No vacation is complete without shopping for souvenir gifts or as we Filipinos call it, pasalubong. This word’s origin came from “salubong,” which means to welcome someone who went away for a period. Over time, the concept of giving gifts to loved ones after traveling became a culture for Filipinos.
Many businesses in the Philippines came from this concept, especially in tourist spots where a particular product is promoted. Such is the case in Guimaras, the Mango Capital of the Philippines where stalls and stores selling mango products along its concrete streets abound.
However, a certain pasalubong center, owned by Teodoro Ganancial and his wife Fanina, can only be found when you take the road less taken.
Boboy’s Pasalubong Center is named after the couple’s son. They started making pasalubong such as yema, polvoron, banana fries and candies. Unfortunately, it did not generate enough income to allow them to expand their business and fulfill their needs. As a response, the couple attended training and seminars to educate them to innovate their products and make them more appealing to consumers.
Applying what they learned from the training was effective because their business grew and the number of products they produced increased. Thereby, they were able to acquire a van that tourists rent for their Guimaras Tour. Customers who avail of their rental service are also brought to their pasalubong center, bringing in more income for their family.
Just like other tourist spots, Guimaras was also severely hit by the effects of the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, the number of tourists visiting their area decreased due to restrictions that must be followed. This resulted in a loss of income, forcing them to seek a way to solve their problem.
The couple came across CARD Bank, a microfinance-oriented rural bank that assists socio-economically challenged microentrepreneurs. The couple took out an initial loan of PhP5,000 CARD Bank to fund the production of their products. This capital also helped in the improvement of their product packaging, which has attracted a large number of customers. Consequently, their products are not only patronized by customers in the Philippines, but also internationally.
The couple was also able to invest in a water station business with just the help of a PhP5,000 loan from CARD Bank. The water station is a huge help to increase their income and provide additional funds for their business to grow.
Teodoro and his family’s perseverance were rewarded because it was rooted from their desire of bringing joy to other people in the form of a pasalubong. Indeed, the gift of their thoughtful mango products kept on giving smiles and happiness to everyone who received it.