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Ateneo Student Business Review The Official Student Research Journal of the John Gokongwei School of Management

Volume VI SY 2011-2012 www.ateneo.edu/som

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Loyola Schools, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

ARTS & CRAFTS

CustomMade Handicrafted Traditions as Representation of the State of Cultural Entepreneurship in the Philippines

The Parol: Kaleidoscope Trade and Tradition Reviving the Abaca Slipper Industry in Liliw, Laguna The Woodmaster: Art and Business with Benji Reyes

TRAVEL

Trail Adventours: Stretching the Conventions of the Travel and Tour Industry

INSTITUTIONS

Getting Schooled: Restoring Heritage Landmarks while Educating Out-Of-School Youth with Escuela Taller

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Bote Central, Inc.: Reviving the Philippine Coffee Industry and Culture

HERITAGE PRESERVATION

Heritage Preservation: A Study of the Efforts at Adaptive Reuse by the Town of Taal, Batangas

SPECIAL FEATURES

Cultural Entrepreneurship: A Meeting of Two Brilliant Minds

Pateros Specialty: An Overview of the Balut Business and Industry 9 Works Theatrical: On Entering the Philippine Theatre Industry Casa Boholana: Vintage Houses of Bohol


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CUSTOMMADE HANDICRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTEPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

This paper examines the practices of one cultural enterprise, CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, and identifies strategies which can reconcile the dissonance between the venture’s cultural advocacy and its need for financial sustainability.

VOLUME VI SY2011-2012

Ateneo Student Business Review

This paper examines Filipino tradition as embodied in the parol and the current state of the country’s parol industry as represented by Rolren’s Lanterns, a renowned parol retailer in Pampanga.

SPECIAL FEATURE

CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A MEETING OF TWO BRILLIANT MINDS

Renowned anthropologist Dr. Fernando NakpilZialcita shares his vision of developing a new field of business in the Loyola School: Cultural Entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurial approach and perspective highlights the participation of the business community in making local markets and products globally competitive.

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30

THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

This paper analyzes acclaimed designer Benji Reyes’s accomplishments in light of the highly competitive furniture industry, the critical issues he had to contend with in the past and his business’s opportunities for growth in the future.

63

HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE REUSE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

70

THE PAROL: KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION

This paper focuses on the footwear industry of Liliw, Laguna by examining Badong Footwear, one of the town’s most prominent manufacturers, and the local Gat Tayaw festival designed to market the town’s products.

This paper traces the history of Bote Central, Inc., its entrance in the Philippine coffee industry through Kape Alamid, and its innovation of the coffee value chain which realizes its role as a cultural and social entrepreneur.

Adaptive re-use, or the use of a heritage structure for a purpose other than its intended use, is a method of structural heritage preservation that copes with modern development. This study surveys the importance of adaptive re-use to the heritage tourism industry in Taal, Batangas.

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REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY IN LILIW, LAGUNA

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BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

37

TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

This paper discusses the role of so-called “entourpreneurs” in preserving the Philippines’ culture and natural resources by using Trail Adventours, a newlyestablished tour company, as a case study.

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GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

This paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of Escuela Taller’s agenda as a vocational school advocating the preservation of heritage landmarks in the Philippines and the possible steps that should be undertaken to maintain its sustainability in the long run.

72

SPECIAL FEATURE

PATEROS SPECIALTY: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUTBUSINESS AND INDUSTRY This paper analyzes the Pateros balut industry through an interview with Nemesio Sanchez, one of the municipality’s foremost balut makers.

76

SPECIAL FEATURE

9 WORKS THEATRICAL: ON ENTERING THE PHILIPPINE THEATRE INDUSTRY

This paper examines the history of the Philippine theatre industry and the trends that have influenced it overtime. It also focuses on 9 Works Theatrical, a recently established theatre company, and its aim to position itself as a rising star in the industry. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 1


Ateneo Student Business Review

The Staff

Volume VI SY 2011-2012 www.ateneo.edu/som

Melinda Gabuya

Melinda Gabuya

Hans Santos

Michael Gao

Therese Paras

Michi Mañosca

Therese Espinosa

IV BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Cultural Heritage

IV BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Enterprise Development

Editor in Chief

Hans Cedric Santos Mary Therese Aprille Paras Copy Editors

Michael Gao Design Editor

Michelle Frances Mañosca Therese Anne Espinosa Marketing Officers

Adriann Caldozo Bernadee Uy Erika Diane Wijangco Jan Byron Raymundo Julie Diane Lim Katrina Monica Gaw Kristine Pauline Ongtenco Miguel Roman Perez Suzette de Leon Wencè Calinawan

I BS Management, Major in Legal Management

IV BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Enterprise Development

Staff Writers

Joseph Sedfrey Santiago, Esq. Moderator

IV BS Management, Major in Communications Technology Management

I BS Management, Major in Legal Management


“

�

Go forth and set the world on fire.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Adriann Caldozo

Bernadee Uy

Byron Raymundo

Erika Wijangco

Julie Lim

Katrina Gaw

Kristine Ongtenco

Miguel Perez

III BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Cultural Heritage

I BS Management, Major in Communications Technology Management

Suzette de Leon

IV BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Enterprise Development

IV BS Management

II BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in Literature

II BS Management of Applied Chemistry

II BS Management, Major in Communications Technology Management, Minor in Sociology

III BS Management, Major in Legal Management

III BS Management, Major in Legal Management

Wencè Calinawan

IV BS Management, Major in Legal Management, Minor in German Studies

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 3


From the Editor Cultural identity has always been problematic to the Filipino. When faced with the question of what is there to see or experience in the Philippines, we tend to mumble the same, incessant answers: the white beaches of Boracay, the slowly declining pine trees of Baguio, or even the stunning ancestral houses in Vigan. Do not get me wrong, these places have been gifted with a unique charm that is beyond compare. But the mind-boggling issue persists: what is Filipino culture? Dr. Fernando Zialcita, my professor in Cultural Heritage answers back with an even more bewildering rhetoric: what are Filipino cultures? This, in fact, is the greatest truth I have discovered from my minor track in Cultural Heritage as well as personal experience; one cannot simply produce a clear-cut, black and white formula in deciphering who the Filipino is. The Filipino is not only the typical Maria Clara terno, but also the dream woven t’nalak of the T’bolis of Lake Sebu, or the bahag (g-string) of the Cordillera tribes. Our heritage is one that thrives in ethnic diversity; from our indigenous roots and colonial influences to intermixed cultural practices and beliefs. It is all these different and intricate things co-existing together that make the Filipino. Alongside the huge efforts of this year’s ASBR publication team, it is with great pride and honor that we bring you this year’s issue on Cultural Entrepreneurship. The theme focuses on the role of the business community in the preservation and proliferation of our rich and diverse cultural heritage; a task that is called for and fitting for today’s Philippine society. From mere economic and social entities providing stable jobs and observing ethical practices, the responsibility of enterprises expands to upholding cultural values. Through Pampanga’s parol industry, and Benjie Reyes’ Filipino-designed furniture, and Bote Central’s native Kape Alamid and many more, we aim to draw a picturesque society where social and economic development is rooted in the innate and natural talent of the Filipino. Works included in this intention are intended to inspire readers, especially Ateneo management students, to appreciate and be part of this movement towards nationalism and cultural empowerment.

Melinda Gabuya Editor in Chief

4 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012


From the Dean In the 1980’s, Ateneo changed the name of its B.S. Business Management program into simply B.S. Management, to acknowledge the reality that the tools and techniques that we teach are important and relevant not just for the management of businesses, but indeed to the management of any organization, large and small, formal or informal, for-profit or not-for-profit. The rise of social entrepreneurship and cultural entrepreneurship in recent years are simply amplifications of this reality: efforts to bring about social and cultural transformation can be more sustainable if they involve the private sector and apply the frameworks of responsible business. This year’s issue of the Ateneo Student Business Review highlights cultural entrepreneurship and the importance of preserving, reviving, indeed reinventing our heritage as a nation and the role that business can play in this process. In an era when our young oftentimes embrace the new at the expense of the old, we need more than ever to remind each other of the richness of Philippine culture, and the importance of remembrance. The innovation that springs from cultural entrepreneurship allows us to renew, enrich, oftentimes reinvent tradition in ways that bridge the gap between the old and the new, and by so doing, help us to gain not just a deeper understanding of the agelessness and richness of our cultural traditions, but especially their continuing relevance to the world of today. At the John Gokongwei School of Management, we hope to produce young graduates who will have the skills and the vision to set up the trailblazing new enterprises of the future: enterprises that can contribute to our nation-building effort not just by creating greater value for the economy, but also by helping to achieve a national transformation that will involve not just reducing social imbalance, but also deepening our appreciation of our national and cultural identity as truly a Filipino people. Congratulations to Melinda Gabuya, this year’s Editor-in-Chief of the ASBR, Atty. Sedfrey Santiago, their moderator, and all the rest of the team for a job well done.

Rodolfo P. Ang Dean

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 5


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES by Suzette de Leon

Abstract Cultural Entrepreneurship has been gaining prominence over the years for a number of reasons. However, there is often a dissonance between the cultural advocacy of the venture and the financial sustainability needed by the business. This paper examines the practices of one cultural enterprise, CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, in order to identify strategies which can be effective in reconciling this dissonance. Image Source: cmcrafts.org

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CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

Cultural Entrepreneurship “[Culture] can be the engine for economic, social and environmental transformation of the space in which we live. Culture is not passive; rather it is one of the fastest growing and most labour intensive industries in advanced nations. – S. Arzeni (quoted in Kamara 2004) The prominence of cultural entrepreneurship has been constantly increasing over the years. With the rise of social entrepreneurship, the notion of businesses using culture as its unique selling proposition has been making an inroad into the management field as well. Different cultural enterprises are on the rise, making their names well-known not only in our country but on the international level as well. The industry of cultural enterprise is considered one of the fastest growing industries today. It is said to be “the 5th largest economic sector in terms of turnover” (Kamara, 2004). According to Zemite, cultural entrepreneurship is the creation, production and marketing “of cultural goods and services, generating economic, cultural and social opportunities for creators while adding cultural value for consumers” (Zemite, 2010). As with other kinds of businesses, cultural enterprises are profit-oriented, but the motivations are not always predicated on monetary gains. As mentioned, the Percent of Children for each Category (in New Mexico)

Living in poverty Children w/ disability Lives w/ single parent Receives foodstamps Preschool enrollment Teen school enrollment Learns 2nd language  

Children w/ a Cultural Epreneur

Children w/ a Cultural Worker

Children w/ other E-preneur

Children w/ other Worker

Children w/ no Worker

15%

21%

21%

20%

68%

4.3%

5.5%

4.4%

5.6%

10.6%

20.5%

33.3%

20.9%

29.3%

63.1%

14%

22%

15%

17%

53%

55%

38%

35%

40%

40%

84%

77%

85%

80%

82%

35%

37%

26%

30%

35%

Figure 1: Poverty and Cultural Entrepreneurship (Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, 2010)

creators of cultural enterprise’s product offerings gain not only economic benefit, but opportunities to effect different aspects of development as well. Cultural entrepreneurs and those involved in the industry introduce social and cultural developments aside from generating monetary resources. Cultural knowledge is now one of the major catalysts of social development by way of cultural enterprises. It has been remarked that “cultural industries have the potential to contribute significantly to the economies of developing countries” (Kamara, 2004). Increasing opportunities for employment and livelihood is made possible by the industry. As seen in the table <marked Figure 1> based on a study in New Mexico, the percentage of children living in poverty is lower for those with parents who are engage in cultural entrepreneurship. Moreover, enrolment in different levels of education is also higher for those in the aforementioned group. With the greater prominence of cultural enterprises, the point of reflection for this paper primarily revolves around the mechanisms working at reconciling the dissonance between profitability and the high cost of cultural advocacy, which may be detrimental to the financial growth of the company. Cultural entrepreneurship combines the profit-orientation of the classical enterprises, and the sustainability that can be brought about by offering products featuring cultural roots and orientations. It is important to note the level of dissonance in this kind of scheme. The challenges faced by the growing industry are also points of discussion in fully comprehending what this socalled cultural entrepreneurship really is. This paper will try to explore these topics by discussing the whole industry in general and how its recurring themes and practices are reflected in a certain enterprise. In understanding cultural entrepreneurship, it is also important to differentiate it from classical entrepreneurship. There are always difficulties in distinguishing whether or not an enterprise is a cultural one. In the journal article “Challenges of Cultural Entrepreneurship”, Mark Casson argues Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 7


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

Figure 2: Thought process of Cultural Entrepreneurs (Zemite, 2010)

that cultural products can be differentiated from other products in that “cultural products are simply one of the means through which fundamental values and beliefs are expressed” (2006). Products that are generated by creative imaginations – those which present cultural values to the end consumers – are said to be cultural products, and are concretely different from ordinary offerings. An understanding of what cultural entrepreneurs are gives us a sense of orientation in comprehending the different mechanisms working behind the concept of cultural entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are commonly described as visionary, passionate, and hard-working. They take the role of managers, innovators, systematic analysts, motivators, creators, and trend-setters among others. “Entrepreneurs thrive on change and have a natural predisposition to showing initiative and willingly accept personal responsibility for projects” (Baskerville & Flanagan, 2012). Cultural entrepreneurs, on the other hand, take these characteristics and roles to another level. They are visionary and use this characteristic not only to create profitable enterprises but to provide a sustainable source of income to groups that advocate and create cultural and symbolic values (Zemite, 2010). As seen in the picture above, cultural entrepreneurs make use of this continuing process of innovation and use market research to 8 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

provide services and product offerings that can be beneficial in providing symbolic values. Cultural entrepreneurs provide an avenue that connects market needs to the creations of cultural entities that espouse old values and traditions. Cultural entrepreneurs, according to Zemite, use assets that are “forms of social capital”, networks and relationships included. The cultural entepreneur, she adds, is not alone in his endeavours; there are groups and sociocultural teams that are involved in the process of creating the end products that are presented to the customers. Moreover, the objective of this kind of entrepreneurship is to provide “some kind of financial sustainability for the cultural activity” (Kamara, 2004).

Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Philippines In the Philippines, there has been a continuing call for people to engage in cultural entrepreneurship and put up businesses just like the CustomMade. This is because of the increasing opportunities, and the possible economic advantages it can provide for the society. Moreover, cultural endeavours in the country have been marginalized for a very long time. It is only now that people are becoming aware, and are advocating holding on to our cultural roots and tradition and using them for economic, social and cultural gains.


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions: Company Profile

(Echostore, 2012; British Council; Magna Kultura; Kulay-Diwa)

The pictures above show different cultural enterprises in the country, as well as organizations and associations supporting them. Magna Kultura Foundation, for example, believes that “strong understanding of our national culture is the key towards building a strong civil society” (Magna Kultura). Because of this core advocacy, it promotes educational and social activities that help raise cultural awareness in Filipinos. The organization promotes cultural entrepreneurship as a path to social development. Cultural enterprises in the country are situated in different sectors. This paper focuses on CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, Inc., which is one cultural enterprise in the handicrafts sector. There are also enterprises engaged in tours and travels, hotel and restaurants, footwear, fashion, theatre, and printed material industries.

One of the enterprises engaged in cultural entrepreneurship in the Philippines is CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions (referred to in this paper as CustomMade). It offers a wide array of products which are all created by “skilled weavers and indigenous artisans” all around the country (CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, 2012). A vision of the company is to integrate modernity with traditional roots by providing products that not only have cultural value but are also functional to address the modern needs of the consumers. As the company description states: The products are made from nontimber forest resources and the designs are drawn from timeless traditions fashioned into various product lines that meet the needs of present day lifestyle. The products, while retaining the mystical and exotic touch of the indigenous crafts, address functional requirements of the times. CustomMade balances the needs of both consumers and producers. It “customizes” the crafts to the needs of the modern market while respecting the traditions and lifeways of artisans. (CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, 2012)

Figure 3: Business Model of Cultural Enterprise (Kamara, 2004)

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 9


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

A catalog of products made from indigenous materials and resources that promote cultural value and appreciation (Image Source: cmcrafts.org)

Based in Diliman, Quezon City, CustomMade allows products of partner communities to become easily accessible to the consumers who want to get hold of these. The company builds a bridge between the indigenous communities, who create the products, and the end consumers, who buy them not only because of their functionality but due to their cultural value. The operations of CustomMade take the structure and form of a standard business model of cultural enterprises <as seen in Figure 3>. The first part of the process includes manufacture or creation of the products made possible by the artisans. In the case of CustomMade, their partner indigenous communities such as the Mangyans and Maguindanaoans are involved in this process. The second step involves the intermediaries, the cultural managers and those which make the availability of the products in the market possible. CustomMade is involved in both the second and third steps of this particular structure.

CustomMade Product Lines The company’s products cater to different needs of the consumers. Their products range from materials which can be used for personal purposes 10 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

to those useful at home and in the office. According to the company, their products are made of “organic and non-timber forest resources” and are handcrafted by the artisans “employing traditional and nature-friendly means” (CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, 2012). In this way, the sustainability of the enterprise includes not just providing livelihoods to artisan communities but also in protecting the environment through naturefriendly business practices. “Modi” or “Modern Indigenous” encapsulates the conceptual framework of the company. Indigenous products created through traditional mechanisms and activities are being tailor-fit to modern and contemporary needs of the consumers. Part of their product offerings include raw materials and handwoven textiles such as the tinalak, hinabol, inaul, ramit and malong, which are all created by indigenous artisans and inspired by traditional art. Incorporated also in the wide range of products of the company are fashion-related materials such as shawls and wallets. These are offered to help provide sustainability to the partner communities. One of the major product categories being


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

offered by CustomMade the “Habitat” line which includes home decorations and supplies, all of which may be used for everyday purposes. Some examples of products in this line are pillow, frames, baskets, containers and others which are all aesthetically created to illustrate traditional beliefs and artistry. CustomMade also offers weaved notebooks, journals, pads, organizers, and classify it under one cluster which is called the “World Journals.” The main unique selling proposition of these products is the cultural appeal of the paper products it offers to the consumers, in lieu of the emphasis on modernity in our society. Another line of product offerings is the “Sustainable Work Hubs” which cater to the office needs of individuals. It includes file cases, storage boxes and other useful things that can be beneficial for the consumers. Other products of the company include bags for travel woven using non-timber products by partner artisans (pictured to the side) and organic food such as jams, jelly and vinegar.

Company Values and Strategies The company came about as a result of the advocacy of the Non-Timber Forest Product Exchange Program or NTFP-EP which aims primarily to support Filipino indigenous communities and provide them opportunities for livelihood and economic sustainability. The company became a cultural enterprise, in its authentic sense, by paving the way for indigenous crafts to be readily available to the common Filipinos. This way, not only are the traditions of the partner communities preserved but they also receive economic returns from their labour. The company, first and foremost, values “humane working conditions” for the employees, the partner organizations, and artisans. Cultural enterprises are not only concerned with the economic gains but with the overall welfare of the creators of the products. Moreover, CustomMade makes sure that the production of the traditional products will not interfere with the culture and

practices of the traditions of the indigenous group. One of the strategies of CustomMade is to continually create opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers and help in their sustainability. They also value “better environment practices.” As they put it: “Indigenous handicrafts marketing is a more environmentally-benign livelihood compared to other extractive industries in rural settings thus resulting in less adverse impacts on forests. The CMCC also promotes eco-friendly practices such as use of natural dyes and sustainable harvesting procedures” (CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions, 2012) This strategy is in line with the strategies of other cultural enterprises. These businesses aim a general, social development which includes economic, social, cultural, and environmentalfriendly practices. CustomMade partners and works with different cultural and social organizations all throughout the country to help sustain these groups—one of them being the Al-Jamelah Organization. This association is composed of empowered women weaving scarves and malongs known as inaul which are sold in the local and international markets. The relationship between CustomMade and Al-Jamelah is premised on mutualism – CustomMade has a supplier of products to sell in the market, and Al-Jamelah is helped in achieving economic stability. As the company says: “Through the weaving enterprise of the Al-Jamelah Organization, the women have found solace and hope to alleviate their lives from poverty and continue to rebuild their lives toward a future that includes a more comfortable life and a brighter future for their children.”(CustomMade Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 11


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

Handcrafted Traditions, 2012) Many years ago, Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND) Greenshoppe, another partner of CustomMade, sold indigenous goods, such as organic products and handicrafts in Negros’s markets. However, market demand was inconsistent, and so a retail point was established to provide the organization a sense of continuity in the selling of their products. It now distributes its products to different partner organizations, one of them being CustomMade. CustomMade also partners with different indigenous cultural artisans who manufacture the company’s products. Higaonon, one of the partner artisan communities of the company, is a tribal community located in Northern Mindanao. The main livelihood of the community is weaving and this is what CustomMade banks on. The enterprise acquires colourful, weaved products and textile from the area and sell it in their store. The Mangyans, an indigenous tribe in Mindoro, is also one of the partner artisan communities of CustomMade. They are particularly equipped with the long-standing tradition of creating baskets and ramit, a patterned textile used to create belts, wallets, and headbands among others. The Maguindanaonas, another partner community of the enterprise, create malongs and other fabrics incorporated for different purposes in the products offered by the company. Another partner organization of CustomMade is the Nagkakaisang Tribung Palawan, an organization for the indigenous people in Palawan. The primary “cultural value” of the group is its offering of environment-friendly nontimber products.

Challenges of Cultural Entrepreneurship Cultural entrepreneurship occurs in varied and diverse forms of businesses. Zenite argues that these enterprises are present in different fields— “performing arts, museums, music, literature, publishing, film, photography, folk art, design, architecture, education, cultural and creative 12 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

tourism, new multimedia”. He goes on to say that cultural enterprise may be found throughout micro, small and medium-scaled operations. However, as diverse as this industry is, he notes that businesses engaged in this scheme do not attain “economic viability, failing to ensure a decent living for creators” (Zemite, 2010). Sustainable entrepreneurship is defined as a “process of venture creation that links the activities of entrepreneurs to the emergence of value-creating enterprises that contribute to the sustainable development of the social–ecological system” (O’Neill, Hershauer, & Golden, 2009).The sustainability of cultural businesses is problematic when placed in the larger context of the Philippine and international markets. While these enterprises give importance to sustainability in terms of economic gains as well as gains of cultural and social value, the demand of the market for these goods is not constant at all. Kamara points out that the need or demand for cultural products only manifest when the products themselves have already been offered in the market. Consumers do not express a need for products like these until they have already been produced and showcased to them (Kamara, 2004). Consumer behaviour research is more difficult in this framework as compared to the market research used for classical enterprises.


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

The risk of overlooking other consumer groups is also high in this industry. While the products aim to allow consumers to see beyond modernity and revert to the traditional culture and practices, the enterprises should be mindful of their capacity to offer products to everyone, not just locally but also internationally. Filipino cultural enterprises, for example, should be competitive and adaptive enough to make penetration of international markets possible. Furthermore, setting prices in cultural enterprises is difficult as products are dependent on “symbolic value”. The assessment of the rates of the products is largely dependent on perceived value and not on the actual expenditures and costs that it took the company to create them. The important factor is the preferences and perception of the consumers, and at what price they are willing to purchase the products. As Kamara puts it, “the value of cultural products is often dependent on information that is detached from their price” or cost (Kamara, 2004). Another challenge that cultural enterprises face is the low access to financing and credits. Cultural enterprises are considered as a “high-risk sector” due to its reliance on intellectual property that can easily be replicated by other companies. They also have little in the way of tangible assets which can be used as collateral when taking out debts for financing (Kamara, 2004). As defined by Shane and Venkataraman, and quoted in Tominc and Rebernik, entrepreneurship is the structure of processes where opportunities are exploited and taken advantage of (Tominc & Rebernik, 2007). Cultural entrepreneurship must be capable of continually exploring and innovating to be able to tap into different needs that occur in the market. Kamara, however, identifies difficulties with communicating the idea of cultural entrepreneurship among the artisans and partner communities. According to him, the artists, sometimes, cannot see themselves as artisans, much less as entrepreneurs. Lack of confidence occurs and visions are hindered. Moreover,

according to him, sometimes there is also a lack of professionalism. Artisans see this only as a “part-time activity” and so maximum effort and resources are not exerted in the undertakings. He also points out that information in this market is not always already accessible, thus making it difficult for the entrepreneurs to find out what the market needs are (Kamara, 2004). With all these challenges and hindrances, to make these enterprises more profitable and sustainable, cultural entrepreneurs “should provide strategic innovation planning for organizations at the convergence of the arts, education, and technology” (Zemite, 2010).

Response of CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions Kamara points out how marketing practices are vital strategies to enable cultural enterprises to succeed, and become profitable. The first important thing to do is to identify an opportunity that can be exploited. He identifies these needs as something that is “currently not being satisfied” or needs that may be already addressed by other businesses but are still not fully saturated. In the case of CustomMade, for example, they adapted their cultural products to address the functional needs of the consumers. Their products are very useful in the everyday existence of the consumers. In trying to appeal to wider markets, one of the major strategies of CustomMade is their “consumer education” wherein they use different tools of marketing to enhance the appreciation of the consumers to cultural materials like that of what they are selling. They partner with different communities, media agencies and the government to provide visibility that their company needs in the midst of all this modernity and commercialization. CustomMade also relies on the differentiated nature of their products to be able to enter the international scene. The company also makes a point to be careful of the ever-changing needs of people, always taking sustainability into consideration. One of the major strategies of CustomMade is Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 13


CUSTOMMADE HANDCRAFTED TRADITIONS AS REPRESENTATION OF THE STATE OF CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES

their “transparency and accountability” wherein different stakeholders are continually consulted on their pricing strategies to assure equity in terms of expenditures and profits. This addresses the predicament of the difficulty of setting the value of the products in terms of the price levels. Moreover, it is important to develop the commitment of the partner artisans to the enterprise as they are the key to success of these kinds of businesses. Entrepreneurs should not stop in developing the artistic visions of these artisans and bringing these visions to life. Continuing meetings and agreements should take place between the artisans and the entrepreneurs responsible for distributing and creating marketing strategies for the products.

Conclusion In conclusion, culture is one key factor that can be utilized by different countries to achieve economic success. Not only does it provide monetary rewards but also employment for a large number of people. Social development, therefore, is forwarded because of cultural entrepreneurship. The national identity and awareness of it are also facilitated by these industries and bring traditional knowledge within reach of the ordinary people. It becomes the bridge between the past, the present and the future. For the longest time, our nation has been confronted with problems on the road to development and more equitable distribution of wealth among our people. Cultural entrepreneurship is one avenue for national development, and it is important to put resources, time and effort to continually improve this and bring this to the consciousness of everyone. As Regis Pecos and Cochiti Pueblo puts it: “If we haven’t placed language and culture at the centrepiece of economic development strategies, we are contributing to our own demise. Cultural entrepreneurship is a strategy that can help us find a middle 14 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

ground.”(Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, 2010) BIBLIOGRAPHY Baskerville, P., & Flanagan, D. (2012, February 11). Characteristics of an Entrepreneur: the A to Z of the characteristics of an entrepreneur. Retrieved February 27, 2012, from Knol: http:// knol.google.com/k/peter-baskerville/characteristics-of-anentrepreneur/14j3i4hyjvi88/15 British Council. (n.d.). British Council Org. Retrieved January 10, 2012, from http://www.britishcouncil.org/philippines-commonknow-our-projects-current-projects-i-am-a-changemaker.htm Casson, M. (2006). Culture and Economic Performance. Handbook of the Economics of Arts and Culture, 359-395. CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions. (2012). CustomMade Handcrafted Traditions. Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http:// www.cmcrafts.org/ Echostore. (2012). Echostore: Sustainable Lifestyle. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from http://echostore.ph/ Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship. (2010). Cultural Entrepreneurship Report. Retrieved January 5, 2012, from National Assembly of State Arts Agencies: http://nasaa-arts. org /Learning-Services/Past-Meetings/Assembly-2010Proceedings/Cultural-Entrepreneurship-report.pdf Kamara, Y. (2004, December 1). Keys to Successful Cultural Enterprise Development in Developing Countries. Retrieved February 9, 2012, from UNESCO: http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ files/25423/11066550483Keys_to_Successful_Cultural_ Enterprise_Development.pdf/Keys+to+Successful+Cultural+E nterprise+Development.pdf Kulay-Diwa. (n.d.). Kulay-Diwa. Retrieved January 10, 2012, from http://www.kulay-diwa.com/ Magna Kultura. (n.d.). Cultural Entrepreneurship. Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http://magnakultura.multiply.com O’Neill, G. J., Hershauer, J., & Golden, J. (2009). The Cultural Context of Sustainability Entrepreneurship. Greener Management International, 33-46. Tominc, P., & Rebernik, M. (2007). Growth Aspirations and Cultural Support for Entrepreneurship :A Comparison of Post-Socialist Countries. Small Business Economics, 239-255. Zemite, I. (2010). Challenges of Cultural Entrepreneurship. International Scientific Conference: Individuals, Society, State in Changing Economic, 77-81.


THE PAROL:

KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION by Erika Wijangco

The Filipino Anticipation The Philippines has long held the reputation of celebrating the longest Christmas season among all other Catholic nations. Festive decorations are hung at homes and even at commercial establishments as early as September. Christmas carols boom just as early, and the holidays extend up to the first or second week of January. This eager anticipation of the Catholic Filipino is emphasized even more by the tradition of Simbang Gabi, nine-day dawn masses held before Christmas. This practice traces its roots to the evening novenas held in preparation for Christmas during the Spanish occupation. Since the devout local parishioners were agricultural laborers who were usually worn out by the end of the day, the

Church arranged for early morning masses to accommodate the people. This is where the Filipino ingenuity and artistry again arises. For the nine days of having to hear Mass at the crack of dawn, the roads to the churches were said to have been lit by decorated lanterns instead of the usual kalburo or carbide lamps. These fancy lanterns are locally known as the parol, a word born from farol, Spanish for lamp (Alejandro and Santos 2003). The parol is reputed to be the fusion of the Western pi単ata and the bright Chinese lanterns during the peak of the Spanish colonial era. However, one individual has also been credited to have created the distinct fivepointed star parol design. (Alejandro and Santos 2003). Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 15


THE PAROL: KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION

One of the giant lanterns on display in Pampanga for the annual Giant Lantern Festival. (Source: tourism-pilippines.com)

Mapping the Stars and Arts Francisco Estanislao of Pampanga is often acknowledged as the creator of the five-pointed star design of the parol (Alejandro and Santos 2003). He is said to have come up with the idea in 1928, making the parol out of rice paper and a bamboo frame, and illuminating the craft with a candle within. Continuing Estanislao’s legacy, the Kapampangans led the evolution and innovation of the parol from Japanese paper and bamboo sticks to capiz, a type of seashell, plastic, and even metal. Pampanga eventually became the center of the parol trade through the years, with both local and foreign tourists flocking to the town to purchase unique parols for their own homes. The City of San Fernando in Pampanga is also known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” because every year, the local government holds the Giant Lantern Festival where different barangays compete and display their enormous Christmas lanterns reaching up to 20 feet in diameter. This famous event is a continuation of the tradition of lubenas, where lanterns were used to guide the parishioners to 16 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

the local church for the nine-day novena of dawn masses before Christmas (Henares). The cottage industry is now a major tourist attraction in the province of Pampanga. Every year, way before the Christmas season, several makers and sellers of Christmas lanterns would line the major roads of the city, displaying their kaleidoscopic works in the hopes of catching motorists’ attention for potentials sales. Most parol makers do the production in their own homes. Facundo, in 2008, writes that there is no formal accounting of business operations. Sales, orders, and costs are simply recorded in a “listahan system” and are modified accordingly. Hence, the parol industry in itself remains largely unmonitored by the government. Moreover, Facundo adds, although the Department of Trade and Industry has already created a category for “holiday décor products” group, the Christmas lantern has yet to be classified under a certain category. Nowadays, Christmas lanterns range from the simple, traditional five-pointed star figure to the highly elaborate and fancy parols that display dancing lights in forms up worthy of exhibition. Nonetheless, the process of creating


THE PAROL: KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION

a parol has more or less stayed the same through these innovations. At the helm of every lantern production is the designer who plans the layout and sequence of lights of the work. Depending on the scale of the project, the frame (usually made of wood, metal, or plastic) of the parol would then be constructed by a number of workers, then fitted with light bulb/s, and covered with colorful Japanese paper, plastic, capiz shells, or fiber glass. Of the several parol makers, perhaps one of the most prominent and leading names are the Quiwas. Ernesto Quiwa is a fourth-generation descendant of Estanislao. His creations, which highlight the distinctiveness of the Pampanga parol, have reached exhibitions in countries such as the United States, Japan, and Spain. He is also a regular at the Giant Lantern Festival. Most recently, Quiwa was commissioned by the Cultural Center of the Philippines to adorn the façade of its iconic building with 50 traditional, white star lanterns for the whole Christmas season (Garcia).

Shooting for the Stars Another well-known parol maker/designer in San Fernando is Rolando Quiambao. Before entering the parol industry, Quiambao went overseas to work while his wife was employed as a nurse at a local university. Shortly after, he went back home to support his family’s retail business in the wet market, tried his luck as a jeepney driver and then decided to go into repairing lanterns (Quiambao). Rolren’s Lanterns and General Merchandise is registered under the name of Mrs. Renita Quiambao, the renowned parol maker’s wife. It was established in 1985, after realizing Rolando’s passion and talent for designing, rather than merely repairing Christmas lanterns. Like most establishments, capital was also an obstacle in the early years of Rolren’s. As a start-up, it also faced competition—a major threat since the industry has so far been mainly sustained by patronage from the local government and avid (and mostly well-off) supporters of the tradition (Quiambao). Fortunately, Quiambao and his craft have gained

enough popularity through the years, and earned the business enough suki or patrons to sustain his unique passion that has become a business. Perhaps, what greatly helped and became the springboard for the now flourishing trade of the Quiambaos was the opportunity given by the local government. In 1995, Rolando Quiambao was one of the artists approached by the government officials to help revive San Fernando after being devastated by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. As part of the “Save San Fernando Movement,” Quiambao took care of the decorations of the streets and major areas of the city, including the Paskuhan Village, giving it the authentic Filipino and Kapampangan Christmas feel with the kaleidoscopic parol hung in every building and lamp posts. From then on, Rolren’s received a steady flow of regular customers who took delight in the designer’s unique, illuminative ideas. Mr. Quiambao’s growing business has been recognized through the several awards he received in recognition of his parols and his dedication as an entrepreneur in his field. The trade continues to grow with the innovative design ideas of Mr. Quiambao. Breaking away from the traditional five-pointed star, Rolren’s innovated by altering the shape of the parol, aiming to set trends in the industry instead of simply following the rest. Eventually, acknowledging the seasonality of their chosen trade, Rolren’s is now engaged in the production of décor materials for other seasons and occasions (Quiambao).

Certificates and news clippings highlighting the entrepreneur and his enterprise adorn the patio of the home/workplace of the Quiambaos.

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 17


THE PAROL: KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION

A Guiding Star? Aside from local government backing and support, Rolren’s was also recipient of national government support, being one of the first entrepreneurs to be granted assistance in the form of the “One Town, One Product” project of the Department of Trade and Industry. Under this program, entrepreneurial efforts of locals who, at the same time, bolster tourism activity in the area are loaned Php 1,000,000—to be shared, and utilized in business. In the starting years of Rolren’s Lanterns, it was also government funding that helped the entrepreneur in the financing of his trade. Through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’ Self Employment AssistanceKaunlaran (SEA-K) program, Quiambao also received financial support to sustain the growth of his business, allowing it to cope with the increasing market demand. It is apparent that the government, both on the local and national level, has played a major role in the growth of the Quiambaos’ enterprise. The influence of the government in supporting cultural endeavours can also be seen in its

commissioning of Quiwa with the CCP building’s designs. Undeniably, in this industry, which is comprised of businesses relying mainly on sukis or patrons, large scale contracts such as those with the government can be a boon to the enterprise. As it is still considered a cottage industry, financial and technical support from the government can also greatly bolster a budding business, as it did with Rolren’s Lanterns. Indeed, at this point, the government is a major player in the trade.

The Government at Work On a closer examination, the “One Town, One Product” (OPTOP) program of the Department of Trade and Industry is a viable option for a cultural entrepreneur as it directly aims to help efforts at boosting local economy and tourism. “OTOP Philippines supports micro, small and medium enterprises to manufacture, offer and market distinctive products or services through the use of indigenous raw materials and local skills and talents” (“Department of Trade and Industry”). Also in line with cultural entrepreneurship, another effort by the government to boost economic activity is Provincial Branding, where products get to be marketed with the official support of the local government. This program, though, chooses only a handful of products after a thorough selection process, and given the scale of the parol industry, the chances of acquiring the local seal to promote their product can prove to be much slimmer (Quiambao). In addition to this, local governments can also play a vital role in the parol industry as it is a major customer, purchasing or commissioning a designer or maker to light up important government buildings or even the whole locality for the season.

A Kaleidoscope Industry

Rolando Quiambao’s previous award-winning lantern designs.

18 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Since the sellers and makers of the renowned Christmas decoration primarily earn a living through their suki or patrons, penetrating the industry has arguably become more and more difficult. Competitors, both old and new, are faced with the challenge of providing the


THE PAROL: KALEIDOSCOPE TRADE AND TRADITION

The traditional five-pointed star parol adorn the Ateneo de Manila University campus, Christmas 2011

market with innovative products that are unique and competitive enough to attract buyers. In an industry that traces its roots to tradition, and banks on creative minds, it can also be said that as important as design breakthroughs are to sustain the industry, such innovations must remain careful in treading the lines between new and out-of-line products; the parol being a Christmas symbol, and not a mere decorative. In addition to the design hurdle, since there exists an industry consensus on pricing (Quiambao), aiming for the position of being the cheaper product also seems an unlikely proposition. With established businesses in the trade such as Mr. Quiambao’s, branding the product is a possible marketing strategy, especially for expansion purposes. Instead of exporting directly or indirectly, a local expansion also looks more favorable for the cultural entrepreneur. While having all parol-related establishments huddled in one location can indeed increase the area’s economic and tourist activity, the individual business is put in a position where it gains no particular advantage over its rivals given the intense competition. The parol, as an authentic Filipino tradition, has an existing market in

virtually every Christmas-celebrating area in the Philippines. It can all be a matter of quality and designs that stand out among the rest. The cottage industry seems to be reflective of a perfectly competitive environment, although it seems subject to influence by government measures. As it is, several opportunities are available to the whole Christmas lantern industry, just as there are as many threats to it. The informality of the environment provides a chance for the industry’s speedier growth as there are virtually no barriers to entry. But up until now, there still is no actual way to gauge industry performance. The mixed conditions in the industry apply to an individual enterprise as well— opportunities for expansion are very much a given, but the challenge of this cultural trade remains— how does one innovate tradition? WORKS CITED Alejandro, Reynaldo, and Vicente Roman Santos. PAROL: Christmas Star Lantern. Duende Publishing, 2003. Print. Facundo, Juergen. “The Sustainability of the Lantern Industry in Pampanga: A Financial Perspective.” Philippine Management Review. 15. (2008): 148-71. Print. Garcia, Angelo. “Starlight, starbright.” Manila bulletin 18 Dec 2011, n. pag. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <http://mb.com.ph/articles/345231/ starlight-starbright>. Henares, Ivan Anthony. City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Department of Tourism. Christmas Capital of the Philippines: The Story Behind the Giant Lanterns of the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Web. <http://www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph/tourism/history.phphttp:// www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph/tourism/history.php>. “One Town, One Product (OTOP-Philippines).” Department of Trade and Industry. Web. <http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php?p=172>. Quiambao, Renita. Personal Interview. January 14, 2012.

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 19


Crowncrest Links Inc.

LOGISTICS, INVENTORY, RECEIVING, DISPATCHING, ITEM HANDLING, ALLOCATION OF ITEMS SOLEDAD ONG JALIMAO General Manager Contact# (+63) 09175281636 solojalimao@crowncrestlinks.com Trinity Steel Compound, Lubiran St., Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila Tel.: (+632) 713-1889 / 386-4059 TIN: 007-217-00


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA by Adriann Caldozo

Abstract While the footwear industry has risen with the appearance of specialty stores dealing in slippers such as Havaianas, Ipanema and Banana Peel, the town of Liliw, Laguna has long been manufacturing their own variant of abaca slippers. However, the town has not been able to keep up with the trends and is slowly being left behind. This paper looks at the national footwear industry as a whole, then focuses on the footwear industry of the town, examining one prominent manufacturer Badong Footwear and the local Gat Tayaw festival designed to market the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s products. The paper then suggests strategies which are hoped to result in success for the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growing footwear industry.

Badong Footwear, owned by Mr. Salvador Monteiro

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 21


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

Tsinelas made of Abaca and wooden Beads. The Tsinelas are available in different kinds of colors and designs.

The National Footwear Industry Four dominant brands in the footwear industry of the Philippines are Rusty Lopez with 23.6%, Gibi 10.7%, Figlia 10.0% and CLN 7.2%. Rusty Lopez has the largest market share with footwear for both men and women. Otto holds the second position in men’s footwear while Figlia and CLN take the second and third spot in women’s footwear. The only international brands taking significant market shares are Nike and Adidas in sport’s footwear (Euromonitor International, 2011). The dominance of local manufacturers in the industry clearly shows the expertise of Filipinos in designing and manufacturing footwear. Current trends have shown that the manufacturers and retailers target the young consumer groups more, including young professionals who tend to buy more fashionable footwear, both formal and non-formal. The women’s non-sports footwear has recorded the highest increase in volume. In the future, men’s non-sports footwear is to be expected to record the highest growth. This is attributed to the increasing number of men looking for more fashionable footwear (Euromonitor International, 2011). 22 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

As seen in the graphs, both in volume and value, women’s non-sports footwear cover much of the market. Women buy more shoes amounting to sales in value of Php 23,920,400.00 compared to the men’s footwear which only amounts to P16, 712.500.00. The graph also shows almost equal amount in men’s sports and non-sports footwear; while women clearly favor non-sports over sports footwear. Clearly, there is a rising market with women and their footwear. The national footwear industry is generally looking good with the expansion of the local market as an opportunity to be captured. Further, the increase in footwear specialty stores also presents itself as an opportunity for manufacturers to scale-up as more variety of products can be offered. The product variety for the past years has also been diversifying. There is also an opportunity in the revival of the boat shoes and the emergence of other footwear such as espadrilles, which are partly made from abaca and targets the younger market. However, the increase of imported products, particularly from China, still looms over the industry with their inexpensively priced products. The market’s choice for more refined


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

and intricate designs pushes the manufacturers to create more innovative and market-orienteddesign footwear.

Liliw’s Footwear Industry

Figure 1: Breakdown of Sales Values in 2010 (Euromonitor International, 2011)

Figure 2: Breakdown of Sales Volumes in 2010 (Euromonitor International, 2011)

Figure 3: Sales Values of Sub-categories (2005-’10) (Euromonitor International, 2011

The town of Liliw has been existing for almost 400 years, founded by a man named Gat Tayaw, who lends his name to the main street of the town where many of the slipper stores may be found. The town bears the traces of Spanish colonization with wood and stone houses around the stone church at the center of town. A diary of yearly events from the 17th century to the present day also claims that the town was regularly visited by officials of the American colonial government. An early form of slippers made from coconut fiber and local wood, called tsinelas tistis, was also created by a local man – Casiano Pesuena called “the father of slippers. (Arevalo, 2011) Mr. Jundy Arevalo, the tourism officer of Liliw, Laguna, and owner of shoe store Yari sa Liliw, provides data regarding the town’s footwear industry. Tourists fill the streets of Liliw during the holiday season. On a lean day, they receive less than two hundred visitors but, the number of visitors accommodated range between four hundred and five hundred on average. On special occasions such as the Gat Tayaw Festival and holidays, they receive from two thousand to five thousand tourists. The humble town of Liliw houses fortyone footwear stores that also manufacture their products while fifty-eight are just distributors. Classifying by the number of employees, 10 percent of the manufacturers employs twenty-five or more people, 30 percent employs ten to twenty while 60 percent have less than ten. A large percentage of the latter group is made possible by the practice of farming out work to couples in the area. Workers are paid an average of Php 2,000.00 per month or paid on output basis depending on their agreement with the manufacturers. Division of the companies may also be done according to their market. Class A stores sell more than 5,001 pairs of footwear per month, mostly Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 23


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

remains resilient by maintaining a market-oriented perspective.

Slipper Making Process

Yari sa Liliw: A store owned by Mr. Arevalo along Gat Tayaw Street

outside of town, and maintain only one local branch. Examples of Class A stores are Manelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Chelsea and Natasha. Class B stores sell 2,001 to 5,000 pairs per month, with roughly 50:50 ratio on sales within and outside town. One example of a class B store is RVSJ. Class C stores sell less than 2,000 pairs per month and only within the town of Liliw. No information was had if the products sold outside of Liliw are exported or not. Brands from Liliw do not have a competitive share in the market, although some products from Liliw usually find their way to popular shopping areas like Divisoria. Further, locally known brands have also been setting up their manufacturing bases in Liliw, making use of the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expertise. However, it is not well-known that these products are made in Liliw as these brands do not make use of abaca, the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trademark. Nor do they indicate where these products were made. Manufacturers have been opting for Liliw because of the cheaper labor cost considering the skills people have. During recession, the town experiences little change in the market, although imported materials have increased their presence. Yet, the town 24 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Mr. Arevalo shares that the skills of making slippers has been passed down from almost three generations. The manufacturing process is divided into two sections- the upper and the inner (or the sole). Usually, the upper is made by women and the inner or the sole is made by men. In cases where work is farmed out to couples on a homeworking basis, the wife commonly does the upper while the husband does the sole or inner. The first person involved in the process is the maestro, which could be either male or female. This is the person who makes the designs. These are usually given higher wages than the ordinary worker. Sometimes, as in the case of Badong Footwear, the owners are the ones who make the designs but there are also companies who simply hire a maestro. This maestro makes the minota, or master document, which includes the design, number of pieces and the materials in creating the footwear. The upper part of the footwear is done by the nag-eentrada using the process detailed in Figure 4. It starts with the tracing on a large piece of cardboard. The design is traced on to the materials: the canvass, lining and another cloth, which is the palaman. If needed in the design, the materials are dyed first. They are pasted together before being cut. Rugby is used to paste everything together. Pagbebeta is the next process in which the pasted materials are cut. The last step is to add designs to the upper part with beads and other embroidery using an industrial sewing machine. When the women have finished their entrada or the upper part, they turn over the parts to the men to complete the process. The men, called the maglalapat, make the inner/sole simultaneously with the making of the upper but they also finish the process of putting the two together to complete the product. To make the inner part or the sole, rubber is first traced with the design and then cut just like what women do with the cloth. If


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

Figure 4: Making the Upper (Arevalo, 2011)

Figure 5: Making the Inner (Arevalo, 2011)

needed in the design, the abaca is dyed first before being adhered to the sole. When the sole is done, the entrada and sole are pasted together. To keep them together, and to make the pasting stronger, a hulma, or a wooden foot, is inserted to the shoe while it is being heated in an oven, fired by a coal. The defining characteristic of the modern Liliw slipper is the use of abaca and the usual wooden beads as decorations. The abaca is planted and dried off in Pila, Laguna and other nearby towns. However, the early version of these

slippers, the tsinelas tistis, is made of coconut fiber which is abundant in the town. Today, 80% of the products have abaca in the sole of the tsinelas or the shoes. Abaca, commonly known as Manila hemp, has been long used and produced by Filipinos even before the Spanish colonization. It was exported during the time of Galleon Trade due to the many uses of the material. Abaca grows only in the Philippines due its climate conditions, in particular the degree of atmospheric humidity (Edwards & Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 25


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

Saleeby, 1910). It is used not only in footwear but also in several other products such as dresses, native handicrafts, dolls, furniture, wall coverings and even cosmetics. Abaca is characterized as being the strongest natural fiber, and is three times stronger than sisal fiber. It has the highest tensile strength compared with synthetic fibers like rayon and nylon (Villafuerte-Abonal, 2006). The colorful and bright beads as seen in the photo are made from local wood or wood sourced from nearby towns. Likewise, heels are also made from this same type of wood. The use of heels in the production has given rise to manufacturers solely dedicated to producing the heels. It has been observed that some suppliers of materials have also opened their own stores in Liliw. One of the strengths of Liliw is its people’s skill in using the abaca to make sturdy footwear. Liliw’s footwear is very distinct in terms of sturdiness with its high tensile strength, and also because of their designs. Being locally sourced,

Tsinelas for women

26 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

abaca contributes to a lower costing for the footwear. However, the distribution channel of the local manufacturer limits the market that can be tapped since consumers would need to personally visit the town. The distance of the town is a weakness for the town’s footwear industry. However, some products are sold outside town although these are rebranded and leave the town’s local brands unprotected and unknown.

Badong Footwear One of the most prominent companies in the town is Badong Footwear under the sole proprietorship of Mr. Salvador “Badong” Monteiro. Born on August 5, 1940, Mr. Monteiro is a husband and a proud father of three daughters, now all graduates of reputable universities in Metro Manila. He shares his experience from his humble beginnings as a factory shoemaker to being the owner of one of the best known footwear manufacturers in Liliw, Laguna. He started making slippers after finishing high school. Learning through the factory and some instruction from his aunts, Monteiro was able to make slippers on his own. Further, he was able to make designs which he submitted to his supervisor in the factory to earn a little extra. During his free time as well, he created slippers to sell at Cartimar, then a hip shopping center in Pasay. As the fifth out of nine children in their family, Monteiro started helping out his siblings to finish studies. He worked in the factory for five years until 1960 when, under encouragement from his customers at Cartimar, Monteiro was able to save Php 5,000.00 for him to start out with manufacturing slippers in his own home. This was the birth of what we now know as Badong Footwear. Monteiro relates that, at that time he had enough capital, technical knowledge and passion in the business to avoid the usual problems of startup businesses. He started and has maintained the business as a sole proprietor, and plans to pass on the business to his brother who is also currently helping him run the store, and who takes over management when he is unavailable.


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

Monteiro mans the cash register up front, and also oversees the company which is divided into two departments- Sales and Manufacturing. He has thirty employees in manufacturing and twelve in sales. Aside from his thirty employees in manufacturing, he also farms out work to subcontractors â&#x20AC;&#x201C; usually couples who produce the slippers in their own homes, a system prevalent in the town. Currently, the store offers the customers not just slippers but also other kinds of footwear such as closed shoes. Mr. Monteiro shares that what makes Badong Footwear unique from other manufacturers is the quality. Liliw has long been known for producing durable quality slippers, and this image is maintained by the company by constantly checking the quality of the designs and materials. This may increase the costs of production, but attention is also placed on keeping the prices down for the consumer. Taking into consideration that most of his customers come from Manila, Monteiro goes out of his way to ensure that the trip is worth the money for them. He wants to match the prices with the buying public, and shares that the business needs to be adaptable especially with recession. Monteiro believes in stressing price competitiveness and good quality in each product he sells as he prizes the trust and goodwill of his customers as the most important factor of their marketing. Further, Monteiro keeps updated with customer preferences by personally talking to people and asking comments or suggestions about his designs. Manning the cash register up front, he usually gets to talk to people, and this improves his personal relationship with them. He also shares that some of his designs also come from his family as his wife and daughters also come up with some designs for them. In considering the threats to his business, Monteiro does not seem threatened by competing products. He sees the China-made footwear as poorer in quality and he is confident that maintaining their product quality is the best way to compete. Additionally, international brands such

Tsinelas sold at 3 for P100

as Havaianas and Ipanema are no threat as they target different markets from the target of Badong Footwear which is the low-middle income class. Lastly, in responding to all threats continuous customer-driven innovation will keep the business alive. Speaking of their town of Liliw, Monteiro shares that the people have a good work ethic. They take pride in their products and their status as a tourist spot. More than maintaining the profitability of their industries, they also care about keeping their hospitability as a community. For this reason, he wants to keep the business alive not just for himself but also to help the community in becoming known in the industry. Badong Footwearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strength is in how it is already established as a brand in the town, being one of the oldest and famous manufacturers in Liliw. The price competitiveness also allows it to compete against lower priced imported goods from China. Being market-oriented, Monteiro maintains very good personal relationships with Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 27


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

com, 2006). Monteiro notes that the festival usually suffers from lack of preparation and coverage by the media. As a marketing venture, therefore, the festival can be improved by increasing media coverage and holding events during the festival to pique the interest of visitors to the town’s footwear industry.

Strategies Modern store, Entrada, along Gat Tayaw. Entrada means the upper part of the slippers.

the customers to know what designs work, or what price the market is willing to pay.

Gat Tayaw Festival The main street of Liliw where most of the footwear stores are located is called Gat Tayaw Street in honor of the town’s founder. In 2002, a festival of the same name was also stated as an initiative by the local government to attract visitors to the town and showcase local products. Lasting for an entire week, the streets are filled with parked vehicles and customers going in and out of the different stores. Store owners are also encouraged to think of gimmicks for the week as a chance to take advantage of the increase in the number of visitors in town. Culturally speaking, the festival is different from most Philippine festivals. Such festivals are usually tied to religious feasts such as the Sinulog festival in Cebu, honoring the feast of the Sto. Nino. The Gat Tayaw festival, however, was conceived purely as a marketing measure by the town in order to attract customers for its footwear industry. In this manner, it is somewhat similar to the Panagbenga festival, or flower festival, held every year in Baguio City. As the city did not have a festival dedicated to a patron saint, this festival was conceived in 1995 partly to help the residents forget the earthquake that troubled the city in 1990 and partly to encourage tourists to come to the city during the month of February between Christmas and Holy Week (Araneta, 2009; PhilippineCountry. 28 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

The study identifies two problems for the footwear industry of Liliw. First, local manufacturers are reliant on word-of-mouth advertising to draw their customers to the area. Second, established brands setting up manufacturing bases in the area may reduce interest in the local products. The Gat Tayaw festival instituted by the town has potential in solving these issues. Featuring the town’s products during the festival allows them to have prominent visibility among visitors to the town during festival time. With better preparation, planning, and coordination with the local businesses and other relevant organizations, the festival can be a great help in promoting the town’s footwear industry. The festival would increase the foot traffic of visitors in the town as well as spread awareness of the products. In attaining the goal of creating more exposure for the local products, partnerships can be made with local media to gain more visibility in the market. In addition, the town can also reevaluate how it does business as a whole. New and innovative ideas on the abaca footwear, given the townspeople’s skill in such products, can contribute to capturing a much wider market for espadrilles, for instance. The industry presents a big opportunity for the young market. Local designers can explore making footwear that is more appealing to the younger market as the current designs usually appeal only to older generations; thus, limiting the market for their products. Stores may come together to explore other distribution channels in order to expand their reach. Direct selling of products in the market would minimize the incidence of rebranding of


REVIVING THE ABACA SLIPPER INDUSTRY OF LILIW, LAGUNA

their products. It would also penetrate untapped markets, who cannot personally visit Liliw, considering the rising prices of gas and toll fees. Further, social media such as internet selling can be utilized to increase the exposure of products. The local government or local organizations could take a more active role in preserving the skill of the townspeople. Production methods and local knowledge on making slippers could be documented and passed on to the next generations. Training centers for footwear making could also be done to preserve and improve the established skill of the town. One partner in this endeavor could be the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, which has the School of Living Traditions program. Under this program, a traditional craft is taught by master of the art in order to preserve the cultural asset. (National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2011)

Conclusion The town of Liliw has a rich heritage in the use of abaca in their footwear. The product enjoys an honored place in the culture, history, and even identity of their community. With their expertise in the process, they have come up with a suitable mix of durability, comfort, and beauty in their product. Much like any cultural enterprise, the challenge with the town is how they can effectively market their cultural product in order to make a sustainable industry that can be passed on to the next generation. In any case, the local market for footwear is expanding, opening up more opportunities for local suppliers. It creates a diversification in the products of the industry, pushing for innovative and market-driven designs. Liliw, having the skill to create unique footwear incorporating abaca, is left with a big untapped market among young professionals. Badong Footwear, with its 51 years of experience, is a pioneer and an icon of how far Liliw has come with its skill in creating footwear. However, lack of marketing and access to the market among local manufacturers are problems the town needs to address. In response, the town

has initiated the Gat Tayaw Festival which in the past years has not fully maximized its potential to market the local footwear. It boils down to better preparation and increasing the marketing of the festival to draw more visitors to the town. Further, to tap a greater market share, distribution channels needs to be explored to efficiently push the products into the target markets. Like many cultural products, the slippers and footwear of Liliw lack one major component in business â&#x20AC;&#x201C; marketing. The products are left unbranded and unprotected. Liliw slippers are a treasure not only to the town but also to Filipinos. With the right marketing campaign, the cultural value of these products will be more widely known both locally and internationally. BIBLIOGRAPHY Araneta, L. (2009). History of the Panagbenga. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from Go Baguio!: http://www.gobaguio.com/panagbenga/ history-of-the-panagbenga.html Arevalo, J. (2011, December 29). (A. Caldozo, Interviewer) Edwards, H., & Saleeby, M. (1910). Abaca (Manila Hemp). Manila: Bureau of Publishing. Euromonitor International. (2011, August 31). Footwear in the Philippines. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from Euromonitor. Montiero, S. (2011, December 29). (A. Caldozo, Interviewer) National Commission for Culture and the Arts. (2011). Schools of Living Traditions. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from National Commission for Culture and the Arts Website: http://www.ncca. gov.ph/about-ncca/slt/about-ncca-slt.php PhilippineCountry.com. (2006). Panagbenga Festival. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from Philippine Country Guide: http://www. philippinecountry.com/philippine_festivals/panagbenga_festival. html Villafuerte-Abonal, L. (2006). Abaca Philippines. Manila: Apples of Gold Publishing.

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 29


THE WOOD MASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES by Katrina Gaw

Abstract In the context of today’s decidedly capitalist economy, financial survival necessitates not just pure skill, but a critical grasp of the inner workings of the business world as well. The realm of art and culture is no exception to this. This paper aims to place the spotlight on Mr. Benji Reyes, one of the country’s foremost home and furniture designers, whose remarkable artistry has captured the admiration of both Filipino and foreign art enthusiasts alike. It attempts to analyze Mr. Reyes’ accomplishments in light of the highly competitive furniture industry, the critical issues he had to contend with in the past and the business’s opportunities for growth in the future. 30 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

A wooden figure stands guard in the home of Benji Reyes, a fine example of the Filipino and artistic in Reyes’ works.


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

Meet the Artist Mr. Benjamin Leonardo Lizo Reyes, more popularly known as Benji Reyes, is an acclaimed designer of both furniture and homes whose high regard for Filipino culture is clearly manifested in his mostly Filipino-themed creations. Although he has become one of the most renowned figures in art and design today, however, Reyes’s ascent to the top did not come easily. Though he wanted to become a full-fledged artist, Reyes initially chose to take up architecture at the University of Santo Tomas in order to please his father. After experiencing difficulties in Math, particularly in Algebra, he dropped out of school to pursue craftsmanship. With the help of his thengirlfriend (and now wife) Carina, he earned enough money to fund his education at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where he studied in the College of Fine Arts. After realizing that he could better hone his craft beyond the strict confines of his course, he decided to quit school permanently. He discovered woodwork then, and it has become his medium ever since. Integrating ideas learned from his classes, as well as building up on his own artistic capabilities, Reyes then launched his business by creating his first chair. After years of struggling, he eventually made a name for himself as a furniture and home designer whose medium of choice is recycled Philippine wood taken from demolished ancestral homes (Reyes, Art Interview). Art enthusiasts, both foreign and local, now label him a “wood bender” since most of his designs are said to give tough, rigid wooden planks smooth flows reminiscent of ocean waves. (Upper Room Art Gallery) At present, Reyes operates a sole proprietorship and intends not to expand beyond that. In his twenty-nine years as a furniture designer, (Reyes, Art Interview) his mission has always been the same—to produce the best art his mind is able to create and to leave no client disappointed, no matter what amount was paid. Business for him is all about finding satisfaction in work rather than making profit; hence, he has no plans of opening multiple branches or mass-producing his designs

Benji Reyes, at ease and at best, in Tahanan.

in the near future.

Marketing Art Given the value of his creations, Reyes caters to a very particular clientele—Class A art enthusiasts who mostly come from affluent families owning art collections. He also has a surprisingly large number of foreigners e-mailing him and requesting for pieces. In fact, 60% of all the customers he has ever had are from abroad, even going as far as Sweden and the United States. According to Reyes, some of these individuals even take time out of work to visit him in the country simply to view his works and to order furniture. A piece of Benji Reyes art can go from 12,000 pesos to infinity, in his own words, depending on the type of furniture commissioned and the artistry used to accomplish it. He offers no precise measuring tool, but asking him to help design a home or a resort amounts to more or less a million pesos. Despite the hefty cost of his services, however, those truly interested in art still continue to patronize Reyes’s works. In fact, he reveals that there are some clients who even pay sizeable amounts just to challenge him to create Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 31


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

newer, bolder pieces (Reyes, Art Interview). Aside from exhibits, blogs, articles and websites that feature his works, Reyes considers word-of-mouth the best marketing tool for his creations. Customers satisfied with Reyes’s artistic capabilities usually take photos of his works and rave about his designs to friends and family. Throughout his career, he has had around 70 customers in all, and they continue to patronize his creations up to this day. Reyes also points out that several of his clients are mostly children of former clients, asking for a table to match old chairs bought, or having repairs done on broken pieces. He always readily complies with the requests of those interested, and is usually able to complete commissioned works in three months. Reyes thus thrives as a businessman by retaining his customer pool, focusing on quality and efficiency, and assuring customer satisfaction with his pieces. Despite his accomplishments as a furniture designer, however, competition remains tough. Reyes would have to continuously improve his pieces in order to sustain his success given the several equally talented, up-and-coming designers

A dining chair by the wood maker himself.

32 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

in the business.

Competition in the Industry One name that frequently appears in discussions of Philippine furniture design is Kenneth Cobonpue, a Cebu-based craftsman who specializes in creating functional pieces using a variety of materials that include palms, seagrasses, bamboo and rattan. His designs have become so popular that imitation pieces have even begun appearing in countries such as China and Mexico. Several celebrities, including Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, have reportedly been buying his works as well. Although he designs all pieces listed under his name, unlike Reyes, Cobonpue often allows the reproduction of his furniture for sale in international online websites. (Switch Modern) Additionally, Cobonpue also has announced plans of expanding his business by creating specialty stores and massproducing his designs to reach a wider market. Another Cebuano causing a stir in the industry is 26-year-old Vito Selma, an up-andcoming designer whose pieces have already been retailing in 29 different countries. His preferred medium is wood, and he often uses excess materials from his family’s 20-year-old furniture factory to build his designs. His natural talent, awards, family background and degree from the acclaimed Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan has promptly made him a forerunner in the Philippine furniture industry at such a young age. In fact, Nelson Mandela was said to have liked Selma’s pieces so much that some of his works now grace the South African leader’s home. (Philippine Daily Inquirer) With their numerous achievements, both Cobonpue and Selma indeed prove to be two of Reyes’s most formidable competitors in the furniture making industry. Despite the threat these craftsmen bring, however, their acclaim has also helped boost Reyes’s sales and reputation in the business. The advent of the digital age has allowed an ease of opinion, file and photo sharing through the Internet; thus, attention brought to one Filipino artist could also pave the way for others to be recognized by the public. In fact, Reyes agrees that


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

furniture design sales have improved and more people have been taking notice of art due to the popularity and international recognition gained by artists such as Cobonpue. Aside from competitors in the industry, another threat that could potentially benefit Reyes’s business is the business of imitation. More often, people who copy Reyes’s works are those who had gone under his tutelage. Although this might initially seem like a threat to his business, the proliferation of imitations could also prove to be an advantage for him. Customers interested in imitations of Reyes’s works often seek the originals and purchase furniture directly from him rather than from the copycats. Though imitations are evidently more affordable, Reyes’s regular customers say that they value quality and artistry more than affordability.

Gritty Details: the Business of Craftsmanship Benji Reyes’s business is based at home, aptly named “Tahanan”, a 9,000-square meter house on the slopes of Antipolo. He designed and built the home himself using almost 70,000 different pieces of recycled wood with the help of his family and a team of architects and friends. (Reyes, Art Interview) He began the construction of Tahanan in the late 1990s, and has since completed the 3-floor structure. It is made of recycled wood, and is considered a masterpiece in itself. (Lustre) Aside from living there with his family, Reyes also uses Tahanan as a showroom for interested buyers and curious guests. For anyone interested to take a look at it, an e-mail or a phone call is enough to book a day to tour around the house. It is largely thanks to Tahanan that Reyes has found a permanent place in the world of architecture as a design consultant. Chairs, doors, rooftops, beds and tables found inside the house all exhibit Reyes’s craftsmanship. With the tall trees and mountains of Antipolo serving as a backdrop, Tahanan has undoubtedly inspired several clients to patronize Reyes’s works. In fact, many famous blogging personalities, newspapers, magazines and books even feature Tahanan as one of the best

Everything from the sculpture, to the door, to the floors, was built by Reyes and his team in order to create the ultimate wooden home.

Filipino-themed summer homes in the country today. (Diaz) Aside from serving the two-way purpose of being a home and a marketing tool for his designs, Tahanan serves as a storage house for Reyes’s different woods as well. Reyes has accumulated several suppliers of demolished wood through the years. When he began his work, these broken pieces were not worth much. One long piece of wood could cost around 70, and sometimes the woods were even given away. These days, however, demolished wood has increased in value, thanks to artisans like Reyes who have promoted the use of these pieces. Prices now go by the tens of thousands for a piece of recycled wood. Reyes, however, had long thought ahead. After earning enough money, he decided to build a storage house within the vicinity of his home in order to do wood banking. This day his inventory continues to keep his business running, and he buys new wood only when old suppliers who have become his friends make special offers to him. Thus, the pressure from the increased price due to higher demand over time is lifted from his business. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 33


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

Reyes uses traditional woodcutting tools rather than modernized equipment. This is because using older methods increases craftsmanship of works, and often can cut wood more beautifully than machines built to standardize creations. Thus, each product created must be meticulously handled and scrutinized to provide customers with the best piece possible. For wood selections, Reyes utilizes different kinds of wood in every piece he creates because he believes that combining various types adds strength to the final design. For instance, he has chairs made out of 12 different pieces of local wood, all with varying functions; some make the chair’s backrest bendable, while others make its seat sturdy but comfortable. In his early years, Reyes worked on all aspects of his pieces personally, designing and crafting each with his own hands. At present, however, he has decided to hire and train outof-school youth in his workshops to help him accomplish his designs on time. As a trainer, he believes in teaching his students the discipline of art from scratch, referring to his way of handling as “the sensei-style”, a reference to the Japanese cultural tradition. He begins by making sure his students learn how to clean things, to set up equipment and to put them back in place after use. They only touch wood after proving that they have the patience and the perseverance to pursue the craft. Those who lack the necessary discipline are eventually taken out out of the program, while

Each detail of his home was made personally by Reyes, including this charming sun at the entrance.

34 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

those who remain are personally trained by Reyes. Currently, Reyes has 12 employees who all are allowed to reside in Tahanan aside from receiving full benefits and salaries. Although he has people helping him out, Reyes still designs the wood and creates his prototypes. Having apprentices around just gives him more time to travel and further improve his craft by learning from wood artisans around the world (Reyes, Art Interview). When asked about profitability, Reyes answered that there came a time in his business when he finally allowed his wife to handle the financial matters, while he simply focused on growing as an artist and enjoying the work he did. “It can come to a point where you lie in your bed and wish for the morning to come faster, so you can start working again.” Developing a strong work ethic and a commitment to the art proved relevant to the growth of his business as well—as his art improved, more customers began appreciating his designs. “In art, one cannot think of making profit before doing the work. I think the other way around. I’ll enjoy what I do, and success will follow.” (Reyes, Art Interview) Reyes also believes in many simple business practices that help nurture relationships with clients. He has never been late to an appointment or meeting; he also does not ask for extensions when it is time to hand over pieces to the respective clients. He does not accept commissions that he cannot finish on time and for which quality he cannot assure; Reyes is not the type to sacrifice art for profit. This is one of the many factors why satisfied customers return and commission more of his works. (Reyes, Art Interview) When selling works to clients, whom he deals with face-to-face or through phone conversations rather than with agents, Reyes is adamant about giving just the right price for his products. He asks for no more than what he feels is necessary, and accepts no less. “If a work costs P5 000, I won’t accept P500. You must know the value of your work,” he says. It is evident from these examples that Reyes does not give customers much bargaining leverage, and this is


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

mainly to ensure brand identity. Though this strict policy may drive away some customers, many choose to buy without the discounts anyway. This is perhaps because Reyes also takes the time to show customers the value of each piece. He shows the work to them, explains the history of the pieceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;why it was created and to whom it is dedicatedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and even tells them how to properly take care of it. Reyes explains that this meticulous and descriptive commentary on his works allows clients, especially those new to art, to understand what it is they really are acquiring. (Reyes, Art Interview) When it comes to designing homes and resorts, Reyes works with a team of architects and engineers trained to look at technicalities he was unable to learn during his days as an architecture student. He looks at the blueprints and the project designs, and comments on areas that could look better, or something that would work better logistically. In general, Reyes believes in the importance of aesthetics in designs and in longevity. His goal is to create beautiful things that last; he hopes to make works of art that can captivate audiences for years. (Reyes, Art Interview)

Conclusion In many ways, Reyes has found success both as an artist and as a businessman. His business is currently proving to be sustainable. Despite the several economic downturns of recent years, he says he still earns profit because his clientele often come from the upper classes who usually are not as affected by economic crises. In general, he usually has four to seven regular pending orders, mostly due within three to five months. He also is a frugal spender, satisfied with the simplicity of his life and sporting the humility from his days as a struggling artist. His decision of storing wood when it was cheaper in order to ensure a steady flow of his main resource, the basic equipment that he and his apprentices use to craft his pieces, and the discipline that he instills in his employees show the entrepreneur in Reyes.

One of Reyesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous chairs, as modeled in his exhibits and art galleries in Manila, welcome guests in the house. Though made of wood, each chair is specifically crafted so that the back is sturdy and bendy, and the seat is comfortable--a feat that can only be achieved by those who know their wood.

Perhaps the greatest strength visible in Benji Reyes is his thirst to outdo himself with every new piece he designs. When asked to give his business a SWOT Analysis, he replied simply that his greatest strength, weakness, opportunity and threat was himself. In a business reliant on the imaginative, creative mind of its founder, Reyes must constantly prove to himself that he is capable of going further in his specific craft and style. The weakness of his enterprise, however, is ironically his strength. He is satisfied with growing as an artist, but not necessarily as a businessman. While competitors aggressively campaign online by naming clients and selling designs to furniture manufacturing companies, Reyes does not want to name his important customers or participate in the current trend of mass-producing works of art. This sustains the image that his works are only for those who can afford it, and are thus crafted to that standard. An interesting opportunity that lies ahead for Reyes is related to his home and creation, Tahanan, which may one day turn into a bed and breakfast run by his two daughters, who both are taking up Hospitality Management in Australia. By opening the abode up to the public for a fee, interested clients will not only be able to see the home and all its peculiarities, but live in it as well. This gives his works more exposure, and will perhaps give him Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 35


THE WOODMASTER: ART AND BUSINESS WITH BENJI REYES

even more fame, aside from additional profits that would be generated. It is no doubt that Reyes had made an impact on Philippine society. Not only has he promoted the use of old demolished wood for art, he has helped in the promotion of craftsmanship in the Philippines as well. Before, Reyes says, people usually refer to those who make furniture as carpenters, not artists. His furniture designs, with their aesthetic appeal and the vision and dedication that comes with each piece, has proved that a furniture-maker is not only a woodcutter, but a designer as well, deserving of a place in an art gallery, and even a museum. BIBLIOGRAPHY Reyes, Benji. Profile Page. 1 June 2009. 2 January 2011 <http://www. blogger.com/profile/11740724468631285870>. Reyes, Benji. Art Interview Katrina Gaw. 8 January 2012. Upper Room Art Gallery. Artist Profile: Benji Reyes. 1 January 2006. 31 December 2010 <http://www.upperroomartgallery.com/artost/ profile/benji-reyes>. Lustre, Monji. Artist in Residence. 27 April 2003. 2 January 2011 <http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=204006>. ABS-CBN News. RP Leads Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Furniture Industry. 19 September 2010. 31 December 2011 <http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/ lifestyle/09/13/10/rp-leads-furniture-industry>. Switch Modern. Bloom Lounge Chair. 2002 1 May. 2012 2 January <http://www.switchmodern.com/Armchairs/Kenneth-CobonpueBloom-Lounge-Chair.asp>. ABS-CBN News. Kenneth Cobonpue Conquering the World of Furniture. 12 January 2011. 4 January 2012 <http://www.abscbnnews.com/lifestyle/01/12/11/kenneth-cobonpue-conqueringworld-furniture>. Diaz, Anton. Benji Reyes. 4 August 2009. 2 January 2012 <http:// www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2009/08/benji-reyes. html>. Reyes, Benji. Wood is Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oldest Natural Resource. 3 June 2009. 3 January 2012 <http://benjireyes.blogspot.com/2009/06/woodis-mans-oldest-natural-resource.html>. Cacnio, Michael. Michael Cacnio Official Website. 3 June 2007. 2 January 2012. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Nelson Mandela Patronizes Filipino Furniture Designer Works. 4 May 2011. 3 January 2012 <http:// lifestyle.inquirer.net/526/nelson-mandela-patronizes-filipinofurniture-designer%E2%80%99s-works>.

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TRAIL ADVENTOURS:

STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY by Bernadee Uy

Abstract This paper discusses the role of so-called “entourpreneurs” in raising and preserving Filipino culture as manifested in the country’s natural resources. In the attempt to answer how these entourpreneurs can utilize strategies to be sustainable, this paper uses Trail Adventours as a case study. By discussing its background, company ethics, marketing strategies, operations and future plans, the paper aims to give readers a better understanding of the tours industry, identifying some of its problems and suggesting possible solutions as well. Submerge yourself: this tourist dives into the depth of the ocean to take a closer look at the marine sanctuaries and its intricate ecosystems. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Guido Sarreal)

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 37


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

Climbing Mt. Pulag: The guides lead their teams in a single file as they ascended to the top of the mountain, in anticipation of the breath-taking view it offers. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Guido Sarreal)

The Research

sites.

This research aims to answer the question, “How sustainable are independent local tour companies and what strategies must they employ to utilize the limited market of recreational domestic tourism?” By exploring the business model of Trail Adventours, this paper aims to present the travel business as a sustainable venture that can be undertaken by those passionate about travelling around the country. In addition, this research intends to present the travel business in light of cultural entrepreneurship by providing concrete ways through which Philippine culture can be shared and preserved through these travel companies.

The Philippine tourism industry is growing but still has much room for improvement. In 2010, 3.5 million tourists arrived in the Philippines, a figure short of the government’s 5 million target (Department of Tourism, 2011). This is also significantly lower than the recorded 22.4 million tourists in Malaysia (Tourism Malaysia, 2011). This lack of international tourism in the Philippines is attributed by some to a heightened crime-rate, political mishaps and a perceived lack of definite culture in the Philippines (FlipNomad, 2011). To address these issues, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign. This utilizes pictures, people and social media to promote the country to potential international visitors and even investors. In the domestic tourism sector, studies show that although 22 million Filipinos take domestic trips, only 1 million or 4.5 percent travel for more than 7 days; most stay for less than 3 days. The opposite is true for people who travel abroad as a majority stay for more than 7 days (Euromonitor International, 2012).

The Philippine Tourism Industry The Philippines is a country with abundant natural resources. Aside from the practical use of our flora and fauna, these resources have always been valued for their beauty. One way through which this beauty becomes accessible to Filipinos and foreign tourists alike is through tours to these 38 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

Figure 1: Philippine Tourism - Number of Domestic Trips by length of travel (in Millions) (Euromonitor International, 2012)

Figure 2: Philippine Tourism - Number of Outbound Trips by length of travel (in Millions) (Euromonitor International, 2012)

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 39


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

Visiting family members and those coming home to provinces are among the main reasons for locals to travel around the country. Vacation or sight-seeing were cited as secondary reasons for domestic travel. Travellers visit different locations in the country to see the main attractions these destinations have to offer. At the start of the decade, a move towards nationalism and cultural appreciation alongside environmental awareness seemed to unfold. Suddenly, more Filipinos wanted to see the crater of the once inactive Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales and the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Outdoor sports like mountain climbing, hiking, and scuba diving also had an increased popularity amongst the middle to upper class market, mostly from the middle age group. One external force that boosted the local tourism scene during the year 2010 was the presence of internet booking and rental services. This especially applies to the population aged 10 to 30 years who are growing more and more accustomed to using online services and credit cards (Euromonitor International, 2012). Local tourism was also affected by government policies. During 2001, “Holiday Economics” was introduced by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In 2007, it was officially passed as a law under Republic Act 9492. This law was implemented to encourage locals to take advantage of long weekends to travel around the country. Data suggest that it was successful as there was a one percent growth of employees from 2009 to 2010 who took holiday leaves for vacation (Euromonitor International, 2012). There was also a campaign encouraging sports tourism carried out by the DOT (Euromonitor International, 2012). By recognizing various sites as avenues for water sports like surfing, parasailing and the like, DOT encourages sports enthusiasts among both local and international tourists to visit these places in the country. Our key informant Guido Sarreal, the Operations and Marketing officer of Trail Adventours, suggests that conflict between local 40 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

and national authorities is also one factor that affects tourism. When a local barangay unit is against government policies, it may not be as accommodating to local tourists as it ought to be. This, in turn, might discourage tourists from visiting the destination. He also cites the unpredictable weather as a possible threat to tourism. The Philippines is often hit by various natural calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The danger brought by these disasters often becomes the deterrent for tourism in the country.

The emergence of “Entourpreneurs” It is in this context that a new breed of businessmen with the passion for adventure and diverse cultural appreciation was born. These are the so-called “entourpreneurs”. “Entourpreneurs” own small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that organize trips all over the Philippines for individuals or group clients. These companies are usually started by young, energetic and adventurous men and women accustomed to travel as well. They formed these agencies out of a desire to share the culture and sights that the country has to offer. It is imperative that entourpreneurs be differentiated from regular travel agencies. Regular travel agencies usually take care of long trips taking more than three days and possibly spanning different locations or countries in a single trip. They also attend to most of the travel needs of the clients, which include booking transportation, accommodations and the like. Business with regular travel agencies is conducted through online booking or in coordination with agents at a branch office. Entourpreneurs, on the other hand, only provide tours which include hiking, trekking and other outdoor activities at a given tour destination. Generally, these trips are overnight at the longest and are limited to one location. Business with these companies is often done in a more personal manner through referrals. The entourpreneurs stay with the clients throughout the duration of the trip,


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

offering anecdotes and acting as guides for the area.

The Company in Focus: Trail Adventours Company Background Trail Adventours started in the summer of 2011 as an avenue for mountaineer brothers Jacob and Guido Sarreal together with their friend Bianca Silva to express their passion for the outdoors. Currently, it organizes three to four trips every weekend for groups of 12 to 15 people in each trip. There are only three full time staff members consisting of Guido Sarreal taking care of Operations and Marketing, Jacob Sarreal taking care of Logistics, and Bianca Silva taking care of Advertising Design. The diagram below shows the organizational structure of Trail Adventours. There are 17 others who are also members of the team on a part-time basis. These people are aged 20 to 26 and they come from different backgrounds. Each of them serves as a guide during the weekend hikes and expeditions. These members of the staff are experienced in mountain climbing and hiking and they are also trained by the Sarreal brothers in communicating with clients as well as giving out proper instructions to beginners. The enterprise started out with minimal capital that covers website costs, salaries, travel fees and government accreditation. Currently, the company has an estimated Php 300,000.00 worth in fixed assets, mostly equipment, as well as roughly Php200,000.00 cash on hand. The owners recognize that this may not be enough to

ensure the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s survival in the long term, which is why they already are thinking of expansion strategies in the near future.

Company Ethics As a Filipino company, Trail Adventours prides itself on its basic policies as well as initiatives to help the environment and the country. The company is doing its part to educate its clients on the value of caring for the forests and mountains they visit. One policy is to leave no harmful impact or damage to the site. Absolutely no destructive behaviour is tolerated as well. As guides take the clients through a forest, a farmland or a mountain, they also share stories and trivia along the way. At times, the company also hires a local guide who can share more stories about the place. With this practice, clients are sure to be entertained as well as educated with each hike. At the same time, this also provides locals with a source of employment. Aside from these basic policies, Trail Adventours also makes a conscious effort to participate in projects that advocate preservation of tour sites. For instance, in the Kalawitan area in the Cordilleras, the company partnered with an organization that uses plastic bottles to build houses. They also train people to serve as local guides for hikers and tourists. For each tour they organize, the company also encourages participants to bring in medicinal or school supplies for the locals of the area to be visited. This greatly benefits the area, especially in the highlands where health or educational services may not be readily accessible. The company also teaches children from tour sites to play musical instruments. Some children have benefited from these lessons by using their talent to apply for scholarship grants in universities. Trail Adventours recognizes the need for a more sustainable, permanent social responsibility project that they can undertake. At present, various ideas are being considered as part of their future plans. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 41


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

Target Market The greater part of the industry’s target market is comprised of backpackers or tourists fond of hiking and trekking. They often pay for the lowest fares and accommodation since their main purpose is to actually visit a particular site. Trail Adventours differs from usual tour companies since it caters to the class B market instead of usual backpackers. These customers belong to a higher income segment and have high purchasing power. The usual age range of their clients is from 25 to 35 but they also have repeat customers among the elderly or families. The company also has corporate clients that book tours in bulk. Trail Adventours also partners with travel agencies to provide day trips for tourists. They provide this service without disclosing their company name, however, to prevent price comparisons between their partner agency and themselves. Marketing is done mostly through wordof-mouth by satisfied clients. Because of the good quality of service that incorporates care for the clients, which include conversing with them and sharing stories of the thrill of adventure, people keep availing of the company’s services and keep

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bringing friends along as well. At the end of the day, people are willing to pay a premium for good, friendly service. Thus, Trail Adventours does not compete through low prices but through refining its services to gain and keep customer loyalty.

Operations Since Trail Adventours provides a “fullpackaged” tour to customers, it has to book transportation, pay environmental or visitation fees to local government units concerned, and give out orientations to clients prior to the trip. In addition, they also take charge of meals, tents, cookware, medicine kits and harnesses upon agreement with the customer. Early planning has to be undertaken to take into account possible weather disturbances and delays in schedule. For locations outside Luzon, early booking has to be done in order to catch promotional fares by different airlines and ships. In choosing the sites of the tours they offer, the diagram below details the steps of the process they undertake. A new site is often discovered by the owners in their travels through an actual experience of the


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

area or upon referral by friends. From here, the owners then visit the site and evaluate its relevance to the services offered by the company. If the place is found suitable as a tour site, the owners will return for a final ocular inspection to strike deals and consolidate requirements for the place. The negotiations part will comprise talking with different stakeholders in the place. The owners coordinate with local government units that hand out necessary permits and documents as well as lay down rules that every tour company must follow. They also touch base with the local population to gather stories to share and local taboos or practices that should be respected. Finally, independent businesses such as transportation services are contacted to help the company in planning the tours. For entourpreneurs, making both formal and informal agreements with the locals is necessary for business. Establishing working relationships proves to be helpful especially in acquiring trivia or interesting stories about the tour sites. In a business that is small and as yet unstructured, personal relationships with all stakeholders give the owners a competitive advantage over others in the industry. The planning of tours is a difficult part of the business. Aside from the creation of tour scripts that dictate the itinerary, sites and stories to share for a particular tour site; costs and expenses must also be taken into account. Tie-ups with transportation companies might be needed depending on the roads going to a tour site. It is from this planning process that the pricing of tours is derived. From here, the new tour site can now be marketed as an addition to the diverse set of areas included in the company’s offerings. The entourpreneurs recognize that like any other business, tour enterprises are fast changing and fast growing. They need to constantly modify their prices and strategies to keep up with costs. By picking up lessons from the experiences of their travel guides, the team is able to constantly gain feedback on their tour sites and improve the experience of the clients from there.

Corporate Social Responsibility: the trekkers and guides visit the local children from Mt. Ugo, Benguet. They shared a meal and provided them with school supplies. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Guido Sarreal)

Future Plans In the future, Trail Adventours aims to tap into the international market by partnering with the Department of Tourism in its promotion of Philippine destinations. By continuously providing good quality service, the company expects to increase its customer database in addition to increasing assets for the company’s operation. This in turn allows for better marketing through means such as print advertisements or magazines. With this, the business is expected to be profitable and sustainable in the long-term. However, Sarreal’s personal vision for the company goes beyond this. He wants the company to eventually become a “consultation-training company” that would help local government units promote different tourist destinations to international clients. He wants to introduce lesserknown but beautiful areas in the Philippines to the world. At the same time, he also wants to preserve the beauty of these sites through proper education of tourists and undertaking various restoration activities (Sarreal, 2012).

Findings and Conclusion Trail Adventours shows how entrepreneurs can succeed by putting up a business that serves their passion, serves the environment and serves the country. Although their current business model is still evolving, the company has potential due to its strong customer loyalty and its niche as a tours Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 43


TRAIL ADVENTOURS: STRETCHING THE CONVENTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AND TOUR INDUSTRY

company for the higher market segment. Trail Adventours provides good insights to an entrepreneur who wishes to venture into the tours industry. First, its good relations with, and personalized service to its clients make it easy for them to win repeat customers. Moreover, positioning themselves as a tour enterprise that caters to the B market allows them to expand their client base beyond the typical target of outdoor tour companies. Finally, establishing close ties and contributing to social responsibility in their tour areas allow the enterprise to address the logistical needs for weekly travels and minimize the factors that could hinder regular trips to tour sites. In terms of strategy, Trail Adventours can benefit from introducing structure into their business model since it is fast expanding: First, they can opt to go to a business consultant. With proper business consultation and training, the structures and systems of the company may undergo major changes that can make operations more efficient. Another recommendation is to set up a more formal organizational structure that delegates tasks in a clearer, more precise manner. This is to promote accountability and to ensure that all tasks are done well and in a timely manner. If the company expands, more full-time employees might have to be hired to handle different concerns. Tour enterprises like Trail Adventours join in the cause of promoting the culture heritage and natural beauty of our country. These entourpreneurs are not just in the business for the money; rather, they share the passion for discovering the beauty that our country has to offer and imparting this beauty to others who wish to explore it as well. In the end, this is what differentiates them from the rest of the travel agencies in the business. BIBILIOGRAPHY Arellano Law Foundation. (2006, July 25). RA 9492. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from The Lawphil Project: http://www.lawphil.net/ statutes/repacts/ra2007/ra_9492_2007.html Department of Tourism. (2012, February 10). Visitor Arrivals for the Year 2011 Reached 3,917,454 Visitors . Retrieved February 25, 2012, from Department of Tourism Website: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/ Pages/IndustryPerformance.aspx

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Department of Tourism. (2011). Visitor Arrivals to the Philippines by Country of Residence. Retrieved January 2012, from VisitMyPhilippines.com: http://www.visitmyphilippines.com/ images/ads/b0f324c05c9579967ae340820bb397bd.pdf Euromonitor International. (2012). Philippines: Country Pulse. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from Euromonitor: http://www. euromonitor.com FlipNomad. (2011, June 29). Ask the Nomads: Why are tourists hesitant to visit the Philippines? Retrieved February 24, 2012, from FlipNomad: http://flipnomad.com/2011/06/ask-the-nomads-whyare-tourists-hesitant-visit-the-philippines/ Tourism Malaysia. (2011). Malaysia Tourist Arrivals 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2012, from Tourism Malaysia: http://corporate.tourism. gov.my/images/research/pdf/2010_kumulatif_new.pdf


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER by Julie Lim

Abstract Escuela Taller de Intramuros is a vocational school advocating the preservation and restoration of heritage landmarks as well as the provision of free education to out-of-school-youth in the Philippines. This paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of its agenda, the amount of attention it receives from the government and the possible steps that should be undertaken to maintain its sustainability. *This paper is based mainly on an interview with Architect Michael Manalo, Executive Director of Escuela Taller.

Upon sighting Escuela Taller, a marvelous arch accomodates everyone, yet another accomplishment of the school program.

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 45


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

The arch that the apprentices built during one of their on-the-job training sessions under the watchful eyes of the Mexican masons. (Source: Escuela Taller blog)

The School Workshop In the 1980s, the Spanish government decided to build a workshop in response to the huge increase in Spain’s unemployment rate. To help curb the effects of the economic crisis, the concept of Escuela Taller was born with the combined goal of addressing youth unemployment and restoring heritage landmarks in the country. Ultimately, this plan proved to be a success. Approximately 30 years down the line, Escuela Taller was similarly founded in the Philippines, the first in Asia and the youngest among the line of school workshops established outside Spain. According to Spanish ambassador to the Philippines Luis Arias Romero, the program is part of “Plan Asia”, the Spanish government’s program which aims to form stronger ties between Spain and Asian countries in addition to promoting Spain’s expertise in “aquaculture and fisheries, infrastructure development, the energy sector and other related fields.” (Luna, 2008) Established in 2008, the Escuela Taller de Intramuros, which literally means “school workshop” in Spanish, intends to educate Filipino out-of-school youth in the art of carpentry, masonry, plumbing, sewing and other vocational skills for free. It is located inside the Revellin de 46 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Recoletos, an old building situated at the center of Old Manila. The Revellin de Recoletos traces its history back to 1771, when Manila was still trying to raise a decent British defensive network during the four-year British occupancy. (Luna, 2008) The building was badly damaged during World War II. Nevertheless, according to Escuela Taller’s Executive Director Michael Manalo, efforts are being made to renovate the landmark. The school’s mission revolves around the empowerment of marginalized Filipino youth through skills development and cultural conservation. Escuela Taller’s advocacy is divided to two main components, namely; poverty eradication, and cultural preservation. It aims to realize its advocacy’s foremost component— poverty eradication—by giving free education to out-of-school youth from impoverished communities in hopes of providing them with jobs in the future. In turn, the skills these students achieve from the program are then utilized to preserve and renovate natural cultural heritage sites. The school’s motto aprender haciendo, or “learning by doing”, operates exactly as it sounds. Students are initially taught the technicalities of the craft and are subsequently immersed in an actual


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

restoration site for an on-the-job training. Through this process, the students are given the opportunity to involve themselves in real-life scenarios that will hopefully give them a competitive edge after their two-year training in the program. Apart from the assistance Escuela Taller receives through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation Development or Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacionál para el Desarrollo, the Philippine government also contributes to the program’s sustainability through the efforts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Working hand-in-hand with these two are government agencies such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Intramuros Administration (IA). After approximately two months of careful screening, DSWD and TESDA are tasked to choose students to train under TESDA-accredited craftsmen as well as Philippine National Artists. Through IA’s efforts, on the other hand, Escuela Taller occupies its current building with no rental fee. In exchange for the IA’s generosity, the students voluntarily help the IA in the restoration of rundown buildings around Fort Santiago. As of today, both the Spanish and Philippine governments provide funds for the program.

Cultural Art at its Finest Most of the instructors in Escuela Taller are TESDA-accredited teachers, while some are even National Artists. Traditional workshops like “surface treatment (painting and finishing), wood carving, traditional carpentry, stone masonry and carving” to modern workshops like “electrical and plumbing installations” are taught by these craftsmen to their apprentices. (Villalon, 2011) Among the list of talented Filipino craftsmen who teach the apprentices in the art of cultural conservation is Christian Aguilar, son of the late Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, National Artist for Visual Arts. Specializing in color-related design and lime-based plastering, Germany-trained Aguilar lends his skills to the

painting and finishing workshops. Another Filipino artist, Lilian “Tats” Rejante-Manahan, who was trained in Italy, also educates the apprentices about painting, finishing and surface designing. (Escuela Taller Blog, 2009) These two artists are quick to observe the innate talent and craftsmanship of their Filipino apprentices. In fact, during one marbling techniques class, some of the students’ final outputs were even said to have been on a par with Carrara masterpieces despite their lack of familiarity with it. (Manalo, 2010) Presidential Merit awardee Wilfredo “Willy” Layug, instructor in the woodworks workshop, also recognizes the ability of the apprentices to accomplish intricate details and designs within a short period of time. As part of his lectures, he even once brought the students to his studio in Betis Pampanga, a town that regards furniture and wood crafts highly, to immerse and encourage them to pursue the trade. (Escuela Taller, 2009) Aside from having renowned Filipino artists in the school’s roster of instructors, Escuela Taller also houses several foreign artisans and craftsmen who teach the protégés the tricks of the trade. Mexican expert masons Maestro Mario Buendia and Nicanor Nequizare train the students in the art of carving adobe stone by hand and have guided their apprentices in constructing the arch of the school building using adobe stones during the first run of the program. According to Manalo, the Mexican masons were initially skeptical of their capability to teach Filipinos as effectively because of the language barrier. Eventually, however, the masons were able to adapt well to the Filipino environment despite their limited knowledge of English. Every Saturday, the Mexican masons conduct sculpting workshops despite its non-inclusion in the curriculum. “It is very surprising to see such good sculptors after only holding the hammer and chisel for less than ten months. In Mexico, it takes years before an apprentice is taught how to sculpt,” said Buendia. (Manalo, 2010) Another recent addition to Escuela Taller’s pool of instructors is British conservator David Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 47


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

A sign that certifies the establishment of Escuela Taller with the blessings of different parties involved.

Mason who teaches students about chemical reactions that occur when soluble salts penetrate stones and bricks. Currently, Mason is responsible for ensuring that the Revellin de Recoletos remains waterproof. Mason has also begun his own blog (ensenarhaciendo.wordpress.com) chronicling his experience as a “building repair, conservation and maintenance” instructor. By doing so, he has been able to track the progress of the Filipino apprentices, all of whom have grown close to his heart. In one of his blog entries, he writes: “After 3 Mondays, I am pleased with the way it’s going. A few students are struggling, lacking confidence and energy and maybe hampered by poor English (or is it my northcountry English speech that’s to blame?). But there is a good camaraderie and most students are eager, engaged (at least some of the time!) and dynamic. A few are very bright. They are starting to ask questions and suggest thoughtful answers to the questions I ask them. They seem to enjoy the practical work, especially when we make teams and have a competition! But I admit, tool skills, accuracy and safety need to be improved. I will make it my task to work on this over the coming weeks.” (Mason, How are they doing?, 2010) 48 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Despite the existing language barrier for these foreign artisans, their teaching is augmented more by visual rather than communication skills. “You’re being taught a craft, even if I don’t talk, I can even teach you the craft just by you looking at what I’m doing. So it’s really learning from a master of the craft.” Manalo explains. However, to lessen the language barrier between the foreign instructors and the apprentices, English lessons are also included in the school’s official curriculum alongside other fundamental subjects like Mathematics and Values Formation. Spanish lessons are also taught since instructions in traditional constructions were written in the Spanish vernacular. (Villalon, 2011) Although these experts were chosen and hired to teach the apprentices the tricks of the trade, the voluntary aspect of their jobs stems from the fact that they better enjoy teaching those perceived to be delinquents rather than typical, well-to-do kids, Manalo says. To say that the Filipino apprentices have captured their instructors’ hearts is an understatement. In fact, up to this day the Mexican masons still keep in touch with the Escuela Taller staff after being away for nearly a year in hopes returning to teach another batch of apprentices. Other foreign instructors, meanwhile, have remained in the Philippines for more than four years since the program begun. (Escuela Taller, 2010) To date, the program’s aim of restoring Fort Santiago has been its utmost priority. Under the guidance of their instructors, the students have already successfully restored two major sites in Fort Santiago, one of which is the collapsed chamber of Casa Blanca left to ruins due to excessive gold digging in the 1980s, while the other is a walkway linking Bastion de San Miguel and the Baluarte de Santa Barbara, two major landmarks in the area. (Escuela Taller, 2010) At present, the apprentices are currently working on the establishment of a visitors’ center in Fort Santiago to replace the old Almacenes Reales, a 300 sq. meter structure damaged and


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

reduced to one fourth its original size during the Second World War. “It had lost its roof and all the timber inside vanished. What survives (sic) are a few badly weathered walls and the graceful stone arches that once held up the wooden floors.” (Escuela Taller, Musings on a 17th century building, 2011) Manalo predicts the completion of the project by summer of 2012, in addition to the numerous walls, installations and walkways already renovated and built by the Taller. From among all its accomplishments and renovations, however, the biggest achievement of the school remains to be its holistic transformation of the once out-of-school youth it has trained in the past and is currently training at the moment. The ability showcased by the otherwise unschooled apprentices goes to show that there really is a huge pool of undiscovered talents hidden in the most mundane of neighborhoods in the metro, Manalo says. With only less than 18 months of training, the first batch of graduates have shown exceptional mastery in their respective crafts and have been able to pursue various careers as well—by working in companies, in other restoration sites or staying in the Escuela Taller to educate the next batch of apprentices.

Their Way or The High Way? The apprentices, aged 17 to 25 years old, were all chosen from communities that could possibly benefit best from the program. In its first run last 2008, Escuela Taller tried to recruit students from a community in Intramuros. Unfortunately, however, the said area was in the process of relocating its inhabitants at that time, says Manalo. Thus, the first batch was instead handpicked from the Baseco compound, the nearest one to Intramuros. From among the out-of-school youths in the area, 110 students in all were selected through the twomonth screening process by TESDA and DSWD. From among this 110, however, only 55 apprentices were able to graduate from the program in 2010. Most of those who were unable to graduate failed due to personal problems and regular absences. Manalo admits that some of the handpicked youth

A regular afternoon with the Escuela Taller apprentices.

fail to grasp the significance of the opportunity offered by Taller both to themselves, and to their communities. The reason, thus, for the inclusion of Values Formation in their curriculum is to hopefully instill the value of receiving free education to these apprentices. While others continue to struggle to comply with program requirements, there are those who have undoubtedly been changed by the Taller for the better. In the program, the apprentices are encouraged to work together in teams in restoration sites, and at times even engage in friendly competitions against each other. (Mason, How are they doing?, 2010) They also undergo training in time management to help lessen the time and effort needed to finish their assigned work. Apart from these, the instructors and staff also try to teach them basic entrepreneurial skills to aid them with their future careers. “They can work without power supply. They don’t need power tools because the training for them is traditional carpentry. Which is the edge of every Filipino, I think. We can always adapt to every situation. Building without nails to building with nails. Building with adobe and lime with building hollow blocks and cement. They have a wide reach.” According to Manalo, the best students in the Taller can immediately gauge whether or not the nature of a particular material can survive the requested construction technique. For instance, if the students were commissioned to make a big marble finish, they are able determine at once if the material would prove to be too sensitive, Manalo says. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 49


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

To show just how much assistance Escuela Taller has been able to impart to its students, Maryam, a female painting graduate read during the school’s first graduation ceremony the following: “In the past I considered myself a prisoner. A prisoner of other people’s decisions, a prisoner of life. Deprived of a family’s love and a victim of violence… I encountered many obstacles because people said I was HOPELESS. My own parents disowned me…Since I entered Escuela Taller my past misfortunes have ceased to be hindrances. My experiences taught me to change and be strong. I realized that I can hope for a better future for myself… and that we are all equal, and women can do what men can… I developed self-confidence and experienced being a LEADER. I have left the past behind… I have started a new life with the help of Escuela Taller.” (Mason, A testimony, read at the 1st graduation ceremony, 2011) More than holistic development, Escuela Taller also exposes out-of-school to a community free from discrimination. Manalo, in fact, stresses the program’s gender equality advocacy. According to him, the Taller’s workshops all accept both male and female participants. The boys are taught painting and carving lessons while the girls are taught stone masonry and carpentry. Manalo even recounts an instance wherein a petite female student was able to carry, carve and glue a huge adobe stone without even asking help from her male companions.

Competitive Edge in a Corporate World The program also taps into social development by generating more employment opportunities for its students. Before graduation, the apprentices are taught to create their own resumes which are then sent to companies in the plumbing, electrical and mainstream construction fields and cultural restorations sites in Intramuros. 50 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Furthermore, Escuela Taller is currently in talks with the Department of Labor and Employment as well for the expansion of the heritage construction market to give more employment opportunities to the graduates. “One of the objectives of the Taller is to uplift the community by providing skills and jobs,” Manalo says. In fact, on its second run, Escuela Taller has even extended the application for the new batch of apprentices to cities and provinces outside Metro Manila. “We actually sent letters to the cities, provinces and towns that have heritage structures but then the main target was the National Cultural Treasures (NCTs), so the NCTs have different buildings, churches and they’re scattered all over the country. It is imperative that there’s one NCT per region. So now we have students from Ilocos Sur, Batanes and Albay. And we were supposed to have some students from Cebu, too. We used to have a student from Bataan,” Manalo added. From the provinces of Batanes, Vigan and Magsingal in Ilocos Sur, Bataan Province, Daraga in Albay, and Boljoon in Cebu, approximately 80 students in total were selected. These students are all housed at the Revellin de Recoletos during their stay in Manila as part of the benefits covered by the program. Apart from that, students are also given regular stipends, lunch meals, and construction supplies. Anything beyond these provisions are in turn shouldered by their respective cities and provinces. The school’s motto, “learning by doing” or Aprender Haciendo is cited as one reason for the Taller students’ advantage as compared to other design students. In accordance with this motto, the school’s curriculum is comprised of 30% theoretical knowledge and 70% application. Not so long ago, Escuela Taller even had an interface program with architecture students from the University of Santo Tomas. “It’s an advantage for them to be able to have an interface program with a trade school so that they know how to work when they graduate from school.” Manalo adds. “At least for the architecture students, they would know how things work in real life scenario, but if you’re in the classroom, you just do drafts,


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

memorize theories. You don’t really maximize the construction. So now, they’re more prepared.” Honing the apprentices into future professionals who can do well in the job market also hones them to become culturally aware individuals. “We live in a city not because it is beautiful, but because we want it to be beautiful,” Manalo says. With the help of several prominent artisans, the apprentices are guided to realize the true beauty of cultural preservation. Now that their projects have become well-known, they have already launched an exhibit in Greenbelt, and have been featured in History Channel’s “Hidden Cities” as well. Escuela Taller also aims to promote cultural awareness to a wider audience. “Little by little, people are seeing that there’s value in old buildings. People come to Manila and they also look for these things for the heritage. If you don’t have skilled people I guess wala naman makikitang turista,” Manalo observes. Escuela Taller restores cultural sites with a twist by intertwining modern and cultural architecture. The restoration of the arch above the entrance of the Revellin de Recoletos is a classic example of this. The newly built arch “…now marks the entry into the dynamic world of the old crafts, where skills that were thought to be long gone have been resurrected, and the young artisans breathe life into traditional – and modern – designs.” (Escuela Taller, 2010) The technique used to build it was adopted from the age-old practice of carving adobe stones by hand, while the whole design resembles the traditional Intramuros houses built in the Spanish era. The once elaborate design is also reduced to minimalistic shapes and structures to adapt to modern preference. The involvement of the youth themselves in the construction adds to the modern appeal of the arch as well. (Escuela Taller, 2010)

Sustainability Issues Despite the buzz it has been getting in recent years, however, Escuela Taller does not generate any revenue.

The administrative building where all the planning takes place.

In fact, it is only through the aid given by the Spanish and Philippine governments that the program is able to sustain itself. Although the funds given by these two governments have undoubtedly aided Escuela Taller through the years, at times, being a government project can also become more of a bane than a boon to the school. For instance, despite the positive reception of the audience to the apprentices’ works during their Greenbelt 3 exhibit, Escuela Taller was unable to sell their products or issue receipts since it simply remains a government project. In addition to this, the school is not allowed to accept donations from private individuals or entities as well. Currently, the staff relies only on the Spanish and Filipino governments for the funding of the program. Despite the Taller’s inability to retail its apprentices’ works, however, the exhibits still help it gain more publicity amongst the masses. “Normal naman iyan e, the things that we can’t become are more desirable.” Manalo remarks. Despite several government limitations imposed on Escuela Taller, Manalo still chooses to look at these restrictions in a positive light. “If you need to go from point A to B, there are so many rules in between. You have to follow the rules, yes, but when you get to point B mas enriched ka naman, you didn’t just comply with the rules, but you made sure that when you got to point B, you got to point B successfully, you’re fulfilled.” He cites the blog as an example, the existence of which has generated a lot of buzz for Escuela Taller. Through today’s available technology, the staff were able to chronicle their experiences and projects, and made Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 51


GETTING SCHOOLED: RESTORING HERITAGE LANDMARKS WHILE EDUCATING OUT-OF-SCHOOL YOUTH WITH ESCUELA TALLER

the public more knowledgeable of the program. When asked what the strength of Escuela Taller is, Manalo answers: “It’s rooted in the community.” According to him, if a person feels attached to a community, it would be easier for him or her to work for its progress. Because the apprentices all come from various communities in need of help, they are more inclined to work for the betterment of not only of themselves but of their communities as well. “It’s like telling a child: ‘Look, if you want to survive, you can’t survive alone, you have to survive as a community.’ It’s finding your anchor, who you are in the community.” Despite the funding it receives from the government, Escuela Taller is not content with becoming just a government project; it sets its eyes on bigger goals. Currently, a plan to put up a foundation is underway, with the staff working to create linkages to private sectors. With the establishment of the foundation, Escuela Taller would inevitably have to effect drastic changes in its program. For one, the selection of the students must be more stringent once the foundation gets implemented. Some students often take the opportunity given to them for granted. Since the proposed program would be a semi-private one, the students should match up to the standards of the foundation’s private benefactors. This plan is all in preparation for possible financial crises which might hit the two governments in the future and which could possibly render them unable to provide enough subsidies to the fund the Taller. At present, both the Spanish and the Philippine governments are also leaning towards the establishment of this foundation and are in the process polishing its basic skeletal structure (i.e., finalizing the overall concept, contacting possible sponsors, etc). As of this writing, they have already begun talking about the functions each would have to contribute once the foundation is concretized. “We have another year’s worth of subsidies so that covers the whole of 2012. You could imagine that by around February dapat nakaset-up na ang Foundation, dapat February pa lang aalamin mo na so we can talk to the corporations, we have legal 52 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

character to be able to deal with people. So by the middle of the year, you would already have had pledges from people and of course fundraisers, so of course there’s a receptacle for the fund.” Manalo said.

Conclusion Despite Escuela Taller’s inability to generate revenue, its nature as a government project does not hinder it from pushing through the limits and widening its boundaries. Through smart usage of their resources, Escuela Taller’s ingenuity provides leeway for them to showcase the apprentices’ talents to a wider audience not only within the country, but abroad as well. However, the real strength of the program lies in the fact that it is geared towards community building and nation development rather than on profit generation. Not only is it educating and generating jobs for the country’s out-of-school youth, it promotes nationalism and cultural awareness as well. WORKS CITED Luna, Jayson. “Spanish Project To Benefit Intramuros.” The Manila Times 24 April 2008. Manalo, Michael. Interview. Julie Diane Lim. January 2012. Manalo, Mico. “Looking Back For A Brighter Future.” BluPrint 2010: 132-133. Mason, David. “A testimony, read at the 1st graduation ceremony.” 3 February 2011. Ensenar Haciendo. January 2012 <www. ensenarhaciendo.wordpress.com>. —. “How are they doing?” 16 March 2010. Ensenar Haciendo. January 2012 <http://ensenarhaciendo.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/howare-they-doing/>. Ortiz, Margaux. “Youths Restore Historical Sites.” Philippine Daily Inquirer 4 April 2010. Taller, Escuela. “July Wrap-Up.” 10 August 2009. Escuela Taller Intramuros Blog. 19 January 2012 <http://etintramuros.wordpress. com/2009/08/10/july-wrap-up/>. —. “Musings on a 17th century building.” 11 July 2011. Escuela Taller Intramuros Blog. January 2012 <http://etintramuros.wordpress. com/2011/06/11/musings-on-a-17th-century-building/ >. ---. “The Arch” 07 December 2010. Escuela Taller Intramuros Blog. 19 January 2012 <http://etintramuros.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/ the-arch/>. Villalon, Agustin. “Escuela Taller Intramuros, A heritage asset.” Philippine Daily Inquirer 17 July 2011.


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.:

REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY

AND CULTURE by Wencè Calinawan

Abstract This paper traces the history of Bote Central, Inc., its entrance in the Philippine coffee industry through Kape Alamid, and its innovation of the coffee value chain which realizes its role as a cultural and social entrepreneur. Through its efforts in producing Kape Alamid, a coffee brand that is uniquely identified as Filipino, and re-engineering the value chain to produce a fairer share of profits for coffee farmers, thus incentivizing future coffee farming and production, Bote Central, Inc. leads the revival of the lagging Philippine coffee industry and the fading Filipino coffee culture, which has its distinct sets of customs and traditions. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 53


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

Fresh civet droppings

Cultural Entrepreneurship and Bote Central, Inc. Cultural entrepreneurship is a relatively new field in the study of business. (Agaeson, 2009) Hence, the concept of cultural entrepreneurship is difficult to define. Existing studies focus on the agent, the entrepreneur, rather than the phenomenon of entrepreneurship in itself. There are varying descriptions of what makes a cultural entrepreneur, and the definitions are made with certain examples or case studies of cultural entrepreneurs in mind (King, 2008; Agaeson, 2009). According to the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, a leading organization in the field, cultural entrepreneurs are defined as “cultural change agents and resourceful visionaries who organize cultural, financial, social and human capital, to generate revenue from a cultural activity. Their innovative solutions result in economically sustainable cultural enterprises that enhance livelihoods and create cultural value and wealth for both creative producers and consumers of cultural services and products.” (Agaeson, 2009) What therefore distinguishes cultural entrepreneurs from ordinary entrepreneurs is the ability to 54 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

harness cultural capital to generate revenue from a cultural activity. This paper is concerned with analyzing the efforts of cultural entrepreneurs Basil and Vie Reyes as they harness the cultural capital of Kape Alamid, or civet coffee in order to support the revenue-generation from the cultural activity of uniquely Filipino coffee culture. Cultural entrepreneurs also have other characteristics. They are described as typically being passionate and well-versed on their field, having been both consumers and producers of their product (King, 2008). They are also generally selfemployed and have no qualms about remaining as such. (Leadbeater & Oakley, 1999) The Reyes couple also exhibits all these qualifications. Individuals who are cited as examples of cultural entrepreneurs include Bob Geldof, Paul Smith, and Anita Roddick, founder and CEO of Body Shop. Significantly, another enduring characteristic of some cultural entrepreneurs is the fact that they are “not solely fuelled by commercial gain and opportunity” (King, 2008) but non-commercial priorities relating to social and personal interests as well. (Bilton, 2007) Body Shop under Anita Roddick, for example, considers fair trade and going against animal testing as key elements of its


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

identity. In the case of Kape Alamid, what is evident is the deliberate focus of the Reyes couple on creating a more equitable economic arrangement between farmers and producers, including efforts to help innovate the means of production of coffee farmers; this means that the couple sacrifice what might be greater profit in order to support different groups within the value chain.

Coffee and Kape Alamid as Products of Culture The Philippines has a very rich coffee culture which derives its roots from Western influences. However, contrary to popular belief, the custom and culture of coffee drinking was not introduced by Starbucks and America, but by much older Spanish influences in the 16th century during the early Spanish colonization. What drove the emergence of coffee in the Philippines was the fact that coffee bean was a cash crop, which led to coffee beans first being planted in the Philippines in 1741. (Arceo-Dumlao, 2010) By the 1800s, ArceoDumlao further writes, the Philippines was the world’s fourth largest exporter of coffee, primarily high grade Arabica beans coming from Batangas; but by the end of the Second World War, the Philippines became more of a coffee importer due to blighted harvests and the economic pressures on farmers to replace the expensive Arabica with Robusta beans, which are the primary ingredient for instant coffee. Given the fact that the Philippines is one of the few countries where the four main commercial varieties of coffee—Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica—are available (Arceo-Dumlao, 2010), alongside rarer and more exquisite beans such as those used in Kape Alamid, it is not surprising that the Philippines enjoys a diverse and distinct coffee culture in its various regions. Sadly, there is a dearth of written documentation of these coffee-drinking habits. As Vie Reyes noted in her interview, these different ways of consuming coffee are largely discovered through travel and experience. Local cuisine and beverages are inevitably

products of a culture. Thus it is possible to speak of French coffee or distinctively Vietnamese or Thai ways of serving and drinking coffee. Kape Alamid is similarly a cultural product that has made a name for itself by leveraging on both its Asian and Filipino origins: the Asian palm civet endemic to Southeast Asian countries, and the Alamid brand and way of viewing coffee Arceo-Dumlao writes that the country today “consumes about 65,000 tons of coffee a year, but is only able to produce a maximum of 30,000 tons” (Arceo-Dumlao, 2010) indicating that there is a lot of room for improvement in coffee production in the country. However, as we shall see, a large factor in the decline of the once-dominant and globally competitive coffee industry is the fact that coffee farming has become largely unprofitable and undesirable for many of the families who used to pursue them. This is the context in which the story of Bote Central, Inc. plays out, and where Kape Alamid was born.

Profile of Bote Central, Inc. History Bote Central, Inc. (referred to as Bote Central) was established by Basil and Vie Reyes as a bottlefrosting business in the Philippines. It flourished for a while as it was the only one of its kind during that time in the country. However, as its clients began enforcing backward integration by replicating the technology Bote Central employed, the business slowly lost most of its customers. As a result, the bottle-frosting business became insolvent and thus, the Reyes couple decided to venture into the vinegar industry. Instead of producing the regular kind, they opted to produce all-natural vinegar which they branded as Arengga Vinegar. The product became the first certified organic vinegar in the country and was distributed locally and exported to several countries including the United States and Japan. It was this product that led the couple to their own learning of the Asian palm civets. Arengga Vinegar is primarily produced from the sweet sap of the Arenga Pinnata or the sugar palm trees, most Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 55


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

of which are to be found now only in Indang, Cavite as a result of rapid urbanization. However, what primarily contributed to its remaining abundance in the area is the Asian palm civet. Known as “alamid” and “musang” in the Philippines, the palm civet is a nocturnal and endemic cat-like creature (Reyes, 2012). It commonly dwells in forests, eats and excretes fruit seeds and coffee berries, and thus, disperses the growth of the various trees across the area. Having encountered the Asian palm civet that is often found clinging to the sugar palm trees, the Reyes couple researched on the animal and subsequently learned about the Kopi Luwak – which is coffee that is produced from the droppings of civets endemic in Indonesia. Upon their discovery of the civet, they realized the profit potential found in the civet coffee, which they estimated to far exceed their Arengga Vinegar business. Consequently, they went into production of “Kape Alamid” and registered it as their own trademark. As a new entrant in the coffee industry of the Philippines, the Reyes couple immersed themselves in research and relevant experiments for the formulation of their business plan. Upon studying the coffee value chain, they realized the

The Philippine palm civet, locally known as “alamid”

56 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

critical status of the coffee industry, and of the farmers. Farmers earned too little from planting coffee beans; thus, many were discouraged and discontinued growing beans, finding instead other means of livelihood. This contributed to the country’s decrease in coffee supply. The Reyes couple recognizes their serendipitous discovery of civet coffee as a blessing that they must share with the community. Thus, the couple decided that their business plan should include certain aspects that will lead to the change they aspire for in the coffee industry. From civet coffee, they expanded Bote Central into production of other coffee products as well and established a business plan that re-engineered the traditional coffee value chain. It is through these efforts that they began their journey as cultural entrepreneurs.

Developing Kape Alamid The Philippine civets, or alamid as they are called in Filipino, are nocturnal animals which have the ability to choose only the sweetest and ripest coffee berries through their sense of smell. They are inclined to dwell in lush forests and clean rivers with numerous fruit trees. However, when they lose their habitat, they tend to go down to the forests, feed on livestock; which is why farmers consider alamid as pests (Reyes, 2012). Although they may seem problematic to residents near the forests, alamid hold a vital role in the maintenance of the forest ecosystem. The Philippines is not the only country that produces civet coffee in Asia. Indonesia, Vietnam, and East Timor are three countries which also make their own kind of civet coffee. However, the essential difference of the Kape Alamid from them is that in the Philippines, the civets are still left free to live in any part of the forests. Consequently, their excrements, which contain the coffee beans, are gathered in the wild. In Indonesia and East Timor, the civets are captured and domesticated or caged in order to locate and gather their waste product easily (Onishi, 2010). In Vietnam, on the other hand, chemical replications of the civet coffee are


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

made (Coffee in Vietnam: It’s the Shit, 2012). Basil and Vie Reyes believe that the restriction of the civets to cages or to a limited area of land will not only be harmful to the health of the civets and nearby humans, but also to the forest ecosystem. Keeping civets in cages is not advisable since bacteria from the animals’ droppings could pose a serious threat to human health. A similar incident has already happened in China in 2006 when the caged civets were the suspected source of the deadly SARS corona virus (Quanlin, 2006). The civets are responsible for keeping balance in the wilds. In fact, their feeding on numerous wild food items actually conducts the recycling of nutrients and prevention of bacteria that could affect other species that inhabit the forest (Rogers, n.d.). Civets also control rodent infestation by feeding on pests, including rats, snakes, and insects. Moreover, the natural form of dispersing fruit seeds especially in degraded forests relies heavily on the civets. Unfortunately, due to hunting, civets are now considered an endangered species in the Philippines. Given the low number of wild civets, further manipulation of their habitats will critically disrupt the forest ecosystem. Thus, Bote Central insists on gathering their civet droppings in the wild. As part of their environmental advocacy, one of the thrusts of their vision statement reads, “Working to Clean and Save the Environment”. In keeping with this, they limit their direct interactions with the civets to manually gathering their droppings in their natural habitat instead of keeping them on farms. The company personally works with Filipino farmers, who gather the civet droppings in their area usually in the early morning. On a good day, a farmer can gather about a kilo of civet droppings. As Vie Reyes shared, the droppings have a certain form and smell such that it makes them easily distinguishable from other substances. After the collection for the day, the droppings are then washed in rivers and manually sorted one by one to comply with international coffee standards. The alamid coffee beans are prepared in the roasting machines invented and manufactured

Roasting machine invented by Basil Reyes

by Basil Reyes. After roasting, the beans are packaged in different containers of different sizes. Bote Central maintains a policy of roasting upon placement of order to ensure the freshness of the coffee beans. The company delivers worldwide. In fact, most of its orders come from places abroad such as the United States, Japan, and Malaysia. They have been featured by international media, among which are the National Geographic, BBC News, CNN, Al Jazeera, German TV, and History Channel. They have also been approached by local media such as the Philippines Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Magandang Gabi Bayan, and Jessica Soho Reports. For the marketing of the Kape Alamid brand, they rely mostly on publicity, media exposure and on their company website. The Kape Alamid is a unique and special brand of Philippine coffee, which is recognized worldwide as a high-quality brew. Having anticipated that others will imitate their business concept, Bote Central invested in the name and registered it as a trademark for exclusive use of the word, “alamid.” Being the first to produce civet coffee in the country and having this trademark registered provide an advantage of easier brand recognition to the company. Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 57


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

Currently, Bote Central is the leading company in this niche of the larger Philippine coffee industry. There are only very few producers of Philippine civet coffee. The company is further differentiated by its policy of gathering civet droppings from the wild in contrast to other producers which have their civets caged in farms. Basil and Vie Reyes believe that the key to success in their business is a trust relationship between the company and the farmers. The farmers are the primary suppliers of the civet coffee beans and are a vital element in the value chain of the company. Since most farmers do not have formal education, trust is essential for the business model to actually work. As Vie explains, the farmers need to trust them to be able to engage in business transactions. She emphasizes, without trust, the business relationship could lead to fraudulent acts harmful to both sides, such as non-payment or delivery of fake civet coffee beans. Therefore, the couple saw the need to reengineer the traditional coffee value chain. They believe that adding an operation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which provides aid to the farmers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to the process will earn that kind of trust. Through their research on the traditional process, they discovered the main flaw that hinders farmers from generating more profit from growing coffee beans. It is from this discovery of the flaw that they took steps in re-engineering the value chain.

The Traditional Coffee Value Chain In the traditional coffee value chain, coffee farmers plant coffee trees and from them, they harvest raw, green coffee beans which are their end product. Since farmers have no means in cooking the beans to make it suitable for drinking coffee, the raw beans are sold to large coffee manufacturers for only Php 85.00 per kilogram. These large coffee manufacturers have the capital and facilities to roast the beans and thus, prepare and package them to be sold to consumers in rural and urban areas. Vie shares a piece of irony in this system: since the farmers have only green coffee beans as their products, they would have to 58 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

purchase their own prepared coffee from nearby towns or markets. This value chain is problematic to the extent that not only is it exploitative of coffee farmers, but it is harmful to coffee production in the Philippines as well. There is low coffee production in many provinces of the country due to many problems such as fruitless coffee trees, lack of technology, and lack of roads from the farms to markets (Anenias, 2001). As a result of these existing problems, a farmer could only sell one or at most, two kilograms of coffee per day. Given the low market prices these raw beans are sold at, one is lucky to earn even Php 85.00 a day to feed a typical family of five members. According to Laarni Anenias of the Bureau of Agricultural Research, about 300,000 Filipinos depend on the coffee industry. Due to the low wages farmers receive from their sales of raw coffee beans, many have switched to other sources of livelihood, resulting in a decrease in the number of coffee farmers and also in coffee production. Moreover, there is a potential stagnation and possible death of the coffee industry. Having seen the unprofitability of farming, the children of these farmers, who were intended to continue the business, also eventually leave to take on better-paying kinds of work. In 2001, the average yield was already as low as 400 kilograms of green beans per hectare. It is an alarming rate since the international average coffee production is at 485 kilograms and the ideal production is at 1,500 kilograms (Anenias, 2001). Moreover, as one of the few countries that can accommodate all four prevalent coffee varieties, the Philippines has great potential in the industry. However, without farmers, this opportunity for profit is wasted. Research and development initiatives to address problems in the coffee industry such as low volume of production, poor coffee quality, and low wages of coffee farmers include adaptation of technology, development of farming systems, and biotechnology, all of which require substantial amount of funding (Anenias, 2001).


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 59


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

Coffee production is vital to the economic development of the Philippines. Coffee ranks second next only to oil in the world’s most legally traded commodities (Anenias, 2001). World consumption continues to increase as it has been predicted that the levels of consumption will rise along with population growth. Coffee demand will never cease and thus, coffee production and exportation will always be a great opportunity for national economic growth. Basil and Vie Reyes see and understand this reality. They know that there is an urgent need for improvement or even change in the industry so as to address the concerns of coffee production and alleviate poverty experienced by coffee farmers. They realize that what was needed was an innovation in the value chain system. Thus, they created Kape’t Buhay.

Coffee Value Chain Re-engineering: Kape’t Buhay Kape’t Buhay is “a sustainable consumption production program for Philippine Coffee to alleviate poverty” (Reyes, 2012). It was initiated on the belief that one of the ways to increase coffee production is to increase the wages of the farmers; as Vie puts it, “When coffee farmers earn more from coffee, they will plant more coffee.” Kape’t Buhay aims to empower coffee farmers and the urban or rural poor. Not only does it promote the increase of coffee supply, but also making the quality of Philippine coffee at par with international standards. The couple believes that if coffee farmers were able to have roasted coffee beans as their end products and not just raw, green beans, they would have the means to earn more than what they currently earn. Thus, they introduced roasting facilities, which they called the Kape’t Buhay package, into the coffee value chain. Instead of selling the raw, green coffee beans to large coffee manufactures at Php 85.00 per kilogram, the farmers are able to roast their own raw coffee beans at these facilities, converting their end product into something of higher market value at 60 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Php 240.00 per kilogram. Bote Central generates profit mostly from the roasting technology used in each facility. The roasting facilities are located at the center of each farming community. Each Kape’t Buhay package includes necessary equipments for roasting such as the grinder, weighing scale, dehuller, sealer packaging, computer unit, and the automatic, computerized roasting machine, which was invented by Basil himself. The package also includes a year of training program for the farmers, women, and children who could all then participate in the production of coffee. Opportunities to sell fresh coffee are plentiful as Filipinos are, by culture, coffee drinkers. Coffee is always present in every celebration, and Filipinos drink coffee at any time of the day. In fact, fresh coffee accounted for the 97% of total volume sales of coffee in 2010 (Euromonitor, 2001). Many distribution channels are also available for farmers to sell instant coffee. These include bus stations, schools, offices, hotels, resorts, markets, and local government units.

Development of Kape’t Buhay As of December 2011, there were 13 existing roasting facilities across the country, with Bote Central still undertaking expansion to other provinces. That same month, they were in the process of establishing new facilities in 6 different provinces. The Kape’t Buhay program has been recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and in November 2011, they agreed to establish a partnership through a project called, “Kapihan ni Aling Nena.” Each Kape’t Buhay package amounts to about Php 1,500,000.00. The coffee roasting business units, taken care of by the Department of Agriculture, amount to Php 645,000.00. Skills training provided by DAR, Accenture, and Globe equate to Php 350,000.00.00. Green coffee beans seed bank or the micro-financing aspect of the project, under the responsibility of the local government units, amount to Php 500,000.00. It is through this program that members


BOTE CENTRAL, INC.: REVIVING THE PHILIPPINE COFFEE INDUSTRY AND CULTURE

Bilton, C. (2007). Management and creativity: from creative industries to creative management. UK: John Wiley and Sons. Coffee in Vietnam: It’s the Shit. (2012, January 15). Retrieved February 9, 2012, from The Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/ prospero/2012/01/coffee-vietnam Euromonitor. (2001). Coffee in the Philippines. Global Market Information Database . King, S. (2008, February 29). What is a cultural entrepreneur anyway? Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://www.mediaenterprise. co.uk/2008/02/29/what-is-a-cultural-entrepreneur-anyway/ Leadbeater, C., & Oakley, K. (1999). The Independents: Britain’s New Cultural Entrepreneurs. Demos.

Partnership project participated in by Bote Central

of the urban or rural poor are also given the opportunity to earn by selling instant coffee. Thus far, the program has been effective. It has been particularly beneficial to coffee farmers as demand for their product has increased.

Conclusion From the production of Arengga Vinegar taken from the sugar palm trees to the discovery of the Philippine civet and manufacturing of Kape Alamid and up until its establishment of Kape’t Buhay, Bote Central was able to fulfill the role of a cultural entrepreneur. Through its Kape Alamid business, not only does the company attempt to promote the excellent quality of the product across the globe, but it also seeks to find ways to preserve and protect the culture that sustains the product. As cultural entrepreneurs, Bote Central has gone as far as involving itself in the lives of coffee farmers in order to revive both the industry and culture of Philippine coffee. These efforts have not only improved the company’s strategic position, but have also helped the industry as a whole.

Onishi, N. (2010, April 2010). From Dung to Coffee Brew With No Aftertaste. Retrieved February 9, 2012, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/world/asia/18civetcoffee. html Quanlin, Q. (2006, November 23). Scientists Prove SARS-civet Cat Link. Retrieved February 10, 2012, from China Daily US Edition: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-11/23/content_740511. htm Reyes, V. C. (2012, January). Interview with Bote Central, Inc. (W. V. Calinawan, Interviewer) Rogers, C. D. (n.d.). Benefits of the African Civet on the Ecosystem. Retrieved February 9, 2012, from EHow: http://www.ehow.com/ list_6179735_benefits-african-civet-ecosystem.html

BIBLIOGRAPHY Agaeson, T. (2009, November 27). Cultural Entrepreneur: A New Definition. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from http:// culturalentrepreneur.org /blog /cultural-entrepreneur-a-newdefinition/ Anenias, L. C. (2001, July). The Philippine Coffee Industry: A Profile. Retrieved February 10, 2012, from BAR Digest: http://www.bar.gov. ph/bardigest/2001/julsep01_thephilcof.asp Arceo-Dumlao, T. (2010, July 30-August 12). Investing in Coffee Futures. Asia News , p. 14.

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 61


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HERITAGE PRESERVATION:

A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE REUSE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS by Kristine Ongtenco

Abstract Conservation and preservation of heritage structures in the Philippines remains problematic as conflicts between private institutions and the public sphere do not allow for more effective efforts in this regard. Meanwhile, the tourism industry is experiencing a shift from leisure tourism to heritage tourism. In order to take advantage of this, efforts to preserve cultural heritage must not only be economically viable, but also ensure long-term sustainability. Adaptive re-use, or the use of a heritage structure for a purpose other than its intended use, is a method of structural heritage preservation that copes with modern development. In this connection, the town of Taal, Batangas is slowly rising as a player in the heritage preservation industry. At the forefront of these efforts is a group of people known as the TAAL, or the Taal Active Alliance Legion. This study surveys the importance of adaptive re-use to the heritage tourism industry in TAAL. Image Source: taal.com.ph/index.php/places-to-visit/gliceria-marella-villavicencio-residences/)

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 63


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

Front view of the Apacible ancestral home located at the main street of Taal. (Image Source: taal.com.ph/index.php/places-to-visit/don-leon-apacible-museum/)

The research This paper investigates of the viability and sustainability of structural heritage through adaptive re-use, as well as establishing the role of private institutions at the forefront of heritage conservation efforts with a special focus on the town of Taal, Batangas and the efforts of the Taal Active Alliance Legion. Given these objectives, the study aims to answer two questions: first, is cultural heritage preservation via adaptive re-use viable as a method of heritage preservation? And second, is cultural heritage preservation via adaptive re-use viable as an entrepreneurial/business venture? Information in this study is derived from both primary and secondary sources: the secondary sources provide the background of the study and framework for analysis, while the primary sources expound on the organization in question (Taal Active Alliance Legion, referred to in this study as TAAL or The Alliance). These primary sources include interviews with Mr. Villavicencio and onsite observations of the town. This study is hoped to benefit the players in the industry, as well as the industry itself as a whole. It aims to outline the strengths and weaknesses within the industry itself, as well as 64 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

make recommendations to improve both players and the industry.

Dilapidation and destruction: the current state of structural heritage preservation In a developing country such as the Philippines, structural heritage is an important resource. Such heritage is divided into two categories: indigenous/ native, and colonial (Timothy & Nyaupane, 2009). According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), cultural heritage sites refer to “[…]works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view[…].” Sites that fall under this definition are provided protection by the UNESCO – the most important of which is the assurance that these sites cannot be demolished. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) likewise provides protection for heritage sites, as outlined in The International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (also known as the Venice Charter). However, there are structures that are not


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

considered heritage sites by these institutions. This essentially leads to the lack of protection for such heritage sites despite their significance as architectural works. Examples of such sites are the Luneta Hotel and the Jai-Alai, both of which were destroyed in favor of development and modernity. Republic Act No. 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, was signed into law on March 2010. Like the ICOMOS’ Venice Charter, it provides for the protection of cultural heritage by the Philippine government. However, the case for heritage structures is problematic. It is not known if the law covers structures that are privatelyowned (Esmema, 2011; Pichay, 2011). While laws and ordinances exist to protect heritage, these are either improperly enforced, or ignored altogether, for the sake of “development.” Nevertheless, this is not the only cause for concern. The article “Manila’s Intramuros: Storming the Walls” outlines three causes of the dilapidation, for instance, of Intramuros: a questionable conservation methodology, inadequate legislative and regulatory controls, and a lack of real commitment on the part of the government in ensuring the protection of the site (Maclaren & Villalon, 2002). This same framework may likewise apply to the heritage structure situation on the national level. On a wider scale, the book Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the Developing World: A Regional Perspective lists five reasons for the deterioration of structures in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List which may also apply to many heritage structures in the country: “war and political conflict, vandalism and human wear, urbanization and agricultural pressures, overcrowding by tourists, and lack of planning and management” (Timothy & Nyaupane, 2009). Maclaren and Villalon also outlined what they called “unnecessary developmental pressures” on the use of land, causing disparity between two groups: the preservation/conservation groups and the pro-development groups. The goal of adaptive re-use in this context, then, is to bridge the widening gap between these two groups, and create a venue where development and heritage

conservation can co-exist.

Heritage tourism as a catalyst for adaptive re-use According to the Lou Harris Poll for Travel and Leisure, there has been a significant shift in the purpose of travel for Americans from the 1980s to the 1990s. In the 1980s, the main purpose of travel was for leisure, rather than cultural experience; whereas in the 1990s, the opposite is true. Gail Dexter Lord calls this the “paradigm shift from ‘escapism’ to ‘enrichment’.” This shift implies that American tourists of the 1990s are more concerned with immersion in arts and the culture, rather than an escape from leisure. The Sun, Sea, and Sand (SSS) model of tourism development prevails in many tropical developing nations, but because this yields “unplanned and poorly regulated growth,” there has been a shift of focus from the SSS model to a model that includes a tourist destination’s cultural heritage (Timothy & Nyaupane, 2009). It is in this regard that heritage structures become an asset for development – and restoration of these structures, in turn, becomes a priority. Adaptive re-use is a method of preservation that uses the structure for a purpose different than its intended use. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology defines it as “the process that adapts buildings for new uses while retaining their historic features” (Massachussetts Institute of Technology). The Venice Charter describes and places limitations on such a method of preservation in Article 5 stating that “The conservation of monuments is always facilitated by making use of them for some socially useful purpose.” It also places limitations as to the extent of re-use of the building: “Such use is therefore desirable but it must not change the lay-out or decoration of the building” (International Council on Monuments and Sites, 2006).

Problems with adaptive re-use The problem with adaptive re-use deals mostly one question: does re-use of a structure Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 65


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

take away the essence of the structure itself? Such a question is inevitable, because such alternative uses for heritage structures may completely remove the “living culture” underlying it. However, Tatsuro Yamamoto, in his book Restoraton and Preservation of Cultural Assets of Asia: the Task of the XXIst century, appropriately says that “The foremost objective of the preservation and restoration projects is, of course, to protect historical remains from the threat of destruction so as to be able to hand them down in posterity[...] Through the realization of their cultural heritage, they can become aware of and proud of their own contribution to the history of mankind and simultaneously they find concrete evidence of their cultural identity[...]” Preservation of the structure lends itself to preservation of the cultural practices and value of structure, because the structure itself is an embodiment of the history surrounding it. According to Article 7 of the Venice Charter, “[...] A monument is inseparable from the history to which it bears witness and from the setting in which it occurs […].” (International Council on Monuments and Sites, 2006) With this in mind, it can be said that re-use of heritage structures is, if done properly, more beneficial in the preservation of culture than detrimental to it.

The Taal Active Alliance Legion The Taal Active Alliance Legion (TAAL) began as a small group of people passionate about their town, Taal, located in the province of Batangas. Prior to the group’s founding, local government was stagnant, which led to the town’s decay. Before the group was formally established, Mr. Ernesto Villavicencio took several individuals, including local government officials of the town, on a trip to Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in May of 2008. This trip engendered the group to the possibility of tourism as an industry to revive 66 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Taal. In June of the same year, Mr. Villavicencio contracted the services of Eric Zerrudo, then director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, to employ cultural mapping. In July of that year, individuals interested in structural preservation efforts met to discuss their mission. A month after, the group was formally established with members and a name: the Taal Active Alliance Legion (TAAL). In an attempt to raise funds for proposed conservation projects, the town held special events during the fiesta in December of 2008, including an appreciation night for volunteers as well as an exhibition of restored classic cars. Currently, TAAL is composed of around twenty members with an executive committee headed by Mr. Ernesto Villavicencio. Most conservation efforts must go through a regulatory body, and are approved by Mr. Villavicencio. Vision, Mission, and Values The ultimate goal of TAAL is to revive Taal as a town, as well as to revive its traditions and culture. Mr. Villavicencio outlines the mission of the alliance as such: 1. To be at the forefront of heritage conservation by ensuring that structures are not demolished; 2. To educate the townspeople of the value of the heritage structure of their town; 3. To generate tourism anchored on the Bahay na Bato and churches; and finally, 4. Create job opportunities that will result in the economic uplifting of the town. The last mission is especially important; Taal is known for its unusually high number of overseas Filipino workers, and Villavicencio stressed that focusing on tourism as the key industry in the town may shift the town’s dependence from overseas labor remittance to reliance on the town’s own existing resources. Internal affairs The restoration of houses in Taal is funded by the two players in the heritage conservation


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

industry: the government (as in the case of government-funded museums), and private individuals. The houses themselves are part of the town, and are acquired by private individuals through either inheritance or purchase. Other houses are sold by individuals to the government, with the promise that the government institution responsible will take proper care of the building. Most of these privately-owned heritage houses are either demolished or deteriorating, because according to Mr. Villavicencio of TAAL, the cost of restoration is around three times that of constructing a new building or house in its stead. The bigger difficulty, besides funding for restoration, is looking for authentic materials. Villavicencio outlines a three-step process in the restoration of the houses: first, a certain use is identified, after which restoration plans are made based on the use the investor wishes on the structure. After this planning, restoration is undertaken. This includes acquisition of materials and actual rebuilding of the structure’s facade and interior. Some restored structures are currently reused as lodging (bed and breakfast), restaurants, and museums. The cost of maintaining heritage structures is estimated at around Php30,000.00 yearly. Maintenance, like restoration efforts, is privatelyfunded by members of TAAL. This maintenance cost includes cleaning, improving the facade of the structures, as well as the labor expense of those involved with safeguarding the structures (such as housekeepers). The Alliance subscribes to a non-puritan approach in restoration efforts. While it attempts to ensure the most authentic way of restoring and preserving the houses by looking for materials that closely match that of the original, the organization recognizes the fact that it is almost impossible to stick to a strict criterion because, yet again, of cost. Villavicencio also notes the risk of losing cultural heritage by changing the use or purpose of the houses; however, this should be more beneficial in the long run. According to him, structural preservation is of importance because this serves

A photo of the Villavicencio Wedding Gift House Interior. (Image Source: taal.com.ph/index.php/places-to-visit/gliceria-marella-villavicencio-residences/)

as a reminder of the structure’s heritage. The alternative to that is to demolish and develop, at the risk of losing Taal’s cultural assets. The town itself is small and easily accessible by walking, and the townspeople are hospitable. The Taal Basilica remains at the heart of the town, and street names are labeled in Spanish, the old vernacular, recalling the history that accompanies the town. Currently, the town’s tourist demographic profile is composed of students who have come to learn about the town’s culture and traditions. There is also the occasional foreign tourist. However, Villavicencio says that the group’s endeavors are targeted towards local tourists who express an interest in Taal’s heritage, and wish to experience it. External Forces Many external forces affect the viability and sustainability of the preservation efforts Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 67


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

in Taal, the most important being the political landscape and the economic climate. The latter is more straightforward; funding is, as explained earlier, problematic due to the fact that TAAL, as an alliance, has only just begun its efforts of preservation. The effect of political landscape, however, is most evident in the manner in which preservation projects are carried out: it is only through partnerships with local government that projects are implemented, and only through partnerships with the local government that preservation efforts are sustained. Partnerships on the national level must also be established. For instance, the National Historical Institute aids in the funding of some projects of the Alliance. The Alliance must also foster a good relationship with the Church. As a social institution, it provides The Alliance with the capability to communicate with the townspeople and also embodies the townspeople’s collective core values with which the Alliance may well align themselves.

Industry Analysis and Recommendations TAAL entered the heritage preservation industry as a new player in 2007. The high costs of structural preservation coupled with meager profit, little demand, and lack of promotion have resulted in the difficult introduction of their efforts at structural heritage preservation into to the market. Villavicencio notes that TAAL may reach its growth stage after ten years. He insisted that the town should not fall into the temptation of “hyperdevelopment,” as is what happened to Lemery, the town next to Taal, as this is more of an impediment than an advantage. He feels that people, as well as the town’s infrastructure, may not be ready for as dramatic a change, and this may be more problematic than beneficial. The key success factor of The Alliance is, clearly, its greatest asset: the concentration of heritage houses. The heritage houses in Taal are unlike those found in Vigan. For one thing, Taal’s houses are more spread-out as opposed to being located in one street (Calle Crisologo in Vigan), and for another, Taal makes an active effort to 68 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

preserve the interior of the houses. To be sure, Vigan is a veteran in the heritage tourism industry, and Taal is a newcomer. Nonetheless, efforts to preserve and conserve must persist, and this can be done through stricter enforcement of current ordinances, as well as more aggressive restoration efforts. Aggressive restoration efforts cannot happen without funding, however. In terms of sustainability, Taal’s biggest weakness is the lack of funding. One suggestion is to forge partnerships and sponsorships with institutions aligned with The Alliance’s core values. Effective marketing strategies and making use of different channels to communicate TAAL’s efforts may change the perception about the town in addition to instilling awareness of it. More importantly, effective marketing may do the same for heritage preservation and heritage tourism as a whole.

Taal in comparison with Vigan The cost of conservation and maintenance calls to question the viability of these heritage structures as a business. Villavicencio himself states that the current costs, coupled with little profits, do not allow for fledgling entrepreneurs or locals to consider this as a business. He notes that this is not a moneymaking venture – at the moment. With the assumption that The Alliance matures as a player in the heritage tourism industry, and as Taal becomes more widely recognized as a heritage town, there is the optimism that the town becomes as competitive a town – and provides lucrative opportunities – as Vigan. Because TAAL is a new organization, it is difficult to project its success. Preliminary assessment can be made, however, by comparing The Alliance’s efforts today vis-a-vis the factors that contributed to the success of Vigan. Much of the origins of Vigan’s conservation efforts are similar to Taal’s own: change was not immediate, there was a distinct lack of interest, and there was constant public criticism. Vigan’s success as a heritage town could be attributed to both the partnership between the private and the public


HERITAGE PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF THE EFFORTS AT ADAPTIVE RE-USE BY THE TOWN OF TAAL, BATANGAS

sectors, and the existence of venues for discourse in order to arrive at a consensus – which TAAL provides. Ordinances were also passed for both towns, which served as the local government’s means of preventing the deterioration of structural heritage (Villalon, 2003). To be sure, Vigan’s efforts and subsequent successes may serve as a model for ideal structural heritage conservation and heritage tourism development. However, it must be noted that the influx of tourists and the necessity for tourist activity triggered the rapid commercialization of the town. While commercialization fused seamlessly with heritage conservation in the case of Vigan (Buaron, 2009), the threat of hyperdevelopment remains. Lack of planning could prove detrimental of Taal as a heritage town. As a tourist town, another weakness of Taal is that it has few attractions aside its heritage houses. In this regard, Taal may need to push for other cultural programs and projects similar to their El Pasubat to attract an audience to the town – perhaps taking a similar approach as Cebu’s Sinulog Festival, or Aklan’s Ati-Atihan. Its environment also leaves much to be desired. Because jeepneys and motorcycle-powered tricycles are the main modes of transportation in the town, the noise pollution is inevitable. This noise pollution is a nuisance to tourists, and the air pollution brought along with it is unappealing to those who wish to stay on location for more than a day.

Conclusion Cultural heritage preservation via adaptive re-use is certainly effective as a method of heritage conservation; the other alternative is to demolish these structures to pave way for new ones. However, it may not be viable as an entrepreneurial/business venture because of high costs and little to no profit. Truly, TAAL has done well in improving the town’s tourism industry. Before the town was known for its high number of OFWs but it is now slowly being recognized for its restoration efforts, visited by students as a means for cultural

immersion. Mainstream recognition is also present, through publications about Taal’s heritage structures in broadsheets and magazines. However, there remains much to be done in restoration efforts, as well as the marketability of the town. Possible partnerships with private institutions, as well as creation of attractions or events that are markedly Taal may achieve this goal. To be sure, TAAL’s efforts are only beginning. Nevertheless, there is much hope in the growth and sustainability of Taal as a heritage town.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Buaron, D. R. (2009, May 17). Ilocos Sur. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from Tourism Philippines: http://tourism-philippines.com/ilocossur/ Esmema, A. (2011, May 30). “New Heritage Law Seen to Expropriate Art and Cultural Works Unjustly”. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from Inquirer.net: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/2258/new-heritage-lawseen-to-expropriate-art-and-cultural-works-unjustly International Council on Monuments and Sites. (2006). The International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (Venice Charter). APT Bulletin , 37 (4), 51. Maclaren, F. T., & Villalon, A. (2002). Manila’s Intramuros: Storming the Walls. In W. S. Logan (Ed.), The Disappearing “Asian” City: Protecting Asia’s Urban Heritage in a Globalizing World (pp. 6-20). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Massachussetts Institute of Technology. (n.d.). Adaptive Reuse. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from MIT Greening East Campus: http:// www.archinode.com/lcaadapt.html Pichay, N. B. (2011, August 15). “When Culture Attacks”. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from Inquirer.net: http://lifestyle.inquirer. net/9875/when-culture-attacks Timothy, D. J., & Nyaupane, G. P. (2009). Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the Developing World: A Regional Perspective. London: Routledge. Villalon, A. (2003, May 26). “Why fuss about Vigan?”. Philippine Daily Inquirer , p. D1+. Villavicencio, E. (2012, January 17). (K. Ongtenco, Interviewer) Yamamoto, T. Restoraton and Preservation of Cultural Assets of Asia: the Task of the XXIst century.

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SPECIAL FEATURE - CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A MEETING OF TWO BRILLIANT MINDS

SPECIAL FEATURE

CULTURAL

ENTREPRENEURSHIP:

A MEETING OF TWO BRILLIANT MINDS by Melinda Gabuya

Fernando Zialcita, Ph.D. Present Director for the Cultural Heritage Studies Program of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Loyola Schools, Ateneo De Manila University. (Photo from http://www.dsa-ateneo.net/personnel/ fernando-zialcita-phd)

Known widely for his work in anthropology and Philippine cultural heritage, Dr. Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita once again stretches the conventions of the social sciences by linking it to the business community. Through a tie-up with the John Gokongwei School of Management, Zialcita envisions the development of a new field of business in the Loyola Schools: Cultural Entrepreneurship. Cultural entrepreneurship is a growing area of practice founded on endemic cultural knowledge and traditions with a touch of innovation to fit the modern market. In a personal interview with Dr. Zialcita last February, he shared his views on how this field can benefit Philippine society not only culturally through preservation and development but economically as well. According to him, cultural entrepreneurship is a source of profit for business enterprises and local community members whilst helping indigenous knowledge and practices thrive. In Britain, ten percent of all businesses are culturally oriented from movies, to books and even the culinary traditions of food establishments. Having this perspective in business helps in the preservation of cultural activities that continually remind Filipinos of their roots and identity.

Cultural Entrepreneurs In the Philippines, there are many notable 70 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

examples of cultural entrepreneurs who have excelled in their own field and are recognized globally for their innovative ideas and skills. Dr. Zialcita mentioned a few who happen to be his close friends. Founded by Chef Gene Gonzales in the late 1980s, CafĂŠ Ysabel has found a home in a posh prewar ancestral house along P. Guevarra street in San Juan and serving classic and modern cuisines to food enthusiasts. To celebrate the culinary heritage of the Philippines, Gonzales also holds gustatory events showcasing authentic Filipino dishes with a modern flair that can compete globally alongside foreign cuisine. For Philippine tourism, one of his students in the Cultural Heritage studies program co-founded a non-government organization called YTrip (Youth Trip), an experiential and learning method that aim to being cultural and societal awareness to participants, in particular the youth. YTrip has organized numerous talks on responsible tourism, heritage appreciation and societal issues targeted towards nation-building. In the fashion industry, Dr. Zialcita is more than willing to bring his students to the shop of internationally-acclaimed Pinay fashion designer Dita Sandico-Ong in San Juan. Just last month, she was able to showcase in New York City her wrap collection made of indigenous fabric like abaca, banana and pina fiber. In an interview, she shares her vision of stamping the Philippine abaca in the world of modern-day fashion. Despite the materials she used and the ancient imagery it brings, Ong was able to innovate these panuelo wrap styles and resources to fit the local and global market in terms of wearability (machine-washable) and fashionability.


SPECIAL FEATURE - CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A MEETING OF TWO BRILLIANT MINDS

Dita Sandico Ong (center) on her TEA Launch last February 2012 posing beside her creations made of indigenous fabrics.

These cultural entrepreneurs are testament to the growing economic potential of banking on culture and heritage and its sustainability as an enterprise.

Untapped Cultural Markets Despite many local industries finally gaining support from Filipino masses, there remains a lull in markets that can be further integrated with Filipino culture. To Dr. Zialcita, one of such markets is the fashion industry. Dita Sandico Ong is only one of the few designers recognized for showing Filipino artistry when it comes to clothing; other designers, though Filipino, tend to focus on foreign design and influence. Being a nation gifted with natural resources, indigenous materials local to the Philippines must be given equal importance and value in our industries. Another market to be improved on is the film and television industry. Dr. Zialcita expresses his disappointment in some travel shows which fail to show in authenticity and clarity what Filipino culture and heritage is about. To him, some shows tend to be “shallow, not exciting to watch” due to lack of formal research information and of cultural perspective. In creating culture and travel documentary shows, “one has to prepare for that; you show the different aspects of cultural heritage and not just do parachute filming.” In addition, more documentary films that attract tourists should be made.

assistance to artists is indicative of how the government does not take these artists and art forms seriously. Another challenge is the support for local industries. Local products must be given importance rather than imported goods, a phenomenon closely linked with the colonial mentality of Filipinos. This is an impediment for Philippine cultural heritage to be globally recognized and competitive as well. Of course, these challenges entail educating the greater Filipino mass in understanding and appreciating what is culturally theirs, for cultural entrepreneurship is somehow presently limited to its target audience: middle to the elite classes. These classes have been privileged to know more about their history and shared glories and defeats as a people, and this is something every Filipino should know too.

A Meeting of Two Brilliant Minds Finally, it can be said that Cultural Entrepreneurship is a meeting of two brilliant minds: that of the social sciences and the business sphere. In the case of the Loyola Schools, these minds are that of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology merged with the John Gokongwei School of Management. Together, these two schools not only provide cultural awareness to its students, but train them to be responsible, devoted and professional entrepreneurs able to make a positive and much needed change and difference in society. Truly, cultural entrepreneurship as a field in business is a great and promising avenue for staying true to the Atenean ideal of being professionals for others. SOURCES Cafe Ysabel. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2012, from Cafe Ysabel Website: http://www.cafeysabel.com FilAm, T. (2012, February 23). Pinay designer charms New York fashion world. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from GMA News Online: http:// www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/249125/pinoyabroad/pinaydesigner-charms-new-york-fashion-world

Challenges to Cultural Entrepreneurship

Nakpil-Zialcita, F. (n.d.). (M. Gabuya, Interviewer)

A challenge that faces cultural entrepreneurship in the Philippines is government support for local artists. The lack of financial

Youth TRiP. (2007). Retrieved March 7, 2012, from YTRiP Journeys: http://ytripjourneys.wordpress.com/

Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 71


SPECIAL FEATURE - PATEROS SPECIALTY: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

SPECIAL FEATURE

PATEROS SPECIALTY:

AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY by Tedree Fulgencio

In some countries of Southeast Asia, the Balut is no delicacy at all. It is widely sold among the local masses as simply a street food choice for the night (Oger, 2011). It differs in name in every country, as for example it is known as khai khao in Thailand and hot vin lon in Vietnam, though it is most well-known as a Filipino specialty. Mostly sought after during the cooler nights of the year, the balut is also widely known as “pulutan” (food taken with beer or other alcoholic beverages), as an aphrodisiac, or simply as a body-heating food for the long cool night ahead. (Yapchiongco, 2011) “Extreme ethnic” or “exotic” food critics all over the world would argue over the savory taste of the underdeveloped embryonic duck egg. Balut eating has even become an initiation of sorts for foreigners. The balut was made an international Hollywood superstar in Season 2, Episode 13 of

Balut. An underdeveloped duck embryo considered to be a trademark of exotic foods in the Philippines. (Image Source: philippinesfoodrecipes.blogspot.com/)

72 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

the “Fear Factor” television show. The balut placed as the most terrifying food in the world according to Cracked.com, a website dedicated to list-style feature articles (Cameron, 2007). In the United States, balut is readily available in some Filipino and Asian groceries and markets, but they are harder to get by in Filipino restaurants, as these would depend on the deliveries and availability (Lin, 2005). The Maharlika Filipino Moderno Restaurant in New York City, New York, and the Pinoy-Pinay in Panorama City, California, are only two of the few restaurants that serve this delicacy as part of their menu. The balut at Maharlika is cooked for half an hour, a truly hardboiled egg (Kilham, 2011). It sells for at least four dollars ($4) an egg (in the Philippines, one sells for P15 on average, or less than half a dollar). The balut egg is best an egg laid by a duck variety locally known as the “pato”, or “itik” (Mallard duck). It should not be confused with the egg of the common white-colored duck, or the “bibe.” (“Municipality of Pateros”) The shell of the pato is one that is just of the right thickness, which makes it most ideal for balut-making. The balut, simply speaking, is an egg with a duck fetus that has been allowed to incubate for 16 to 18 days. Balut connoisseurs of the country know that fertile duck embryo within this range of time is nearest to perfect, as the little ducking or “kiti” inside the shell is still delicate and wrapped in white membrane, thus aptly called “balut sa puti” (literally “balut in white”). (Nocheseda, 2004) In Vietnam, however, people prefer to have it 19 to 21 days old, but having a balut this old may not make it ideal for savoring, as the duckling may have already formed beaks, claws, and/or feathers.


SPECIAL FEATURE - PATEROS SPECIALTY: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Chris Kilham, an international medicine hunter, in his article for Fox News, states that the balut is a high protein food, and is rich in beneficial essential fatty acids, which play key roles in organ health and overall hormonal activity. (“Course Syllabus, Basic Nutrition”, 2010) But it may also contain embryonic stem cells of rejuvenating value when eaten. He further says that preliminary studies in some research centers shows that consuming stem cells demonstrates a salutary effect on overall health, energy and youthful appearance. But as of today, the nutritional mysteries of the balut have yet to be fully discovered by scientists. (Kilham, 2011) The History of Balut in the Pateros Chinese traders and migrants are said to have brought the idea of balut-making to the Philippines (and to Pateros). They settled in villages within the Laguna de Bay basin on the island of Luzon and with its freshwater lake and tributaries. The residents of one town were so adept that their small settlement came to be named after their industry, thus Pateros came to be called by that name today. (“Historical Background”) Pateros takes great pride in its history of premier balut makers. However, its reputation as the center for balut-making is facing a bleak future as the number of its traditional baluteros (or balut makers) is dwindling. As of today, there are only about three to five registered and operating traditional balut makers left in Pateros, according to the Office of the Mayor, as compared to the 27 registered makers listed a decade ago. The major contributing factors of this decline are the unstable and declining balut market and the difficulty of maintaining operations due to economical reasons (as duck eggs are imported from other towns), says the Business Permit and Licensing Office. Competitors in other towns and provinces who have turned to mechanized incubators capable of large-scale production (Salvador, 2004) also pose an eminent threat. “Here [in Pateros], we balut makers help each other out. If one needs more eggs and we

have them, they just call us. Our real competition are [balut makers] from other towns who try to imitate us and pretend that their balut is ‘Pateros Balut’,” says Mr. Nemesio Sanchez, a balut-maker of Pateros since 1980. “Of course our reputation is sullied because [our balut] has higher quality [as compared to theirs],” he adds. Unmitigated urbanization and runoff from nearby industrial plants have also contributed to the threat. When the Pateros River turned from being a fertile, healthy environ into a thoroughly polluted, stagnant body of water (“Municipality of Pateros”), this rendered the municipality incapable of raising its own ducks (as ducks need shells, shrimps and fish from the river to feed on). “Since we started our balut business in 1976, there were no duck raisers in Pateros anymore. We get our duck eggs from suppliers in Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga. Those in other provinces can sell their balut for 5 pesos or 4.80 pesos because the duck eggs are accessible as there are duck raisers in their province. We cannot lower our prices (at 7.50 pesos per egg) because we get eggs from other towns so the operation cost is higher,” explained Mrs. Linda Concio, another major balut maker, in an interview in 2003. (Salvador, 2004) There are two ways of making balut: the first is through an artificial incubator, which uses electricity to generate heat to help the fresh duck egg form embryos. The second is natural, utilizing only the natural heat of the eggs and maintaining this heat with the use of ipa or rice hulls. What makes the natural process more ideal, according to Mr. Sanchez, is that it tastes more “masigla”, or fresher. Mr. Sanchez explains that in the natural process used by the original Pateros “baluteros” (balut makers), fresh duck eggs taken straight from the farm are placed inside nets (tikbo) in groups, which are then placed inside large drums or baskets made of bamboo material (called taong or toong, with a capacity of a hundred to a hundred and ten eggs at a time). The spaces inside the basket are then filled with dried rice husks, and the Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 73


SPECIAL FEATURE - PATEROS SPECIALTY: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

basket is placed inside a much larger space filled with more rice husks to keep the eggs warm. It is also important, Mr. Sanchez notes, that these eggs be kept at just the right amount of constant heat. The monitoring processes on the twelfth and sixteenth day (putting the eggs one by one against a small hole carved in a wooden box with a high-wattage bulb inside, which functions much like an x-ray machine) will decide if the egg is fit to be sold as one of the following categories: class A balut, class B balut, class C balut; the penoy (which is discovered on the twelfth day); heko-heko (a bit blackish with a slightly pungent smell); and abnoy (Filipino slang for “abnormal”, this is when the embryo stops developing and starts to rot inside the shell. Normally this is thrown away, but some have an acquired taste for it). (“Municipality of Pateros”) The categorization for Mr. Sanchez is necessary for Pateros balut makers so as not to compromise the quality and name of their trade. Mr. Nemesio R. Sanchez, or “Nemy” for short, now 72, originally hails from Barrio San Roque in Pateros. Born and bred in the municipality of Pateros, he went to Pateros Elementary School for his primary education and Pateros Catholic School for his secondary education. Due to the lack of finances as his father was only also just a regular employee, he was not able to go to a university, and instead took a job as a factory worker in the same municipality. In 1980, when machines were imported to replace manual labor, Mr. Sanchez was retrenched, and thus had to look for a way to earn a living. It was then that he and his father-in-law (who had the skill and experience from being a balutero himself) started the business with a fifteen-thousand-peso capital through a joint venture. Mr. Sanchez’s wife, Mrs. Avelina R. Sanchez, is the firstborn in the family, and therefore, her father willingly passed down the trade and process secret to her and Mr. Sanchez. Now located in Sta. Ana, Pateros, the Sanchez family still runs the business, producing at least a hundred balut per day. Mrs. Sanchez is in charge of all finances and dealings, and Mr. 74 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Sanchez and his brother-in-law with the process and operations of the enterprise. The couple reiterates that mastering the art of balut-making is no easy task, and there could have been no accounting of the failures that they have had in producing good balut in the past and even in the present. Mr. Ricardo T. Concio, Mrs. Linda Concio’s husband, in an interview in 1993 credits the Reyes and Tuazon families as the pioneers of balut-making in Pateros (Grecia, 1993). It was a good business back in the eighties and nineties, as tourists both local and foreign came to Pateros just to see the balutans (balut-making warehouses), the “puya, an enclosure teeming with thousands of crackling ducks doing their thing,” (Benetua, 1991) and to taste some of its world-famous balut. Mr. Sanchez says that the problem with their cottage industry is their inability to predict or foresee the demand for their balut, so that they end up producing either more or less than what is needed for each day. “People have called before, and they were asking for a thousand balut per day. Of course we could not deliver that because we lack capital and facilities for that. But if they had only given us capital and had come here to talk personally, [then it would have worked]. Of course it’s risky…if they back out. We could go bankrupt,” Mr. Sanchez shares with the interviewer. The municipal and national government provide support for cottage industries such as balut-making. A cottage industry is defined by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 3470, a 1962 law, as “an economic activity carried on in the homes or in other places for profit, with a capitalization of not exceeding P100,000 at the time of registration.” The same Section includes balut-making as an example of a cottage industry. Section 16 further states the exemption “from all taxes, except specific and income taxes, for a period of five years from the date of registration of the person or firm engaged in the production or manufacture of cottage industry products.” (R.A. 3470) Moreover, the municipal government occasionally organizes


SPECIAL FEATURE - PATEROS SPECIALTY: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BALUT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

seminars for its balut makers to increase their knowledge of the trade and industry. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez have a daughter who is only a teenager. “It’s up to her to choose to continue [the enterprise]. If not, my brother-in-law could take over. If no one really wants the business, though, then we will close up like the others have done,” says Mr. Sanchez regarding the succession of their ¬¬balut-making enterprise. “Where are we in five years? Who knows?” smiles Mrs. Sanchez. Not only the business, but also the entire industry of ¬balut-making is becoming unstable. Perhaps this is due to the variety that is now presented to Filipinos in terms of street food and delicacies. But this could also be due to the greater awareness of the high cholesterol that balut has. (Salaverria, 2006) Another factor to be greatly considered is, as mentioned earlier, the competition and false representation (Pateros balut pretenders) of other municipalities and towns in the manufacture of the balut. “I believe it is possible to revive the duckraising industry in Pateros even if there are only few rivers in our town now. Nowadays it is possible to raise ducks like chickens, meaning without water, and they can eat duck feeds now unlike before where we need shells, shrimps and fish from the river to feed the ducks. We can look into that and on how to make duck-raising on land sanitary,” Mrs. Concio has said before. (Salvador, 2004) Whatever the case, the people remain hopeful. The local government shows support for its native trade by holding its annual Pateros fiesta (also known as Balut sa Puti Festival) on the 29th of March of this year. Last February 11, it held the first of its binannual Pandangguhan Festivals (the second being on the 29th of July usually, both of them being traditional dance competitions). Saints are honored, traditional dance processionals are witnessed, and pageants held to showcase the beautiful women of Pateros. These festivities make local balut sales go up. But occasions are not enough to save the industry. But we need to see also that it is not just the industry that we are trying to save, but the

culture that is also now slowly dying along with it. Our culture, our heritage. WORKS CITED Oger, Camille. “Balut, the ugly duckling embryo.” Le Manger. http:// www.lemanger.fr/index.php/ethnology/balut-the-ugly-ducklingembryo/?lang=en. Yapchiongco, Ma. Rachel R. “Celebrating the Pinoy balut.” The Philippine Online Chronicles. http://www.thepoc.net/thepocfeatures/buhay-pinoy/lasang-pinoy/10816-celebrating-the-pinoybalut.html. 11 January 2011. Cameron, Tim. “The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World”. http:// www.cracked.com/article_14979_the-6-most-terrifying-foods-inworld.html. October 11, 2007 Lin, Eddie. “Balut. The Egg of Darkness. Pinoy-Pinay. Panorama City, CA.” http://www.deependdining.com/2005/09/balut-egg-ofdarkness-pinoy-pinay.html. 12 September 2005. Kilham, Chris. “Eating Balut: Going Too Far?”. Fox News. http://www. foxnews.com/health/2011/09/12/eating-balut-going-too-far/. 15 September 2011. “Municipality of Pateros.” In: Paraiso Philippines Website. http:// www.paraisophilippines.com/category/metro-manila/pateros-2/ Nocheseda, Elmer I. “Pateros hails ‘balut’!”. Manila Times 105 (110). 30 January 2004. Page C1. Course Syllabus, Basic Nutrition.” In: Pines City Colleges, Nursing Department. Taken from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/39073129/ Pines-City-Colleges. 11 October 2010. Pages 32-33. “Historical Background.” In: Pateros Website. http://www.pateros. gov.ph/about_pateros/history.asp. Pateros comes from the root words “pato” (mallard duck) and “sapatero” (shoemaker), as it also once had a thriving alfombra slipper manufacturing industry. Salvador, Roja. “Pateros: Preserving and Protecting the Indigenous Skills.” Our Own Voice Literary Arts Journal [online serial]. Originally appearing in Pinas, Ang Bayan Ko, The Nationalist Weekly. October 20-26. vol 1 no 7 page 12. March 2004. Grecia, Dell H. “Pateros’s Balut-Making Business Never a ‘Bed of Roses’”. Philippine Star 8 (11). 08 August 1993. Page 19. Benetua, Maan V. “Pateros ‘Balut-making’ Lures Foreign Tourists”. Manila Bulletin 227 (6). 06 November 1991. Page B-10. Republic Act No. 3470 is entitled “An Act Creating The National Cottage Industries Development Authority (Nacida) Under The Department Of Commerce And Industry, Prescribing Its Duties, Powers And Functions, And Appropriating Funds Therefor”, and has been amended by various laws, among which is Presidential Decree No. 817. October 22, 1975. Salaverria, Leila B. “No more free ‘balut’ for Pateros workers”. Philippine Daily Inquirer 21 (230). 28 July 2006. Page A1 and A8.

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SPECIAL FEATURE - 9 WORKS THEATRICAL: ON ENTERING THE PHILIPPINE THEATRE INDUSTRY

SPECIAL FEATURE

9 WORKS THEATRICAL: ON ENTERING THE PHILIPPINE THEATRE INDUSTRY by Miguel Perez

Abstract Sustainable theatre companies do not only promote culture but also allow their members to pursue their passion and support themselves financially at the same time. For a theatre company to achieve sustainability, it must be mindful of the trends and changes in the industry to be able to establish its niche in the market. 9 Works Theatrical is one recently established theatre company which has responded to the trends of the industry regarding globalization and technological innovations to successfully position itself as a rising star in the industry.

The Philippine Theatre Industry The history of theatre in the Philippines extends as far as the time of pre-colonial Philippines as part of the rituals of the early Filipinos. Theatre as an industry likely began during the Spanish occupation, when the Filipinos were exposed to mostly Spanish productions, such as the “zarzuela”. This is a form of lyrical drama and one of the more popular genres during this time (Carpio, 2002). There were also various political dramas written by Filipino playwrights mainly as expressions of opposition to Spanish colonial rule. These dramas were greatly influenced by the political and social conditions of the times with the Philippines as a colony of Spain, and later, of the United States of America. Themes of local productions mostly dealt with independence, nationalism, and oppression under colonial rule. Examples of dramas that dealt with such themes include Walang Sugat by Severino Reyes and Hindi ako Patay by Matanang Cruz which were considered subversive by the Spanish authorities and led to

their writers being imprisoned (VisitPhilippines. org, 2011). After the Philippines finally gained independence, drama guilds and theatre companies would be organized in order for people who work in different aspects of the theatre i.e. directors, actors, set designers, production staff and the like, to come together, share their talents and capabilities, and make a living while doing so. Notable theatre companies would be the Philippine Educational Theatre Association or PETA and Repertory Philippines. The Philippine Education Theatre, or PETA, was established in 1967 with the aim of using Philippine theatre as “a tool for social change and development” (Philippine Educational Theater Association). Repertory Philippines, on the other hand, was established in the same year and styles itself as an “actor-oriented company”, training actors who would not only be wellknown locally but also internationally (Repertory Philippines). Over the years, various trends have affected the Philippine theatre industry. Two of these trends would be the development of technology and the

The cast of 9 Works Theatrical’s upcoming production, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

(Image Source: theaterati.tumblr.com/post/15714920462/youre-a-good-man-charlie-brown-opens-feb-11)

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SPECIAL FEATURE - 9 WORKS THEATRICAL: ON ENTERING THE PHILIPPINE THEATRE INDUSTRY

Filipino audience.

9 Works Theatrical: The Company in Focus

The cast of 9 Works’ “Sweet Charity”

(Image Source: philippines.broadwayworld.com/article/Make-Your-Vote-Count-for-the-2011BroadwayWorld-Philippines-Awards-20111117)

influx of foreign productions due to globalization. Developments in digital technology have made theatre productions more accessible, helping increase the market of the industry. Examples of uses for these developments in technology would be videos of productions made available on the Internet. Other ways are through live cinema transmissions or regional simulcasts, allowing the play to be simultaneously viewed at different locations as it is being performed. (Bailey, Yang, & Donnelly, 2011) While local productions are not being featured in these ways, foreign use of such media has still affected the Filipino audience and raised their interest in theatre. This trend is not without its harmful effects. The use of digital media in theatre is relatively new. Rules regarding property rights and compensation have not yet been set in stone. Furthermore, making these performances available on digital media makes it easier for piracy to occur (Bailey, Yang, & Donnelly, 2011). Another trend would be globalization and how it has brought foreign productions to Philippine shores – performed either by an international cast or local artists. Recent productions would include the international tour of the musical Mamma Mia (International Tour Venues), the 2010 run of the Broadway musical Cats (Oliveros, 2009), and the direct adaptation of Sound of Music (Ang, 2011). As such, more people are forming theatre companies with the hope of becoming one of the industry’s major players, turning their passions into successful business ventures as well as sharing their passion to generate more interest among the 78 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

One of these up and coming theatre companies would be 9 Works Theatrical, a theatre company mainly performing Broadway, offBroadway, and West End productions. Notable productions include the direct adaptation of Rent, its production Sweet Charity, and its recent production You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (9 Works Theatrical). 9 Works Theatrical was established in 2009, but despite being relatively new in the industry, it is rapidly establishing itself as one of the leading theatre companies in the Philippines. It was awarded Best Theatre Company in the recently concluded 2011 Broadway World Philippines Awards (Oliveros, 2012), the local branch of the international website “BroadwayWorld.com” which maintains a database of Broadway, offBroadway, and West End production, among others. Santi Santamaria, managing director of 9 Works Theatrical notes the award as a “pleasant surprise” given that the company has only been in the industry for a short period of time, yet has managed to gain popularity and recognition in the Philippine theatre industry (Santamaria, 2012). 9 Works Theatrical, as with all other industry players, is subject to trends which influence the strategies they adopt to survive or become more successful in the industry. These actions would, in turn, have effects on the industry as well. In response to the innovations in technology, the company relies more often on social media and online promotions to draw in an audience. Due to being a recent entrant in the industry, the company has limited resources to spend in traditional media promotions. Thus, they use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. On the rising prominence of foreign dramas in the industry, the stance of the company is that they are “safer” to produce. In an interview with Santi Santamaria, Managing Director of the troupe, he mentions that coming out with these productions makes it easier for the company to


SPECIAL FEATURE - 9 WORKS THEATRICAL: ON ENTERING THE PHILIPPINE THEATRE INDUSTRY

establish itself and create its brand image as a company that can deliver quality productions. Brand image is crucial in determining whether a company will be able to survive in the industry. In the case of 9 Works, the fledgling company has had to be more persevering in creating its image. The easiest way to do this would be to capitalize on the popularity of Broadway and West-End productions. Developing theatre companies would have to work with “givens” if they are to become successful in the future. This is borne out by past productions and works. Their production run of Rent is the company’s most popular and most financially successful. It originally had a run from February 5 to 28, 2010, and then two re-runs, a limited run on December 2010, and another full run in February 2011. With their production run on Sweet Charity, leading actress Nikki Gil was recognized as Best Leading Actress for Musical during the 2011 BroadwayWorld Philippines Awards (Oliveros, 2011 BWW Philippines Awards Winners Announced, 2012). Putting up productions of these foreign dramas has allowed the company to establish itself a favorable image among critics and audiences and build its finances. However, this is not to say that the company is closing itself from performing original Filipino productions. Rather the company would want to polish its image first, so that its name is readily associated with a high degree of quality in their productions (Santamaria, 2012). This would then entice more people to patronize their productions, whether these are popular foreign dramas, original Filipino classics or dramas written by aspiring Filipino playwrights today. A trend that industry players can benefit from and use to their advantage is the increase of interest among the Philippine audience in theatre. This could be attributed to a number of reasons including the increase in the number of foreign productions coming in and being presented to Filipinos, the improvement in the quality of theatre productions, and the increased participation in various organizations that cultivate this interest such as theatre workshops and

school organizations. Furthermore, the increased participation of Filipinos in theatre productions abroad may have also influenced this trend. One example would be Lea Salonga, who received a Tony Award in 1991 for her role as Kim in Miss Saigon. She was also cast in productions of Les Miserables, first as Eponine in 1993 then as Fantine in 2007 (Lea Salonga Official Website, 2010). Theatre companies have their own workshops, which are avenues for bringing more people into the industry through training of wouldbe actors, and thespians. An example is 9 Works Theatrical’s “Stage Camp” where the company teaches people ranging from young children to adults about the different aspects of a theatre production (9 Works Theatrical n.d.). An easier way by which the youth become exposed to theatre is through school organizations such as drama guilds, glee clubs, and the like. In the case of the Ateneo, there is the Ateneo Blue Repertory, the Tanghalang Ateneo, and ENTABLADO. These organizations serve as training grounds for artists who want to make a career out of their interest in the theatre. Theatre groups should try to reach out to these organizations as a means of recruiting those who could be the next big names in the industry. As for 9 Works, Santamaria says that their means of “reaching out” is indirectly included in their efforts to establish and maintain an image of quality theatre productions. 9 Works may not directly partner with or recruit from these organizations, but their brand management, when effectively implemented, can also become a means to recruit people to work and perform with the company (Santamaria, 2012).

Conclusion and Recommendations Some would consider the time of the “zarzuelas” as “the Golden Age of Philippine Drama” with the Filipino playwrights of the time being able to provide entertainment to the masses and convey their feelings as they espoused socio-political causes among the people. Theatre was not only a source of entertainment or a Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012 79


SPECIAL FEATURE - CASA BOHOLANA: VINTAGE HOUSES OF BOHOL

business venture then; rather, it was influential in shaping Philippine society, particularly instilling nationalism, love for country, and independence in the Filipino. The theatre industry is still growing and changing, despite the length of time the industry has been existing in the Philippines. With all the developments today and a renewed interest among the Filipino audience, a second “Golden Age” may not be far off for the Philippine theatre industry. As Santamaria said, “as long as there is an audience, there would always be theatre”.

SPECIAL FEATURE

CASA BOHOLANA:

VINTAGE HOUSES OF BOHOL by Melinda Gabuya

Philippine Educational Theater Association. (n.d.). Our Company, Our Story. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from About PETA | PETA: http://petatheater.com/about-peta

Casa Boholana is an introduction and architectural guide to the province’s traditional ancestral houses. After years of thorough research, Boholano imagination and talent is showcased in this handsome visual and textual archive of authentic Bohol architecture. It also serves as documentation of endangered houses as well as those that have undergone changes to fit the calling of time. Divided into two parts, PART 1 discusses the Boholano house, its design elements and its evolution through the years. Included in this discussion is an analysis of how owners have managed their old homes before until present. Meanwhile, PART 2 presents three hundred residences built in indigenous tradition and style while using a socio-historic approach and critique. Former president of the Ateneo De Manila University Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. says of the book: “Its meticulous details not only preserve the memory of the legacy houses in Bohol but the way of life they portray. It serves as an invitation for us to reconnect with our past and seek to build what we might dream of as a Filipino house of the third millennium, living in the present and for the future, but with firm roots in our tradition and our past.”

Repertory Philippines. (n.d.). History. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from Repertory Philippines: http://www.repertory.ph/about_history. asp

SOURCES

WORKS CITED

9 Works Theatrical. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2012, from 9 Works Theatrical Website: http://www.9workstheatrical.com Ang, W. (2011, October 15). ‘Sound of Music’ at Resorts World Manila starts Oct. 15. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from Philippine Daily Inquirer: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/18265/‘sound-of-music’-atresorts-world-manila-starts-oct-15 Bailey, J., Yang, H.-Y., & Donnelly, S. (2011, March). Impact of Digital Technology on Major Performing Arts companies. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from Australian Major Performing Arts Group: http://ampag. com.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=88504 Carpio, R. C. (2002). Trends in Contemporary Philippine Drama and Theater. Dramatic Poundal . International Tour Venues. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2012, from MAMMA MIA! The Global Smash Hit - International Tour | Manila, Philippines: http://www.mamma-mia.com/internationalTour/ mammamia_internationalTour_MANILA.asp Lea Salonga Official Website. (2010). Lea Salonga Biography. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from Lea Salong Official Website: http:// www.leasalonga.com/press/Lea_Bio.doc Oliveros, O. (2012, January 21). 2011 BWW Philippines Awards Winners Announced. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from Broadway World: http://broadwayworld.com/article/2011-BWW-PhilippinesAwards-Winners-Announced-2012-20121 Oliveros, O. (2009, November 3). CATS in Manila to Feature Tony Winner Lea Salonga as ‘Grizabella’, Begins Run 7/24/2010. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from Broadway World: http://broadwayworld. com/article/CATS_in_Manila_to_Feature_Tony_Winner_Lea_ Salonga_as_Grizabella_Begins_Run_7242010_20091103

Santamaria, S. (2012, January 11). Personal Interview. (M. Perez, Interviewer) VisitPhilippines.org. (2011). Arts & Literature. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from VisitPhilippines.org: http://www.visitphilippines.org/ guide/8_0_19_1_Arts-and-Literature-.:-VisitPhilippines.org-a-BestDestination-Travel-Guide-by-Travelindex.html

80 Ateneo Student Business Review March 2012

Ateneo University Press. (2011). Book Info: Casa Boholana. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from Ateneo de Manila University Press Website: http://www.ateneopress.org/detail_allbooks.asp?ID=352 Institute of Philippine Culture. (2011). Casa Boholana: Vintage Houses of Bohol to be launched. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from IPC Website: http://www.ipc-ateneo.org/node/80


Ateneo Student Business Review S.Y 2011-2012