Colorful PPEs in Iloilo bring pops of joy in the fight against COVID-19

Lory Joyce Andagan, Choose Philippines

Posted at Mar 31 2020 06:47 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2020 01:19 PM

This photo went viral on social media. Photo by Adrian Pe

With the current situation right now, the threat of COVID-19 still looms over the country and the scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is one of the problems that the frontliners are facing. 

But amid these challenges, Filipinos are still going strong and taking a positive outlook despite everything. In Iloilo, health workers are a true example of the resourcefulness of Pinoys -- making creative PPEs to bring joy and positivity to everyone in the hospital!

An OR nurse with a passion for fashion designing, Adrian Pe took the initiative to make PPEs for his fellow health workers in one of the hospitals in Iloilo. His friend encouraged him by giving 100 meters of fabric to be used. 

“Siguro, she believed that I can do this kay designer man ko and I have access sa mga patahian," Adrian says. (Maybe she believed that I can do this because I’m a designer and I have access to tailoring shops) 

Through donations of friends, organizations, and small groups, they also gathered a good amount of money to start the project.

Photo by Adrian Pe

What caught the attention of everyone is the color of the PPEs. Their bright, rainbow-like hues give off bursts of positivity to everyone who sees them, brightening the gloom that the pandemic brought. 

The unique and creative PPEs with violet, green, yellow and red colors mirrored the colors of the classic cartoon Teletubbies characters. This helped his post about his passion project, with the caption “Teletubbies NURSES will soon invade different hospitals in the CITY OF LOVE, Iloilo City,” to become viral. 

“Filipinos are known to see the silver lining in every situation so that I guess motivated me to do this,” he explains.

Using colorful fabric for the PPEs was happenstance. “We were rooting for white blue and neutral colors. However, the materials were limited since most of the shops were closed. So, the ones that are available in the market 'yung binili ko based on the donations collected,” Adrian reveals. 

They used nonwoven fabric, the ones being used for eco-bags, because this material lasts longer and is fluid-resistant. His co-workers in the hospital helped him in cutting patterns. He also has seamstresses and tailors to expedite the production, churning out at least 20 to 25 pieces per day. Since some hospitals needed it as soon as possible, Adrian gave them 2 to 3 pieces initially.

Photo by Adrian Pe

Some PPE outputs were sent as prototypes to different seamstresses and tailors to help boost production. Some hospitals in different places such as Cebu, Manila, Sultan Kudarat also messaged him asking for design and layouts. He also gave prototypes to Capiz, Guimaras, and Antique. 

According to Adrian, this is the least that he can do, where his passion and profession come as one to make a difference in the community. 

“I told them that I will give them a pattern sample for faster production,” says Adrian. “It’s better to work with more hands so that mas greater ang reachability of it."

This story was originally published on the Choose Philippines website.