Rommel Tambunting Juan
Chief Executive Officer Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc.
Eggciting Harvest Project/EMBRACE
Rommel started up DAHON (Dangal at Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) in 2006, in response to the devastation of Luzon by Typhoon Milenyo. Milenyo’s winds and rain destroyed most of the banana leaves in the area, which were normally supplied to the fast-food chain Binalot. Sourcing a new supplier in Barangay Buhanginan in Nagcarlan, Laguna, Binalot’s CSR program DAHON has resulted in a community livelihood program benefiting 30 families and has since expanded into a salted egg production program too.
Three things you make sure you focus on, in your work:
I always ask people how they are.
I always focus on achieving our targets.
I always try to keep everything light.
Top tips for your Hospitality Colleagues:
Always try to wow your customers! And always keep your people happy, so that they can give the best service.
We started our DAHON Program in 2006. DAHON stands for Dangal at Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon and it is an ode to Binalot’s iconic banana-leaf packaging.
Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc is famous for its classic Filipino meals wrapped in a banana leaf. During Typhoon Milenyo in 2006, Binalot’s usual source for banana leaves was wiped out. We looked at importing leaves from Iloilo but the costs were just not sustainable. Being proactive, I started searching for more local options and was directed to Nagcarlan, near Mt. Banahaw, in Laguna.
Nagcarlan resident Rodney Oriel agreed to an initial supply of 3,000 cut pieces of banana leaves for Binalot, sourced from banana trees grown in the backyards of the Barangay’s impoverished farmers. This initiative has since evolved into a Community Livelihood Program, participated in by 30 families.
Wanting to help the community more, we have most recently partnered with another program, called EMBRACE. We’d looked at other crops the farmers could produce, to expand the economic benefits of DAHON, but there was always competition from other areas. Binalot provides one salted egg with every meal so we decided to introduce salted egg production to Barangay Buhanginan.
We acquired 30 salted egg starter kits and consulted the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the production process for the Eggciting Harvest Project. The starter kits, which were awarded to the Barangay Buhanginan matriarchs, enables the community to supply Binalot with 1,000 trays of fresh and high-quality salted eggs for its stores, every month.
The success of Binalot’s CSR program lies in its sustainability, and the way it’s sustainable is because we are the community’s direct market. Banana leaves are our primary packaging and we have salted egg with every Binalot meal. As long as there’s Binalot, it’ll be a continuous partnership and that’s our commitment to the community of Barangay Buhanginan.
We are proud that DAHON has received several citations including the once-in-a-lifetime Centennial Prize in the worldwide 2007 UPS Out-of-the-Box Small Business Contest and the Intel-AIM Corporate Social Responsibility Award (IACRA) at the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility in 2010.
Inspirations: My family inspires me. And the energy of my people at work energizes me.
What’s in your future? I hope that we can expand our advocacy further as Binalot grows. I believe that you must first do well, before you can do good.
Since its beginnings, the DAHON Program has not only become a reliable form of livelihood for the inhabitants of Brgy. Buhanginan; it has also helped build the barangay’s own dahunan where the townspeople regularly gather to socialize and prepare Binalot’s weekly orders. It has provided financial support to both students and teachers at the local daycare center, and families have been able to send the children to college and university.