Erna lives in a small house not far from the beach in the village of Sugod. She has two children, Pauline Grace and Jhon Bert.
Erna is married to Hilbert Mijares. This is precious little work in Sugod - unemployment sits at around 85%. He used to sell kopra that he collected from the surrounding mountains to people who would then convert it into a type of oil. The work was too infrequent and not nearly enough to support his family, so Hilbert moved to Manila and has been working on-and-off as a construction worker since June 2008. He sends the money back to his family in Sugod.
Erna tries to supplement the income by making flax mats. She can occasionally sell these locally for between 15 and 20 pesos ($US 0.29 - 0.38).
Erna spends most of her day caring for her children and preparing the meals for them: Typically rice, fish and vegetables.
Like most people in Sugod, Erna was adversely affected by Typhoon Frank. Erna was especially afraid because an earlier Typhoon had destroyed her beach-side home. Erna was grateful that Frank came at about 10 o'clock in the morning. If it had came at night, many might have died. Erna and her family lived on root-crops for a week until government food parcels starting arriving.
Erna was pregnant with a third child, but became very sick when the fetus became infected. Erna recovered, but her doctor told her not to do any heavy lifting. She is very grateful that the Meaningful Shop has came to her as rolling paper beads is not a physically demanding task.
Erna is a born-again Christian and places her faith firmly in God. She takes her kids to church every Sunday so that they might grow up with a good attitude and learn more about God. She was baptized in February 2007 and feels she has become more friendly and less selfish as a result.
She recently gave a testimony at her church. She expressed gratitude to God for bringing the Meaningful Shop into her life.
Erna's greatest wish is that her children graduate from college and enter into gainful employment.