NBA & Eyeballs.
By Aditya Kumar.
3rd June, 8:25 am. We embarked on our journey to Bohol, an island in the Philippines which I had never heard of. It felt like a vacation before the orientations began, but after the whole team tasks and brainstorming in Hong Kong, the nervousness began. To be honest, I didn’t feel like leaving Hong Kong, because I was scared of what I would do in Bohol without the hustle-bustle of the city life.
We landed in Tagbilaran City after taking two flights and an hour layover to be welcomed by an Airport no bigger than Flora Ho’s reception. We were welcomed by one the host families and were escorted to Tubud Mar, a small Barangay in Jagna in a jeepney, where I had the opportunity to sit on the roof and enjoy the scenic ocean throughout the ride. After traveling for about two hours, we reached our destination which was in the middle of a village. With the mountain on the backside and the ocean on the other side, this trip was surely going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I was taken home, where I was welcomed by my mummy, Celda and her two out of the four children, Chad and Chile. I was taken to a small shack adjacent to the house, where I would reside. It was going to be a tough and rigorous but exciting and adventurous three weeks in Jagna.
We were taken to our Business, Eyeballs tailoring a small ten-month-old tailor shop run by Cyrus and his wife Louella. They own a small shop attached to their house with Cyrus handling all the tailoring and Louella managing the account books and sales. The Filipinos are extremely sweet and welcoming people and Cyrus was one of them. He welcomed us and immediately hired us to work with him. It is a small shop with a flimsy board kept outside with broken roofs and half painted walls. In spite of this, they had a television broadcasting a live basketball game. Basketball is more than just a game in this small town. It is a way of life where everyone, a girl or a boy, a young child or an old man, come together to enjoy and play this game. This love and passion for the game are probably the reason why Cyrus’ main source of income is by making basketball jerseys for teams in this barangay. The couple seemed very satisfied with their lifestyle and their business. Cyrus previously worked in Rejean’s tailoring, a tailor shop about 10 minutes away from his current shop. He left the shop to run his own business and has never been happier. We asked him the issues and troubles that he faces, but the couple seemed to be having the time of their lives. They get orders every couple weeks which is convenient for them since Cyrus is the only tailor. Louella helps him with the name printing and designing and accessories. It is a well communicated and somewhat well-organized business that the couple runs.
We were shocked when they showed us their ledgers and account books because they had differentiated between their sales, expenses and raw materials. However, on further observation, we noticed that their account books were not very reader friendly and some data and names were not entered correctly. Also, initially the sign board was hidden by a metallic rod which I later shifted so that it could be seen easily by people. The shop has two sewing machines but only one tailor, so we realized the loss of potential sales and customers because of having only one tailor. Moreover, they did not have any advertisement or marketing strategies, so we made a Facebook page for the shop called “Eyeballs Tailoring JAGNA, BOHOL” which was an instant hit in a small island like this. It received nearly 20 likes within the first day itself which felt nice. I saw the process of how names are printed onto jerseys by the screen art printing process which was something new for me. I’m excited to work with them for the upcoming weeks because not only do I have the opportunity to help them out but I can also learn a lot from them.
Life in Tubud Mar and Jagna has been very interesting. The days are fun because you are preoccupied with your business and sightseeing and swimming in the ocean, but at the same time, the nights are very slow. It gets dark very early so the nights seem very long. It is in the middle of a village so the streets are not well lit and it is pretty scary to venture out during the time. It gets boring and you need to find new ways to keep yourself entertained during the night time. I’ve been keeping myself distracted during the nights by sometimes playing basketball with the family or watching The Voice with them. I believe by the end of this program, my perspective on life will change because of the sudden transition from the city life with Wi-Fi services and air conditioning to living in a village sleeping under a mosquito netting and a merely working fan.