Anna Cassandra Terrenal of Tesseract Manila finds fulfillment in sharing her passion for jewelry-making via the Seeds, Beads, and Meals for Moms program of Gota de Leche.
MAYOYAO, IFUGAO — Anna Terrenal found herself in the municipality of Mayoyao for the very first time last August – not for a vacation, but to teach the beneficiaries of the Seeds, Beads, and Meals for Moms program how to make simple bead jewelry sets.
Mayoyao is the first of four locations where Anna (and assistant Jose Patrick Osorio) of Tesseract Manila will conduct basic bead-making workshops. The output of these workshops will serve as an additional income stream to help the beneficiaries and their young breastfeeding offspring meet and sustain their nutritional needs.
“It was my first time in Mayoyao and the experience was quite memorable. It was interesting because I saw that a few of the beneficiaries already knew how to make jewelry, they were somewhat familiar with the materials except for the correct technique,“ Anna describes the event.
She looks back on how she was made aware of Gota de Leche’s unique project for pregnant and lactating women in the Cordillera Region.
“My point person was Allysa Buisa, I met her during Design Week held last April 2019 in Intramuros. I was one of the merchants during that event and I conducted a free jewelry making workshop where she was one of my students. She asked if I did workshops for non-profit organizations, and I told her to send me an email about it, and after that we met for an official meeting for the Seeds, Beads, and Meals project!”
What started out as a teenage hobby became a full-blown handmade jewelry brand offering unique and bespoke pieces from necklaces, earrings, bangles and bracelets, rings, and body jewelry. Tesseract Manila’s name comes from the science fiction concept of time travel: unique stories are created with handmade pieces that will celebrate the present and the nostalgia of the past. Today, the company has produced over 500 different designs available on different digital e-commerce platforms and lifestyle stores in Manila.
Anna realized that her passion aligned with the vision-mission of Gota de Leche. After her talk with Allysa and the other staff of Gota, she “felt ecstatic to be able to share and teach to the community”. At Mayoyao, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that a few of the beneficiaries already knew how to make jewelry and were somewhat familiar with the materials except for the correct technique. Anna found it a challenge at first to conduct the workshop due to the language barrier, especially with some jewelry terms that were hard to translate. But looking at the photo and video documentation post-workshop, she noted the curiosity and focus of the workshop participants during her demonstration. She also notes the distinct designs of the Benguet culture, and encouraged the participants to come up with their own designs, as well.
“An enlightening moment for me was when I learned that their signature color was blue. That each community in the Cordillera has their own distinct color, not just the usual black, red, and yellow colors. I also learned that they had seeds that can be turned into beads which personally amazed me. I wasn’t just a teacher that day but also a student learning about their culture and the community.”
Anna looks forward to similar endeavors and future collaborations with Gota de Leche because of this illuminating experience.
“Being able to help other women (and men – because there were men during the Mayoyao workshop) with my passion and being able to teach and share that with them as a source of livelihood is not just empowering, but fulfilling.”
(Gota de Leche would like to thank its partners Tesseract Manila, Igorota Foundation, Inc., and everyone who assisted, coordinated, and attended the Seeds, Beads, and Meals for Moms events.)