In the heart of Cawit in Boac, Marinduque, a remarkable enterprise was born in 1965. 

Romeo Mangaring Lumawig, a renowned lepidopterist saw the untapped potential of butterfly handcrafting and set out to create a unique industry. His dedication to building the most significant butterfly collection in the Philippines pioneered the captive breeding of butterflies, setting the stage for a flourishing industry that emerged in the late 1970s. In Romeo’s lifetime, not less than 200 species of Philippine butterflies, beetles, and other insects were scientifically named after him, members of his family, friends, and collaborators in the field of science and research. Their pioneering work in captive breeding and live tropical butterfly displays has not only captivated audiences worldwide but also raised awareness about the importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems.

Continuing her father’s legacy, Elizabeth “Beth” Lumawig Heitzmann, together with her husband, expanded the concept of butterfly convergence. This led to the establishment of various butterfly houses and facilities across the country, showcasing the delicate creatures’ beauty and importance.

At present, what sets ALH Enterprise apart is its ability to merge three seemingly disparate realms: the beauty of nature, the world of academe, and commerce. With Heitzmann’s compelling determination, a groundbreaking partnership with the Provincial Government of Marinduque set the inception of the first-ever Butterfly Museum in Marinduque. Heitzmann and the members of the Cawit Butterfly Association are the pioneer beneficiaries of the Province-wide Reinvigoration of Economic Skills in Butterfly Industry and Livelihood Value–Addition Project (PRESBI-LAV). Through this initiative, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Marinduque Provincial Office facilitated an Entrepreneurial Mind setting Seminar and Product Curation Training for the members. The Department of Science and Technology- Marinduque organized a Skills Upgrading Training on Butterfly Souvenirs Using Resin. Pangkabuhayan kits were also given by the Department of Labor and Employment- Marinduque. 

ALH Enterprise collaborates with Technical Education & Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Marinduque to provide butterfly culture training in Cawit, which led to the establishment of the Lumawig Learning Institute. These partnerships foster innovative techniques and ensure the enterprise’s growth and sustainability while benefiting the local community.

ALH Enterprise uplifts the community by providing employment opportunities and training programs, particularly for women. DTI Marinduque Provincial Office also rendered export-related seminars and assistance, such as the Philexport membership. The inclusive work environment fosters pride and camaraderie among employees, empowering them to unleash their creativity.

Ms. Elizabeth Heitzmann attends the sessions on Butterfly Culture Production at Lumawig Institute of Learning, Boac, Marinduque.

Indeed, ALH Enterprise is a trailblazer in the butterfly handcrafting industry combining nature’s beauty, academic collaboration, and commercial success. Through partnerships with organizations dedicated to preserving biodiversity, ALH Enterprise actively contributes to research, habitat restoration, and public education programs. Their commitment to sustainable practices ensures the long-term survival of butterfly species and their habitats. ♦

Date of release: 19 February 2024