World Pulse Ambassador Update: The Rosca-Makers in Barugo

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted October 11, 2019 from Philippines
Celebrating Our World Pulse Reunion With Mais Con Yelo!
Delicious Roscas and Cookies. Handle Them With Care.
Delicious Roscas and Cookies. Handle Them With Care. (1/3)

Last month, I went to Tacloban City.

Instead of a less-than-an hour flight from Cebu, I decided to travel for three hours via a ferry going to Ormoc City, then rode a van to Tacloban. My purpose was to take this long trip for reflection while viewing the landscapes of the resilient Leyte Province, the place that is usually hit by natural disasters.

I set to meet (Ate) Paulina Lawsin Nayra, a fellow World Pulse Ambassador, since she lives in Palo. Ate Pauline is a sought-after consultant to NGOs in our country. She's cheerful, generous, smart, and, of course, beautiful. 

This was our third meet-up. The first time we met was eight months ago. We met again during our celebration of International Women's Day with World Pulse Global Trainer Stella Paul.

This time, Ate Pauline decided to bring me along to her mother's hometown to meet the Rosca women bakers. Roscas are local biscuits made of milk, flour, egg, lard, and anise. She suggested that we, together with a volunteer from Canada, meet at Carigara.  After a quick lunch, the three of us rode a tricycle going to Barugo to visit the Barugo Roscas Producers Association,  a partner of Ate Pauline and her organization WEAVERS. 

Whether the trip was quick or not, I could not recall. I was mesmerized by the green fields along the highway. There were more trees than they were houses. Living in an urbanized city, I missed the serenity of the province, but at the same time, I ached at the slow progress of development on this side of our country. There were few vehicles passing by the road as opposed to the heavy traffic in Cebu City. I wondered what stories do women and girls could tell in these municipalities. For sure, they're different from those living in urbanized cities.

We arrived at the bakeshop late in the afternoon. We were greeted by a warm welcome of the women bakers of roscas. Ate Pauline introduced us to them, then she proceeded to discuss production and marketing matters with them. This recipe of roscas has been passed on by their mothers, grandmothers, and even great-grandmothers to them like an inheritance. These women baked roscas to augment their income. 

These hardworking women served us roscas for snacks. After their meeting, Ate Pauline and I introduced World Pulse to them. Ate Pauline encouraged them to write their stories in their own dialect. She provided them some guide questions like:

"how did you learn to bake roscas?"; "what motivates you to bake roscas?"; "how did this livelihood change your life?" , and so on. 

I told them that each one has her own story to tell, and their stories are inspiring, and no one can write their stories the way they could. One of the challenges, however, is their limited internet connection. I hope they could make a way to write their stories here.

This women association has already received recognition. Above the plaques on top of a glass cabinet, there is a framed newspaper that Ate Pauline kept telling me to read. I took a photo of it instead and decided to read it later. It was only then I learned that Ate Pauline's story was featured on that national newspaper. 

It tells the readers how as a young girl, Ate Pauline accompanied her mother while selling roscas to provide for their needs. Ate Pauline lost her mother when she was only ten years old. Selling roscas with her was one of her memorable shared experiences with her. Decades later, Ate Pauline decided to honor her mother by helping the women rosca-makers in Barugo. The rest is history as they say. But I truly hope Ate Pauline will write this story herself. I found an online copy of that paper here.

I have often wondered how Ate Pauline was raised because she turned out to be a strong, responsible, multi-talented women leader who spoke with grace and humor. After visiting her mother's hometown, and witnessing the activities of the rosca-makers in Barugo, I now have an idea of how her mother painstakingly modeled all the wonderful traits Ate Pauline possessed today.

What a treasured moment it was for me to be brought to a place full of beautiful memories for Ate Pauline: the place of her mother's hometown, and the place where daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters continue to immortalize the livelihood began by their mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers.

I hope each of you can taste a rosca from Barugo, Leyte. When you do, I hope you can also taste the love shared by women across generations. 

Comments 25

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Lisbeth
Oct 11
Oct 11

Dear Karen,
This is so very beautiful. See the cookies name nam. I really guess you had real time. Is sis. Paulina also an ambassador?
Next time invite me to join you haha. Have a great weekend and take care of yourself
Hugs

Thank you, dear sis Lizzy! Yes, it was a great time. I was on the road for 12 hours, a long travel, but worth it!

Yes, She is also an Ambassador. Oh, sure, you are welcome to join. That will happen, Sis! What a lovely event to look forward to.

Have a great weekend, too!

Lisbeth
Oct 11
Oct 11

Haha :-) surely!
Have a great weekend and warm regards

Thank you, dear Lizzy. I love your energy. :) Have a great day, too!

maeann
Oct 11
Oct 11

Hi Karen,

Yey! Thank you. This is nice. Hope to meet both of you also.

Hello, dear sis. Yes! Let's plan for that. I suggest you, Ate Pauline and I plan together for our meetup. :)

maeann
Oct 15
Oct 15

Okay looking forward

Thanks again!

Anita Shrestha
Oct 11
Oct 11

Wow karen what a nice writing.i feel to reach there.

Hello, sis Anita,

I hope one day, you and I would meet, too. :)

Millynairi
Oct 12
Oct 12

Dear Karen,
Thanks for sharing. Always good to know that people connect in various ways. The cookies look yummy!
Milly

Hello, my dear sis Millie,

I should write about your gifts of your music, too. Please give me ample time to do that. Thank you for your love and encouragement. :) Yes, the cookies are delicious. I am craving for it as I wrote this. haha.

Hope you have a great day!

Tarke Edith
Oct 12
Oct 12

Hi Karen
What a nice trip to our sister
The cookie are nice looking l hope they are apitizinsin too.Have you Lean how to make it so that you will teach me too hahaha
Have a great weekend.

Hello, sis Edith,

Yes, it was a great trip. Oh, yes, I can definitely say they are delicious. It's difficult to ship it, though, because it easily crumbles so it needs to be handled with care.

Oh, I wish they taught us how to make them. They were not baking when we arrived. Thank you for reading. Have a great day, too!

Jill Langhus
Oct 13
Oct 13

Hello Lovely and Dear Karen,

Thanks for sharing your beautiful update and visit to Tacloban City. That's such a bittersweet story about Paulina. I hope she shares her story with us and how she lost her mother at such young age. It sounds like you had a lovely visit. We need to get you closer to nature, dear:-) Empaths and sensitives need this as much as the air we breathe:-) I hope you're close to a park, trees or a beach?

Hope you're doing well, and having a good weekend!

XX

You're welcome, JIll. :)

I am encouraging Ate Paulina to write her story. I think she's having difficulty logging on World Pulse.

Yes, I love to be close to nature as much as possible. I hope we can one day afford to purchase a property closer to nature. The place we are staying in now is surrounded by trees, so it's ok.

Are you going to write about your trip? Thanks for leaving comments here, Jill! Have a great day, too.

Jill Langhus
Oct 16
Oct 16

Oh, good...ha... she's not getting off the hook that easily:-)

Oh, no:-(

I hope so, too. Oh, that's good that you're surrounded by trees, though:-)

Naw. No trip post...:-)

You're welcome!

Thanks!

XX

Yeah, I hope she can log back in.
Thank you, Jill.
Oh, I see. :) Too bad I can't view your photos on Facebook.

You're welcome!

Jill Langhus
Oct 18
Oct 18

Me, too:-)

You're welcome.

Did you delete your account or just take a pause? I might create a contact sheet of the photos for my dad, since he doesn't log on to FB either. They aren't that impressive, though, as I was looking over them yesterday. Not as much as some of the other Spanish cities we visited.

Hope you have a great weekend, love:-)

XX

Hello, Jill. No, I didn't delete my account. Yes, just a pause because I only have limited free time, and I have to choose whether to spend it on World Pulse or FB.

Oh, I see. Thank you, Jill!

Have a great week ahead. :)

Jill Langhus
Oct 23
Oct 23

Hi there:-)

Oh, good!

You're welcome:-)

You, too!!

xx

ANJ ANA
Oct 15
Oct 15

Dear Karen,
Thank you for taking us on your journey to Tacloban city and natural beauties. It's so nice to know about the indigenous knowledge of baking the cookies and how women are using it for livelihood. I wish to taste it someday and also wish to hear the stories in WP from themselves.
My regards to Ate Pauline too.
warm wishes,
anjana

Helllo, Sis Anjana,

Thank you for reading about this trip of mine. Yes, I feel so privileged to visit their bakery and meet them. I hope you can taste them, too. Sending these cookies are quite a challenge because they crush easily. It needs to be handled with care. They're still conceptualizing the best package on how to send it. I hope we send one to you one day. I'll ask Ate Pauline if they will sell on different parts of the country.

Thank you, dear! Have a great day!

Paulina Nayra
Oct 27
Oct 27

Oh how sweet of you to write about the roscas. And I get tickled when I read our sisters calling me Ate here, too. Yes, will write about my mom, soon. I'll be in Cebu on November 14-16. hope we can meet up.
Huggs dear.

Hello, Ate Pauline,

Hahaha. It is truly an inspiring story. Yes, they also call you Ate. I'm looking forward to reading your story. I will send you a message because I would like to order roscas and cookies. Yes, let's make that happen po. Hugs!