A “kubo” or “bahay kubo” is a useful native Filipino shelter. It has proven its value to Filipinos then and now. Today, it is proving its worth once again to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries in the Municipality of Dingras, Ilocos Norte especially in the conduct of the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

FDS activities are being conducted on specific venues agreed upon by the beneficiaries and the facilitator, usually the Municipal Links. Depending on the availability, barangay halls, covered courts or any open area where discussion can be delivered are the usual places. Most are conducive, some are not.

To address such concern, the Municipal Links in the area proposed to have accessible and uniform venues in conducting FDS — the “bahay kubo”. A “bahay kubo” for every parent group composed of 25-30 member beneficiaries. The idea raised was approved by the Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC).

Initially started in one Barangay, beneficiaries showcased the “Bayanihan” spirit as they contributed time, effort and other necessary resources in putting up their “kubo”. Labor works was contributed by male beneficiaries, lot was lent by co-beneficiary while everyone provided their shared food. Observed to be effective, the project was replicated in all the barangays of Dingras.

A Barangay Ordinance was even enacted in Barangay San Marcelino to ensure that the “kubo” shall be exclusively used by the beneficiaries as venue for FDS where gambling activities are strictly prohibited.

Vegetable gardens were also put up in every “kubo”. Cooperating with one another, they maintain the garden through a set schedule. Those who are scheduled to safeguard the garden during harvest time will have the privilege to take home the produce. Most “kubo” also have medicine cabinets; restrooms and compost pits.

With its benefits, the Local Government of Dingras noticed the project and came up with a competition entitled Search for Model Bahay Kubo ni Bene (beneficiaries) at Gulayan sa Kanyang Bakuran. A contest aimed at recognizing the best and most useful “bahay kubo” and vegetable garden. With sixty seven parent groups and “kubo”, they selected the 31 best to represent each barangay that were judged by the MAC members. The LGU awarded cash prizes to the winning barangays.

According to Norielyn Gaurian, Parent Leader of Brgy. San Marcelino, Dingras, Ilocos Norte, the “bahay kubo” is a big help to them. They were previously conducting FDS at the Barangay Hall which is a venue distant to most of her co-beneficiaries. Now, they were more encouraged to attend FDS with their conducive “kubo” established in a more accessible place for everyone resulting to the increase in attendance.

In addition, Norielyn said that they are very willing to maintain the said “kubo” even without the competition because it is the place where they learn a lot of information for their families through the FDS.

The Family Development Session (FDS) is a regular activity being complied by the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. An important program condition that provides discussions on strengthening family relations, children’s and women’s rights, proper health care, nutrition, and sanitation. Significant components that may strengthen family relations and empowered community.(by: ALLAN O. LULU, Information Officer II/ Pantawid Pamilya)