Pili shells, not just something to crack, now it’s Bicol’s best fashion jewelry export

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Pili shells Bicol’s best fashion jewelry export. Photo courtesy: bucaio.blogspot.com
Pili shells Bicol’s best fashion jewelry export. Photo courtesy: bucaio.blogspot.com

By Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY (25 Dec. 2011) – “Wearing the pili shell necklace whenever I attend formal occasions with our native attire has gained some fashion statement in this “eco-conscious world” we are in now today. It also gives us a sense of pride as a Bicolano,” Dr. Ma. Teresa V. Destura, assistant department head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said during an interview.

“Almost in all occasions now here and especially in Bicol, the pili shell necklace has exchanged the usual flower corsage we use to honor our guests.”

“The pili shell has gained an entrance in the global market now and has provided the best opportunities for women in the barangays to make use of the shell with more economic returns. Before, these were only used to become the alternative for firewood used in cooking or just thrown away if their volume becomes so much,” Destura expressed.
In the just concluded 178th Provincial Agricultural and Fisheries Council (PAFC) meeting held here last week at the PAFC- Livelihood Technology Training Center (LTTC), Godofredo D. Ditan PAFC chair thanked the Department of Agriculture (DA) ROV through its regional executive director, Dr. Jose Dayao, for the formal turn-over of five sets of pili shellcraft production equipment to five recipient organizations.

“We have seen how the pili shells evolved in terms of its usage and now DA has seen a very big potential in the pili shell craft industy. These equipment will make pili shell craft production here in the province more easy as this will lessen the time for making the shells into the desired designs. The usual way they did it is manual and tedious. With this equipment, production of pili shell craft will be faster and refined in terms of its craftsmanship as right polishing is done by the machine,” Dayao said.

“Volume in production will also be enhanced as the equipment can produce the desired pieces immediately,” he said.
Sorsogon is considered as Bicols’ number two producer of pili in the region, and the shell has been creatively produced by the different women organization here as fashion jewelry and as add on local material that goes with beautifully crafted home products displayed in malls specially in tiangges.

“Pili fashion jewelries-making here has opened a livelihood opportunity, it’s very saleable as it is cheap but so artistically made and usually worn now even with casual attire, with office uniform, and for women who would like to don a little bit of elan in their daily wear,” Destura also explained.

In the just concluded 3rd Regional Pili Congress held in Legaspi last year, one of the best sellers was the necklaces made out of the pili shell and according to Dr. Teresa V. Destura, the women organization here through the Rural Improvement Club was the regular distributor of these products.

Looking into the viability of the use of the pili shell, the pili shell craft has now entered the market of innovative fashion jewelries as one of the best exportable biodegradable products.

Dayao also said that the ingenuity of the peopleand specially women in the barangays using pili into different fashion jewelries has now gained some global recognition based on the different demand for this product as reported by the Department of Trade Industry based on their exhibits in tiangge, malls, and on several activities in the national exhibits popularizing pili as the high value crop of the Bicol region.

Dayao expressed that DA has thought of this intervention to facilitate the production of shell craft in the province now becoming a home-based agri-entrepreneuer business.

The formal turn-over was spearheaded by RED Dayao assisted by PAFC chair Ditan, Rose M. Imperial, High Value Crop DA reg’l. coordinator, RAFC chair Alfredo Rillo, and Dr. Ma. Teresa V. Destura.

“Hopefully with these equipment, the pili shell craft industry will become one of Sorsogon’s women source of livelihood and will also be a sustainable source of income. From just being used as firewood, the pili shell now is more an export product,” Destura said.

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