2 Ilonggos succeed on bangus, biscocho
the Go Negosyo team (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2008 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Tomas Hautea began exercising his entrepreneurial skills when he was still a student.

In high school, whenever he would go on excursions or out of town with his family, he would buy transistor radios, blankets and other dry goods to sell back home.

During college, he started assembling passenger jeeps, a venture that later on grew into a jeep-conversion business.

He established his “RETCEM” jeeps trademark, an acronym that stands for the first letters of his family members’ names – Ricardo, Ethelia, Tomas, Cecilia, Ethelia the second, and Myrna.

Then the business expanded into auto repairs.

At 18, Tomas also ventured into agriculture and leased fishponds, eventually purchasing the now family-owned fishpond in Dumangas, Iloilo plus other fishponds in their locality and neighboring towns.

As Tomas reached his early 30s, he saw the need for more machines for the fishponds’ development.

He purchased his first bulldozer, which paved the way for his venture into the development of commercial sites for fishponds and other agricultural lands.

As this undertaking started to show some promise, Tomas bought more heavy equipment – trucks, graders, backhoes, road rollers, cranes and transit mixers.

This enterprise later grew into a construction business that specializes in building roads and bridges and flood control systems.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Tomas again entered another business – bangus (milkfish) hatchery.

With the support of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and Land Bank of the Philippines, Tomas started the construction of his bangus hatchery in 2003.

He converted portions of his fishponds for shrimp and bangus culture. Completed after three years, the Retcem Bangus Hatchery presently serves the needs of bangus farmers in Panay and Negros.

Now on its second year of operation, the Retcem Bangus Hatchery annually produces an average of 20 million bangus fry or three-week-old fish.

Retcem also provides bangus eggs to other Panay-based hatcheries that do not have breeders.

The fish farm, which Tomas built more than four decades ago, has been developed to produce bangus that weigh 300 to 800 grams using extensive, semi-intensive and intensive culture methods.

The multiple challenges he faced, according to Tomas, helped propel the success of his businesses.

Tomas recalled that he competed with low-priced and illegally imported bangus and his fish farm and hatchery businesses were, at times, threatened by weather changes.

Tomas credits his success to his gut-feel, perseverance and the full support of his wife and five children, who are helping him run his various businesses.

Biscocho Haus

Iloilo’s pride, the Original Biscocho Haus, is well known for its wide variety of mouthwatering delicacies like biscocho, butterscotch, meringue, galletas, barquillos, bañadas, broas, toasted mamon, empanaditas, tarts and a lot more.

It was established by Jose Gerardo Guadarrama’s parents way back in 1975.

The Original Biscocho Haus started as a home-based enterprise of the late Dr. Carlos and Teresa Jalandoni Guadarrama at their house along Lopez Jaena street in Jaro, Iloilo City.

They sold their special biscocho, a famous pasalubong from Iloilo.

Their specialty’s homemade goodness captured the hearts and taste buds of the Ilonggos and became known as the favorite pasalubong ng bayan.

With this came a need to meet the growing demand for a variety of products, prompting the Guadarrama family to develop new products.

During its initial stages, the National Cottage Industry Development Authority recognized Original Biscocho Haus as a legitimate cottage industry in 1976.

As the business expanded, the Guadarramas were able to put their products on the shelves of the then newly opened SM Iloilo Supermarket and in airport counters.

In 1993, they started branching out and targeted tourists and convention guests.

For the past five years, other branches were opened at SM City Iloilo, Robinsons Place, Gaisano City Iloilo and at the Rosary building.

Their products have also reached Roxas City, Bacolod City and Kalibo.

Formally incorporated in January 2003 as the Original Biscocho Haus Corp., the company is fully controlled by Guadarrama family members as shareholders.

The transition of the Original Biscocho Haus to a structured corporate entity was engineered by Jose Gerardo Guadarrama, sixth child of Dr. and Mrs. Carlos Guadarrama.

The corporation is built around a set of values inspired by Jose Gerardo’s parents, including perseverance and hard work, fiscal discipline, community service, and generosity of spirit.


Tomas Hautea and Jose Gerardo Guadarrama will be given the Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneur Awards on Sept. 12 at the Go Negosyo sa Iloilo, the latest leg of the continuing Go Negosyo campaign spearheaded by Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III, at the Rose Memorial Auditorium of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City.

Go Negosyo sa Iloilo is presented by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with Iloilo Business Club chairman Antonio Hon, DTI Region VI director Dominic Abad, and Taytay sa Kauswagan Inc. president Angel De Leon.

Go Negosyo sa Iloilo will be graced by Presidential Management Staff chief Secretary Cerge Remonde, who chairs the Cabinet Oversight Committee for MSME Development.

Member agencies will also be present to reach out to the participants.

The awardees were endorsed by the Iloilo Business Club, Micro Finance Council of the Philippines, and Taytay sa Kauswagan Inc.

Go Negosyo sa Iloilo is made possible by major partners Iloilo Business Club, PLDT SME Nation, Smart Communications, Globe Business, Condura, RFM Corp., Ariel, Entrepreneurs School of Asia, and San Miguel Corp.

Go Negosyo is thankful for the support of its corporate partners Splash Group of Companies, V-cargo, Kettle Korn, and Iloilo Supermart; media partners The Philippine STAR, GMA 7, QTV 11, Philippine Daily Inquirer, ASPAC-LAW, Full Circle Communications, Select Media, Creativevoices, and Idealminds; venue partners Central Philippine University and Amigo Hotel; government partners The President’s Social Fund, Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee–Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo provincial government, and Iloilo City government; and other partners Bench Transport Services and Rent A Car and F & E Enterprises.

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