A RICE AND PILI NUT SUCCESS STORY IN SAMAR
“The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step”, as the saying goes.
Every entrepreneur has their own story to tell on how they started their journey. They have their share of ups and downs, struggles and victory, before attaining the sweet success they’ve been battling for.
For Ma. Beata Casiguran, rice and pili nuts have been significant ingredients of her humble success and have been a part of her journey since 1996, the time when she first started her career as an entrepreneur.
Raising a family of five children with her husband (who is a farmer) has never been a joke to her who has been working as a saleslady in stores or bakeries in Allen, Northern Samar. Realizing that her income is not sufficient to cover up their financial needs, she decided to venture into a business. The decision to quit her job was one of the decisions she considered to be tough.
Going into a business she never experienced before was somewhat uncertain but she took it as a challenge. Banking on her knowledge in making piñato (pop rice) which she acquired when she was still a kid from piñato producers in the neighboring municipality – Rosario, she started her first production with a kilo of rice.
That time, 1996, rice grinders were not yet available in their place and they had to pound the rice with a large wooden mortar (lusong). Being too laborious, she did not consider making piñato on a larger quantity; her production was only based on orders being made. However, having seen that she was profiting out of piñato production, she decided to increase her production and expanded her market to Calbayog.
This venture has been their main source of income since then, where she was able to send her kids to school and augment their daily needs. In 2005, she joined the Allen Pili Nut Producers Cooperative. Being a member of this DTI-assisted organization, she had the benefit to attend seminars on Marketing, Costing and Pricing, Personal Financial Management, etc., and learned the knowledge of producing pili food products.
Likewise, she was exposed to trade fairs and other marketing activities catered by DTI. Unfortunately, the group was dissolved and the members went on their own in producing their products, while others just ceased.
For Beata, quitting her production was not an option but a need to further enhance her product. She used the knowledge she gained from the seminars and continued her production of pili food products with her piñato as well. As a CARP-assisted entrepreneur, she was also given the opportunity to come up with well-designed packaging and labeling for her piñato and pili food products. As of now, she has four workers assisting her and her monthly sales averages from 40 to 50 thousand pesos.
She has been actively participating in local, provincial, regional, and national trade fairs organized by the local government and by the DTI, the latest of which was the BAHANDI 2015 of region VIII.
Her market outlets are the Catarman Airport Pasalubong Center and Linda’s Inn, bus terminal in Calbayog, Samar. Also, as an active member of the Association of Northern Samar Producers (ANSP), she continues to avail the assistance given by the DTI and other assisting agencies to the group.
With her experiences, she learned that persistence and determination are equally important for a business to survive, and an aspiring entrepreneur has to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along the way.