Something’s sparkling in Bohol

 

MARIBOJOC, BOHOL—INSIDE the public market of this fourth-class coastal municipality, something’s sparkling.

It can be found in Aling Nenita’s Styrofoam. Most of the time near a vegetable stall, she squats and, when customers approach her and hand over P15 to her. In Bisaya, “thank you for buying Sparkling,” Aling Nenita tells the customer.

But small retailers like Aling Nenita have Sparkling Iced Drop, owned by former overseas seafarer and Maribojocanon Salvador Lamoste, to thank. Bohol’s widest-selling iced product has sparkled the entrepreneurial hopes of Bohol’s enterprising poor.

Lamoste’s tale speaks of a country wanting some of the billion-dollar remittances from some 9.4 million compatriots abroad to be channeled into enterprises, especially those firms that can survive the long haul

Sparkling is Lamoste’s major economic endeavor so that he becomes fully retired from seafaring. While Lamoste did not aim to compete with established iced products, coconut milk is his trump card in making his iced drop products, especially pinipig (he personally prepares the concoction, while two factory workers help him make and package the iced products).

His “special iced drop” should cost P15 while the smaller version of it is a cheap P5.

Lamoste’s market intelligence, however, was what sparkled the product’s outreach to make Sparkling Bohol’s biggest iced drop brand.

Lamoste, riding a multi-cab, first sold his products to three schools in Tagbilaran City every four in the afternoon. Every time he collects sales and unsold pinipig products, that’s when he started hiring local retailers.

He began with his townmates —about 50 of them— so that they sell Sparkling in the entire municipality (especially during market day—Wednesday). Lamoste then hired outside retailers, especially in Bohol’s tourist destinations like the Chocolate Hills in Carmen (middle of the island), as well as in Tagbilaran City. Prices of Sparkling vary per area.

Now, Sparkling has outlets in Carmen, Ubay, Talibon, Loon, Kinabanga and Tagbilaran City —spanning some of the major corners of Bohol. Since Cebu province is just a two-hour boat ride from Bohol, Sparkling products have even reached Mactan Island.

“Retailers are the backbone of Sparkling,” said Maribojoc’s richest overseas Filipino entrepreneur, who purposively hired those “trustworthy” retailers with limited means of earning incomes (especially in Maribojoc).

The 11-year-old Sparkling is an example of a migrant-financed enterprise (the firm’s initial capital all came from Lamoste’s earnings and savings as an able-bodied seaman, then an officer, for shops owned by Exxon Mobil Corp.) that grew out of being on top of the business.

It also operates in a municipality where, like other Philippine municipalities, incomes from townmates working or residing permanently abroad —worth some P40.548 million in 2010 alone— are the biggest compared to incomes from domestic remittances (P13.524 million), local entrepreneurial income (P11.483 million), and the total incomes earned by the municipal government of Maribojoc (21.061 million).

 

 

This story is a collaboration between the OFW Journalism Consortium, the Private Sector Promotion Program (SMEDP) of the German International Development Cooperation (GIZ) in the Philippines, and the nonprofit Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI). This story is part of the case studies featured in the GIZ study ‘Business Bliss from Hardwork Abroad’ (for details of this study, contact Dr. Lorenzo Templonuevo  at lorenzo.templonuevo@giz.de).

 

 

About OFW Journalism Consortium

Speak Your Mind

*