Her advocacy during her Binibining Pilipinas 2019 stint is to help raise the quality of living of farmers in her hometown in Libon, Albay.
Called “Binibini” in her place, Francia Papa Layderos was a former Miss Bicol University title holder and always emerged a winner in various local beauty pageants she joined like the Mutya ng Daragang Magayon, Mutya ng Ibalong, Miss Kaogma and Miss Bicolandia. She has worked as a commercial ad model of CONZACE multi-vitamins and was one of the hosts of Island Living Channel which features the different tourist spots of the Philippines.
However, her longing for her roots and the call of her advocacy was stronger than the attraction of glamour and fame of being a celebrity.
After the national pageant, she went back to her hometown to start working on the realization of her advocacy.
Motivated by her parents who are farmers also, Binibini started helping her parents in their 3.5-hectare farm in Purok Bagong Silang, Nogpo and another farm planted with coconut and sweet potato in the upland barangay of Bariw.
However, Binibini felt the struggle of her parents and the local farmers in her barangay especially in terms of marketing their harvested crops.
Her father Eliseo who plants sweet potato and squash recalled that “bago pa magpa-arado, pig-iisip-isip na namo kun mapapabakal ko tulos ining kamote.”
Binibini thought of maximizing her social media presence to help her parents in selling their sweet potatoes and squash. Her Information Technology degree came in handy in using the internet to promote their produce.
She also included in her post her uncle’s 3000 kgs watermelons, melons and eggplants.
To her surprise, a number of interested buyers posted their orders o signified their interests in her Facebook account. Almost all the crops advertised were sold.
She then conceptualized a mobile market which will bring the farmers’ produce direct to the customers, thus, easing the transportation cost of the farmers and the local consumers can buy their vegetables without crowding in the local marketplace.
Dubbed as “TriKet” which is short for Tricycle and Market, the Layderos family procure the vegetables early in the morning, haul them in the tricycle, and deliver them directly to the buyers. The buyers would place their order through texts and through Facebook of Binibini with #SupportOurLocalFarmer. Binibini encourages her buyers to use eco-bags or Bayong to lessen the single-plastic pollution.
The TriKet initiative became a family endeavor. Her siblings supported her by encouraging farmers in the two barangays to deliver their produce to their house. They also use their FB accounts to share the post of Binibini regarding the vegetables available for selling. They also took charge of the packing of goods for delivery. Her boyfriend Jason Portillo is in-charge of the delivery and drives the TriKet.
In mid-March this year, the farmers from barangays Nogpo and Bariw including Binibini’s family were beset with the problem of mobility when the whole Luzon was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19). where movement was restricted and some barangays were under lock down
Thus, the TriKet scheme already practiced by the Layderos family became one of the solutions. According to Vice-Mayor Markgregor Edward Sayson, this mode of mobile market is the modern version of the Regaton an old practice before where a cart filled with vegetables, brooms and other stuffs and pulled by a carabao were brought to the Poblacion.
The purpose is still the same—“irani sa tawo o suki yan mga tinda which is very convenient sa mga nammakal,” added Sayson.
Former Mayor Agnes Dycoco commended the couple’s initiative because they are “doing what these expressmarts are not even doing—deliver goods to homes.”
According to farmer German Talagtag who supplies watermelon, melon and eggplant to TriKet, “sa panahon na may COVID19, malaking tulong na ang TriKet lalo na halos wala ng wholesalers na naglalaog sa barangay. Dahil sa TriKet, madaling napapabakal an produkto sa mga tawo.”
Another farmer, Nilo Matociños shared that “nakatabang samo an TriKet ta di na kami nadipisilan magtinda ng gulay na ani lalo pa na di man pwede magparaluwas nguwan dahil sa quarantine. Arani pa an bagsakan kan samong produkto.”
Binibini is truly not your stereotyped beauty queen. She prefers farming over the glitter of a celebrity world. She is also not your typical millennial who prefers working in the air-conditioned corporate offices rather than expose herself to the heat of the sun much more engage in farming.
Binibini told this writer that her family received vegetable seeds and laminated sack from the Department of Agriculture-Bicol in 2015.
She hoped to visit the office after the ECQ in order to get more farm inputs and information to help the farmers in her place.
With TriKet, Binibini concluded that “may pera talaga pala sa pagsasaka.” (jaysonmgonzales with photos from Francia Layderos and Jason Portillo)