business

Maramag coffee producers earn big, win big with DOST

December 4, 2017

Coffee producers in Bukidnon used to struggle reaching buyers. Now, the DOST-assisted enterprise Kape Maramag is their globally competitive ally for smooth-flowing income. Kape Maramag is all about big earnings and high scores these days. Not only is it making Php 40,000 to 60,000 a month, it also won in the internationally judged Kape Pilipino (KP) Green Coffee Quality Competition last March, scoring a whopping 83.75 out of a hundred. But before the numbers came rolling in, the coffee farmers in Maramag, Bukidnon were struggling for years in selling their produce. What sparked their inspiring progress was an initiative to organize, supported by agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Cream of the coffee crop A Robusta coffee with dark chocolate and floral notes – that’s how international judges described Kape Maramag during the coffee quality contest held in Cavite. With this richness, it’s hardly any wonder that the product topped the Robusta category in the national competition. The product’s score of 83.75 also raised Kape Maramag to Specialty Grade, pushing it to a high-demand global market. Following their national breakthrough, the Kape Maramag team, led by its president Imelda Paulican-Mendoza, joined the Philippine delegation to the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, Washington just this April. It was a remarkable international debut for Philippine coffee, prompting enthusiasts to conclude that Bukidnon coffee is truly ready for the world. All the while, the Kape Maramag enterprise in Maramag, Bukidnon has been consistently grinding up some lavish results. “We used to have monthly sales of just Php 20,000,” recalls Mendoza. “These days, that goes up to Php 40,000 to Php 60,000 a month.” A win-win enterprise Kape Maramag may be a star in the Philippine coffee industry, but the true beauty of this enterprise is in its roots and its growth. The community-based enterprise is managed by the Maramag Rural Improvement Club Federation (RICFed), a non-government organization composed of about 1,050 members. And these members are women – mothers and homemakers who organized themselves with the assistance of the local government of Maramag and the Department of Agriculture. “Our organization believes that women should be functional economic partners and should play a vital role in community development,” Mendoza says. In April 2012, with the help of government and non-government partners, the Maramag RICFed started running Kape Maramag as its flagship livelihood initiative. The enterprise was meant to revive the local coffee industry by adding value to the coffee produce of the area. Thus, Kape Maramag’s operations were mostly roasting, grinding, and brewing to produce good-quality coffee. This created a unique opportunity for Maramag coffee farmers to finally have a steady buyer. The enterprise started out with just a hundred kilograms of coffee beans and an endless supply of persistence. They tapped the farmers in their town, offering to purchase their produce at a better price on a per-kilo basis, in contrast to the bulk purchasing of existing buyers such as Nestle. And the farmers favored Kape Maramag: they no longer have to worry about producing less during off-season farming months, because the Kape Maramag enterprise offers a premium price even for smaller volumes. Today, the enterprise continuously roasts 30 to 50 kilograms of coffee every week, and their fast-selling coffee products never stay long on their shelves. At the same time, Maramag farmers who are also members of the federation have found a reliable buyer for their produce – and consequently, a reliable source of income. Growing together with DOST-X The win-win collaboration between Kape Maramag and local coffee farmers is paired with support from various government and non-government partners. One important partner is DOST-Region X (DOST-X), through the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) of Bukidnon. In late 2014, Kape Maramag saw the need to enhance their production and their products. Fortunately, they discovered that they could seek the help of DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), a program that assists micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through science and technology. The very next year, PSTC Bukidnon implemented a SETUP project for Kape Maramag, providing the science and technology interventions that the enterprise needed: a coffee bag packaging machine, a moisture tester for coffee beans, shelf life analysis, and packaging and labeling design development and initial execution. “Through SETUP, we were able to improve our packaging and even produce another coffee product which is instant coffee,” adds Mendoza. Previously, Kape Maramag only offered freshly roasted coffee on-site at their kiosk near the town’s bus station. But now, with a growing variety of products and better packaging, they have reached farther and wider markets, including Manila, Cavite, Cotabato, and Surigao. Mendoza asserts that the boost in their sales was because of DOST-SETUP. “SETUP really helped a lot in achieving our goals as entrepreneurs,” she enthuses. The growth of Kape Maramag has come to mean not only the popularity of a single enterprise, but more importantly, a better, more sustainable source income for the Maramag coffee farmers. It is proof that when citizens work proactively with each other and with appropriate partners, the resulting success will be rich and utterly satisfying. (Hyacinth J. Tagupa/DOST-X)

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Growing with CDO’s First Green Developer (Part II)

December 4, 2017

How does it feel like to be growing with Cagayan de Oro’s first green developer? Italpinas Development Corporation is the first green and condominium builder in the city. With its unique advocacy for the environment and emerging cities, undeniably, it has attracted many supporters and valued partners. One of the people admires the company the most is Manny de Lara, a licensed broker of IDC. “I keep coming back here because of the people running the show. IDC sees us as their close friends. It is a different experience we have in other companies.” Mr. De Lara has been an accredited seller of the company since the pre-selling of Primavera Residences started. One of the things that he commends about IDC is their eagerness to reach out to their sellers. “As I work online, there are sales I lost because of some developer’s delay in answering my inquiries. Luckily, IDC has been very helpful in my online business because, in a just matter of minutes, they can answer me promptly. Whenever I ask for documents I need in selling, IDC answers me immediately, “ he said. When talking about the edge of the company over other developers, Mr. Shim Suan, who also serves as the national director of COREB (Cagayan de Oro Real Estate Brokers) said: “IDC is really close to us, and that’s what we like about them. There is no barrier between the company and its people. They don’t choose who they like and want to serve.” A pioneering seller, Ms. Catalina Carretas shared her excitement when selling Primavera Residences for the first time. “We were very excited to sell the Primavera project because it is the first condo in Cagayan de Oro. My husband and I were able to close a sale because our client also wanted a condo unit for his investment. We were very happy to be selling the first condominium in the city. Knowing that the condo is a green building, we were steps ahead of other developers because of Primavera’s unique characteristics.” To Ms. Aurora “Christine” Tenchavez, a Licensed Real Estate Broker, Appraiser and Consultant, the edge of Primavera projects is their green features. With that alone, it has all the advantages over other condominium developments. “Selling the Primavera projects is not scary at all because of its location and green features. It definitely has the advantages that most clients or buyers will look for”, said Ms. Reprisima Guerrero/ RCGuerrero Realty. She added, “I have passion in selling. I learned to love my work because I know it will pay off in the long run. What I could also advise to young sellers that selling is not about getting your commission alone. The after service is very important. Make your clients happy and satisfied, and they will keep on looking for you”. She also took the chance to encourage every young seller to have confidence and persistence because there will always be challenges along the way. To show more its gratitude to their partners, on Monday, November 6, 2017, IDC took the chance to celebrate its deep partnership with its sellers and brokers by organizing an event that would recollect memories and past experiences. Some sellers were given a platform to speak out their thoughts in growing with the company.

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Advance release of the 5-Piso new generation currency coins

December 1, 2017

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) today announced that of the New Generation Currency (NGC) Coin Series, it will release in advance of the other denominations, the 5-piso NGC legal tender coin for circulation, starting December 2017. The 5-piso NGC coin features on the obverse, Gat. Andres Bonifacio. The BSP’s advance release of the 5-piso NGC coin highlights the 120th death anniversary of the Filipino patriot this year and his 154th birthday on November 30. Widely regarded as one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, Bonifacio was a fearless leader who founded the Katipunan, the secret society that ignited the flames of the revolution which finally led to the declaration of Philippine independence in 1898. Bonifacio died on 10 May 1897. Thus, considered as the Father of the Philippine revolution, Bonifacio’s portrait is etched on the obverse of the coin, along with the markings, “ANDRES BONIFACIO”, “5-PISO” and “REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS” in bold font and in microprints, and the mint mark. The reverse side, meanwhile, features the Tayabak, a Philippine endemic plant that climbs tall forest trees, the BSP logo and “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas” in microprint. The 5-piso NGC coin is 25-millimeters in diameter and weighs approximately 7.4 grams. The NGC Coin Series adopts the latest technology in minting coins. The security features of the NGC Coin Series are enhanced to deter counterfeiting, improve wear and corrosion resistance capabilities, saves the BSP minting costs, avoids risks arising from unexpected volatile swings in metal prices, and also deters the illegal hoarding of coins for melting and shipment to other countries. Coins in the NGC Series will feature the BSP logo, national heroes and endemic flora, consistent with the design of the NGC Banknote Series, launched in 2010, which also highlights Philippine fauna. The rest of the denominations of the NGC Coin Series will be released by the BSP for circulation in January 2018.

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DOST-funded technology to help keep Siargao water safe

November 30, 2017

GENERAL Luna, Siargao Island—Safe water may be the next attraction in Siargao as the island puts on board the Eco-friendly Septic Tank System or Eco-sep. This technology consists of a septic water management system that addresses the problem of untreated waste water in resorts, public establishments, and households. Launched in Siargao last September, the Eco-sep technology is installed in three pilot sites, namely General Luna Market, General Luna High School, and Traveler’s Beach Resort. “Samples collected from these sites will serve as a baseline for DOST to encourage resort owners, LGUs, and households to adopt the technology in our campaign [as part of the project],” says Engr. Noel Ajoc, project coordinator. Dr. Merlinda Palencia, developer of the Eco-sep technology, explained that the Eco-sep system deployed in the pilot sites contains Vigormin, an organomineral that hastens the decomposition of harmful bacteria that lodge in septic tanks. Vigormin prevents bacteria from escaping from the tank, thus avoiding contamination of waste water in sewage systems. Dr. Palencia noted that the Eco-sep system will be very efficient in Siargao. Most septic tanks in the island have a bottomless design which allows wastewater to quickly seep through the ground. This poses higher risk of contamination in freshwater and seawater. “Eco-sep will make an impact to Siargao since the main attraction of its eco-tourism are the pristine, fresh and very clean water along its beaches,” said Palencia. “We don’t want Siargao to follow the footsteps of other tourist areas where fecal bacteria are already in sea waters.” DOST Caraga Regional Director Dominga D. Mallonga also assured that DOST will always continue its support in sustaining eco-tourism in the island. “With the development comes challenges from the increasing influx of tourists in Siargao. DOST will always be along the way so that we will be able to plan out carefully and avoid problems in solid waste management and food safety,” guaranteed Director Mallonga. The Eco-sep technology is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). Its launch in the island was participated in by scientists, local government units (LGUs), government agencies, educators, volunteer groups, and students. During the launch of the technology, DOST also introduced other projects for Siargao such as food-based livelihood for the elderly, IT-enabled livelihood, and DOST’s digital S&T library called STARBOOKS. (S&T News Service)

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Italpinas Joins BPI Family Bank Thanksgiving

November 30, 2017

The BPI Family Savings recently hosted an appreciation dinner to give thanks to its business partners on November 23, 2017. Under the theme “Grazie” which means “Thank You” in Italian, BPI cordially invited listed developer Italpinas Development Corporation’s Chairman/CEO, Architect Romolo Nati and Senior Vice President for Bank and Business Development, Mr. Harold Dacumos to the occasion. During the event, IDC was recognized as the bank’s only Italian client in the Philippines. BPI and IDC have been supporting each other’s goals since the latter started its first project in Cagayan de Oro. In 2013, BPI granted IDC the green development loan to its first flagship project in Primavera Residences Tower B. Since the partnership began BPI Family has been active in offering housing loans to IDC’s clients including the buyers of Primavera City, the follow-up development. “We are honored to be part of BPI’s milestone. We are thanking them for supporting IDC’s commitment to sustainable business. Most of all, we are glad to be partnering with BPI for helping our clients’ dream home come true,” said Arch. Nati. Italpinas, a young Italian-Filipino company, has been an active participant in BPI Family Savings Bank Cagayan de Oro’s Lifestyle Madness held every year. During the housing fair, BPI and IDC partnered to offer housing loan deals for Primavera projects at low rates. Just like BPI, IDC has strong advocacy in helping every Filipino achieve an affordable and comfortable home. BPI is one of the universal banks in the country with over 809 branches and 2,542 automated teller machines (ATMs) which together form Expressnet, the largest combined network of branches/kiosk units and ATMs, servicing the largest number of bank customers, including over one million overseas Filipinos.

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Are you ready for the Ultimate Vivo Selfie Challenge?

November 30, 2017

Vivo, the young leading global smart phone brand which vows to bring advanced technology and stylish products to consumers, recently dominated the spotlight with the launch of the Vivo V7+. The Vivo V7+ is a new addition to the V series and promises to be a powerful shooter with a all-screen display. Equipped with advanced technology including Vivo’s fingerprint 24MP front-facing camera and a 16MP rear-facing camera, this phone is known for its exceptional photography features, screen quality and the overall product design. Vivo V7+ was launched last September 20 by a roster of the most celebrated faces in Philippine show business top billed by Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. To further promote the Vivo V7+ to its audience, Vivo is mounting the Vivo Ultimate Selfie Challenge to bring the V7+ closer to the selfie-obsessed crowd by highlighting the phone’s 24MP clearer selfie front camera and all-screen display. The Vivo Ultimate Selfie Challenge has three levels which a challenger needs to hurdle to get the ultimate prize: a brand new Vivo V7+! The following are the levels to beat to bag a V7+: Level 1: Take That Clearer Selfie Shot The challenger will stand in front of a Vivo V7+ phone unit. The challenger has 7 seconds to pose for a clearer selfie where all he/she need to do is take a perfect selfie. Level 2: The Lucky 3 Groufie The challenger has 77 seconds to convince 2 random people at the mall to join him/her for a Lucky 3 Groufie shot. All three people including the challenger should fit inside the V7+ frame for the Groufie shot. Level 3: Hold That Selfie The challenger has to stand in front of the Vivo V7+ phone. A random wacky picture will pop on the screen. The challenger has 7 seconds to look at the picture and imitate the pose. After the 7 second mark, the challenger should hold his/her selfie pose and maintain it for 7 minutes! Check out the Vivo Ultimate Selfie Challenge online at this URL. Vivo also recently unveiled another new offering just this November: the Vivo V7. The Vivo V7 promises to be a powerful shooter with an all screen display. Practically much like its predecessor the V7+ albeit with a more affordable price tag, V7 has 24MP clearer selfie camera, and an all screen 5.7-inch display. The V7 is the result of Vivo’s on-going effort in understanding the needs of today’s young people, as the company continues its growth trajectory and international expansion by providing stylish and dynamic products to more consumers to show off their individuality and capture memories that is worth remembering. Catch the Vivo Ultimate Selfie Challenge at malls near you. Beat all three levels and bag a brand new Vivo smart phone as your prize—truly the best gift anyone can have this Christmas! For inquiries about Vivo, visit the Vivo website at www.vivo.com/ph or check out their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VivoPhil), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/vivophil/), and Twitter (https://twitter.com/vivo_phil) accounts.Are you ready for the Ultimate Vivo Selfie Challenge?

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