Group uses 'malong' to pack relief goods

Posted at 01/08/14 10:55 AM

Photo from Malong Ni Mama's Tumblr page

MANILA – A group offers a more eco-friendly way of packaging relief goods by replacing plastic bags with malong, a traditional tube skirt.

Malong Ni Mama, or Mom's Malong, focuses on giving sustainable relief packages to survivors of super typhoon "Yolanda" (international name Haiyan) in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The group uses the malong, which is either handwoven or machine-made and used by various tribes in the Philippines.

On Monday, Paolo Abrera of ANC's "Green Living" interviewed Malong Ni Mama artists Feanne Mauricio and Norma Liongoren on how the cause started and what drives them to continue with the project.
Liongoren said wearing malong most of the time sparked a particular interest in them to promote its use for different causes.

“I've always been conscious on what to give as relief during calamity days. I like to give things that are healthy and sustainable,” she said.

Unlike plastic bags, malong can be reused as clothing, a bag, or a blanket.

“It has so many uses. Why don't we wrap these things inside the malong?” Lingoren said, recalling how the idea started.

Malong Ni Mama refers to its relief packages as "dignity kits," with the goods packaged in reusable containers to help build a more sustainable environment.

“We just wanted to improve on what's been already done. What is being done is a lot of instant use items are in single-use throw away packaging,” Mauricio said, expressing their cause against non-reusable packaging.

Malong ni Mama packs simple but immediate needs inside their kits. They make sure that those who will receive their packages will be able to use everything in it.

Some of the items in the malong-wrapped kits include new or old clothes, footwear, children’s books, monggo beans, dried fish, vitamin capsules, powder, and other similar goods.

The package also comes with a booklet showing the different uses of the malong.

Mauricio said that social media was useful in spreading information and in garnering attention from a number of people.

She hopes that their group will inspire more people to also come up with greener and more sustainable solutions.

“We want people to copy this idea, we want them to use this idea, we want them to improve on this idea,” she said.