Using Marketing Expertise to Change Lives in the Philippines

Posted on 08/26/2022

Tony Cacao Farmer1

I have a new special place in my heart for the Philippines.

I have had the opportunity to serve Grameen Foundation in the Philippines three different times sharing my passion for marketing to change lives in the Asian nation. The first two times I got to serve a cooperative of coconut farmers in the Bicol region of the island. I loved the opportunity to connect with the on-ground team via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I always yearned for the opportunity to one day visit the Philippines to better connect with the culture and make a difference in person.

I finally had my opportunity in June 2022 with the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions. While I was a little apprehensive to travel halfway around the world during the pandemic, the team from Grameen Foundation made it a comfortable and very interesting adventure.

The Household Multipurpose Cooperative team wanted some help to take their artisanal chocolate product to a new level of sales and revenue to help support the farmers and the local community. I felt like a member of the family from the first time we met. My first step was to go through "training" and learn the entire process from Cacao pod to chocolate bar. This included the indoctrination of burning my fingers crushing the freshly roasted, and very hot, Cacao beans. Then I went to work strategizing with the team on how to differentiate their chocolate product from the competition.

While I was in Mindanao, I got to provide counsel to redesign the product packaging and launch new product development chocolate varieties such as salted caramel chocolate called "Chococarmel" and my personal favorite, chocolate infused with coffee, named "Chocolatte". It was amazing brainstorming and working with the team on the ground and seeing the product development and new package design come to fruition while I was still in the country.

I also had the opportunity to network with Antipas Municipality Vice Mayor Cristobal D. Cadungon; give a marketing presentation to local community members and federal agricultural officials; and even enjoy some time visiting Lake Sebu and waterfalls near Mount Apo.

This was my first time to the Philippines, and while I had a general idea of the culture, it was a very rewarding adventure that I will forever treasure. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to change lives and learn more about a new part of the world making a difference with my marketing skills.

Empower smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty.
Give Now