Everyday many students from Saint Luis University and Baguio Central University, and other individuals pass through the sidewalk along Bonifacio Street in Baguio City, noticeable is an old woman weaving a huge colorful floor mat out of discarded plastic drinking straws as she vends candies and small snacks alongside. Many wonder what’s it for. Is she selling it for an extra income? Who knows?
But unknown to many, Mrs. Rose Balansag, 65yrs old originally from Zamboanga del Sur, collected all these discarded plastic drinking straws all around the city then painstakingly weaves the nine feet by nine and a half feet colorful floor mat for more than a month for her brother to use it. Her brother is a Philippine army stationed in Cagayan de Oro, and had a short vacation in Baguio City. Before her brother leaves for work again, Mrs. Rose rushes to finish the floor mat so she can hand it out already to her brother. Mrs. Rose have been making these kind of huge floor mats for years already, giving it to her thirteen children, to her other siblings, and to her grand children.
As she makes these mats for years already, she’s been recognized by eco-warriors and gave her praise for setting an example of practical usage of recycled materials; also been recognized by local artists as she was given an opportunity to try to work in an art museum in Barangay Asin, Baguio City but have to wait for the call. She’s glad that an opportunity came along for her, been recognized and praised for her efforts, and also have been published on a national newspaper and local tv news network. All of these came from a sister’s love.
© Richard Balonglong
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