Alaga stems from my experience of trying to clean the little fiber-filled bed of my cats that smelled so bad no matter what I did. Since these beds are not cheap to replace, I used baskets and boxes as an alternative.
Cats, however, can easily destroy cardboard boxes, so I thought of combining the materials of a basket with the privacy of a box. I was able to find merchants selling cat cocoons, but none of them were local and they were all too expensive. My mom, who is interested in handicrafts and local artisans, then came up with an idea to ask water lily weavers from around Metro Manila if this was a project we could collaborate on.
In September 2017, we began looking for suppliers. A month later, our first samples came out and by late November, we started selling them.
We named it Alaga, a Filipino term that aptly describes this business because it serves as a noun, which means “pet or animal companion,” and a verb, which means “to care for.”
We currently have two products: the Peaceful Pod and the Blissful Bed, which are made of indigenous materials that can be washed and dried in the sun.
Aside from giving pet cats a comfortable space, these products also help our local laborers and contribute to the prevention of flooding since the water lilies that clog our waterways are harvested.
And by purchasing from us, you are also making a donation to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, and contributing to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of hundreds of cats and dogs.
We wish to expand into more styles and collaborate with workers who use other types of materials. However, it will always be weaving, basketry and pet supplies. And we will continue to donate to PAWS and later on add other shelters to our beneficiaries should the business grow.
So if you want to give your feline friends a dignified space where they can feel at home, Alaga is the answer. It’s a product that acknowledges our animal companions not only as part of the household, but also as members of the family.