By: Athena Colline Verdey, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
      Phyllicia Anne Baguyo, PSTC-Palawan

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Pena delivers his message during the opening ceremony of the 10th PNHRS Week Celebration held at the Citystate Asturias Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last August 8-12, 2016 (Photo from DOST-STII)

    The MIMAROPA Health Research and Development Consortium (MHRDC), co-chaired by the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA,  hosted the annual celebration of the Philippine National Health Research Systems (PNHRS) Week alongside the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) at the Citystate Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last August 8-12, 2016.

    For its 10th year, PNHRS gathered the country’s health research community—stakeholders, researchers, scientists, and, experts to celebrate the role and impact of innovative strategies and scientific breakthroughs in environmental protection and human health; and work on its top agenda of transforming the Philippines into a prime hub of research on global health innovations for climate change and natural disaster mitigation. With the theme “Research and Innovation for Health and Environment”, the five-day celebration was teeming with capability building workshops and parallel and plenary sessions highlighting initiatives on strategies for climate change adaptation and resilience, ecosystem conservation, ICT-based technologies for health and environment, sustainability of water resources, indigenous health and environment relationship, disaster-induced health and environment hazards reduction, and risk communication, among others.  A Student and Professional Research Competition was also held to recognize outstanding student and professional researchers while allowing exchange of ideas and gaining a new understanding of the potential practical applications of health- and environment-related researches conducted by the different consortia across the country.

      Aside from the forums and workshops, the PNHRS Week celebration also conducted a bazaar to promote and sell products or services of DOST-MIMAROPA assisted MSMEs to a diverse audience, creating extra footfalls and revenue for their respective enterprises.

The RIC-KKK booth at the bazaar during the 10th PNHRS Week Celebration

     According to Ms. Antonette P. Herdiles of Rural Improvement Club-Kapitbahayan sa Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran (RIC-KKK), a DOST-MIMAROPA- assisted community-based enterprise and one of the exhibitors, their participation in the bazaar has helped them land another big client  and regain their deficit over the previous month.

     “Nagkaroon kami ng lugi noong July 2016 at nabawi namin ang lugi na iyon sa kinita namin noong PNHRS… nagkaroon din kami ng malaking buyer na kumukuha sa amin ng fifty kilos na lamayo every month na dinadala sa Maynila”. RIC-KKK’s danggit lamayo were sold like hotcakes during the event due to its authentic taste and health benefits. They said that when given the opportunity, they will actively participate in other exhibits to increase market penetration.

    Arnel Agri-based Product’s instant turmeric powder, turmeric capsules, chili sauce, and chili powder, were also some of the best sellers at the bazaar.  Ms. Azucena E. Gamutia, proprietor of the firm, mentioned that their new customers in the PNHRS Week became repeat customers. They even had a customer who is a doctor from Zamboanga who now patronizes their turmeric capsules.

    “Maganda, kasi yung um-order sa amin noong sa PNHRS naging repeat customer namin at nag-order ng 300 packs ng capsules (turmeric). Taga-Zamboanga sya… Mayroon ding nag-repeat na taga-Zamboanga din doctor sya”

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Pena (left), DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director, Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay (center), and MHRDC Director Dr. Michael Pido (right) tasting the products of Alonda’s Food Ventures.

       The same impact was felt by Alonda’s Food Ventures, a then Brooke’s Point Kitchen incubatee now SETUP adopter, which is known for their signature peanut butter products. She is now starting to introduce turmeric and malunggay products into her product mix which have gained positive responses during the event.

    “Maganda (ang PNHRS event) kasi may mga feedback about sa product kasi may mga doctors noon”, said Ms. Marilyn Alonsagay who also claimed that one of the biggest impact of the event to her business is that she gained repeat customers from other parts of the Philippines.

   Sabuya Coffee is also one of the attractions at the bazaar. The firm wowed the attendees of the event with its naturally- processed rare wild civet coffee beans. Sibuya Coffee is a family business that produces wild civet coffee beans from their 110- year old native coffee farm located in Langogan Valley, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. According to Ms. Melinda Sabuya, one of the producers of the wild civet coffee beans, the PNHRS event helped them introduce their product to a wider market.

    “Maganda ang naging impact sa amin dahil nagkaroon kami ng promotion outside Palawan at nag-increase ang sales namin” she said. During the exhibit, two doctors who attended the event were able to visit the family coffee farm in Langogan Valley and ordered a total of four (4) kilos of wild civet coffee beans. These new customers eventually became repeat customers of the firm.

    Sabuya Coffee Trading was assisted by DOST-MIMAROPA through the Provincial Science and Technology Center-Palawan (PSTC-Palawan) in 2016. Their products were tested at the Regional Standard Testing Laboratory (RSTL), specifically in the Microbiological Testing Laboratory for quality assurance.