About 176 exhibitors from across the country gather together in this year’s Sandugo Trade Expo, a four-day marketing event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry.


“The Sandugo Trade Expo has already made a mark as one of the country’s most visited fairs,” DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida C. Maglaya said in her keynote message during the fair’s Opening Ceremonies.


Every year, the fair catches the attention of buyers and MSMEs from all over the country and has become part of the travel calendars of major buyers and exporters wanting to source their raw materials here.


“This is the first in 13 years that we have upscaled our provincial fair into a regional marketing event, that we have generated this much number of exhibitors, and there are still those who we could not accommodate,” Director Caberte said.


As in past years, the trade expo has assisted more than a hundred micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This year however, exhibitors have come all the way from CAR, Regions 1, 4A, 4B, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13.

“DTI 7 Regional Director with Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida C. Maglaya and Assistant Secretary Demphna Du Naga, during the opening of exhibits at the Sandugo Trade Expo 2018. (photo by Vierna Ligan)

PTTC Seminars for the MSMED Week 2018

As part of the Philippine Trade Training Center’s yearly tradition of celebrating the MSME Development Week, the Center will once again offer free seminars to MSMEs on July 12-13, 2018 with the theme “Leveling Up MSMEs for Success and Growth.”

The first day focuses on merchandising on the web, “A Training on Digital Marketing” with resource persons from Google Singapore and Philippines. As a follow-through activity to this training, a Workshop Signing-up with Google My Business will allow entrepreneurs to own a website which will showcase their products and services. Participants attending this workshop are advised to bring their mobile devices.

For the afternoon session, a lecture series will be conducted by Lazada Philippines, one of the country’s top online selling platform, beginning with a refresher course on the basics of Ecommerce 101. Another session, “The Future of Shopping Using Facebook to Increase Sales” will touch on how social media accounts are used in marketing.

The second day of the seminar focuses on session series for food manufacturers and entrepreneurship development – “Enhancing Entrepreneurial Mindset”, “Establishing a Market Niche”, “Developing a Winning Product”, “Creating a Brand”, Food Product Development”, Food Engineering and Processing, to name a few. Kindly refer to the schedule of the seminars below.

For more information, you may contact telephone numbers 831-9988 or email train@pttc.gov.ph. You may also follow our facebook page, DTI.Philippine Trade Training Center. Registration is on the day of the seminar and on a first-come first-serve basis so make sure that you come early.

Go Lokal! Souvenir Collection opens @NAIA 3 on July 19, 2018

The Go Lokal! Stores, a project of the Department of Trade and Industry, is a market access platform for our MSME partners to gain access to the domestic mainstream market and ultimately, to the global export market. It is a showcase of Philippine products crafted, designed and manufactured by the country’s MSMEs.


In collaboration with government agencies and retail partners such as SM Kultura Makati, Rustan’s Makati, Robinson’s Place in Malate, Glorietta 2 of Ayala Mall, CityMalls nationwide, Duty Free Philippines Fiesta Mall and Enchanted Kingdom, Go Lokal! has assisted 315 MSMEs in more than 50 stores nationwide with 10 retail partners, generating sales of over Php30M in the past 16 months. 81 of these suppliers are now in the mainstream market.


Go Lokal! embarks on an exciting project that supports young entrepreneurs made up of makers and artists who turn their love of arts into a money making venture. By providing them creative space, these group of young artists give us their varying interpretations of Philippine culture and their everyday lives. Souvenir items like toys, trinkets, jewelry, and novelty items that have never been seen in the market are just a few of the products in this collection created by these dynamic groups of artists:


Common Room


Common Room is a shop where crafters and artists gather to sell their handmade goods. The Common Room curates a brand new collection of Philippine Souvenirs for Go Lokal! which features the artists’ fun and modern take on what they love about the Philippines, interpreted in toys, trinkets, paper products and fashion accessories.


Among the pieces in the exclusive Go Lokal! souvenir collection are fishball plush toys by Pop Junk Love, embroidered travelers’ patches by Fandom Feels, Philippine landmarks tattoos by Tattooic, Manila Traffic Survivor button pins by Ella Lama, and accessories with Philippine garden flowers by Life After Breakfast.

Team Manila


TeamManila is a graphic design studio that seeks to represent the Philippines in the design community. Taking inspiration and paying homage to the indigenous Filipino tribes, Habi Hiraya features a combination of intricately woven patterns from the Bagobo and Tinguian tribes, and leaf motifs called Uwes. Translated in Memphis design style with a modern TeamManila twist, a play of these elements were used to create a dynamic souvenir line.


In collaboration with established clients, TeamManila is currently working on projects ranging from branding, graphic design, merchandise, packaging, space and web design since 2002. Founded by Joseph ‘Jowee’ Alviar and Raymund ‘Mon’ Punzalan, TeamManila has also established its retail component together with multiple subbrands such as Daily Grind and Design Dept.

The Go Lokal! Souvenir Collection will be launched on July 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the Kiss and Fly, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminal 3). The Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez will inaugurate the event as Guest of Honor. Invited guests include DTI executives, government officials, airport officials, embassy officials, retail partners and suppliers.

Go Lokal! is also available online at http://golokal.marketa.ph/ and https://www.shopinas.com/go-lokal.

For more information on Go Lokal!, you may visit or call the Go Lokal Concept Store@DTI, Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotions located at the Ground Floor, Trade and Industry Building, 361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City at telephone nos. 751 3223 and 751 3229. Kindly look for Mabel Cortez and/or Bea Hernandez.

You may also visit the Go Lokal! website at golokal.dti.gov.ph.

Philippine cacao draws interest from Swiss chocolatiers

Geneva, Switzerland – Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Geneva tested the cadmium level of Philippine cacao beans and the results are encouraging!


“Davao-sourced fermented cacao beans have low cadmium level that is well within the acceptable values, providing a big opportunity for Filipino cacao farmers,” said Michiel Hendriksz, Executive Director of FarmStrong Foundation.


The test was made in light of the European Union’s (EU) new limits on the cadmium levels in cocoa products by 1 January 2019 (EU No 488/2014) that could pose a serious threat to many smallholder cacao farmers, and present a challenge to chocolate producers.


“While Switzerland is not part of the EU, it adopts the EU General Food Law and exports majority of its chocolate production to the EU. Swiss consumers also have the highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption worldwide,” according to Mr Jean-Benoit Charrin, Director of Operations of FarmStrong Foundation.


Cadmium is a heavy metal found both through natural occurrence and from industrial and agricultural resources. The maximum levels for cadmium in food have existed in EU legislation since 2001. Thus, to reduce exposure levels to the metal in certain food groups where exposure is highest or where the consumer groups were most vulnerable, new recommendations for maximum exposure levels in a range of infant products and cocoa-based products were released. Three maximum levels have been set for chocolate, where the strictest maximum levels apply to chocolate varieties most eaten by children, while a maximum level is also set for cocoa powder destined for direct consumption.


Text Box: From 1 January 2019: • Milk chocolate with below 30% total dry cocoa solids contain no more than 0.10 mg/kg wet weight of cadmium • Chocolate with over 30% cocoa and below 50% must have no more than 0.30 mg/kg of cadmium • Chocolate with more than 50% will have a threshold of 0.80 mg/kg • Cocoa powder sold to the final consumer typically as drinking will have a limit of 0.60mg/ kg Source: (EU) No 488/2014 Cacao beans from Latin America are particularly affected. Previous research has indicated higher levels of lead and cadmium in cacao beans in Latin America compared to beans from West Africa. Cacao beans from West Africa, however, are considered “bulk beans” and lack the flavour Swiss chocolatiers are looking for.


The low cadmium level of Philippine cacao beans brings opportunities for Philippine cacao farmers and producers, particularly in premium products (specialty, fine flavour and certified chocolate) as Swiss chocolate manufacturers look for new sources of cacao beans to protect its international reputation for high quality with many famous international brands.


The Department of Trade and Industry, through the various foreign trade posts, supports Philippine cacao farmers in demonstrating significant progress in the Philippine cacao sectors by aiming at niche markets for high quality and speciality cocoa and chocolate products. Government agencies and farmers/producers need to work hand-in-hand to be able to supply high quality Criollo/Trinitario cacao beans with good traceability and superior quality.


This positive development is also timely in light of the DTI’s thrust to upgrade the Philippine cacao industry in the global value chain. The cadmium level could also feed in the discussion during the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia-Pacific Cacao Congress scheduled from September 15 to 17 at the SMX Convention Center.


PTIC-Geneva works with Swiss cacao distributors, buyers and sourcing organisations, as well cocoa sustainability specialists. FarmStrong Foundation (http://farmstrong-foundation.org/) is a Swiss public interest organisation that promotes resilient, structured, rural economic development through integrated sustainable agricultural production systems in cocoa growing communities. The cadmium test was done by Intertek Group plc (http://www.intertek.com/), a multinational inspection, product testing and certification company headquartered in the UK with testing facilities in 100 countries including Switzerland and the Philippines. (END)



To request for a copy of the cadmium test, please write to PTIC-Geneva (geneva@dti.gov.ph).

Written by: TSO Magnolia Uy, PTIC-Geneva.

DTI leads Filipino food promotion in Calgary

Following the successful kick-off in Vancouver, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will bring the “Flavours of the Philippines” In-Store Promotion to T&T Supermarket in Pacific Place Mall, Calgary, Alberta from 8 June to 10 June 2018.

“It is very timely to showcase the quality of Filipino brands to celebrate our Filipino heritage in time with Independence Day,” said DTI Senior Trade Commissioner Maria Roseni M. Alvero.

On 8 June 2018, T&T Supermarket will start showcasing Filipino food at the dedicated stalls for Flavours of the Philippines through pallet displays and food tasting stations. It will be followed by a ceremony on 9 June 2018 with the Filipino-Canadian community where attendees will be treated to lively music and a vibrant display of Filipino talent with cultural performances by the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation.

Hon. Consul General Gilberto Asuque is expected to welcome the Filipino-Canadian and mainstream community in Calgary during the event.

The event, considered to be a centerpiece trade and cultural program with the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary and the Department of Tourism in San Francisco, aims to reconnect Filipino-Canadians with the motherland in time for the celebration of the anniversary of Philippine Independence. It also aims to increase the consumer awareness and appreciation for Philippine food products among Canadian consumers.

The weekend-long festivities will also include cooking demonstrations of delicious Filipino dishes and big discounts on popular Filipino products.

“We hope that this event will contribute in raising the popularity of Philippine cuisine along the levels enjoyed by other internationally accepted Asian cuisine, ultimately towards increasing the level of Filipino food exports into Canada,” Alvero added.

“Flavours of the Philippines” at T&T Supermarket is the second of a series of In-Store Promotion events in Canada spearheaded by DTI this year, following an In-Store Promotion at the PriceSmart Supermarket in Richmond, British Columbia.

In 2016, Canada was the 16th export market (out of 213) of Philippine merchandise goods. Processed food including processed fruits and vegetables and processed marine and ethnic foods are among the top commodities for export promotion in the said market.

DTI chief opens Bagong Buhay Boracay store

Boracay initiative to help MSMEs of Boracay, Aklan

MAKATI – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez led the opening of the Bagong Buhay Boracay store, the latest program of the agency in providing market access to the products of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Boracay.

“This is just the beginning of bringing Boracay products to the mainstream market. We will continue to extend financial, technical, design, and marketing support to our MSMEs in the area even after the island re-opens,” said Sec. Lopez.

Following the closure of the island to tourists and a series of consultations with the local government and MSMEs in the island, DTI Regional Operations Group, DTI Region VI, Bureau of Domestic Trade and Promotion (BDTP), and Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) pooled their expertise and resources in launching the store in Makati.

The store, located at the BDTP West Wing Showroom, features food delicacies, wearables, fashion accessories, home décor, and souvenir products from 21 MSMEs in the island, comprising of 7 food processing businesses and 14 craft manufacturers. These exhibitors have over 150 beneficiaries in Boracay. Some items available for sale are products of social enterprises supporting out-of-school-youths in Boracay and Aklan.

DTI will also bring Aklanon products to malls, supermarkets, pasalubong centers, airports, seaports, jetty ports in Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo. In a recent development, some items featured in the Bagong Buhay Boracay store will also be carried by Kultura in SM Megamall.

“We guarantee our MSMEs that DTI will keep on providing holistic assistance for their products in terms of microfinancing support through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), product development, and innovation. Apart from these, we also help them in branding, marketing strategy development, and market access through Go Lokal! stores as well as of One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippine hub,” Sec. Lopez added.

Meanwhile, the local government of Malay, Aklan expressed their gratitude to the efforts of DTI in helping the affected MSMEs in the island. Mr. Rowen Aguirre of the Office of Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawaling emphasized the importance of providing new market access to the micro and small entrepreneurs, which primarily depend on their daily income to survive.



DTI will also provide skills training and start-up kits to the residents who wish to engage in other alternative livelihood activities. This include siomai making and screen printing.

“In the coming weeks, we will be launching other events to bring the Boracay experience to the metro. We will have Boracay Festivals in Manila wherein apart from the products we can buy in the island, we will also bring in the activities the island is famous for, such as fire dancing, tattoo artists, hair braiders, caricature artists and more,” said Sec. Lopez.

“We encourage everyone to support our brothers and sisters in Boracay and Aklan by visiting the Boracay Stores and buying their products,” Sec. Lopez concluded.