Barter culture is now the new normal in Bontoc

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Bontoc, Mountain Province – A modern style of barter through social networking site Facebook is now becoming a new norm in this capital town.

The Bontoc Barter Community Facebook Page was created by Pharisia Gail Leyaley Tudlong who was inspired when she saw through Facebook how the modern barter system is making a great impact in Davao in helping citizens amid the coronavirus disease -2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a Facebook conversation with Tudlong, she admitted that because of her busy schedule, she posted three times in her personal Facebook account encouraging others to create a Barter Community Facebook Page in Bontoc. However, nobody responded to her post, thus, motivated and challenged her to create the Bontoc Barter Community Facebook Page.

A friend of hers in Ifugao responded to her post, saying that a barter community Facebook page is also now part of the “new normal” in their place.

Her friend Carol from Davao included her in the group Davao Barter Community for her to observe how it is done while her friend in Ifugao sent her a sample of items that were being bartered.

“To foster love was the intention when I created the group, to hopefully bring out the good in everybody,” she said.

Since she created the Bontoc Barter Community on June 6, 2020, the members quickly started peaking off as they post brand new and/ or pre-loved items in exchange of goods and basic commodities or grocery items. As of this writing (June 24, 2020), the group has already 1,198 members.

Tudlong said she was thrilled as she never expected that it will peak up. Yet, a big number of members joining the group came with bigger responsibilities. Thus, she tapped the help of some individuals as admins and moderators. Her co-admins are Jovelyn Acoking, Jenny Clyde Wangwang, Gomer Padong, and Tyrone Glenn Lawey. The moderators are Dublyne Claire Langbao and Aubrey Pat-o.

She shared that it was never easy when the group page was created and as new members join. Numerous complaints from members on bartered items and violations of the guidelines imposed are some of the problems the admins and moderators encounter and have to deal with. Despite their busy schedules, they spare hours and minutes of their time to hold online meetings to iron out problems and issues to protect every member and also to keep the peace and order in the group.

The admins and moderators are keen on keeping the group’s integrity and focusing on the goal of helping each other through barter.

Post that is not allowed in the group includes barter of liquor; cigarettes and accessories related to smoking such as vapes and ashtray; gambling materials; materials essential in Covid-19 operations such Personal Protective Equipment; private properties such as cars, lots and condominiums that require legalities; contraceptives and sexually related supplies and accessories.

Also, the members are advised to properly wear a face mask and observe physical distancing during meet-ups of bartered items.

Since the group is now open to residents from other municipalities of Mountain Province, anybody can join the Bontoc Barter Community. All who wish to join the group must adhere to the group’s rules and regulations, and posting guidelines.

Members of the group have to post the actual photo of the item they intend to trade and are reminded to be specific and honest with the item if it is brand new, pre-loved, with defects; include the expiration date for food and goods to be bartered; location of the member bartering the item; reason for bartering; specific item needed in return; and indicate if the barter is done or completed. All transactions have to be transparent.

The page has also opened a lot of ways Good Samaritans can help, with reports that some bartered their unused items in exchange for groceries which they gave to those in need.

One of the Good Samaritan is Ursula Awad Kawi. In a post by the admin of the Bontoc Barter Community, Kawi bartered her bag in exchanged of groceries, without mentioning that it was not for her consumption. The groceries she received from the bag she bartered, she gave it to an elderly woman in town who used to sell ballot and barbecue, but her livelihood was affected due to the global pandemic.

Another Good Samaritan is Kathy Rose Sumcad who bartered her photos in exchange of grocery items for a community outreach program.

As the number of people joining the group increases, so is the Bontoc spirit of Ogogfo.

By Alpine L. Killa

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