Pinoy MSMEs selling homegrown products inspire with Filipino business names

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By Carmen Dulguime

What’s in a business name? Purpose, apparently. NewsFeed360 scoured the Internet and found some of the most fascinating local businesses whose names are inspired by authentic Filipino origins. Here, they share their vision, history, and how they are thriving under the (dire) circumstances.

Maybe it’s the pandemic, but have you noticed there are more local businesses (mostly online) selling homegrown products and brandishing names inspired by authentic Filipino culture? You just have to love the vibe! It shows that the worst of times is bringing out the best in our MSMEs. Pinoy creativity and resourcefulness at its finest. More importantly, Filipinos helping Filipinos. Check them out below (in no particular order).

Kawangis Komiks

“Tubuan ka sana ng mas maraming mata nang sa gayo’y magkasilbi ka!” (May you grow more eyes so you can be useful!)

Intense, right? It’s a line from the comic book series MA-I – Kawangis Komiks’ alternate mythology comic book series that combines fantasy, comedy, drama and action written by Arya Chelabian and illustrated by Faye Villanueva. No less than Palanca awardee and bestselling author Grace D. Chong raves about it, saying that the series is a rare combination of adventure, vigor and movement that’s humorous, heartwarming and value-driven.

Philippine folklore is just one of many sources of inspiration that the team behind Kawangis Komiks uses to advocate Filipino values and culture to the new generation and the next in ways that are “entertaining, engaging and life-changing”. No wonder they came up with the business name Kawangis – a Filipino word that means likeness, especially in appearance, or reflection of one’s character.

Kawangis Komiks first started in 2015 as an imprint under the non-profit, non-stock organization CSM (Church Strengthening Ministry, Inc.) Publishing. In 2019, the team became officially registered as an independent company. Its product line includes comics series, graphic novels and tabletop games.

“What makes them unique is that they are currently being used by teachers and parents to make learning about Filipino folklore, history and literature a lot more fun than how we got to learn about them when we were still students,” says Aria, co-founder and general manager of Kawangis.

The pandemic situation may have forced them to discontinue operating a physical store for now, but Kawangis’ adventures continue with a strong online presence through its website (kawangis.com), Facebook Page (Kawangis Komiks), and online selling platforms Lazada (Kawangis Publishing) and Shopee (Kawangis).

Magwai

What do Southern Visayas folklore and GMA Network’s two TV series Amaya (2011) and Indio (2013) have in common? The goddess of sea and water, Magwayen. Nurturing and calming, she not only takes care of the ocean but also provides food to nearby barangays especially during tumultuous times. This is the inspiration behind Magwai – a Filipino-owned business created and operating out of love for the sea.

“Magwayen embodies the wonders of the great ocean that as a local business, we want to help represent and protect,” shares Magwai owner Czar Carbonel. “As a company focused on offering sustainable solutions and saving our precious oceans, it’s only fitting that we follow in the footsteps of Magwayen. Let’s keep fighting with her spirit in these turbulent times!”


Turbulent indeed, as the company continues to keep its head above water amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic. And just like the goddess of the sea, Magwai hopes to help protect the corals in the sea by pledging 1% of its sales to the ocean and marine conservation movement. This means every customer should feel good about being part of the movement, in a way.

“We believe that in order to truly convert consumers into life-long users of eco-friendly products, the product experience has to match the current product they are using, or be better. In Magwai, our focus is delivering a great product experience while not compromising on sustainability,” Carbonel continues.

Magwai’s reef-safe sunscreen, plastic-free shampoo bars, and towels made with recycled plastic bottles can be bought through its website (magwai.com.ph), Instagram (@magwaiph), Facebook (Magwai) and Shopee account (MagwaiPH).

Timplado

Foodies, rejoice! You can end your longing for food tripping with Timplado’s food delivery of easy-to-cook frozen ulam hand-picked especially for your Pinoy palate. Have a taste of the best of the Philippines – Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Quezon, Ilocos, Tuguegarao, Cabanatuan, Cebu and Bacolod – from the comfort of your own home. Who says you can’t scratch your traveler’s itch in the middle of this pandemic?

Paolo de la Fuente, proud owner and founder of Timplado, says the business name stands for its rough translation of pre-marinated, ready-to-cook food.

“We chose this name because we wanted to convey a brand that offered convenience. Many of today’s households, especially those of young families and even of those who have chosen to live separately from family to be closer to work, gain so much from needing to do less,” says Paolo.

He adds that giving customers the option to stock up on ready-to-cook food can help them save money from ordering take-out most of the time. “Less prep time. Less hassle of thinking of what ingredients to buy. Less time needed to clean up after. Just a whole lot more convenient dahil timplado naLuto na lang,” Paolo adds.

Timplado opened just before the pandemic in February 2020, offering a few SKUs to nearby communities before venturing online through Facebook food groups. The website was then launched a couple of months later in April, allowing the business to expand its reach to the entire Metro.

Timplado also offers a selection of condiments like specialty vinegar and atchara, as well as bottled beverages and traditional tsokolate paste (best made with a batidor/batirol) to complement the frozen foods.

“We want to continue expanding our product catalogue and offer more items from all over the Philippines to remind Manileños (especially those who miss traveling) just how rich Filipino flavors really are. We also want it to be a venue for those from the province to remember the taste of home,” Paolo says.

So what’s it going to be for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Visit Timplado at their website (timplado.ph), or drop them a message through Instagram (@timpladoDelivers) and Facebook (Timplado).

Batik Atbp

July 2020 was a dark time for every working Filipino, what with the unemployment rate going as high as 10%. But it was also around this time that a splash of colors entered the local business scene, helping local weavers, craftsmen and artisans to make a decent living amidst an otherwise gloomy economic scene.

A small group of young entrepreneurs specializing in digital marketing started Batik Atbp along with partner groups composed of women, PWDs and working students to market indigenous products to the mainstream. “Most of our local partner groups rely on the tourism industry as their livelihood, and the pandemic has stretched out their creativity and innovation. From marketing their handwoven masks, we have gradually included other textile products, pieces of artisan jewelry, local food products, and even curated gift boxes,” says Batik Atbp co-founder Mikel Ray Mendoza.

While batik is an ancient fabric dyeing technique originally from Indonesia, it has become a fundamental part of native weaving in various parts of the Philippines. With the business venturing into other local products, it seemed appropriate to add atbp (read: at iba pa)to the business name to connote the variety of products and diversity of workers behind them.

Mikel says that they initially offered batik products from Davao to family and friends. It took a trip to Tabuk City in the Cordillera Administrative Region for the enterprising group to recognize the fertile potential of local culture. They realized that Filipino culture and tradition deserve recognition and appreciation by the current and future generations. “When the global pandemic happened, all the more did this realization became feasible – we would rather source local products than imported ones,” adds Mikel.

Batik Atbp also takes pride in using sustainable packaging where products are offered bubble wrap-free. According to Mikel, all products are cushioned using honeycomb and recycled corrugated carton and brown paper. They take this advocacy so seriously that they even have one partner dedicate one day per week to do nothing but collect used cartons from establishments around Tuguegarao City. Mikel assures that all the recycled products are properly sanitized before using. The group also utilizes tampipi (palm leaves woven into boxes) from the weavers of Cavinti, Laguna as alternative packaging.

Operating solely as a virtual store, you can support local weavers and artisans by buying from Batik Atbp’s website (batikatbp.com), Facebook Page (Batik Atbp), Instagram (@batik_atbp) or Shopee (Batik Atbp). You may also reach them via email (info@batikatbp.com) or mobile (09760200021).

Tangkilikan By Katheryn And Kristina

We cannot emphasize enough the need to help each other during these seemingly desperate times. If you rise above the pervasive negativity and desperation of the times, you’ll be able to recognize what opportunities lie in front of you. That’s what Tangkilikan By Katheryn And Kristina did at the height of the pandemic last year.

“Tangkilikan comes from the Tagalog word tangkilik, which means to patronize, to carry each other. We chose Tangkilikan because basically, this is our business model – by pagtangkilik, or patronizing the products of our local weavers and artisans from different provinces in the country. This is our initiative, a passion project, to carry our talented weavers, artisans, and painters, as their industry is one of the most severely hit by this pandemic. We want to help them keep their traditional, century-old craft alive,” says Tangkilikan co-founder Kristina Castro. 

Unlike Batik Atbp, however, Tangkilikan focuses on face masks. The products are deftly handwoven by weavers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The bestseller is the bespoke handpainted Abaca Silk Face Mask. They also offer seasonal designs to stay contemporary and relevant, jumping on trends such as the plantita series and the Taylor Swift-inspired fully embellished piña silk design. Kristina emphasizes that all their face masks are 3-4 ply with built-in filters for protection assurance. Take a look at Tangkilikan’s products through Facebook (Tangkilikan by Katheryn X Kristina) and Instagram (@tangkilikan.kkc) for the face mask of your choice. You may also shoot them an email at tangkilikan.kkc@gmail.com.


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About the Writer
beingKirei

Carmen Dulguime, “beingKirei” in her social media accounts, keeps two personal blogsites: beingKirei and Virtual Cubicle. She created these initially for self-expression, but she realized that she can do more with her God-given writing gift. Finding inspiration in Proverbs 31:8 (Speak for those who cannot speak; seek justice for all those on the verge of destruction), she started writing about people she meets and have meaningful conversations with. She found some of their stories need to be told and inspire others. She contributes to NewsFeed 360 on top of working in the editorial department of WSP Inc.. Aside from writing, she tries to learn photography, play the ukulele and guitar, and read until she falls asleep.


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