It all started when a woman named Rose, a refugee from war-torn Marawi approached Menchit Ongpin, asking her to buy a box of stones, beads and pearls that she was selling. Rose's home in Marawi was devastated by the recent war in that region and she had been looking for a way to earn enough income to get her family out of the evacuation centers. Menchit and Rose came to an agreement that Menchit would loan her money so Rose can make jewelry out of the stones she had for sale and Menchit would sell it, giving Rose part of the profits for her to be able to make back the money she loaned, as well as earn enough to help support her family. Through that agreement, Pagari was born. Menchit brought in her long-time friend and collaborator Jinggay Gallardo to work together with on design, business development, marketing and sales while production is handled by Rose and her team. With the loan now long paid off, the women of Pagari continue their partnership and proudly continue to help each other and grow the business that they have formed. Meaning "sister" or "beloved" in Maranao, the name Pagari truly embodies the collaboration between the members of the team, and the company goes even further with their spirit of sisterhood by giving part of every purchase directly to help rebuild homes and offering the community a new source of income. They created the hashtag #shinejoy which refers to the feeling that the team gets from being able to help the women of Marawi, while also passing that emotion on to their customers who in the end also support their cause. Altogether, Pagari not only creates one of a kind jewelry pieces that are unique, beautiful and elegant with a distinct creativity that stems from the Marawi culture, but is also backed by an admirable cause that continues to help families in need.
The ladies behind Pagari: Menchit Ongpin and Jinggay Gallardo
Photos property of Livph