It is without a doubt that Covid-19 has not only changed our lifestyles—it changed us. We realized that many of the things that we used to value no longer matter now. Our priorities have shifted into what’s necessary for survival. Foremost is food. Since we were subjected to 45 days of no work, no pay, as well as restricted movements, we have to be creative in meeting our needs (and some wants). This is how the Bacolod Barter Community was born. It is now our new normal in business trading, which may continue for quite a long time.
What is Barter?
Barter is a kind of trading where people exchange goods and services without the use of money. Based on historical artifacts, systematic barter may have started as early as the 15th century. But people could have exchanged stuff much earlier than that.
Whenever there is a monetary crisis, the barter system gets used. And now that we are all facing the Covid-19 pandemic, the barter system has been reborn.
No Cash Allowed at the Bacolod Barter Community
The Bacolod Barter Community is a private Facebook group started by Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue. She and her husband, Atty. Arnel Sigue, were featured in this blog last time because of the KBL they cook. Read: House of KBL Sunday Habit by the Batapa-Sigue Family
During the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), most people stayed at home. At first it was okay, but then people started getting bored without seeing the end in sight.
Moreover, the supplies in the homes are running low so people need to get them somehow. There are also those who were raising funds in order to support some people during the Covid-19 crisis. But mostly, people missed their favorite food.
Then Atty. Jocelle had this brilliant idea of starting the Bacolod Barter Community. It’s a fun way to meet new friends but most of all, this place is all business. It is where you get rid of your white elephants in exchange for something you need or maybe, want.
There was even one who just gave her stuff away simply for the process of letting go.
A Fun Group to be Part Of
Indeed, it is fun to see the items up for barter. You would be surprised at the assortment of things that people post. There are household items, small appliances, beauty products, artworks, bags, even food. It’s like online shopping except that you cannot pay for them in cash. You have to barter. And the person who posted the item can choose the items or person they want to exchange with.
Amidst the crisis, many groups have been formed in order to raise funds and help frontliners. The bayanihan spirit has been championed at this time. In order to keep supporting their causes, some mobilizers have posted their personal items for barter.
And all they are asking in return are items like rice, sardines, noodles, eggs, and cleaning solutions. If you see posts like this, please do help, them so that they can continue in their outreach programs.
- Related: The Amlig Project Against Covid-19
Who are the Members?
The members of the Bacolod Barter Community are mostly based in Bacolod City. Both men and women are welcome, but I think that there are mostly mommies there.
Residents of neighboring cities in Negros Occidental are also welcome, as long as they can fulfill the barter system. It has been around for a few days but the membership is already close to 2,000 and is still growing.
Sometimes, people do not have anything to barter but it is just fun to look at the items posted.
Mechanics for Bartering
In order to maintain order and system within the group, Atty. Jocelle came up with simple mechanics. Posting them below for people’s guidance:
1. This is a place where our medium of exchange is items – No CASH allowed. Strictly no buying or selling in this group.
2. Just post the item you want to exchange with anyone, including a brief explanation or description. You can also post the estimated worth.
3. Then other members can offer an item and you can choose which one you like from the ones offered.
4. The offers can go on in the thread until the one who posted selects from the thread by replying to the choice.
5. Once the choice has been made, the barter is now deemed completed. Both parties must agree by saying DEAL!
6. We encourage food, ingredients, edibles, beauty products, or toiletries. No harmful, unlawful, expired, indecent, or unlicensed items please.
7. Then you may use Grab Delivery, Tapao, or Maid in Bacolod – Charge to Recipient or Sender, depending on what you have agreed upon.
8. Strictly no minors allowed.
9. Once the exchange is complete, edit your post and indicate: BARTER COMPLETED or Completed.
10. Let’s keep the group fun, dynamic, useful and inspiring in this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
Yes, the bottom line is having fun while trading. In the end, we will remove so many items at home and bless other people in the process. It’s like spring cleaning time!
One person’s trash is another one’s treasure.
The Growing Bacolod Barter Community
Update: As of July 2020, the group has grown exponentially. Despite deleting so many members because of violations, membership maintains at 232,000.
Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue has institutionalized the group with proper mechanics and by-laws. The concept has been replicated all over the country and more than 160 barter communities have been spawned. Atty. Jocelle has also registered the name, Global Barter Communities.
Due to the rising number of Covid-19 positive cases in the city, Atty. Jocelle has reduced the trading schedule so as to minimize physical exchanges.
Other Covid-19 stories
Meanwhile, here are other Covid-19 stories in this blog that you might be interested in.
- Food and Grocery Delivery Services in Bacolod During Quarantine
- Covilyzer UVC Sterilization Lamps Fight Covid-19
- Covid-19 Face Masks for a Cause in Negros Occidental
- foodpanda Delivers Good Food to COVID-19 Frontliners
- Merzci Cares Feeds Many During Covid-19 ECQ
- Globe Gives 1,000 Preloaded Mobile Phones to Frontliners
- Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade Disinfects Bacolod City Streets
- PPE for Negros Occidental Health Workers Against Covid-19
- SM Foundation Donates PPEs to VisMin Hospitals to Fight Covid-19