By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:40 pm | Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
MANILA, Philippines—For a poor community in Sorsogon, the traditional “hilot” home remedy will soon become a source of livelihood.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) is introducing the old-school Filipino massage method as a career option to residents of Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon, a community raring to venture into eco-tourism and wellness services.
Tesda partnered with the local government to train selected residents in several courses, including food and beverage services, hairdressing, cooking and the traditional Filipino tough therapy in efforts to “mainstream” hilot and develop it into a means of living.
A total of 100 students—25 in each course—started training on April 20 at Sorsogon’s Bulusan Vocational Technical School. Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said the agency would shoulder the training cost.
“Through this partnership with the local government, we hope Tesda can breathe life into this town by tapping its human resources for the development of its wellness and eco-tourism potentials,” Villanueva said in a statement.
Tesda said that while the fifth-class town is rich in potential tourist attractions, most of some 20,000 residents in Prieto Diaz have an average P100 daily income from fishing and farming.
Through the program, Tesda and the local government aim to give Prieto Diaz residents a break at the health and wellness and food and beverage industries, where skilled workers are of high demand, said the agency.
“The people recognize the urgent need to get its acts together with national agencies and indigenous communities to develop significant market niche in beauty and wellness of body, mind and spirit, to create new jobs, alternative employment and business opportunities for its people particularly the new entrants to the labor force,” the agreement said.
Those who will graduate from the program will undergo Tesda assessment for certification.