This may sound weird but believe it, a womanâ€™s brassiere crafted by Boholanos is now causing a stir among enamored foreign men and expats in exotic tourism sites like Boracay.
A bra, fashioned out of a spoke-shaved coconut shell with hemp strings to keep them on has generated enough stir that manufacturers who crafted it from remote Talisay in Anda Bohol could be laughing their way to the bank for this.
With the help of the government of Estonia Foreign Ministry, a local organization of fishermen in Talisay Anda has accessed technical assistance in jewelry design using local endemic materials, according to Ana Mainit, president of the organization.
Calling themselves Talisay Fishermen Association (TAFIAS), the group has earned the interest of an Estonian-Brit couple who picked the community as the recipient of foreign help.
Recently, a team of designers arrived in Talisay with a single purpose: to train the community in crafting jewelries and novelty items for tourists using local materials that the place provides.
Coconut shell, bamboo, hemp, shells, materials for native baskets are fair game, said Robin Gurney who volunteers for Estonia and Great Britain in helping the poor community of fishermen in Talisay.
The Estonian designers also brought with them mechanical and electrical lathe machines to be used for the craft, Mainit said.
The equipment stays here after they get our community trained with the right skills, she added excitedly, as she scooped chili ice cream, another product TAFIAS is becoming famous of.
Fashion ear rings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and even a bow tie made of coconut shell form some of the products that are now ready for the market.
The biggest hit however, Gurney said, is the coconut shall bra, which is now getting inquiries from distributors in Boracay and Europe, Estonia especially.
TAFIAS members and some out of school youth have been trained and are now producing a wide range of coconut and bamboo jewelry which currently is selling exclusively at coco Loco CafÃ©, he added.
Wholesale inquiries from around Bohol and from Estonia are coming in as we speak, Gurney disclosed.
At the Coco Loco Cafe in Poblacion, Anda, owner and operator Robin Gurney said the place attempts to put to the mainstream, the TAFIAS products so the profits can easily go back to the community.
Earlier, Estonians also helped TAFIAS put up an ecofriendly community center which uses plastic soda bottles and liquor bottles as walls. The community center also boasts of a childrenâ€™s library, childrenâ€™s play dens, musical instruments and study tables and spacious halls where community volunteers also put up trainings and discussions.
Other than the community center, the Estonian Government also sent experts to help TAFIAS design the packaging for their tilapia chips, which it earlier helped develop as a decent Bohol pasalubong.Â (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)