to be a platform for people to help others. They really show their Bayanihan spirit, trading more than what they agreed to barter. They are bartering items without too much emphasis on the monetary value, but on the practical value it can serve to the other person – which was the foundation of such initiatives.
We at become are inspired by these heartwarming stories as we believe that digital advancement can boost humanitarian effort and provide a platform for Asians to be their best selves by helping others. Follow @become_asia on Instagram for stories of inspiring Asians.