Categorized | Press Release

The sweet and sour life of a vinegar maker: The Batac Family Story

Being poor did not make the Batacs less of a family. They did not make this a reason to fail to live a satisfying life, a home filled with love and solidarity.

Angel and Julita Batac happily pose together with their children (Angel Nino, Angel Gerald, Julia Ann, Angelo and Maria Joanne) in their home in Balilihan, Bohol.

Julita Batac, 52 and her husband Angel Batac, 53, have been doing all-out effort to sustain the needs of their family in Balilihan, Bohol, especially the education of their 5 children – Angel Nino, Angel Gerald, Julia Ann, Angelo and Maria Joanne.

Raising five children and sending them all to school, the couple went through a whole lot of tough times as they only rely on their income from making natural vinegar out of coconut. Angel as toddy collector would usually climb around 40 coconut trees twice daily just to get the coconut wine. Angel delivers the vinegar to Bohol Quality (BQ) Mall in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

The additional income that Julita gets as a member of the Farmer’s Marketing Cooperative has also helped the family. The cooperative has a vegetable farm. The farm’s produce are harvested every Monday and Friday and delivered to BQ mall and other markets in Tagbilaran City.

To further ensure that they could provide more for their children’s school needs, the couple also maintains a small farm of various crops like vegetables, corn, sweet potato and fruits that in some way has helped the family even more. Julita and Angel also raise a breeding boar which they offer for breeding gilt or sow for a fee.

Sometimes they would walk more than three (3) kilometers from home to reach their clienteles needing the boar for breeding their gilt or sow. In spite of Batac family’s financial difficulty they continue to strive to improve their life condition and provide for their children’s education through these livelihoods.

As toddy collector, Angel would usually climb around 40 coconut trees twice daily just to get the coconut wine.

Isip inahan, ako ang magbudget. Dunay panahon nga lisod kaayong matuman ang mga bayrunon sa eskwelahan sa mga bata mao nga ako naningkamot nga mag backyard/home garden aron nga duna mi makuhaan sa pangsud-an ug ang budget nga gigahin pangpalit og sud-an igahin nalang sa mga kinahanglan sa mga bata sa eskwelahan (As a mother, I do the budgeting, sometimes I have difficulty in paying the school fees of the children on time. Instead of spending viand for the family, we cultivated a backyard garden as source of our food. In doing so, the budget for the viand could now be used for the children’s school needs),” Julita amusingly shared.

For years, Julita and Angel have gone tight scrimping and saving for their children’s future.

Angel, who is a graduate of criminology, chose to make the traditional processing of vinegar for a living to be able to spend more time with his family and be a hands-on parent to his children. Angel values the importance of the regular presence and guidance of the parents to their children, especially when they are still young. He has considered this as a good support system that would protect his family from becoming dysfunctional.

Kami isip pamilya kanunay mi nga nagpahinumdom sa matag usa kanamo kabahin sa importansya sa pagtinabangay, pagpaambit sa among nagkadaiyang mga ideya ug sa pag-respeto niini panahon man sa kalipay o sa kaguol. Dako sad gayud akong pasalamat nga gihimong panag-ingnan sa akong mga anak ang akong bana nga walay bisyo kay wala man sila mosulod anang mga bisyo nga maoy maka ingon nga madaot ang ilang panglawas ug ang ilang kaugmaon (As a family, we always remind each other the importance of working together, sharing of different ideas and respecting one another at all times. I am also grateful that as they are growing up, our children have been following the example set by their father who has not engaged in any vices that could destroy their health and their future),” expressed Julita.

The Batac family members do not only limit their efforts within their home, but they also extend help to their community through rendering service to the people as active volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese non-government organization that provides financial and other helpful assistance to the disadvantaged group of people in the community.

Julita and Angel and their children would assist participants of the community activities of Tzu Chi Foundation like the medical missions, rice distribution and others.

After Angel gets the wine in the coconut trees, the family would work together to put this into a plastic container and ready for delivery in a store in Tagbilaran City.

The family is actively involved in their community activities like barangay assemblies, meetings and other gatherings while contribute in keeping their community a better place to live in. As an active member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Batac family also strives to comply with the conditionalities of the program through attendance in Family Development Sessions which has helped Julita in raising her family and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Dili man tuod mi makatabang financially pero pinaagi sa amoang pag-assist sa mga tawo sa panahon sa mga kalihukan sa Tzu Chi foundation, malipayon mi nga mitabang sa amoang isigkatawo sa ginagmay apan kinasing-kasing nga paagi (We may not be able to help other people financially but through the assistance we give during Tzu Chi Foundation’s community activities we are happy to be of service to our fellowmen in our own little way which we heartily do),” added Julita.

Angelo, the fourth child in the family is also actively involved in church activities through his presidency of the Student Catholic Action in the Diocese of Tagbilaran City and advocates for the youth in the community. With this, Julita and Angel take pride at how their children also see the importance of giving back to the community all the blessings they have received.

Now, three of their children have already finished college and have landed decent and good jobs namely, Angel Nino, eldest, graduated Bachelor of Science (BS) in Information Technology and presently works at Shakey’s in Tagbilaran City; Angel Gerald, second, graduated BS Industrial Technology major in Food Technology, now a manager at McDonald’s in Tagbilaran City; and Julie Ann, the third child, graduated BS in Elementary Education and teaches at Carmel Academy in Balilihan.

The two other children Angelo and Maria Joanne are currently grade 11 and 12 students at Carmel Academy.

Julita and Angel are also proud to have raised children who consistently excelled academically despite their limited financial support for school.

The traditional making of vinegar has been the source of income of the family for many years now and has successfully sustained the education of Angel Nino, Angel Gerald and Julie Ann.

Angelo and Maria Joanne, Pantawid Pamilya monitored children, study diligently and are honor students just like their elder siblings.

Dili nako ikauwaw ang pagpananggot, pagdaro gamit ang kabaw ug ang pagbuhi og mga butakal kay mao man kini ang nakapahuman og eskuwela sa akong tulo ka mga anak ug sa padayon og pa-eskuwela sa duha pa nako ka mga anak inabagan sa programa sa Pantawid (I am not embarrassed of the things that I do for a living because these, with the support of Pantawid, are the reasons we have been able to send our 5 children to school with 3 of them graduated from college),” said Angel.

The life of Batac Family is likened to the process of natural fermentation of vinegar that Angel does. As the processed vinegar ages, it produces a distinct taste, from sour to savory to sweet. Just like the Batac family, notwithstanding the challenges it has encountered, it sweetly and fruitfully grows as years pass by. ###

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