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Business As Usual

A new use for guava leaves

- Rose G. De La Cruz -
By any standard, Jondra Green Leaf Manufacturing is a pretty small operation. Its factory is the home of Cecilio Vicente Gallo and his wife, Imelda Blanco-Gallo. It has a one-man production team, Gallo, and a one-woman marketing team, Blanco-Gallo. Jondra Green Leaf produces a feminine wash formulated with 80% natural guava leaves extract under the brand name, Plantation Gems.

"I had always suffered from distressing itching reactions with all existing washes, bath soaps, and bath gels that, at the end of the day, I would be miserable about my overall condition," said Blanco-Gallo, a medical practitioner at the Caloocan City health center. "My husband, who is a chemical engineer by profession, decided one day to just formulate a special wash for me, using our combined background knowledge on the antiseptic properties of guava leaves. I became his guinea pig. On the first day of use, I noticed a dramatic improvement in my condition. I did not itch at all. I asked for samples to give to my colleagues at the health centers and they had the same findings."
Production
>With a capital of P20,000, Jondra Green Leaf began production, using young guava leaves sourced from trees in the Gallo’s backyard as well as those from their neighborhood in North Fairview.

To ensure supply, the company is now talking with a non-government organization working in a depressed community to encourage the planting of guava trees in vacant and abandoned lots.

"We only need the young leaves. Tree owners can eat or sell the guava fruits," said Gallo, who works with the post-audit unit of the Bureau of Customs.

Described as nature’s best antiseptic in both Eastern and Western medicine, guava contains tannins (an astringent and tonic); saponins (natural surfactants that serve as a cleansing agent), phenolic acids (antioxidants, anti-aging, anti-fungal, astringent, and anti-inflammatory), essential oils (disinfects and refreshes) and malic acids (which serve as penetrating agents for active constituents, such as a-hydroxyl acid and mildly exfoliating.

"Although Filipinas are basically very clean, seven out of 10 Filipinas still need to use feminine wash for protection against infection, particularly after childbirth, and allergies from harsh ingredients in soap. The excellent antiseptic properties of guava make it a suitable vaginal wash," said Blanco-Gallo.
Marketing
Priced at P32 per 60-milliliter plastic bottle, Plantation Gems feminine wash is currently available only at the places of work of the Gallo couple.

"We are looking around for people in schools, offices, health volunteers, midwives, and others who are willing to sell our product. We are giving a discounted price of P27 a bottle to our dealers who buy at least two dozen per order," said Blanco-Gallo.

Because it wants to make its product more affordable to its main market–the women in the D-E bracket, particularly those in rural areas–Jondra Green Leaf is thinking of coming up with sachet packaging.

"This would require a huge technological cost upfront. What we are doing right now is creating efficiencies in our areas of operations such as the supply of guava leaves and the distribution base so that we can further lower our production cost and pass these savings to our consumers," said Gallo.
ALTHOUGH FILIPINAS BLANCO-GALLO BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CALOOCAN CITY CECILIO VICENTE GALLO EASTERN AND WESTERN GALLO GUAVA JONDRA GREEN LEAF PLANTATION GEMS
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