Taste of a good venture

- the Go Negosyo team () - October 15, 2007 - 12:00am

The inclination of Kagayanons for good food is inspired by basic food treats, like Cheding’s Peanuts for starter snacks or popular dips like Suka Pinakurat.

But these successful enterprises, like many others, had arduous beginnings.

Stuart del Rosario, the man behind Suka Pinakurat, initially had a restaurant and a lechon manok business, but these ventures failed, resulting in financial problems.

His financial crisis was compounded by health problems as he underwent a heart bypass operation in 2000. As a result, he had to put up all his possessions for sale to support his medical needs.

After recuperating from the operation, Del Rosario found himself greatly inspired to venture into something that he has always been good at - making dips or sauces.

He had previously been concocting various sauces for Iligan’s most popular dishes as his pastime, but this time around, Del Rosario decided to make vinegar-based dipping sauces for profit. Armed with P28,000 as initial fund, Del Rosario devised a whole new product that he felt would beat all other sauces in their town.

He started his innovation with an Iligan specialty called “pinakurat,” which is made from wild boar meat. He immersed it in a boiling coconut vinegar (or sukang tuba) then mixed it with herbs and spices. Sukang Pinakurat coincidentally launched the commercial value of coconut nectar sap or tuba.

Although at first it was hard to sell a virtually unknown product, Del Rosario’s Suka Pinakurat eventually caught the attention of big retailers that have operations in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Cebu. Suka Pinakurat even made its way to most Visayas and Mindanao regions that direct buyers and distributors took  advantage of the product’s marketability.

The increasing demand for Suka Pinakurat forced Del Rosario to increase his volume of raw materials and suppliers. Sukang Tuba is purchased directly from coconut sap farmers, locally known as the mananguetes, who are considered the poorest farmers because they only depend on sari-sari stores and local markets. When Del Rosario decided to increase their produce, these former less-than-P100-earner mananguetes now earn roughly four to five thousand pesos per week.

Del Rosario also managed to have his 40 mananguetes maintain 50 coconut trees from the initial five to seven trees. He was also able to provide livelihood to the women of their barangay by helping in their daily production.

“Success is neither measured by the material things I could now buy nor the comfort that I enjoy,” Del Rosario said. “It is the benevolent feeling that through entrepreneurship, I have instilled life’s significance to the society by doing business with a heart.”     

Indeed, a pinch of love in business always does wonders, like how it also was with Isidra “Cheding” Tan.

Cheding acquired Cheding’s Peanuts from her parents-in-law Ramon Tan Chingto  and Lim Kim Tua, who left Amoy, China to start a candle and peanuts business in Iligan in the early 1930s.

Starting up with P36.00 as capital and six sacks of peanuts and candles, the formidable husband-wife team managed to grow their business to what became Cheding’s bread and butter several decades later.

In the beginning, Cheding and her family would wake up at the wee hours of the morning, and prepare and cook the toasted peanuts together. Then they would package it in small paper packs and sell them for five centavos and P2.50 for 100 packs at Iligan’s various movie houses.

Today, Cheding’s Peanuts has 20 employees who help in making the business operations a success. Oftentimes, Cheding would personally take charge of mixing salt, water and peanuts and would oversee the toasting process. Cheding is still hands on with the business as the quality control manager.

Her two sons and a daughter-in-law have been given the task of running the business for distribution and shipping, production and operation, and general marketing and promotions, respectively.

“I believe that hard work, perseverance and genuine care for its employees and the community have made Cheding’s Peanuts worth the bite,” Cheding said.

Because of their exceptional contribution to Cagayan de Oro’s entrepreneurial revolution, Del Rosario and Tan will be hailed by Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III as one of the Most Inspiring CDO Entrepreneurs, an award given by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship as part of the Go Negosyo sa Cagayan de Oro slated on Oct. 19 at the Atrium, Limketkai Center.

Go Negosyo sa CDO is part of PCE’s latest campaign, the Go Negosyo Caravan, which aims to bring Go Negosyo forum and expositions in key cities in the country. The Caravan has already visited Cebu, Bacolod, Baguio, Manila, and Pampanga.

Go Negosyo sa Cagayan de Oro is presented by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Major partners include Pagcor, Globe, Hyundai, San Miguel Corp., Splash Corp., STEAG State Power Inc., Limketkai Sons Inc., Unilever, PLDT, Smart, RFM Corp., Concepcion Durables Inc. and Entrepreneurs School of Asia. Media partners include The Philippine STAR, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunstar CDO, GMA Network Inc., RPN9, NBN4, Aspac-Law and Creativoices Productions.

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