Thursday, May 5, 2005

When ‘kalamansi’ turns to gold

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, May 05, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
When ‘kalamansi’ turns to gold

THERE are many things I love about summer—light traffic, seasonal fruits like watermelons, different varieties of mangoes, sineguelas, langka, singkamas, melons, cantaloupes, mabolo, makopa, duhat, pomelo, durian and many others.

What I am very uncomfortable with summer is the soaring temperature. Gosh, the heat really gets inside your skin. I am also developing allergy to dust and the heat. My nose continuously runs and I sneeze at a rapid fire rate.

I am thinking, what products and services could tap these opportunities and address concerns? I received this mail from a budding entrepreneur who just might have the solution for my woes.

Lucy and Nomer Landayan assert that their Saint Claire Honeymansi definitely makes for a refreshing drink and its abundant Vitamin C content, according to health experts, could protect us from respiratory ailments.

Lucy, Nomer and their helpers have been producing delicious honeymansi for three years now from their house. They are awaiting the approval of the Bureau of Food and Drugs in order to market their product in supermarkets and groceries nationwide. Right now, they only do direct selling.

Their mission is to provide Filipinos with all-natural, thirst-quenching, freshly squeezed juice drink. Their competitive edge is that their product has no preservatives.

While the absence of preservatives gives their product shorter shelf-life (six months if refrigerated) compared to competitors’ products, they are able to establish a niche among more discriminating and health-conscious customers.

Thus, their marketing strategy is direct selling. They cater to private and government office workers. They have informal distributors in many offices.

Another key value-creating process is the sourcing of the right size, type and maturity of kalamansi. If the fruit is too ripe (yellowish), the taste is sweetish. So far, they discovered that the really sour kalamansi comes from Bicol and Davao. Lucy says that the ones from Nueva Ecija are not as sour and leave a bitter aftertaste. Likewise, it is important, according to Lucy, to use the proper container, size and material. They find the PET bottles to be just right.

Finally, since they like to preserve the nutrients in kalamansi, they never boil the kalamansi juice. The extract is added after cooling boiled water and honey and just before bottling.

In the end, Lucy and Nomer measure their success not only with a positive return on investment, neat profit after tax, repeat sales and growing new customers, but also in terms of maintaining consistent quality and taste of their product and giving employment opportunities to their neighbors. Lucy and Nomer have, indeed, turned green kalamansi into a profitable business and hope to strike gold when they get their BFAD permit.

Mother’s Pride. My sons have just rewarded me priceless gifts I will always treasure and will form a special part in my memory bank for my retirement. Ronjie, a civil engineer, is on a two-month scholarship on wind engineering at the Tokyo Polytechnic University. At the same time, he is doing research for his thesis to complete his graduate studies at the University of the Philippines, majoring in structural engineering. He works with Vibrametrics, Inc. Most of all, he is enjoying living on his own.

Adrian is one of the carefully selected recipients of the Country Business Manager Award for Service Excellence at Citibank for being an exemplary trainer and for outstanding performance and service above self. Adrian is passionate about lifelong learning which he is able to impart to his trainees. He is also working toward an MBA at de la Salle University.

These are more than all the material gifts they could buy for me. These are blessings. Next year, I wish to have daughters-in-law and grandchildren (Hint! Hint!).

Congratulations also to Cynthia and Bon Asis, whose son Paolo graduated summa cum laude, Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of the Philippines.

(Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. and her e-mail address is

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