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Abaca Festival triumph reflects ARDCI’s strength, unity
posted 12-Jun-2019  ·  

ARDCI’s “abaca caroza” – Island Pride – captures the very essence of the 4th staging of the Abaca Festival, from the symbolism of the elaborate decorations to the stunning visual design that exactly portrayed how abaca, and the microfinance institution, became what they are today: the symbols of every Catandunganon’s strength and resiliency.

Weathering the perennial and sometimes devastating storms that come this way to produce the strongest natural fiber on the planet, abaca mirrors the history of ARDCI and how it confronted enormous challenged and emerged bigger and stronger each time it was tested.

Like the abaca that provides livelihood opportunities to every one of the 14,000 farmers and their families, ARDCI has afforded member-households and communities a reliable support system from which they can draw strength as partners in progress.

Mirroring the growth of abaca fiber into world renown that has brought fame and fortune to the island where it thrives, ARDCI has risen from an offshoot of a government-funded development project to one of the top 10 home-grown microfinance institutions in the country by spreading its roots to different parts of the country.

As the abaca fiber became a source of livelihood to the island’s farmers, ARDCI’s efforts to provide a lifeline to its clientele has become a shining model in poverty alleviation efforts.

Made of 90% abaca sourced from different parts of the province, including the sturdy balacbac that covers its entire frame, the caroza represents the sustainability of ARDCI and the communities it serves.

The braided abaca strings in 21 vibrant colors symbolize the provinces where ARDCI operates – Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Masbate, Quezon, Marinduque, Batangas, Laguna, Mindoro, Bulacan, Bataan, Pampangam Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Samar, Leyte, Negros Occidental and Leyte.

Representing Catandunganons as well as ARDCI members, the added aesthetics of coconut rings conveys the message of strength in unity.

From “paghagot” (stripping) to “paghabol” (weaving), the storyline depicted in the caroza encapsulates the entire production chain in the abaca industry that has contributed to the vibrant economy and rich culture of our “islang Catandungan.”

The very same narrative is rendered by the equally triumphant Tribu ARDCInianos in the street dance competition.

The green-and-yellow hues of their props perfectly complement the brown abaca fiber shirt worn by the dancers as they weave the story of how a family’s survival depends on abaca, a plant easily felled by the wind yet producing strong and unyielding fiber.

As shown by the intricate dance moves depicting the process of harvesting fine fiber from planting to stripping, the fiber symbolizes the Catandunganons’ indestructible faith in God as the center of family life as well as their belief in the nurturing of Our Lady of La Naval that gives them strength in facing any adverse situation. Indeed, it

The ARDCI delegation’s twin victories in the 2019 Abaca Festival not only gives the islander an overflowing pride in Catanduanes being the abaca capital of the world but also a secure knowledge of the undeniable fact that with the island as its base, ARDCI has brought the benefits of microfinance to the countless communities it now serves all over the country.

More importantly, its participation in the festival and similar celebrations is proof of ARDCI’s accomplishment as it endeavors to nurture and elevate local culture and traditions among Catandunganons. Its recent successes can only be attributed to its hewing close to the theme “Tibay nin Abaca, Kusog nin Pamilya, Orgullo kan Isla,” as its mantra for developing the countryside.

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