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Project TUBO is an ABK3 initiative aimed at providing viable livelihoods opportunities for assisted households in Negros Occidental through the development of novel handicrafts using sugarcane leaves.


Poverty, among many other factors, drives parents to force their own children into child labor. More so, unexpected events such as natural calamities, economic crisis, illnesses, and sudden lay-offs make it even harder for parents to earn income to meet the family’s daily needs. These events, most often than not, lead children to withdraw from school in order to help provide for the needs of the family.

In Negros Occidental, the sugar bowl of the Philippines, sugarcane is the main source of livelihood of many poor families. But when sugarcane has been planted and is left to grow, the tiempo muerto or dead season, which usually happens from April to August, begins. During this idle time, which sugarcane workers call the “hunger season”, limited laborers are required in the farm prompting the rest of the workers to look for other job opportunities in other sectors just to bring in money for the family’s basic needs.

ABK3 LEAP designed Project TUBO to introduce an alternative source of income to sugarcane workers by harnessing and showcasing indigenous resources, especially sugarcane leaves (a by-product of the province’s main crop), to create semi-processed materials and handicraft products that can be marketed locally.


At least 80 ABK3 assisted children 15-17 years old, most of whom are OSYs, and parents from Bacolod City, Bago City, La Castellana, Manapla, Moises Padilla, and Victorias City were chosen to undergo a Training of Trainers facilitated by IDEASIA, a group of artists, designers and entrepreneurs from CALABARZON who have solid experience in working with mixed media and local raw materials, and ABK3 LEAP.

The trained youth and parents from each municipality will serve as trainers in their own communities, passing on the technology to others and leading in the development and production of innovative handicrafts. As of April 2014, ABK3 LEAP is assisting 5,011 households and 5,440 children in the 6 participating municipalities.


Modules 1 & 2 (focused on technology transfer and design concepts) were facilitated by IDEASIA, while Module 3 was facilitated by ABK3 LEAP Livelihoods Team. The modules centered on the following:

  • MODULE 1 (May 5-14): developing sugarcane leaves into semi-processed materials and covered basic processes such as gathering, drying and handling, finishing techniques, basic weaving and leatherization, and techniques using eco-friendly re-agents
  • MODULE 2 (June 5-15): design concept and product development
  • MODULE 3 (July – August): product costing, marketing and enterprise management


After 2 months of training, the Project Tubo participants, with the help of IDEASIA, were able to develop semi-processed materials and product prototypes which they continued to produce and improve in the succeeding weeks.

A PROJECT TUBO Trade Fair and Exhibit was held on AUGUST 20-22, 2014 at L’FISHER HOTEL in BACOLOD CITY, with a short KICK OFF PROGRAM on the 20th at 1:00 PM, to showcase the finished products of the participating municipalities. Products from other ABK3 assisted provinces were also be exhibited.

The showcase sought to introduce the PROJECT TUBO products to the Negrense community in an effort to raise awareness of the exciting possibilities for alternative livelihoods that can be done with sugarcane by-products, something that they can definitely own and be proud of. Participating municipalities are now also joining various trade fairs to market their sugarcane inspired products.












Check out more sample products here.

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