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REGION 7 MSME SUCCESS STORIES

Mentor Me Graduate Aims To Duplicate Thirsty’s Success

Terence Neil Padrique of The Lemon Co.

A LOCAL entrepreneur is aiming to duplicate what Cebuano businessman Bunny Pages’ fruit shake business, Thirsty, has attained.

Terence Neil Padrique, 38, is the owner of The Lemon Co., a one-year-old business venture he started in May 2015. He now has six stalls in three different malls in Cebu and Mandaue cities, producing and selling fresh, manually-pressed lemonades.

Padrique said he aims to expand his business further by penetrating big universities and business centers in Cebu where his business is sure to thrive.

Padrique was one of the 26 owners of micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) who successfully completed the first Cebu leg of the Kapatid Mentor Me program spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7), Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Go Negosyo last December 9.

He said he had greatly benefited from the mentoring program, having had the opportunity to be mentored by Cebuano businessman Pages.

He said having been mentored by Pages himself who is also into the same business venture as him and is successfully operating the fruit shake business, Thirsty, is one of the privileges that the mentorship program had offered him.

“He (Pages) jested about me being his competitor, but I believe his brand is too big to be our competition. I look at Thirsty as our big brother and Pages as my mentor,” Padrique said.

Mentorship Training

Padrique and the other 25 entrepreneurs underwent a 12-week mentorship program under established and successful business owners from Cebu and Manila since October 7.

Majority of the participants are into the food and beverage businesses, with products ranging from processed foods, baked products to healthy drinks and condiments. Most of them are operating in Metro Cebu.

“They started with fear. They lacked the confidence in running their businesses. Others thought they were already equipped with the right knowledge (but while going through the program), they realized they still lacked more,” said CCCI vice president for business development Virgilio Espeleta at the sidelines of the Kapatid Mentor Me program graduation ceremony at the Grand Convention Center of Cebu on Dec. 9, 2016.

Meeting every week during Fridays, the participants had also gone through 13 different learning modules and business interventions aimed at equipping them with the sound mindset and best practices to scale up their businesses.

They were also taught about business taxation and laws, two essential aspects of running a business which most of the participants held little to no knowledge about prior to undergoing the mentorship program, said DTI provincial director Maria Elena Arbon.

“Most of them ran their businesses without knowing all the laws and legal environment that operate around their businesses. Now they are more aware of all these,” Arbon said.

To gather expert advises from the mentors, each participant were given the opportunity to present their business models to a panel of mentors composed of the big businessmen themselves.

DTI-7 also intended the Kapatid Mentor Me program to be an avenue for MSMEs to network with their fellow participants and forge possible business partnerships to help up the revenues and brand health of one another.

DTI-7 also encouraged the big businessmen to tap the fledgling enterprises into their value chains by trading supplies and resources with them.

“We wanted the big ones (established businessmen) to consider the small ones (MSMEs) in their value chains so that the small ones can move from survival to sustainability,” Arbon said.

DTI-7 has long planned to conduct the program regularly to help more MSMEs in the province ramp up their businesses. The second installment of the Kapatid Mentor Me program will begin on February 3. Currently, 14 participants had committed to undergo the program.

Chitang’s Torta Goes Beyond Argao

Chitang's Torta

In the past, a small bakery was only good where it was located. Today, going digital is breaking that mold.

The story of Chitang’s Torta, a household name in the town of Argao, is one of the many success stories.

The late Anecita “Chitang” Camello started it in the 1980s, being the first to commercialize the family tradition of torta-making. But Chitang died in 2007 at the age of 70, and so her son Irvin, an electronics and communications (ECE) engineer, decided to continue her legacy.

It was an informal enterprise when it started, recalled Irvin, who was one of the graduates of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu’s five-week E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program on Tuesday. The people of Argao, according to Irvin, have been making torta for many years, usually a week before the town’s fiesta, which is celebrated every 28th of September. But over the years, torta became the town’s delicacy, popular among locals and balikbayans.

To formalize the business, Irvin decided to register it with DTI and obtain a business permit from the local government of Argao in 2007. More than the legal documents, he improved the food’s packaging and created a logo for Chitang’s to separate itself from the rest of Argao’s torta makers. He also crafted Chitang’s tagline” “magkabahaw, magkalami.”

Irvin maintains a bakery beside his house in Argao, where locals and passersby grab their favorite bread, torta, and other pastries. Sometimes, he joins trade fairs to boost sales, including the Sinulog Fiesta Fair currently held at the SM City Cebu. On regular days, he sells about 200 torta pies per day, or about 6,000 pieces a month. One piece is sold at P45. It was only recently when sales have been more pronounced with the help of digital marketing. “Our sales have increased. We adopted e-commerce where I did some postings. I was overwhelmed with the response. We ran short in our production,” said Irvin. Gross sales of Chitang’s Torta in December 2015 was P140,000. This grew to P180,000 in December 2016, when Irvin started using Chitang’s website and Facebook to promote and sell torta.

In December last year, Irvin said he received P30,000 worth of torta from online orders, with reservations from customers as far as Canada and California in the US. The torta entrepreneur said he is grateful for the opportunity to learn the concept of digital marketing and how powerful it is to gain customers. DTI’s E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program under the guidance of digital marketer Janette Toral aims to help entrepreneurs scale up their enterprises by keeping up with the trends such as the Internet and other web-based technologies.

The e-commerce mentorship program adopts a hands-on methodology where selected participants are guided through the various steps of setting up an e-commerce presence. The first batch included Irvin and 15 other local entrepreneurs from various sectors. Irvin also joined the first batch of the Kapatid Mentor Me program of the local trade agency where he was mentored by business owners from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Through these two mentorship programs, Chitang’s Torta is up for more business opportunities. Irvin said they hope to have a display inside large supermarkets within the year, while boosting their digital presence. (source: SunStar Cebu)

Chocolate Warrior

“My life as a rebel was a bitter experience. I was hungry all the time. I only ate ‘ubod sa bugay’ (bud of marsh grass feed for water-buffalos).” Dionicio Rodriguez begins.

Dionicio was a former member of a rebel legion in the mountain areas of Balamban during the Marcos regime. He and his comrades surrendered to the government when their commander in chief died during a fierce encounter with the military.

Thereafter, Rodriguez lived a quiet life tilling a parcel of land owned by his grandparents. Not long ago, his property was sold to Alfred Choa, a well-off Chinese entrepreneur based in Cebu City. 

“It was in 2011 when I first met Ma’am Raquel, wife of Alfred Choa, I could tell she was interested in working with us farmers. Before I met her, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to live on this lot forever,” he narrated in the vernacular.

“But Mrs. Choa allayed all my misgivings. She has this passion for making tablea. Before long, she was able to establish a chocolate outlet based in the city,” he added.

Rodriguez was referring to the chocolate boutique Ralfe Gourmet managed by Cebu native Raquel Choa.  In a span of a few years, Choa successfully elevated the once lowly “tablea” or cacao into high end delicacies like chocolate pralines with truffles, quick melting chocolate discs, and cookies with cacao nibs which piqued the interest of the market.

Tagged as the chocolate queen of Cebu, this producer of artisan chocolates also came from an impoverished past. Since she was a kid, she had been processing cacao beans under the watchful eyes of her grandmother who raised and taught her how to plant cacao. Although she became an expert in selecting and sorting out good cacao beans at a young age, it was only when she started with her business that she realized that cacao was the heart of chocolate making.

Chocolate Warrior - Region 7 MSME Success Story

In the beginning, people didn’t believe in the quality of homegrown tablea, but Choa’s years of experiments, research on product packaging, and immense perseverance resulted in the birth of Ralfe Gourmet which chocolates are used as gifts for A-list clients as well as state events, including the Asia Pacific Economic Conference hosted by the Philippines last year.

In order to protect the company’s innovative ideas, DTI assisted Choa to register her intellectual property with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines IPOPHL), an attached agency of the department.

Beyond learning new techniques to transform cacao beans, Choa also embarked on a program to support cacao farmers and distribute cacao seedlings to former rebels in Balamban, Cebu. She shared with them ways of processing cacao and making handcrafted chocolate products for sale.

Rodriguez divulges that Choa also shares her earnings with us them through a monthly salary. “Yet there are seasons when not much cacao is harvested. Still, she continues to give us wage and tells even us to plant other crops for our own consumption.” 

Raquel’s positive attitude is infectious, Rodriguez observed.  Once, I said to myself, “My life may be far from perfect but I now have a decent life away from tyranny. I may not have all the things in life but I have all I need and I’m happy with it Tears streamed down his face as he spoke.  

The Sweet Life Of The Calamaderas Of Bohol

“I support the development of the calamay industry. In the activities that required our presence, I was among those who attended and encouraged others to participate in the meetings and trainings. I was also one of those who participated in the crafting of the calamay strategic plan,” Maribiel Bucog, a Boholana micro-entrepreneur, said

Bucog is a member of the Jagna Calamay Makers and Vendors Association (JACAMAVEA), the first organization formed in the early 1980s for calamay makers in Jagna, Bohol.

For Jagna-anons, calamay making is considered a common livelihood. Calamay, a sticky sweet delicacy made from ground glutinous rice, brown sugar and coconut milk, are sold by vendors stationed at the port area to sell to passengers bound for Visayas and Mindanao.

There are approximately two-hundred (200) calamay makers, also commonly known as calamaderas, from five (5) barangays namely, Can-upao, Looc, Pagina, Bunga Ilaya and Canjulao.

A female calamay maker in Jagna, Bohol

In 2009, upon the entry of the Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of  Women  (GREAT Women) Project  of the Philippine Commission on Women and DTI, the members of JACAMAVEA were asked on their willingness to collaborate  for the improvement of the calamay industry. At first, there were hesitations from the members but at the end 43 out of 60 members declared their commitment and made a coalition of the willing.

During the implementation of the project, collaborative efforts were made by the LGU to support the small calamay industry. One of these is the creation of the Calamay Convergence of Partners of which the Department of Trade & Industry has been actively participating. It aims to provide an integrated support mechanism that will ensure and sustain product quality and production efficiency to enhance product competitiveness resulting to better incomes and expanded capabilities and life opportunities for the women and men micro-entrepreneurs, farmers and their families.

In 2013, the Shared Service Facility for Calamay Processing was launched in Jagna. With this facility, new technologies were applied that helped increase the shelf life of the product from 3 to 14 days.  The trolleys and racks eased the work of calamaderas during production.  All materials are made of food grade stainless steel that conforms to FDA requirements for food safety.

Immaculate Fua, Chairperson of JACAMAVEA, said that with the SSF, the coop’s Calamay has a longer shelf life. “For 3 years, production has been consistent. We can now give something back to our community,” Fua divulges.

Calamay workers in Jagna, Bohol

At present, the facility is fully operational, employing 38 members plus 6 more persons outside the cooperative. It produces around 24,000 pieces of calamay each month with an average sale of PhP180,000.00, and reaching more markets in Tagbilaran City. 

Bucog explains in the vernacular “If change is to happen, there must be a change of mindset. To have tangible results, the process must have concrete steps. Change begins from within (the calamaderas). The assistance (from government) will be meaningless if the calamaderas are not open and committed to embrace change”

Fortunately, the Calamaderas have learned to work together for the same goal of earning for their families. This encouraged partner agencies to bring more resources for the very same purpose.

From a simple cottage industry, calamay making has transformed into a real community based business --- truly a sweet success.

 

An Entrepreneur Rises From Yolanda's Devastation

Arnado does not have a college diploma. But what she lacked in education she made up for in determination and street smarts which are necessary to deal with the potential difficulties in her environment.

Arnado 01

Born and raised in Barangay Bagtic, San Remigio, Cebu, Arnado moved to Cebu City with her parents after her high school graduation with hopes of having a better future.

She began her adventure in business as a sales woman in Familia House and La Nueva for 3 years and 1 year respectively. She got married thereafter.

In 1995, she went back to San Remigio and was offered a job as treasurer in Barangay Bagtic. While doing so she engaged in raising animals and cultivating vegetables. One day, she resigned from her job at the barangay and opened a small sari-sari store with a capital of only P 10,000.00. She was the business owner and the vendor as well. Unfortunately, her small business closed because of mismanagement. Arnado explained that many of her customers accumulated debts they couldn’t pay and she also incurred debts with a loan shark.

She decided to move back to Cebu City and sell fruits on a consignment basis at the Carbon Market. The money she earned was used to fund her family’s daily expenses. However, she had a difficult time adjusting to life in the city. Moreover, her business suffered because of stringent rules and regulations at the market. Her stall was demolished by the Cebu City Hall's Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team. This made her decide to return to San Remigio. After all, “nahiubos, nangluod, nitagam ug dili na gyud ko magnegosyo kay kapila na ko na-down,” She said while sadly recalling the incident.

Then, super typhoon Yolanda struck in 2013. The monster storm devastated several business and residential structures in Northern Cebu. Arnado’s family was among those who lost everything they owned.

But after her heart-breaking loss, help from government and private sectors poured in. Arnado said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was the first government agency that reached out to help her recover from the calamity and assisted her in growing her business today.

In December 2014, Arnado attended the Retail Trade Management Seminar conducted by the DTI - Cebu Provincial Office at Bogo Sports Complex. She received a starter kit amounting to P 5,000.00 in the same year and was able to open her sari-sari store the next day. She also received additional capital after she registered her business name with the agency.

After the Retail Trade Seminar, Arnado is now better informed on how to handle her sari-sari store. She learned a lot of things at the seminar. “Kung asa ka napalpak, ayaw na buhata,” Arnado said. “Kaniadto daghan siyag utang karon wala na niya ni buhata. Kung anaay mangutang okay ra kanang kida-kida ra.”

Other learnings included “dili kinahanglan mag - ginansya kag dagko, bahalag ginagmay basta kanunay. Bisan ginagmay, kung maka-uyon ang mga tawo, daghan ka ug halin. In effect, ma-rolling na ang kwarta.”

Arnado 02

She advises new entrepreneurs to start small and then gradually grow the business. An entrepreneur must always have an inventory or do monitoring of her store at least once a month, she said in the vernacular, and to canvass first before procurement of goods. She also believes that an entrepreneur must know sellers that offer good quality products at the lowest price. Nowadays, she thinks more of buying goods to display at her store rather than spending money on groceries for her family.

The following are her secrets to success:

  1. Always pray to God.
  2. Establish correct pricing of products (do not compete with low prices offered in the city or in the market). Arnado implements a 10-30 % mark-up depending on the kind of products that she is selling. From the P 5,000.00 starter kit, she now has a P 5,000.00 plus monthly net income.
  3. Identify the products needed by customers and then buy these in the city.
  4. Regularly monitor the store.
  5. Do your own inventory.
 

Distance Is No Longer A Hurdle

Ester Saludar-Cajes, a 39-year old micro entrepreneur has been running a convenience store since 2006 in Poblacion, San Remigio, a far-flung town at the northern tip of Cebu.

A decade ago, when she started her business, the process of getting a business permit used to be a struggle for her. Distance was a major impediment. Every time her business name expired, she had to travel 3-4 hours just to reach Cebu City to avail of the Business Name Registration (BNR), the principal front-line service of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which aims to maintain a nationwide registry of business names mainly on Sole Proprietorship.

But things changed when the Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Provincial Office launched its Negosyo Center at the City of Bogo in August 2015.

The Center was established with an aim to provide business name registration assistance. Entrepreneurs far from the city, particularly those in and around Bogo City can now easily register their business names.

“Existing and would-be entrepreneurs from the Northern part of Cebu like in Bogo, San Remigio, Medellin, and Daan Bantayan don’t need to visit DTI Main Office in Cebu City just to register or renew their businesses. They can do it through the Negosyo Center located at Bogo City Hall,” DTI Consumer Welfare and Business Regulatory Division Chief Zaide Bation said in an interview.

She added that the business name registration system at the Negosyo Center in Bogo is already functional. Moreover, the agency has been taking various measures to further improve the ease of doing business in the city and the province.

“Ig rehistro nila anang adlawa sa Negosyo Center City of Bogo, makuha na nila ang ilang Business Name in 15 minutes!" ("Once they register at the Negosyo Center Bogo, they can get their BN in just 15 mins!") Bation said.

So far, at the time of the interview, twenty-seven (27) business names have been registered under the NC’s BNR since its formal operation earlier this year. However, DTI Cebu is optimistic that the numbers will increase as many entrepreneurs will avail and take advantage of this service.

“Dili naku kinahanglan mo-byahe ug layu. Mogasto para plete ug kaon. Daghan nakog oras sa akung negosyo ug nakatipid pako! Salamat sa Negosyo Center sa DTI, mas dali ug practical nga pamaagi para sa mga negosyante!" ("I don’t need to travel long hours. Pay fares and food. I have more time for my business and be able to save more! Thanks to Negosyo Center of DTI, offers better and more practical services to businessmen!”) a teary yet smiling Ester said.

Cajes along with other businessmen (women) in Bogo and its neighbouring municipalities are now recipients of DTI’s goal of easing BN registration.

Apart from providing timely BN approvals, Negosyo Center is also helping entrepreneurs with other concerns like business advisory and counselling related to access to finance, market access, promotion, and business information and advocacy.

On top of the Negosyo Centers, DTI targets recently established an Innovation Hub at UP Cebu. The Innovation Hub includes a digital Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and a Co-Working Space (CWS).

FabLab is set up to inspire people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by giving them access to a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology. CWS, on the other hand, is an open space that the public can rent for a very flexible period. Amenities in this common area includes office fixtures, internet, refreshments and other common office services. This can cater to business professionals, freelancers, associations, artists, researchers, telecommuters, existing MSME employees, and even students.

Going Green Makes Good Business Sense

“When I adopted the greening initiatives for the resort, the primary objective was to protect the environment and reduce adverse impacts on it. But when I computed the costs of traditional versus “green” practices and technologies, only then did I realize that I generated considerably substantial savings in power, water, raw materials and other resources.” Attorney Lucas Nunag, owner of Amarela Resort in Bohol, Chairman of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council, Trustee and Advisor of the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants shares his experiences to encourage fellow resort and hotel owners to follow the same path.

Amarela Resort is among the small and medium enterprises in Bohol that have benefitted from the “greening” project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Federal Government of Germany, through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The project which is called Promotion for Green Economic Development (ProGED) highlights environment-friendly practices, aims to raise awareness among MSMEs and local authorities of the benefits of going “green” and supporting environmentally friendly and climate smart development. The project brings together the private sector and state so that they can expand on existing private-sector approaches to include aspects of green economic development.

The project provides SMEs with information about technologies that facilitate environmentally friendly and climate smart activities and help them to recognize their own potential. Information is also provided on green financial products and funding instruments that enable MSMEs to implement their own improvements. Moreover, the project supports MSMEs that are especially environmentally friendly and climate smart to participate in competitions.

Through the adoption of greening initiatives and practices, Amarela Resort is saving an average of Php1.5 million annually for power, water, produce and transportation.

The resort maximized natural lighting and ventilation in order to reduce the power needed for artificial lighting and air conditioning. By installing a green wall built of vines, the resort shields the portion of the structure exposed to the afternoon sun, thereby reducing the amount of energy needed to cool these areas. Instead of installing centralized or instantaneous water heaters for the guest rooms, Amarela Resort opted for solar water heaters. It is equipped with a photovoltaic panel installed on the roof and connected to a water tank where the heated water is stored. The equipment uses the free energy of the sunlight to provide guests with hot water.

Amarela resort replaced the lighting fixtures that were on for extended periods of time, namely the ones in the garden, kitchen and corridor. The halogen bulbs in the garden were replaced with par 38 lamps that had the same illumination using less energy. In the kitchen, they replaced the fluorescent and CFL lamps with T5 and LED lamps respectively that only consumed half the wattage of the previous bulbs. Total estimated annual savings was Php 122,880.00

The resort integrated a rainwater catchment system into the roof of the warehouse that captures about 267.5 cubic meters of water annually. On average it saves them Php 56,175 per year. The water captured from the roof is used for faucets and showers, but not for drinking water. For maintaining the landscaped areas, the resort recycles the grey water coming from their septic tanks. The water from the septic tank is directed into the reed bed system whereby the contaminants are removed naturally as they pass through the complex root system of the reed bed. The water is collected into tanks and then pumped through perforated pipes that are embedded throughout the landscaped area. The volume of water is controlled through valves located at strategic points to ensure that water is used sparingly.

The resort operates its own restaurant. This is the reason why Amarela decided to cultivate its own vegetable garden in an adjacent property where they harvest a wide variety of vegetables. In one year period, they saved at least Php 68,000 from growing their own vegetables. Aside from growing their own vegetables, Amarela Resort practices “locavore” cuisine. To the extent possible, they only use locally available produce in the dishes they serve, thereby providing livelihood to local communities, at the same time reducing their carbon footprint.

To reduce plastic and paper waste, the resort has provided beautifully handcrafted containers for consumables (shampoo, conditioner, body wash) in the guest rooms.

The ProGED project began in 2013 in the two pilot provinces of Cebu and Bohol. Since mid-2014, the greening initiatives and experiences gained to date have been shared in several provinces nationwide.

Going green does make good business sense as the experience of Amarela Resort has demonstrated. It just requires commitment, an openness to try new things and a never-ending search for new ways to do things better.

Success With Virgin Coco Oil

What started as a small livelihood project for the marginalized coconut farmers of barangay Liptong in Negros Oriental is now a multi-million business enterprise with the assistance of the Department of Tarde and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies.

In 2002, the virgin coconut oil production in the rustic area of Negros Island Region was originally envisioned as a socio-economic enterprise by Liptong Barangay Captain Saturnino “Jun” Santos. This project was meant not only to provide decent jobs and augment the income of his constituents but also empower them.

In 2003, coconut farmers in Liptong decided to organize themselves and formed the Liptong Small Coconut Farmers Association (BLISCOFA).

During its preliminary operation, the 30 farmer members would sell their coconuts to the association for processing to VCO. Initial production was fifty (50) liters per day with 14 factory workers. They would painstakingly sell their product in the local market amidst consumers’ lack of information.

In 2005, the DTI assisted the association in promoting their products to local and international buyers through trade fairs which the agency organizes for MSMEs. This got them their first institutional buyer – The Lema Spa of Boracay and Cebu. They also benefited from product development that DTI conducted and from market matching and linkage activities where they met Agri-Exim Global Philippines), a trader and exporter of organic coconut products and by-products for human consumption, cosmetics, skin care, personal care, household remedy and other beauty products.

In 2010, BLISCOFA acquired an electric pressing machine under DOST’s SET-UP in the amount of Php 250,000.00. Membership of the association rose from 30 to 132. Coconut area owned and tilled by BLISCOFA members now covers 282.4 hectares which produce 102,125 whole nuts per month. In 2013, BLISCOFA was granted by DOLE Php 700,000.00 worth of equipment to process Geonets (extracted coir from coconut husks that are used to prevent the occurrence of erosion, protect river banks, and even be a medium to beautify the area where it is installed.). BLISCOFA was given License to Operate as a Food Manufacturer by the Food and Drugs Administration in February 2015. Under Agri Exim’s name, the VCO of BLISCOFA is certified organic by USDA Certifier- EcoCert. Last year, VCO production increased from 500 liters to 10,000 liters per month. BLISCOFA’s average sales from Php 360,000 increased to around Php 90M in 2015 (this year’s direction is towards achieving the target production of 20,000 liters per month.)

The association’s market now includes Europe, US, Canada and other Asian countries. From 14 employees, BLISCOFA now has 110 full-time workers and has 170 farmer members.

 

Nature’s Legacy Follows The Green Lane

Who would have thought that by just combining the creativeness of one’s mind with those discarded scraps that we never thought useful, export quality products can be produced such as those manufactured by Nature’s Legacy in Cebu, Philippines.

Known for its green innovation, Nature’s Legacy is the brainchild of husband and wife tandem Pete and Catherine Delantar, whose successful collaboration since 1996 catapulted their company’s rise as a world-class Filipino brand specializing in eco-art products.

Nature’s Legacy 01

It was not an easy journey for the couple who started out Nature’s Legacy as a backyard business in Compostela town in Cebu province. But with Cathy’s vision and audacious ideas and Pete’s sound innovations, they have executed pioneering product developments resulting in breakthrough designs and processes.

Nature’s Legacy material innovations are used the world over in creating a variety of products such as furniture, home accessories, lawn and garden, architecture and interior design, packaging and fashion accessories.

The company is well known for Naturescast®, a line of natural scrap materials like fallen debris and twigs and other agro-forest waste treated with proprietary odorless water-based binders and outdoor resistant coatings. Nature’s Legacy flagship products are chairs made of recycled mango seeds that have been featured in a Grammy Awards event in California.

Nature’s Legacy now owns patent and copyright in the US, Europe, Philippines, Vietnam and China of the following product lines: engineered Stonecast material Brauncast®, handmade polymer and polyester resins line called Marmorcast®, and recycled paper material NuCast®.

With the help of DTI’s programs and services, in addition to the couple’s innovativeness and determination, Nature’s Legacy grew by leaps and bounds to become what it is today. Currently, the company has around 120 employees, with a showroom at Mandaue City and clients in over 25 countries in Asia, Europe, and Middle East, including Turkey,Russia, Poland, India , Spain, Greece, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A.. The proudly Filipino-made products are available at high-end home stores in the US and Europe such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Neiman Marcus. Locally they are available at Rustan’s, Echostore and Kultura.

The couple also received the 34th Agora Awards Marketing Excellence given by the Philippine Marketing Association in 2013, Environment-Friendly Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Excellence in Ecology and Economy (E3) Award by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2007. The couple was included in the list of finalists at the 2005 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and received the 2004 Golden Shell Award for Excellence in Design and Manufacturing, among other achievements.

Nature’s Legacy 02

This year, the company continues to diversify its product lines to expand its business through continuous improvement of its production process, responsible use of natural materials, and product quality.

The company remains committed to its vision of becoming “a global leader in the home furniture and accessories industry founded on its core values of integrity and competence,” with strategic focus on customer satisfaction, corporate social responsibility and commitment to the total human development of its workforce.

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