Ayala Malls opens its 1st Go Lokal! Store


03 October 2017 – Three (3) days after the successful “Buyers’ Day at the GoLokal! ConceptStore@DTI on September 29, 2017, another Go Lokal! PopUp store opened @Glorietta2 on October 03, 2017.


The event also sealed the partnership of the Department of Trade and Industry represented by Trade Chief Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Ayala Corporation CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala on the Go Lokal! Stores project spearheaded by DTI that aims to help and support the country’s MSMEs gain access to the local consumer market, and eventually, the global export market.


The GoLokal!PopUpStore@Glorietta2 is located at the Palm Drive Lobby of Glorietta 2.  Visit other Go Lokal! Stores @SMKultura, @RustansMakati, @RobinsonsPlaceManila, @EnchantedKingdom and GoLokal!ConceptStore@DTI for more of your favorite Go Lokal! products. Go Lokal! will also soon be available online @marketa.ph.


Products carried by PCHEA

In photo L to R: From Ayala Corporation Corporate Strategy and Development, Head of Public Policy, Antonio LambinoII, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Donald Dee, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Rosvi C. Gaetos, DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Ayala Corporation CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion Director Rhodora Leano, Philippine Chamber of Handicrafts Exporters And Artisans Inc President Mila L. Lacson, Ayala Malls Group Head Rowena M. Tomeldan, DTI-BDTP Assistant Director Marievic Bonoan, Board Of Directors Member and PCHEA Auditor Raymond U. Maron, Operations Manila And South Central Malls Unit Head, Ayala Malls Group/ Markalex Creative Craft Corp President, Joseph F. Reyes, ECOP Honorary Chairman Edgardo lacson.

Bangon Marawi Store Launched in Makati

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the Bangon Marawi Product Store today (29 September) at the Ground Floor of the DTI Bldg. along Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati to introduce Maranao products to the public as well as provide livelihood assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City.

This follows Administrative Order No. 03 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte mandating the creation of an inter-agency task force that would implement the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other affected localities.

“While our government is working tirelessly to give them respite in the wake of the tragedy afflicting their city, DTI has come up with its own way to help our Mindanao countrymen” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez (3rd from L) said.

“Given that the Maranaos are inherently traders, we thought it appropriate to find a way to help them showcase their products and bring them to the mainstream market,” Lopez added.

Products on sale include brasswares, wooden furniture, wearables, Maranao woven products, jewelry, fashion accessories, and Maranao native delicacies.  The sales and proceeds of the Bangon Marawi products will go to help the Maranaos and others displaced by the conflict in Marawi.

This project is done in partnership with the Bangsa Moro Federal Business Council, the Tugaya Local Government, the Muntinlupa Local Government, and Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics.

Also at the launch were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (leftmost)  with wife Edith Lorenzana (2nd from L), Undersecretary Rowel Barba (rightmost), Undersecretary Nora Terrado (3rd from R) with other DTI and other officials.

DTI will carry the Bangon Marawi products in all Go Lokal! stores nationwide.

PH keen to expand EU food exports in Anuga with GSP+ edge

DTI-CITEM targets $62M export sales in world’s biggest food fair

Coconut oil is one of the products featured in the FoodPHILIPPINES pavilion in Anuga on October 7-11. It is the third most shipped product to EU countries in 2016, with total export sales of $551.39 million

The export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to further expand the trade relationship between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) as it leads a delegation of food exporters in Anuga on October 7-11 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is set to feature the country’s export-competitive products from 19 food companies under the FoodPHILIPPINES industry brand.

CITEM ED Clayton Tugonon

“The Philippines’ participation in Anuga is part of DTI’s overarching efforts to step up the export drive in EU member states and take advantage of the Philippines’ zero tariff privileges under the EU’s current Generalized System of Preferences Plus or GSP+ scheme,” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon.

Known as the world’s largest and most important food and beverage fair, Anuga presents a combination of 10 specialized trade shows under one roof, showcasing the diverse product selection in the global food industry. This year, around 160,000 visitors are expected to join the five-day event to check out the latest and most innovative products from around 7,200 global exhibitors.

In 2015, 35 Philippine companies netted $67.7 million export sales in Anuga. For 2017, DTI-CITEM is targeting $62 million.

“Despite coming with a smaller delegation, we are not pulling any stops with our high export target. We have carefully selected 19 food companies that are primed for the European market, each capable of showcasing the best of what the Philippines have to offer,” said Tugonon.

Aside from food tasting activities, the Philippine delegation will also participate in business-matching activities during the event.

The EU is ranked as the Philippines’ 4th largest trading partner, 3rd largest import source, and 4th largest export market.

In 2016, the Philippines’ external trade in goods with the EU states totaled to $13.713 billion or 9.7 percent share of the country’s total trade, based on data of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Exports to the EU reached $6.970 billion or 12.1 percent of the total export receipts, while imports were valued at $6.743 billion or 8 percent share to total import, resulting to a balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) surplus of $227.74 million.

Among the EU-member countries, Germany is the Philippines’ top trading partner with a total trade of $4.357 billion or 31.8 percent of EU’s total trade. Revenue from export to Germany amounted to $2.329 billion while payments for imports were worth $2.028 billion or a trade surplus of $301.32 million

Within the EU, ninety percent of EU-Philippine trade is concentrated among eight EU member-states—Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Denmark.

As of now, the Philippines is enjoying a special trade arrangement and incentives with European countries as one of the 30 countries listed under EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). Under the EU GSP, developing countries can export goods with reduced tariffs entering the EU to stimulate economic growth and job creation in their economies. The Philippines avail itself of the zero preferential duties on 6,274 products going to EU states.

FoodPHILIPPINES is the industry brand for the food sector which unifies the overseas promotional efforts of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Under this industry brand, the Philippines is positioned as Asia’s most exciting sourcing destination for food exports, being one of the world’s top exporters of tropical fruits and marine products.

DTI rolls out Kapatid Mentor Me Program in Ilocos Norte.

True to its thrust to propel micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) towards innovative and competitive business environment, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 1, in partnership with Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), on September 15, launched the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) – Ilocos Norte Leg in Ilocos Norte.


the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo. The KMME Program is part of the DTI – PCE partnership Negosyo – Kapatid Project to help MSMEs scale up their businesses and become globally competitive enterprises through coaching and mentoring sessions.


The KMME Program is part of the Negosyo- Kapatid Project that will guide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) scale up their businesses through 10 weeks of 1-on-1 consultations and coaching sessions with business experts and help MSMEs scale up and become globally competitive enterprises through coaching and mentoring sessions.


In his message, DTI-Ilocos Regional Director Florante Leal emphasized the role played by MSMEs in fueling the economic growth of the country while also highlighting the importance of mentoring towards the attainment of economic progress driven by empowered MSMEs.


Leal said the KMME program is a “big brother-small brother” concept, which is a perfect tool to motivate the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ilocanos and Pangasinenses.”


PCE accredited mentors shared their expertise on Entrepreneurial Mind Setting, Business Values Formation and Marketing to some 250 MSMEs from the Region.


The KMME program is in line with the Duterte Administration’s agenda of advancing MSMEs in the country.


The program will allow mentees to learn strategies on marketing, financial, human resource and operation management among others during the 10-week module-based sessions. On the 11th week, mentees are also required to present their business development plans before their graduation from the program.


Upon completion of the program, the MSEs are expected to become confident entrepreneurs with the right mindset and business-knowhow that will be able to sustain and scale up their enterprises.

For Ilocos Norte, 22 mentees were chosen for the program. Qualified mentees are business owners or managers of an enterprise with an asset of three million and below and operational for at least a year.


Ilocos Norte is the fourth and last province in the region to roll-out the Kapatid Mentor Me Program. La Union, Pangasinan have previously launched the KMME program and has already produced entrepreneur 50 graduates while 23 entrepreneurs in Ilocos Sur are expected to finish the program.

DTI rolls out Kapatid Mentor Me Program in Ilocos Norte. True to its thrust to propel micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) towards innovative and competitive business environment, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 1 in partnership with Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) last September 15, launched the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) in Ilocos Norte, to guide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) scale up their businesses through 10 weeks of 1-on-1 consultations with business experts from the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo. The KMME Program is part of the DTI – PCE partnership Negosyo- Kapatid Project to help MSMEs scale up their businesses and become globally competitive enterprises through coaching and mentoring sessions. DTI Ilocos Region Regional Director Florante Leal said the KMME program is a “big brother-small brother” concept, which is a perfect tool to motivate the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ilocanos and Pangasinenses.”

Former OFW uplifts Cordillera farmers into exporters

GDME Fruits and Vegetables leads PH highland farmers to global market

Overlooking a carrot and romaine fields in one of the highland vegetable terraces of Maria’s Farm, situated on over 2,000 above sea level (ASL) in the town of Kibungan, Benguet.


The province of Benguet has been making a mark in the international market as a sourcing hub for premium agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, and other highland crops.

With more than half of its residents or 100,000 farmers toiling on more than 30,000-hectare farms scattered in vegetable-producing towns, Benguet is living up to its moniker as the “Salad Bowl of the Philippines.”

But the farmers from the province, including most areas in the Cordillera, has yet to realize their full market potential in the lucrative export industry. This difficulty contributes to the economic disadvantage of Cordilleran farmers as the region’s agriculture sector records the least contribution to their economy, despite employing 46 percent of the labor force or 348,000 of its total 766,000 abled bodies.

“The lack of drive from our farmers to export much of it has got to do with their local and limited mindset,” said Maricel Hernaez. “Many of our farmers in the Cordillera are producing crops with the idea of harvesting it only either for their own household consumption or for selling at the local vegetable trading post.”

Taking Philippine fruits and vegetables from highlands to overseas

Ms. Maricel Hernaez, owner of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading

A former overseas filipino worker (OFW), Hernaez came back to the Philippines with a dream: to abolish the domestic-centric mindset of the Cordillera farmers and help them penetrate the international market.

Born and raised in a farming family in Cordillera, her life-mission sprung during her service as a domestic helper for five years in Singapore, where she has keenly followed the sky-rocketing prices and huge demand for highland fruits and vegetables.

Grabe ang taas ng presyo ng gulay sa Singapore, for example nalang ‘yung isang malaking patatas minsan umaabot ng two dollars at pati ‘yung cabbage nasa mahigit one dollar ang 250 grams. Dito sa Pilipinas, nasa limang piso lang ang patatas na malalaki at yung cabbage, isang kilo na katumbas ng one dollar mo,” she shared. “Kung produkto lang naman ang paguusapan, competitive ang galing sa Pilipinas pagdating sa laki at kalidad.

In her last working year as a domestic helper, Hernaez met up with the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) in Singapore to seek guidance on her plan to become a vegetable and fruit exporter. In March 2015, she came back to the Philippines and immediately established her company, GDME Fruits and Vegetables Trading, naming it after her parents: Gilbert Domerez (father) and Mercy Espara (mother).

“My parents who made a living through farming have inspired me to pursue this agenda,” she elated. “They are the foundation of my goal of nurture the country’s agri-export market by tapping the promising farming communities in Cordillera.”


A tall order

Having no land to call her own, Hernaez has been operating GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading for the past two years as its sole networking, monitoring, and marketing officer for grassroots farmers across the Cordillera region.

In her networking initiatives with the local farmers, it has always been a challenge for her to explain, innovate, and change some of their farming methods and even their products to suit the demand of the global market.

“Going one by one with the farmers, I always explain that we have the tools to compete with other countries. We are situated at a higher elevation with the perfect soil and climate. Most importantly, our farmers are hard-working,” she stressed. “But, I tell them we should comply with food standards and certifications. I also encourage them to plant the crops that are in-demand because if we plant crops that no one wants to buy then it will just go to waste.”

Without a formal academic background in agriculture, she has always been looking for fresh ideas and new ways on how to improve her technical know-how on the export industry by attending seminars and partnering with government agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“I never missed opportunities where I can learn new things. Last May, I joined IFEX Philippines, together with our farmers, where we encountered people who are willing to help us grow,” Hernaez said. “We were also glad to meet foreign buyers that are really interested in our fruits and vegetable products.”

Hernaez points to one of the field of Marie’s Farm where a variety of crops are planted all year round, such as potatoes, cabbages, carrots, romaine, and radish.

Now GDME Fruits and Vegetables Trading has partnered and has been consolidating the yield of more than 60 farmers in communities located in the municipalities of Kibungan, which is considered the “Little Alaska of the Philippines,” as well as in Mankayan, and Kabayan.

Among her community partners are the Bosingan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Mankayan Young Farmers, Maria’s Farm, and the Bashoy Kabayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative.


Fresh from the highlands, they offer different varieties

Patches of sugarloaf Cabbages at Maria’s Farm

 and cultivars of potato, radish, carrot, chayote, cucumber, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, romaine zucchini, sugar beets, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, onion leeks, snow peas, and green beans.

Fresh, newly uprooted potatoes

“In our farm, we are able to grow fruits in huge sizes. For instance, in our cabbages, we are cultivating the scorpio F1 hybrid and sugarloaf varieties. When fully grown, these varieties can reach an average net weight of 2 kilograms each, while your regular lowland cabbage varieties only reach 1 kilograms each. Our is twice the size,” she said.

Her partner farmers are also cultivating strawberry, lemon, parsley, cilantro, kale, mint, basil, alfalfa, arugula, red radish, young corn, fennel leaves, and okra.

They also have some of the iconic Cordillera processed goods, such as sweet and sour chili sauce, strawberry jam, peanut butter, and kimchi.  

Hernaez said an exporting farmer will be able to earn at least 15 pesos more per kilo of their harvest. She added: “Some might even go double the price when depending on their reception on our quality and demand.”

“With these many products, we are targeting the demand in Singapore and other nearby ASEAN countries, as well as those in the Middle East,” she added. “We are also open to offers from other buyers across the globe that can be beneficial to the livelihood of our farmers.”

Cordillera farmers moving forward

While the high elevation augments the harvest, it also makes highland fruits and vegetables prone to risks of climate change, making its price highly volatile.

“We know that there is a demand for our agricultural products, but the next step is how we can corner that demand? With our talks with people that we met on IFEX Philippines, we should be able to do it if we set our fruits and vegetables at stable prices and produce them at a sustainable rate. It’s a challenge for us here in the highland considering the ever-changing weather conditions,” said Hernaez.

Faced with this predicament, Hernaez is trying to hit two birds with one stone in creating a viable year-round crop rotation system: working on identifying the in-demand varieties crops that are a tolerant to extreme weather and are resistant to pests and diseases.

“With this method, we also can minimize the use of synthetic chemicals and inputs, or apply good farming practices which involve the balanced application of organic and chemical inputs,” she explained.

The former OFW also continues to widen her network to increase their agriculture supply and product selection, allowing small-scale farming communities to accommodate bulk orders from foreign buyers.

At the same time, she is helping Cordillera farmers secure the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification—an accreditation promoted by the ASEAN community and is unanimously recognized in the international market.

Fifty-nine-year old farmer, Dolores Igme, shows their jumbo-sized winter melon or ash gourd. Igme is one of the farmers supported under the export initiative of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading

Out of the 78 GAP-certified farms in the Philippines, only 4 farms are from Cordillera.

According to the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (DA-BAFS), GAP Certification ensures that a farm is not only in the quality of his crops, but in all aspects of farming.

The GAP standard requires a scrutiny of the history of the farm site and its prior use; the type of soil, and its compatibility with crops and seed sources; the judicious use of pesticides and fertilizers, whether chemical or organic; the sources of potable water for irrigation and washing of crops; the harvest and post-handling procedures; the health and hygiene of the farmer and handlers, and other factors.

“Gusto kong makita sa mga farmers if they can eat their products raw and fresh, ‘yun na kasi uso din because there are a lot of vegetarians. ‘Yung iba kasi they have a lot of pesticide to the point na hindi na pwede makain kasi maamoy or matapang yung chemicals. At least with GAP [certification], we can be one stop closer to this goal,” she said.

Aside from GAP certifications, GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading is also working to secure Halal certifications for the community farmers as they are targeting the demand for halal fruits and vegetables in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai and U.A.E.

Though the Philippine National Standards for Halal (PNS 2067: 2008), Halal products are at par with international standards to enhance the competitiveness of local industries, and to ensure product quality and safety for the consumers.

“GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading is committed to prime Cordilleran farmers to become export-ready in the global market so that they would grow together with the company and the booming Philippine food industry,” she said.

If you are interested on premium fruits and vegetables from the Cordillera, please contact Ms. Maricel Hernaez (Owner of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading) at 0950-525-1170 or e-mail her at gdmetrading@gmail.com.


“Every published story helps PH companies and brands gain local exposure that will boost the country’s exports. Thank you in advance.”

Negosyo Center staff undergo small business counseling course on operations management

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with the Association of Development Facilitation and Enterprise Counselors Incorporated (ADFEC Inc.), conducted a Small Business Counselors’ Course on Operations Management (SBCC104) for DTI’s Negosyo Center business counselors on August 14-19 this year at Dohera Hotel in Mandaue City, Cebu.

According to DTI Assistant Regional Director Nelia Navarro, the six-day SBCC training was meant to enable the business counselors to know the intricacies of operations management in order for them to offer relevant information to clients as they counsel new and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to develop their business enterprise.
The recently concluded training participated by Negosyo Center business counselors in Central Visayas also included plant visits to expose them to operations of various companies. After the visits, participants were tasked to produce a report on their observations based on the measures given by the facilitators.

Dir. Navarro explained that the training of business counselors is one significant step to developing the economy in the countryside.

“DTI wants to inspire those living in the provinces to engage in entrepreneurship by having well trained business counselors who can assist them and guide them as they navigate the complex world of business.” ARD Navarro explained.

“We really have to capacitate our business counselors because they are DTI’s frontline staff. Moreover, majority of those they assist through our programs are situated in the countryside.” ARD Navarro added.

After SBCC 104, Dir. Navarro disclosed that the agency is currently preparing to complete the series of trainings for business counselors. “We hope to finish the remaining two sessions before the year ends.”

Negosyo Centers serve MSMEs and promote entrepreneurship in order to generate more job opportunities in the country. The centers also facilitate the access of MSMEs to capacity building programs, technology transfer, production and management training as well as marketing assistance.