Sabang, Prieto Diaz, Seamancor Eco Developers Inc. was conceived on December 6, 1994 and started a pilot project on Eco-Tourism. There you can see mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs from their fish sanctuary. For years, they have protected the area against illegal fishing and other factors that might bring adverse effect to the sea. This is the mandate behind the creation of this people’s organization.

After a couple of years, the DTI-CARP started assisting the group, with the present chairman, Mr. Joselito Domdom, together with the active members. They began to venture on danggit processing in May 2007 after the DTI-CARP imparted the technology through a skills training and entrepreneurship training.

Seamancor Eco Developers Inc.

Little by little, Seamancor started procuring the necessary facilities used in processing such as basins, chopping boards, knives, sealer, and solar dryers. At the start danggit deboning is quite difficult to them considering the sting of its bone when accidentally prickled. But as they continue to produce, techniques of deboning were learned in the process.

Seamancor saw the need of bigger amount of capital as the demand for the product increases. Luckily, they were able to source out fund amounted to PhP150,000.00 through the SEA-K under the DSWD micro-financing program. The money helped a lot in their project. They had additional capital and they were able to purchase additional solar dryers, which they needed for drying. They were also able to improve their packaging and labeling, another skills training on product development conducted by DTI-CARP.

Seamancor Eco Developers Inc.

After availing the various assistances of the government, they were able to produce 50-100 kilograms of dried danggit per month at its peak season during the months of May-October. Dried danggit is sold at P550/kg 0r 100/200 grams in the locality of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon, Albay, Manila and Cavite. The product being a known commodity in Cebu became the curiosity of the many buyers in Sorsogon, Albay and Manila. Its palatable taste is indeed comparable to that made in Cebu City.

In 2007, they had a chance to participate in Orgullo kan Bikol (OKB) – Trade Fair in Megamall, Metro Manila for the first time. Their sales amounted to PhP25,000.00. It was a breakthrough to the organization. That inspired them to produce more and to improve their product to prepare for the next fairs.

Indeed, OKB 2008 and the Kasanggyahan Trade Fair in Sorsogon gave them sales of close to a PhP100,000.00. “Hindi na masama ang benta sa trade fairs na sinalihan naming”, the chairman said. They were even motivated to produce more and look forward to participate in bigger trade events.

In 2013, Seamancor was one of the lucky groups that was benefitted by the DTI’s SSF project. DTI gave them a mechanical dryer, 3 units chest-type freezer, 4 units stainless working tables, 2 units foot-type sealer and a table top vacuum sealer. With the SSF project, danggit processors were encouraged to buy all the freshly caight fish without fear of not being able to stock/preserve and dry it. Moreso, danggit fishermen no longer sell their catch outside Prieto Diaz.

The supply of fresh rabbitfish (local term “bataway”), or commonly known as danggit, is abundant in the seabed of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon with peak season during the months of February to June, estimated at fifteen to twenty (15-20) tons per month. However, due to limited processing equipment, production is not fully maximized, hence, tons of fresh catch is being sold in public market at the nearby towns. During the consultative dialoque with the group of fishermen and danggit processors, fresh catch could have been preserved and processed if they have the facilities. According to them, they were burdened by the high cost of purchasing ice blocks just to preserve their catch. Most of the times, fisherfolks would just sell the catch in the wet market or outside Prieto Diaz at a very low price. This entails additional cost for transportation not to mention the many hours of selling it. With the provision of SSF for danggit processing, production gap was resolved. The facilities, which were housed at the existing building of the co-operator, Seamancor Eco Developers, located at Sabang, Diamante, Prieto Diaz benefitted the 20 fish/danggit processors, 80 workers/helpers and 30 fishermen coming from the coastal barangays of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. Presently, each danggit processor has an average monthly production capacity of 40 kilograms dried deboned danggit, sold at PhP100.oo-PhP120.00 each pack of 200 grams.

With the SSF project available in the locality, danggit processing business did not only improve the income of danggit processors and fisherfolks in Prieto Diaz, but also opened other business opportunities for fishermen in the neighboring towns of Gubat and Bulusan who now sell their fresh catch to danggit processors in Prieto Diaz.