Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya—Celyn Gabol, 51, is an eco-bag sewer and seller from barangay San Nicolas Extension here. However, she has recently turned to selling bolos—which have now edged out her usual products.
During the recent Agri-Trade Fair within the provincial capitol grounds as part of the Grand Ammungan celebration, Gabol—who once served as president of the Bayombong Eco-Sewers Association—now also offers locally made blades in various sizes.
BESA is in the recyclables business, turning used clothes into eco-bags and other products, but the bolo—the large, single-edged knife common in the country—has taken the spotlight and raked in the profits for Gabol.
“We sold more than 100 pieces last year in just three weeks’ time in this similar trade fair. That is why we are doing it here again,” she said.
Gabol’s quality native bolos, knives, and even katanas, are made by her brother Roland Bongtiwon, 46, who now manages his Farm Hand Tools Manufacturing in barangay Duit in nearby Kiangan town in Ifugao province.
Bongtiwon, like Gabol, was assisted financially by the Department of Trade and Industry in their respective provinces.
Gabol now prides on her brother’s business, as it received an award from the DTI since it started last year.
The bolos sell at prices ranging from P1,000 to P3,500, depending on the blades’ sizes and designs.
She said his brother uses car wheel springs, known locally as “molye,” that he turns into quality bolos, knives, and Japanese swords in various shapes and sizes. Bongtiwon also gets raw materials from junk shops and auto supply outlets in Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, and Santiago City in Isabela.
“Because of their quality, buyers are increasing whenever we join trade fairs in Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao and other places,” Gabol said.
Trade fairs initiated by the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya, DTI, and other agencies like the NV Goes to Alabang and NV-Quezon City Trade Agreement, helped a lot in promoting and selling their products.
“Our eco-bag production and selling is still good, but we need to branch out in other products. This will also help my brother in bringing his creations nearer to households. I did not expect that many villagers need our bolos, knives and other farm tool products,” Gabol said.
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