Netizens cheer Batangas seamstress for making free DIY face masks for neighbors affected by Taal explosion

Photo: Mary Ann Mantuano/FB
Photo: Mary Ann Mantuano/FB

The eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas has led to a massive evacuation, with countless Batangueños scrambling to purchase face masks to protect themselves from the ashfall. However, with the price of face masks spiking amid the heightened demand, the essential items have become unaffordable for many of those affected.

Enter 61-year-old seamstress Rosalina Mantuano of Lipa City, Batangas, who took it upon herself to fashion DIY face masks for her friends and family from scratch.

Rosalina’s laudable effort was made public by her daughter, Mary Ann Mantuano, in a Facebook post yesterday that said, “My mother didn’t know how she could help. But because she’s a seamstress, she thought of creating face masks for those in need. [This proves] that anyone could help, as long as they are willing.”

Mary Ann’s post, which has been shared almost 54,000 times, included photos of the black and white face masks her mother had made. It also showed Rosalina hunched over her sewing machine with just a tiny lamp illuminating her work as she carefully crafted each mask.

In a Facebook Messenger interview with Coconuts Manila, Mary Ann said her mother has been working as a seamstress for 45 years. Rosalina thought of giving away face masks because she is compassionate by nature.

“My mother is a kind woman and has empathy for people. She couldn’t help financially, but she heard the news that face masks have become so expensive, so she thought of creating them for free,” Mary Ann said in English and Filipino.

“We are so happy that we have helped people. She often tells our family that it’s more important for us to help other people than for them to help us,” Mary Ann added.

The Mantuano family has already given away most of the face masks that Rosalina made yesterday. Mary Ann said their neighbors and friends were happy to receive the masks because they couldn’t afford to buy them.

Photo: Mary Ann Mantuano
Friends and family members have received face masks. Photo: Mary Ann Mantuano

Rosalina’s family, meanwhile, was pleasantly surprised at how many netizens are expressing their gratitude to their mother.

“We just wanted to inspire others to show that anyone can help. Our family is so happy because there were so many people thanking her. This is the only time that her worth has been appreciated this much,” Mary Ann said, added that her mother plans to make more free face masks in the next few days.

Good job, Rosalina!

Have you heard of similar feel-good stories that have emerged from the tragedy? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila. 

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