Thursday, April 30, 2015

Paper flowers give therapy, livelihood to hearing-impaired lady
By Kristine Joy M. Bueza

LEGAZPI CITY, April 29 (PNA) -- The Bridal Fair 2015 held at the Embarcadero de Legazpi showcases Albayanon wedding planners and events specialists, gowns and suits designers, reception venues and various booths for flower shops and decors. One of the eye-catching booths is the Paper Flowers by Regine.

Paper Flowers by Regine specializes in handmade and customized bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and decorations for weddings and other occasions fit to be celebrated with love and style.

It uses regulars, recycled, and premium papers like board, construction, specialty, crepe, and other imported types of paper.

All products are made to order.

The prices of the products range from Php250 to Php2,500, depending on the materials used and the quantity of the orders.

The shop also offers wedding packages.

Regine Pasano, 26, is the woman behind the beauty of the paper flowers.

With a hearing and speaking impairment, she was born premature at six months old because her mother was exposed to a patient with chicken pox.

She was a blue baby and was placed in an incubator for three months with strong antibiotics.

As a result of deafness, her speech development was affected.

Regine finished high school at the Bicol Christian Heritage School in Gogon here in 2008, when she was already 19 years old.

Her parents never enrolled her in a special education class.

They tried enrolling her for sign language tutorial but the teacher eventually discouraged them, saying her condition (being able to lip-read and respond with very slow and proper articulation from another person) is better and more adaptive than regressing to sign language.

After high school, Regine did not want to pursue college anymore, making her parents decide not to enroll her also because of their fear of abuse like being bullied.

Her sister, Abigail Pasano-Del Puerto, a graduate of BS Psychology in Ateneo de Naga University, thought of a better hobby for Regine that will serve as on outlet for recreation and development.

Searching the perfect pass time for her sister, Abigail ended up appreciating the Do-it-yourself (DIY) Paper flowers via YouTube.

Since their mother is a breast cancer patient and does not do heavy chores at home anymore, she also considered that making paper flowers would be great as a hobby for the two.

That was when Abigail requested Regine to study the art of making paper flowers.

By watching few tutorials on the Internet, Regine's talent was highly noticed by her family.

Her precision in cutting the materials and creativity in dealing with designs and colors showed her artistry.

Regine's first-ever project started as a gift for her sister's wedding in June 2013. She was given the honor to make every bouquet in the entourage.

Preparation of the paper flowers for the wedding took her around two months, beginning April up to May.

After the exquisite turn out of the first paper flowers produced, friends of families became interested and asked if they could order for themselves and for their own friends.

Regine's artistry is appreciated by her family; that is why, on every special occasion they have at home, instead of thinking what kind of gift they should give Regine, they will just order one centerpiece from her -- knowing that getting orders and making the products really makes Regine very happy.

As they accept orders as favors for their friends, mostly weddings, doors of opportunities opened for both Pasano sisters together with their mother and the rest of the family.

They officially started selling paper flowers in February.

A therapeutic hobby-turned-business is a blessing.

Considering the unexpected success of their business, Abigail, together with her husband, wanted to give back and share the blessings that they have received.

The idea is to be able to expand their business and create a little home gallery, employing workers who also have deficiencies like Regine.

In case of bulk orders, they will have more workers, and, at the same time, they are able to give these people a chance of grasping for opportunities.

They plan on making this hobby-turned-business into a livelihood program for those who feel somewhat neglected due to their incapability.

It is their first time to join a bridal fair and it seemed like a lot of customers were asking if they could already buy the displayed products. (PNA) LGI/FGS/OJT/CBD