Everyone is in quarantine right now — we are stuck at home and are struggling to search for ways on sustaining our family and household essential needs. However, when cash is low. What can we do? This problem can be solved by the barter system being brought up again and with a twist. Take your items to the fastest-growing barter online group, Cebu Barter Community (CBC), and trade like the old days.
What is Cebu Barter Community?
The Cebu Barter Community is one of the fastest-growing barter communities online. It has over 85,000 active members contributing to thousands of new posts daily.
Due to the high number of its members, you might think that this Facebook Group was created about a year ago but this was only created on May 14, 2020, and has only been going around for about two weeks.
It was then officially launched on May 15 by the IMC Creative Team which are composed of the well-acclaimed Cebuano business coaches, Bong Abela and Ruben Licera, together with Iren Licera, Claire Gabuya, Renz Gabuya, Mel Oyas, Jeff Oyas, Paris Gaudan, Carlo Tumulak and Daryl Borces.
Although the community was only created in less than a month, it was able to gather much attention from the citizens of the province making it one of the most active barter communities online.
With its goal of “Connecting People and Needs,” the group was able to help thousands of members in exchanging goods and services without using cash at all. They have done this by using the old cashless trade model and modifying it to fit the online transaction system of today.
The Cebu Barter Community doesn’t only help citizens in making the experience easier, this also becomes free, fair, and fun for all. Hence, this is why everyone in the community always looks forward to every barter item that is offered in the comment section of every post.
Other than that, the Cebu Barter Community has also been a source of comfort for its members in this uncertain time.
Some members trade their goods and services for meals packs and other necessary items which was then given to the frontliners and less-fortunate individuals. While others have also included additional items and notes into what they have agreed upon.
Meanwhile, there are also members who post or comment on items with stories and statements that have made others laugh and cry at the same time. Thus, this is all in accordance with the community’s goal of helping arrest fear, anxiety, and negativity.
Moreover, in order to keep the spirit of the community properly observed, its administrators have set some rules and guidelines in terms of posting, commenting, and communicating with all of the group’s members.
GUIDELINES BEFORE CREATING YOUR POST
In posting your items, you’ll need to follow more than five parts that are included in its guidelines. These should be seen in the post in order to be approved. These include the actual photos, description of the product, the hashtags for easy sorting, location, the reason for barter, and mode of exchange.
Afterward, the members can already start and end the bidding process in the comment section.
Everyone can communicate with the member who made the post and do the transaction under the post. CDC’s administrators highly discourage communication that is made through private messages or out of the group because this may either risk its members.
The member who also posted the product or the post is also encouraged to reply to all comments. Then, the members should then add the #DoneDeal or #ReceivedDeal to inform other bidders that the trade is done.
Currently, Abela expressed that, “We are conceptualizing more ideas and inputs to keep the engagement.”
What Makes Cebu Barter Community Standout as a Facebook Group?
Now, it is worth noting that there are also other communities on Facebook that have the same goal as The Cebu Barter Community. There is in fact a group named, “Cebu Barter!” that was created a month prior to the community’s establishment. There are also other groups in different provinces that promote barter like the Iloilo Barter Community PH.
Ultimately, there are other communities that promote barter but are much more focuses on other niches such as the Let’s Eat Bai®.
But what really makes this community stand out?
Primarily, this group has specific guidelines and processes to follow. One of the community’s regulations highlights that the whole bidding process revolves around the group itself in order to promote fairness between all members.
Then, there are also different hashtags that every member should use whether they are looking for specific goods or services or trading something.
Even when the transaction is already done or the items are received, members are encouraged to mention these in their posts. Making sure that all of the members follow a guideline is a very professional characteristic that this community follows.
This way, all members know what to do to promote the process of barter and the overall goal of the group which is to connect people and needs.
Apart from that, this may be due to the fact that in joining this Facebook group, you will certainly feel like strolling in a mall. How come?
This is because the community provides any goods and services ranging from daily essentials to fancy gadgets, there’s a lot for everyone to see. Besides, you won’t be bored because every day as there are thousands of posts to be seen.
To give you an idea on the variety of the things being posted, there are members who offer their skills in photography and cooking while some of the goods include fancy accessories and gadgets like Rolex costing thousands of pesos and even pieces of lots, apartments, and the thing that made everyone in the community shocked is the 2-hectare island in Surigao del Sur!
If you’re not yet convinced with the goods and services traded in this community, the creativity of its members is also topnotch.
With the help of the famous Bisaya humor and the policy of no cash trading, members are not just posting items, they are also sharing stories and jokes just to get the attention of the buyer or the seller.
Some members comment on pictures, memes, and jokes. There are also others who might intently be trading things in the comment section that are significantly different in terms of trade value just for fun.
Lastly, apart from being a fun community for traders, what makes Cebu Barter Community standout from other groups on Facebook is mainly due to its members being able to help people in need.
This is because one of the community’s goals is to encourage positivity, some of its members trade some of the things in their houses just to help people in their community.
In fact, there was one kind-hearted individual who traded her pair of Dolce & Gabbana Belluci shoes that has a value of almost 60,000 pesos in exchange for a month’s supply of veggies, meat, and rice which she wanted to donate to families in Barangay Zapatera, a barangay in Cebu City which had several cases of the coronavirus disease.
There are also other thoughtful acts of kindness in this community which will strongly show you how people can let go of their things just to help others in need.
These are the reasons why the Cebu Barter Community was featured in SunStar Cebu, GMA Network, Queen City Cebu, and Click Cebu.
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Why Barter Experienced Exponential Growth?
During this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, everyone is forced to stay at home. Due to this, a huge number of employees were fired while others experienced a shift in their working process.
Although others still have a job, it’s undeniable that this uncertain time made us look for different ways to sustain our daily needs and in this case, we are doing this online.
Still, apart from the problem of being restricted to go out to public spaces such as malls and parks, there are also others who don’t have enough money to buy various products and services. This is why the idea of using the barter system is becoming a trend.
In an article by Washington Post entitled, “Bartering is back: When life gives you lemons, trade them for a neighbor’s hand sanitizer,” this system of exchange was discussed.
In a statement by Jim Strodder, an economist and visiting professor at Boston University, he said that bartering is a natural side effect and one that frequently stems from an economic crisis such as the Great Depression.
This natural effect during a crisis partnered with today’s online transaction becomes an advantage of various barter communities on Facebook.
Because people are mostly online searching for things that they need, providing a platform for them to trade without spending a penny is a win-win situation on both sides. Because of this, anyone can directly expedite the trading process and encourage more people to barter more things in exchange for other necessary things without spending a penny at all.
Hence, this is a reason why the Cebu Barter Community is growing even just two weeks after it was established.
Hence, during these uncertain times, people are searching for ways to sustain themselves and their families.
By providing a platform that will help them use what they have in exchange for what they need, the Cebu Barter Community are able to help each other during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Most importantly, this community is able to provide hope for everyone, even those who are not part of this group. This is why its administrators always encourage positivity above all, to develop relationships with each other, and build camaraderie for old and new members.