The Success Story of Trining Climaco: The Pinay Garbage Collector

For over a long period of time, it has been a metaphor to Filipino people, that “there is fortune in garbages”, or in Filipino language, “may pera sa basura”. This is in accordance to the environmental law of recycling, reusing and reducing wastes. But who would have thought that this scheme can actually improve someone else’s financial stability? Well, let us look to the rags-to-riches life story of the Pinay Garbage Collector, Trining Climaco!

Trining Climaco is a simple housewife and a mother to eight kids. Life is not that easy; she and her husband have no stable jobs, and they have a lot of mouths to feed. Moreover, they also just rented a small shanty in a squatter’s area back in the days. She said that she cannot afford to search for a luxurious or high-paying job because she was not able to go into high school. She was eleven years old then when her grandmother took her from Aklan to San Juan in Manila, to work. At that very young age, she realized how difficult it is to provide for the family.

The hardships, difficulties and trials she went through during that time became her inspiration to aspire for better things. She once said that she’d do everything just to cut that poverty line; she didn’t want her kids to experience her pain. It became her motivation to work really hard. She helped her grandmother in the junk shop where it was working. She would weigh all the junk in exchange for a little money. She learned about the business of collecting junks.

When asked if she knew that she can get fortune from that, she directly answered NO. Because as a child, she didn’t think that she’ll have the immediate answer to get out of poverty. For twelve years, she worked in that shop with her grandparents. She seemed to have lost her teenage years as she was busy working in there. But, despite losing his teenage years, she has found the love of her life in that shop. Mang Cesario, her husband was also a staff in the shop. When they started their family, they moved out of the shop and decided to establish their very own junk shop.

This period was the beginning of their unrealized fate with capitalizing on garbages. Trining said that putting up the business was hard because they do not have much of a capital. It was in a small stall in Taytay, Rizal where they had their first shop. They rented this stall for P500/month. To attract peddlers, they first hired three peddlers who will scavenge plastic, bottle, metal, etc. from trash. Aling Trining would also give these peddlers small amount of capital to buy from households. The profit would then be divided between the peddlers and the shop.

Their success was really a product of hard work and dedication, because it took them years to establish the name of the shop. When many peddlers went to sell their scraps, that’s the time when they stabilized the business profits. For every truck of steel they would gain P8000; a truck of bottles is equal to P2000 profit; a truck of galvanized iron sheets to P2400; a truck of tin cans to P1500; a truck of papers to P1500; and a truck of plastics to P2000. The shop would then earn a total of P18, 300 per week. From this earning, they would divide the money for some savings and for their weekly budget. Little by little, their savings became big enough for them to outgrew their class status.

`Today, Aling Trining has her three-storey dream house in Taytay, a big junkyard with three trucks, and seven diplomas. Her seven kids have already finished their degrees, while the youngest is still pursuing her law studies. Indeed, we have learned that there is gold in the garbages.

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