This site has evolved from a personal blog to an advocacy-related site. I interviewed various advocates and featured advocacy-related news and stories in region 12 and other parts of the country. I hope that the stories that I featured on this site will inspire you as readers.
The limitations brought by the pandemic led many tourism-related establishments to close or minimize their business operations. In Region 12, tourism destinations like the Gunô Bong in Barangay Lemsnolon, Tboli South Cotabato, follow health protocols imposed by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. As a result, the Tboli women, who manage the Gunô Bong, have limited income because there are restrictions on tourists visiting their area. This incident allowed Kirk Tuan to come up with an idea to help these women look for additional sources of income.
For Kirk, this facemask holder is a form of empowering project for Tboli women. The project does not only focus on making a profit but also helps to highlight the Tboli craft and artistry. Aside from the Tboli women, Kirk also collaborates with his sister, Khoebie Tuan, under her brand Cosmotic. It was launched online in June 2021 that aims to assist the Tboli women to have another source of income.
“I believe that this project is progress, no matter how small it is. The return of investments may not be that big yet at the beginning, but by looking at it on a broader scale, the little earnings could somehow supplement some of their daily needs. That is what really matters,” said Kirk.
“These accessories are actually just a small part of our highly complex, meaningful, and exquisitely beautiful Tboli arts and culture. By showcasing the beadwork of the Tboli women to the public, in a way that they never saw before, we are somehow reclaiming our identity and the honor of our arts and culture. That alone is a precious prize worth sharing.”
Aside from managing their Crown Jewel Hotel and doing some make-up stints with his clientele from the region, Kirk is dedicated to help the women in Lemsnolon market their products.
“Honestly, this project has been conceptualized many years ago. The long pause brought by the pandemic has indirectly allowed us to push this idea. It helps us advocate for certain causes that would have an impact on the lives of the people,” Kirk said.
It takes time to make one facemask holder. Each item has its own unique design and they release it per batch. The Tboli women dedicated their time and artisanship to make special facemask holders. That is why Kirk encourages his buyers to order ahead of time. They have designs like Hnumbo that are now available through their online shop store Cosmotic. In short, they are into quality over quantity.
“As of the moment, we are still working on its consistency and sustainability. We want to develop the mindset of our Tboli women to never stop dreaming, believing, and aiming high for themselves, in everything that they do. We want to inculcate the right values and discipline themselves to stay confident and empowered. Through our initiative, we are on the first step towards sustainability.”
Kirk is thankful to everyone who showed love for their community project. Through their undying support, they help extend the success of this small venture created by the Tboli women.
“This kind of support cultivates a culture of love, peace, and acceptance that we have been longing to have as one Tboli tribe. We are thankful for it. We cannot wait to give you the best of what our Tboli arts and culture could offer to the world,” Kirk said.