Elegant, world-class home wares and light furniture made of native materials may be considered the essence of TUMANDOK CRAFTS INDUSTRIES (TCI). They are a dynamic handicraft company based in Negros Occidental, Philippines that specializes in the making of resin-laminated, indigenous materials-based home products for the local and export market.
The company is called Tumandok, which literally means “native inhabitant” in Hiligaynon, because at the heart of all their operations are the people who make these skillfully crafted items—the rural folk of the province of Negros Occidental.
Tumandok started as merely a trading firm in October 17, 1988, buying and selling home-made handicrafts at the height of the sugar industry crisis in the province. It was registered with the Department of Trade and Industry as a sole proprietorship micro-enterprise. While the sugar workers struggled, the company gave them hope by providing a market for the handcrafted wares that they produced.
The company joined the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) on the same year. Through the association, Tumandok was inspired to produce their own brand of handcrafted products ranging from bags, buri furniture and baskets, hand-painted pitate wall decors and terracotta figurines and vases.
Along the way, owner and general manager Josephine Locsin saw the greater need for more opportunities for people to earn a decent living as well as to showcase the ingenuity and craftsmanship. So eventually, Tumandok expanded its territory by establishing its own lamination factory in April 1997 in Barangay Central Ma-ao, Bago City. The new venture was started with twelve (12) workers, an initial capital of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000), and the able assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). From their humble beginnings, Tumandok produced innovative laminated gift items and house wares made from indigenous materials like picture frames, boxes, and trays. This new line was displayed at the ANP Showroom and eventually attracted an exported buyer. With the help of the MPEX Consultancy Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the laminated product lines became the flagship of Tumandok.
After a year of operations, the demand for Tumandok wares so increased that they had to double their workforce in order to cope with the rapid acceptance of their products in both the domestic and foreign markets. Their laminated products spread and a demand was created that they were forced to open a temporary factory in 1999 at Greenplains Subdivision, Bacolod City. With fifteen (15) employees more, production also increased. And they came up with more designs that were widely accepted wherever they go. Eventually, the Ma-ao plant was brought to Bacolod in the year 2000 for better monitoring, supervision, and quality control.
Unfortunately, Tumandok experienced a major setback when their factory in Bacolod was brought down by a big fire. Since most of their materials are highly combustible, it did not take long for everything to literally go up in smoke.
But the owner never lost faith in God, the business, and the people. Rather, she focused her energy and resources on turning the circumstances around and bringing good out of the major obstacle that got in their way. Locsin believed that it was God’s favor when, six months later, they opened a new factory in the 3000-square-meter site at Barangay Calumangan, Bago City. It had been the permanent home of the Tumandok operations ever since. The company literally rose from the ashes.
At present, Tumandok has 56 personnel, consisting of skilled workers and office staff. Additionally, the company has realized its goal of setting up satellite factories both in the rural and urban areas, thereby transforming the workers into enterprising subcontractors.
The products of Tumandok have already graced many homes and offices here and abroad. They can be found in leading souvenir stores nationwide. In Bacolod, their major outlet is the Negros Showroom of the Association of Negros Producers, of which Ms. Locsin is Vice President. Tumandok participates regularly in trade shows, like the CebuNext of the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF) and annual Negros Trade Fair of the ANP in Manila. These events give the buyers an opportunity to own for themselves or market the sought after wares of Tumandok. The company also continuously exports their wares Costa Rica, India, Dubai, Taiwan, Turkey and Venezuela.