A Filipina has Formulated a Multi-Awarded Herbal Soap in the World
"One day, I'll make the best soaps in the world."
An AB Journalism graduate of St. Theresa's College, Aleli owner of the renowned Victoria Herbal Soap Granules was interested in print and broadcast media. "Kung hindi ako makapasok doors, sa advertising sana," she recalls. Just a year after graduation, marriage intervened and for 13 years, "I was a full-time housewife and mother to seven children." However, a personal tragedy changed her life completely and she needed to work.
"I handled various jobs like I was into credit and collection for two years then into sales. I also ventured into computers but the restlessness was there until I got into herbal medicine," relates Aleli. With all the herbal plants available in abundance in the country, she saw the need to put them into use. She has been aware that medical costs are usually beyond the reach of an ordinary Filipino, "expensive, masakit sa bulsa and doctors are few." program. Extensive research and studies brought to her attention the many herbs which can also be sources of essential oils. Aleli points out, "Like citronella (salay), it grows rapidly and it can be harvested within four months dahil parang talahib lang yoon. But why are we importing it? Where cogon grass grows, citronella also grows."
Aleli mentions as well that the Philippines used to be the number one exporter of ilang-ilang essential oil. "Pero nasaan na ngayon ang ilang-ilang? Why do we have to import aloe vera (sabila) and patchouli (kabling) when both can be easily grown here?" Patchouli is bought at P2,800.00 per kilo or US$140 per liter, though according to Aleli, it may be cultivated under coconut or banana trees.
Her studies at the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center soap-recognizable in its yellow packaging, Aleli started winning awards worldwide. "You see, Victoria Herbal Soap Granules is probably the only herbal detergent, purely 100 percent biodegradable and natural with built-in softener." Proudly notes Aleli, "Victoria Herbal Soap does not have hardeners, fillers, and foam-boosters but is effective." The granules are found to be excellent as all-around cleansers, environment-friendly, effective as an insect repellant, and may be used too as shampoo and bath soap.
In 1994, Aleli brought home unimaginable awards for Victoria Herbal Soaps among them: 2nd Salon Mondial de Invention Et Innovacion EAU (Morocco), 5th East-West Euro-Intellect Exhibition of Inventions, Research and Innovations (Bulgaria), 24E Salon International des Inventions (Switzerland). The awards finally led to local recognition five years ago.
* This article was written by Linda M. De Leon and was published in a local newspaper "The Boss"