Filipino Products Excel at Local Trade Fair

A Natural Herbal Soap came out the most fragrant, while a bamboo handicraft stood the tallest among hundreds of products exhibited at the recently concluded Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) Trade Fair 2002. The two products were judged the most outstanding products of the fair.

The Daila Dome Soap, manufactured by the Daila Herbal Community Enterprises, bagged the Product of the Fair award. On the other hand, the Palawan Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC) bamboo handicraft decor, a living room ornament that stimulates the sound of the rain, won in another category as the Best TLDC Product, dwarfing entries submitted from other regions.

The exhibit was organized by the TLRC to assist its beneficiaries nationwide in marketing their products and facilitating the exchange of technology and livelihood ideas in the country and as a major activity of its Silver Anniversary celebrations.

Businesswoman Ma. Aleli Pansacola, who is a participant in TLRC seminars, was ecstatic upon realizing that she had just won her first Filipino award. Pensacola had previously been given international citations for her other herbal soap products. The Pasig entrepreneur owns Daila Herbal Community Enterprises, a manufacturer of natural herbal soap in the Philippines, a many-time winner in product exhibitions abroad.

“I am happy we have won our first Filipino award," enthuses Pansacola. She points out that her natural herbal products, which were originally developed and packaged for the Christmas season, stood out for a number of reasons. One, she says, the soap passes safety standards, having been made of pure essential oils.

Second, the dome-shaped soap was attractively packaged with a multipurpose wooden soap dish. The soap and the dish were elegantly wrapped in a strikingly colorful ribbon, making it a perfect gift for Christmas. The soap is available in different fruit extracts, including papaya and avocado.

Pansacola started her soap-making business after she joined TLRC seminars sometime in the 1980s. She was a lecturer at TLRC but stopped when her business grew. Her natural herbal soaps are now distributed in leading supermarkets in many parts of the country.

For his part, Ramon Gonzales Jr. of Palawan TLDC says that he was elated upon learning that the winner for Best TLDC Product comes from his province. "I'm proud of what we have accomplished," beams Gonzales as he playfully demonstrates to customers how the bamboo product is used. "Simple lang ito. Basically, it's a home decor, which creates the sound of the rain when turned upside down."

Made of bamboo stuffed with crushed shells inside, the product was developed by the Palawan TLDC beneficiaries after getting inspiration from the local tribes who used the sound-making instrument for their dry season rituals. "The manufacturers copied the idea and improved it by introducing artistic designs. They, then, packaged it as a home decor that can also be used as a musical instrument," Gonzales further reveals

With the people constantly lured by its unique sound, the bamboo decor became one of the most popular products in the exhibit. Gonzales says the product was well received by people who came to visit their booth: Many were amused by it that they bought some for souvenirs, including visiting government officials.

 Natural Herbal Soap made in the Philippines

***Published in a local newspaper last April 14, 2002