The literature on non-wood forest products (NWFPs) often emphasizes the commercial potential of certain species. However, the utility of the forest to human communities located in or around it often exceeds the cash income residents get from the sale of commercial NWFPs, as indicated by limiting the harvest of the most marketable NWFPs in a forest-edge Philippine village that was formerly highly dependent on rattan (Calamus sp.) collection and processing as a cottage industry. A village survey showed that there was a correlation between specific socio-economic factors such as age, education, size and income of a household, and household food expenditure, and the knowledge and use of non-commercial NWFPs, which were collected for various purposes. The forest was still important and valued by the community for other uses. These other uses, including the extensive, habitual reliance on subsistence non-wood forest products, are described to illustrate the possibility that these products may be the only source of necessities until the greater economic conditions improve.