Confinement as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic compelled individuals and families to seek out indoor recreational activities. Some had turned into social media, media, and literary pursuit while others have channeled their artistic passion in lieu of the usual outdoor engagements. Another popular choice is horticulture, better known as “Plantita” or “Plantito” fever which caught the community by a storm and is much likely spreading as fast as the virus itself.


With the growing number of Plantitos and Plantitas in the community, so has the demand for raw materials such as ornamental plants, planting medium, tools, and of course the pots where it will be cultivated. Here is where some Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) families found a means for a living.


The Pot of Life


Jennet Usita and her husband Feliciano Jr. of Cabaritan East, Ballesteros Cagayan have seven children: Jhezza, Jennica, Joana, Janna, Jairus, Jillian and Jzeina. Her husband is the sole breadwinner as a laborer while she stayed home to take care of the family. As a homemaker, she has engaged in vegetable gardening and the occasional ornamental plant as her hobby. The food from the garden became a food source while her flower garden provided aesthetic beauty to their home.

The Usita spouses with some of the children.

During the pandemic, Feliciano’s income was greatly affected as there were fewer jobs he could do. This posed as a potential problem for the family as six of the seven children remained in school. The cash grants from the program greatly supplemented Feliciano’s meager income but it was still hardly enough to support a family of 9.


The idea to make and sell pots came after she realized, being a plant enthusiast herself, that while she had more time in her hands, others did not have as much free time. Thus, after all daily necessities have been taken care of, she purchased a bag of cement and started to make her own version of cement pots using old rags. Her children was more than willing to assist her in this.

From the pots she made and sold, she was able to augment 2,000 to 3,000 pesos to the family income. She attributes her determination to help from the lessons brought to them by the monthly Family Development Sessions.

The Usita children enjoy making pots with their parents.

Dahil sa programa, natutunan kong maging mas produktibo sa aking oras mula sa pangangalaga sa aking mga anak at tahanan sa pagtatanim ng gulayan para sa aming pangangailangan,” (Because of the program, I learned to be more productive of my time from taking care of my children and our home to setting up a garden for our needs) she testifies.


Pot of Gold

The Padasdao family of Brgy. Osmeña, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya is another family greatly affected by the series of quarantines due to the pandemic. Valentino, the family head, is a tricycle driver. During the community quarantine, he was not allowed to operate and even with the relaxation of travel restrictions, still his income has been greatly affected.

The capital Carol used was for the cement and various colored paints.

His income would not have sufficed to feed his family of six hadn’t there been a backyard garden to augment for food. The grants they received from the program were used for the payment of utilities and necessities for the new mode of learning for the school children.


In March, the family received their emergency subsidy from the social amelioration program. Some of the money they used as capital for income generating activities such as the buy and sale of basic necessities but the activity with the most return was the sale of homemade cement pots.


It started out with a capital of 1,500.00 pesos for bags of cement and painting supplies. Along with her children who were very eager to help, they were able to make 72 different-sized pots which sold at 3,650.00 pesos. With the positive feedback from their buyers and a demand for more, they continue to produce pots for the community.

Because the pots are brightly colored and sturdy, customers would order more pots from Carol.

With their newfound livelihood, Carol says: “Ngayong may pandemya, maraming nabago at nawalan ng trabaho, kasama doon ang asawa ko. Kaya naman gumawa kami ng paraan upang may kikitain parin kami na magagamit para sa mga pangunahing gastusin ng aming pamilya at iba pang pangangailangan.”

###with contributions from MAT Ballesteros and MAT Solano