The Altavista Project

A project created for the reconstruction of the Camotes Islands in the Philippines
This project was created in hopes of rebuilding the Philippines' Camotes Islands, which was severely damaged by the devastating typhoon of 2013.
At the time people lost their jobs and everything, there was a woman who stood up to help their lives
For months, electricity, water, homes, and buildings were damaged and people lost their jobs. Many people went to the big cities to work desperately hard as labor workers or helpers inside the home. Upon hearing this, Monique, a Dutch woman who was a teacher at the time in Cebu, stood up. Fortunately, she was able to raise funds from acquaintances around the world to help with food, repairs, and so on. And with the remaining funds, she further consulted with the women of Camotes Island and proposed new ideas.

What was her proposed idea?

First was the UpCycle Work 

She proposed the reproduction of upcycling works using a bag of rice.

Monique took on a French woman doing business as a bagmaker in Cebu to train women of Camotes on how to make it. Then, in February 2015, 10 women from the village of Camotes started production. The French artisan taught only how to knit a simple table mat, but the skillful females of Camotes Island have become more creative and experienced in making beautiful bags. It was the most beautiful thing in the world they ever made.

A new journey starts in Korea

After working in Cebu for two years, Monique moved to Busan, South Korea last 2016. This is the start of the spread of the works made by the women on the island of Camotes. Bags were priced based on material and labor costs calculated based on the current minimum wage, and Monique bought all the works before selling them. Monique works as an International school teacher. She actively participated in activities to help the global environment, people, and animals around the world from a broad perspective. She spent her time selling bags imperceptibly through introducing the projects of Altavista at charity venues. Monique's only wish was "for all women on Camotes Island to live happily with their families."

Stumbled across Monique

Participated with my daughter at the Charity bazaar 

When I first learned of the Altavista project introduced by Monique at a Christmas bazaar in Busan, I was deeply moved by the beauty of the colorful bags known to have made from the hard work of the women of Camotes Island. Since then, I was drawn into the project so I decided to join with my daughter. Hoping to reach the message of love and hope from the women of Camotes Island to those who will purchase the bag.

The future of Altavista project

There was sad news, however.
I was told that Monique's best friend, Tess, a woman from Camotes, who started the project together, died.
It was a really hard time for Monique. Still, this project was not over. We continued to introduce Altavista. I must have believed that Tess would support me from heaven ... I was also planning to go directly to the Philippines to make a new bag with Monique. But ... it was so difficult to get in touch with the people from the island, and the reply I got was that they were already "finding new jobs and living."
 As a result
1. I will give up my plan to make a new bag. Though I have little stocks left. 
2. We thought that If they find new jobs and live their lives, that would already be great.

Monique went to live in the Netherland last summer of 2019. And regarding the bag, Monique gave me the option to either sell, give away, reproduce, or just leave the desire of it. So I had a few thoughts about what she said. If I am going to sell it... There are not many stocks left, customers want new designs and of different sizes. if to give it away... Well, it's a good idea I think. The person whom I will give it to will surely be happy of it. Or if to revive... I would need to find people who can reproduce such product but there are so many factors to consider like how to make it or where to get quality materials.

Wishing for the happiness of Filipinos...

How wonderful it would be if there were people around the world who would be willing to buy and use these Fair Trade products to make people in the Philippines happy. But honestly, I do not know what to do if I would do it alone. I wish to find someone with similar interests or business in the future and this is mainly the reason why I made this website.