1. Sari- Sari Stores: Micro- retailing Warriors(An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)
There are about 700,000 sari-sari stores scattered across the Philippines today. That’s 90 percent of all retail outlets in the country.
Humble in size yet built to last, sari- sari stores carry at least a dozen product categories: from food and beverage to home care, personal care, alcohol and tobacco, telecoms, medicines, school supplies and more. Majority of them are open everyday, almost round-the-clock, or an average of 15 hours a day.
GoodThinking Research Inc shares its findings on this fixture of neighborhoods in “4S Sari- Sari Store Study.” A full service marketing research firm, GoodThinking studies issues and topics relevant to the current times and to various industries to provide a better understanding of different Filipino markets and consumers.
Running a sari-sari store is serious business. More than half of all store owners rely on it as the family’s main source of income. So they spend most of their time in the stores, track its progress, and manage sales and profits industrially.
Sari- sari stores prove to be profitable and helpful in providing for the family’s needs, according to the study. But beyond the financial rewards, storeowners find enjoyment in running this simple enterprise that connects people in the neighborhood. Their enjoyment leads them to hope for further growth in the business. GoodThinking research identifies six areas that owners wish to learn more about: profit maximization, store expansion, customer loyalty, service improvement, financial assistance, and other business ventures.
There is a great opportunity for brands and companies to connect with sari-sari store owners by addressing their desire to learn more about developing the business. In Naga City, a program to transform women “sari-sari” store owners into better entrepreneurs was launched recently as part of a worldwide campaign for the economic empowerment of women. 
A joint project of Coca-Cola Philippines and Hapinoy MicroVentures Foundation, the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program, dubbed locally as the Coke-Hapinoy STAR Program, intends to benefit 1,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators. 
To date, the program has touched the lives of more than 20,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators in two cities—Manila and Pasay City— and nine provinces—Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Misamis Oriental and Davao. At the end of the 2013, the program has expanded to cover 22 cities and provinces nationwide. The STAR Program will aim to reach 100,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators by the year 2020.

Sari-sari stores are part of the Filipino way of life. Supporting the store owners and their business, means nurturing a crucial marketing touch point. The big companies would ultimately see the impact on their bottom line, and the impact for the friendly neighborhood sari-sari store, we see it in the fulfillment of its owners’ hope.

    Sari- Sari Stores: Micro- retailing Warriors
    (An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)

    There are about 700,000 sari-sari stores scattered across the Philippines today. That’s 90 percent of all retail outlets in the country.

    Humble in size yet built to last, sari- sari stores carry at least a dozen product categories: from food and beverage to home care, personal care, alcohol and tobacco, telecoms, medicines, school supplies and more. Majority of them are open everyday, almost round-the-clock, or an average of 15 hours a day.

    GoodThinking Research Inc shares its findings on this fixture of neighborhoods in “4S Sari- Sari Store Study.” A full service marketing research firm, GoodThinking studies issues and topics relevant to the current times and to various industries to provide a better understanding of different Filipino markets and consumers.

    Running a sari-sari store is serious business. More than half of all store owners rely on it as the family’s main source of income. So they spend most of their time in the stores, track its progress, and manage sales and profits industrially.

    Sari- sari stores prove to be profitable and helpful in providing for the family’s needs, according to the study. But beyond the financial rewards, storeowners find enjoyment in running this simple enterprise that connects people in the neighborhood. Their enjoyment leads them to hope for further growth in the business. GoodThinking research identifies six areas that owners wish to learn more about: profit maximization, store expansion, customer loyalty, service improvement, financial assistance, and other business ventures.

    There is a great opportunity for brands and companies to connect with sari-sari store owners by addressing their desire to learn more about developing the business. In Naga City, a program to transform women “sari-sari” store owners into better entrepreneurs was launched recently as part of a worldwide campaign for the economic empowerment of women.

    A joint project of Coca-Cola Philippines and Hapinoy MicroVentures Foundation, the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program, dubbed locally as the Coke-Hapinoy STAR Program, intends to benefit 1,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators.

    To date, the program has touched the lives of more than 20,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators in two cities—Manila and Pasay City— and nine provinces—Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Misamis Oriental and Davao. At the end of the 2013, the program has expanded to cover 22 cities and provinces nationwide. The STAR Program will aim to reach 100,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators by the year 2020.

    Sari-sari stores are part of the Filipino way of life. Supporting the store owners and their business, means nurturing a crucial marketing touch point. The big companies would ultimately see the impact on their bottom line, and the impact for the friendly neighborhood sari-sari store, we see it in the fulfillment of its owners’ hope.

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    3 notes
  2. Even Jesus who is the Lord of Lords and the king of kings fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. How much more we need to do the same with all our sinfulness and baggage’s.During these 40 days, let me put away all my pride. Let me change my heart and give up all that is not good within me. Let me love God with all that I am and all that I have.

    Even Jesus who is the Lord of Lords and the king of kings fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. How much more we need to do the same with all our sinfulness and baggage’s.

    During these 40 days, let me put away all my pride. Let me change my heart and give up all that is not good within me. Let me love God with all that I am and all that I have.

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    1 note
    Apr 17 2:14AM
  3. Meatless Lenten Recipes

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    Lent is not known as a time for haute cuisine. It seems that there are as many different faiths that observe Lent as there are rules for foods allowed during the observance period, making it especially hard to answer the question, “What’s for dinner?” at this time of year.

    Tuna casserole, fish sticks, and mac and cheese—these are the standard Lent recipes of many Catholic households. But foodies and fast food chains think this is a time to create an intentional game plan for meatless battles that don’t have to mean bland food.

    Since the 4th century, eating meatless and in some cases, eschewing of other animal products has been one way for millions of Christians to respect their religious heritage. Even when the restrictions are limited to Wednesdays or Fridays of each week, finding that family meal planning is essential.

    You might say that those who observe the Lenten fast are the original flexitarians. But that doesn’t mean one has to end up with a lot less of something good. Again, people don’t like eating the same tuna casseroles.

    Lent is not just a matter of self-denial.  Fasting comes with feasting also, and that those things are not at odds with each other.

    To help keep abstinence rewarding during the season, Focus Weekly rounded up 10 recipe ideas that cater to all the different dietary needs—whether you’re simply omitting red meat, avoiding dairy or striving for a strict vegetarian diet. From tasty Tilapia Fish Tacos to appetizing Pasta and Marina, we’re sure these will keep your Lenten days and nights full of flavor.

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  4. Filipino Street Food is No Yuck A letter to a misguided tourist.(An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)
“You call it disgusting, I call it soul food.”
Agness Walewinder, I would love to meet you and not call you a tramp. Travelling consumes more than 25$ and knowing a place by the littlest it can offer, call it rational to expose a country’s slightest of realization, decide to be a social conquistador and publish an article labeled with ‘rather go hungry than eat’ is pointblank vulgar and offensive. Have you been living under a rock?
Reading your material (etramping.com/rather-go-hungry-eat-filipino-food-again), being the like-minded I am, agrees on you on some point. Like there’s no country serving stale food at times. But making a deal out of it and inflicting a negative spark from a nation whose love and respect for food is undeniable comes with a debatable intent.
Bloggers shed light to people who want to learn and survey experiences online. And when you go online, people expect to read good content. Good content observes etiquette—a way to which people could react, communicate, and assess without having to raze.
You say you are a food hunter; you do research before heading to a country on a quest of experiencing its food. Yet with your two- week stay in the Philippines, you crammed yourself in common carinderia (a local eatery) food—your easiest way to unconstructiveness. Genius!
Filipino food is defined by a melting pot of influences, springing from the Spaniards to Meso- American mix. The Filipino cuisine embraces all the common elements of Asian cuisine – sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Wait ‘til you try adobo and one of the most loved local delicacies here called balut, a boiled duck embryo. Other popular dishes include skewered and marinated barbequed pork and beef, garlic fried rice, and deep fried banana pieces. Crossways, there are an abundance of American fast food restaurants serving hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken. That’s how diverse and welcoming Filipinos are of serving other food including Polish, your native food.
To my wonder, did you really do you study, or you came here to affront the gastronomic record of our country, and sang your own praises  in addressing your unsolicited advice? It sucks because you are smart, you have the means, and you’re pretty.
Street food will always be street food, expect that from a portable store. But it’s not them who are our enemy. I believe you need not to go to fancy traditional Filipino restaurants to get great food. Also, if you want to scrape off that sour face you took a photo of to reinforce the backlash you’re enjoying, don’t act as a tourist. Be one with us.
Walewinder: The biggest disappointment was not trying traditional Filipino dishes. Why? We simply could not find them!
That’s my biggest disappointment too, you gave up. You went to Manila, Cebu, and Baguio, travelled miles and miles with a passionate pursuit of knowing our food, but what happened with the journey? I hope you give it more time, explore the country more fully, and with an open mind. Visit Pangasinan or La Union, where flavors are distinctively on large scales.
I’m glad that, from all the babble and wobble, you were able to acknowledge that Philippines is one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever been, because it is—reminded by the smells and colors and flavors, the look and sound of the place, and the dense mix of food heavens and warm conversations.
I say come back again.

    Filipino Street Food is No Yuck
    A letter to a misguided tourist.
    (An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)

    “You call it disgusting, I call it soul food.”

    Agness Walewinder, I would love to meet you and not call you a tramp. Travelling consumes more than 25$ and knowing a place by the littlest it can offer, call it rational to expose a country’s slightest of realization, decide to be a social conquistador and publish an article labeled with ‘rather go hungry than eat’ is pointblank vulgar and offensive. Have you been living under a rock?

    Reading your material (etramping.com/rather-go-hungry-eat-filipino-food-again), being the like-minded I am, agrees on you on some point. Like there’s no country serving stale food at times. But making a deal out of it and inflicting a negative spark from a nation whose love and respect for food is undeniable comes with a debatable intent.

    Bloggers shed light to people who want to learn and survey experiences online. And when you go online, people expect to read good content. Good content observes etiquette—a way to which people could react, communicate, and assess without having to raze.

    You say you are a food hunter; you do research before heading to a country on a quest of experiencing its food. Yet with your two- week stay in the Philippines, you crammed yourself in common carinderia (a local eatery) food—your easiest way to unconstructiveness. Genius!

    Filipino food is defined by a melting pot of influences, springing from the Spaniards to Meso- American mix. The Filipino cuisine embraces all the common elements of Asian cuisine – sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Wait ‘til you try adobo and one of the most loved local delicacies here called balut, a boiled duck embryo. Other popular dishes include skewered and marinated barbequed pork and beef, garlic fried rice, and deep fried banana pieces. Crossways, there are an abundance of American fast food restaurants serving hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken. That’s how diverse and welcoming Filipinos are of serving other food including Polish, your native food.

    To my wonder, did you really do you study, or you came here to affront the gastronomic record of our country, and sang your own praises  in addressing your unsolicited advice? It sucks because you are smart, you have the means, and you’re pretty.

    Street food will always be street food, expect that from a portable store. But it’s not them who are our enemy. I believe you need not to go to fancy traditional Filipino restaurants to get great food. Also, if you want to scrape off that sour face you took a photo of to reinforce the backlash you’re enjoying, don’t act as a tourist. Be one with us.

    Walewinder: The biggest disappointment was not trying traditional Filipino dishes. Why? We simply could not find them!

    That’s my biggest disappointment too, you gave up. You went to Manila, Cebu, and Baguio, travelled miles and miles with a passionate pursuit of knowing our food, but what happened with the journey? I hope you give it more time, explore the country more fully, and with an open mind. Visit Pangasinan or La Union, where flavors are distinctively on large scales.

    I’m glad that, from all the babble and wobble, you were able to acknowledge that Philippines is one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever been, because it is—reminded by the smells and colors and flavors, the look and sound of the place, and the dense mix of food heavens and warm conversations.

    I say come back again.

    photo

    4 notes
  5. The Vogue on Asian Consumerism 2014(An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)
2014 is another year of shifting mindsets and exigencies in Asia. Regardless of a much-reported growth obstacle, political mayhems, and island enmity, the continent’s progress continues apace, pushing Asian consumers to reassess the status quo. Simple!
Adapting to Asian consumers’ rapidly changing needs, there are countless opportunities apt for the picking. Brands that give voice to the concerns of the masses and answering them win priceless consumer favor–always how it works. But when brands fail to catch on fast enough, expect a new breed of ‘civic-consumers’ stepping in and showing off their resourcefulness.
With buoyant economies, burgeoning populations, and a fast-growing middle class segment (people in the middle of the societal hierarchy), Asia is ripe with growth prospects and is consequently constantly attracting new players in the product innovation game. Let’s just hope that consumers get nifty in understanding their spending patterns.
Where to begin and how, here’s my interpretation reflecting the Asian change within the next 12 months.
Space-deficiency vs. innovations=opportunities. One result of Asia’s unfettered growth and population explosion is the increasingly scarce space to live, work, and play in. With megacities sprawling in this 2014, every square meter will worth higher and higher premium. Take Singapore as an example. The number of shoebox units (apartments of 500 square feet or less) will grow from 2,400 at the end of 2011 to 11,000 by 2015. (Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority, September 2012) 
In the Philippines, one of the biggest arguments provided by pro-Reproductive Health bill is the influence of overpopulation on the environment, with squatter families in Metro Manila alone magnifying the problem of pollution especially on water resources, exacerbated by flooding due to the indiscriminate dumping of garbage along waterways that also cause waterborne diseases.
Dissatisfied with being space-trapped, 2014 will see many Asian citysumers (experienced and sophisticated urbanites) turn their attention to smaller, affordable, and well-designed brand solutions. Remember that the goal for searching for big opportunities is through squeezing more from less, and making micro-living as efficient, creative, and comfortable as possible.
Hand-me-down trade.  Asia’s speedy development has created millions of newly affluent middle class virgin consumers. Ooops, did I say virgin? They are the ever more curious and eager to trying increasing numbers of new products on the global market.
But for many, these rising consumer aspirations are set against traditionally price-sensitive mindsets and still with limited personal purchasing powers; all of which that make buying if not outright unaffordable, stretched. So in 2014, as these first-time buyers move up the consumer pyramid, expect many of them settling for the next best thing: secondhand. Intrigued?
Aided by the proliferation of brick-and-mortar retail outlets and by a host of classified ad portals (Olx.com, AyosDito.ph), watch as Asian consumers more readily trade in and trade up via a variety of pre-used, pre-owned models and offerings in many sectors. Whether buying marked-down luxury items, secondhand fashion pieces, or consumer electronics, these consumers will seek ‘access’, only more affordable and less intimidating price point.
Be reminded though that most secondhanders still lust after the truly new. So while this hand-me-down status grants the user a certain amount of ownership today, these customers may return with the cash hand and confidence to indulge the next day. So be ready!
The modern consumerism faith. In 2014, watch as the aged buying custom reinvents itself for its progressive Asian followers with an entire selection of modern products, services, and media tailored to modern lifestyles, technologies, and expectations.
In the Philippines, many young and affluent consumers are becoming increasingly liberal, try-out-prone, and urbane yet culture remains a cherished part of their identities.
Indeed, brands hoping to remain relevant, accessible, and empathetic should focus on bringing these enthusiastically modern yet committed consumers the relevance, choice, quality and mobile-led convenience they’ve come to expect from all other parts of the consumer landscape.
E-mpowered netizens. Emboldened by the change they can individually effect, younger generations of Asian civic-consumers will no longer casually consent the status quo, and instead, they’ll turn to crowd-cracked solutions–the result of new, tech-fueled consumer expectations converging with long-established cultural mores.
Witness the wave of increasingly netizens as more Asian consumers, from the bottom to middle of the pyramid, gain access to proliferating digital devices and platforms. Forward-thinking socially-minded entrepreneurs will already be working with communities to deliver crowd-powered solutions. Brands too should consider how to foster, support, incubate, include, and, yes, lead enthusiastic consumers.
The accelerating pace of innovation in the consumer arena means everyone is now at times. However, there is no secret formula for successful ideas and certainly nothing that can be protected by patent or contracts.  Remember that the path to purchase isn’t always a direct route. You can’t just force a person to buy. The vogue on Asian consumerism is therefore, a long one, as consumers need to understand and evaluate brands.

    The Vogue on Asian Consumerism 2014
    (An article I did for Focus Weekly, an avantgarde corporate newsmagazine in Northern Luzon)

    2014 is another year of shifting mindsets and exigencies in Asia. Regardless of a much-reported growth obstacle, political mayhems, and island enmity, the continent’s progress continues apace, pushing Asian consumers to reassess the status quo. Simple!

    Adapting to Asian consumers’ rapidly changing needs, there are countless opportunities apt for the picking. Brands that give voice to the concerns of the masses and answering them win priceless consumer favor–always how it works. But when brands fail to catch on fast enough, expect a new breed of ‘civic-consumers’ stepping in and showing off their resourcefulness.

    With buoyant economies, burgeoning populations, and a fast-growing middle class segment (people in the middle of the societal hierarchy), Asia is ripe with growth prospects and is consequently constantly attracting new players in the product innovation game. Let’s just hope that consumers get nifty in understanding their spending patterns.

    Where to begin and how, here’s my interpretation reflecting the Asian change within the next 12 months.

    Space-deficiency vs. innovations=opportunities. One result of Asia’s unfettered growth and population explosion is the increasingly scarce space to live, work, and play in. With megacities sprawling in this 2014, every square meter will worth higher and higher premium. Take Singapore as an example. The number of shoebox units (apartments of 500 square feet or less) will grow from 2,400 at the end of 2011 to 11,000 by 2015. (Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority, September 2012) 

    In the Philippines, one of the biggest arguments provided by pro-Reproductive Health bill is the influence of overpopulation on the environment, with squatter families in Metro Manila alone magnifying the problem of pollution especially on water resources, exacerbated by flooding due to the indiscriminate dumping of garbage along waterways that also cause waterborne diseases.

    Dissatisfied with being space-trapped, 2014 will see many Asian citysumers (experienced and sophisticated urbanites) turn their attention to smaller, affordable, and well-designed brand solutions. Remember that the goal for searching for big opportunities is through squeezing more from less, and making micro-living as efficient, creative, and comfortable as possible.

    Hand-me-down trade.  Asia’s speedy development has created millions of newly affluent middle class virgin consumers. Ooops, did I say virgin? They are the ever more curious and eager to trying increasing numbers of new products on the global market.

    But for many, these rising consumer aspirations are set against traditionally price-sensitive mindsets and still with limited personal purchasing powers; all of which that make buying if not outright unaffordable, stretched. So in 2014, as these first-time buyers move up the consumer pyramid, expect many of them settling for the next best thing: secondhand. Intrigued?

    Aided by the proliferation of brick-and-mortar retail outlets and by a host of classified ad portals (Olx.com, AyosDito.ph), watch as Asian consumers more readily trade in and trade up via a variety of pre-used, pre-owned models and offerings in many sectors. Whether buying marked-down luxury items, secondhand fashion pieces, or consumer electronics, these consumers will seek ‘access’, only more affordable and less intimidating price point.

    Be reminded though that most secondhanders still lust after the truly new. So while this hand-me-down status grants the user a certain amount of ownership today, these customers may return with the cash hand and confidence to indulge the next day. So be ready!

    The modern consumerism faith. In 2014, watch as the aged buying custom reinvents itself for its progressive Asian followers with an entire selection of modern products, services, and media tailored to modern lifestyles, technologies, and expectations.

    In the Philippines, many young and affluent consumers are becoming increasingly liberal, try-out-prone, and urbane yet culture remains a cherished part of their identities.

    Indeed, brands hoping to remain relevant, accessible, and empathetic should focus on bringing these enthusiastically modern yet committed consumers the relevance, choice, quality and mobile-led convenience they’ve come to expect from all other parts of the consumer landscape.

    E-mpowered netizens. Emboldened by the change they can individually effect, younger generations of Asian civic-consumers will no longer casually consent the status quo, and instead, they’ll turn to crowd-cracked solutions–the result of new, tech-fueled consumer expectations converging with long-established cultural mores.

    Witness the wave of increasingly netizens as more Asian consumers, from the bottom to middle of the pyramid, gain access to proliferating digital devices and platforms. Forward-thinking socially-minded entrepreneurs will already be working with communities to deliver crowd-powered solutions. Brands too should consider how to foster, support, incubate, include, and, yes, lead enthusiastic consumers.

    The accelerating pace of innovation in the consumer arena means everyone is now at times. However, there is no secret formula for successful ideas and certainly nothing that can be protected by patent or contracts.  Remember that the path to purchase isn’t always a direct route. You can’t just force a person to buy. The vogue on Asian consumerism is therefore, a long one, as consumers need to understand and evaluate brands.

    photo

    1 note