From simple matters of coping with household expenses to selfless advocacies, the woman of today is not only confined to their traditional duties but are movers of the Philippine food industry in their own little way.

The women of Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) contribute to the society not just by molding their children to become better individuals but also in sharing the flavorful concoctions that mothers know best.

Three food ventures in Cagayan de Oro proved that women are also players in the field of business as they display their entrepreneurial prowess and their tasty offerings on the forthcoming edition of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines 2009.

Catalino Women’s Association, Sun-Q Technical Trading and Flor’s All Time Favorite Pasalubong Products; all legitimate homegrown companies in northern Mindanao are run by women who strive to make a difference. These food companies along with other premium food companies from Northern Mindanao are part of the Partner Region Program, a project of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). PRP aims to assist micro, small and medium food enterprises in the different regions of the Philippines in food packaging, systems development and product promotion under the IFEX banner. This year, region ten is the show’s partner region in a bid to unravel the gastronomic treasures of Mindanao.

Catalino Women’s Association

Research and development worked well with Catalino’s Women Association as they utilize seaweeds that grow abundantly on Misamis Oriental’s coast. With the collaborative help from various government agencies such as National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the provincial government of Libertad Misamis Oriental, CWA whose members consist of the wives of the fisherman turned the natural wonders of their province into a healthy food innovation.

Aside from providing livelihood to the women in their area, CWA was able to provide food alternatives to their town and other neighboring municipalities that are unique to the taste. They offer processed food products such as seaweed noodles and snack sticks and pickled seaweeds.

Sun-Q Technical Trading

Inspired by the market acceptance of dried mangoes in the local and international food scene, Kate Kawano, owner of Sun-Q Technical Trading wanted to tap this large chunk of the market but she dared to offer something different.

Sun-Q Trading started as an exporter of fresh fruits from her family’s own orchard in Misamis Occidental since 1998, but her entrepreneurial stint did not stop there. She performed her own market research in Japan through surveys and studying of the buying habits of the Japanese consumers thus she finally decided to manufacture fruit jams. She formulated her own concoction that she tested through her friends in Japan before she came up with a perfect recipe. After living in Japan for 24 years, Kate went back to the Philippines to start her own fruit jam processing plant. Her island jam collection is now catering some domestic and Japanese customers who particularly loved her marang, jackfruit, mango, and papaya flavors respectively.

Through the PRP of IFEX, Sun-Q hopes to improve her already enticing fruit jams for a more compelling product that will appeal to other local and foreign clients and will open her doors for wider production and distribution.

Flor’s All Time Favorite Pasalubong Products

What differentiates Flor’s All Time Favorite Pasalubong Products from other existing items of the same sort was the owner’s secret ingredient – the heart to help others.

Fueled by her advocacy to lend a hand to others especially street children, Flor Sy founded a company that will aid her project of evangelizing children living in the streets and their families as well.

She used her passion for food to spread the good news of the Lord. Her specialty, barquillos (cone snacks) and barquiron (cone snacks with polvoron filling) helped her to fund her cause. Not only did she find the means to finance her ministry but now owns a booming business that aims to tap the foreign market with the help of partner region program of IFEX.

The other participating companies under the partner region program are Maestrado Tablea, tablea; Vjandep Bakeshop, Pastel de Camiguin; and Soling’s Piniato, piniato with honey from Camiguin. Cheding Peanuts Inc., peanuts and banana chips; Greengold Gourmet Corp., Sukang Pinakurat; Lanao Dairy Foundation, sterilized milk; Manga Miyamaratiyaya ki Isa, Inc. (MMKI), natural herbs and Kalamunggay tea; and Cherry Michelle’s, sylvannas from Lanao del Norte. Bman Food Philippines, veegee coffee; from Misamis Occidental. Amoren Food Ventures, breading mix; Tryp Bali, coco sugar; The Nutcracker, processed peanuts; Tropic Food Products, Oroham; and Slers, Jamon de Cagayan from Misamis Oriental.

Enjoy these exciting products and more from Northern Mindanao at IFEX Philippines 2009, the country’s foremost destination for unique food ideas, which will be held at the SMX Convention Center on May 15-17.

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