(The Philippine Star) – November 9, 2019 – 12:00am
LAGUNA, Philippines —The story of Binalot and Barangay Buhanginan of Nagcarlan, Laguna began in 2006, when Typhoon Milenyo struck the Philippines and drastically depleted Luzon’s supply of banana leaves – the trademark packaging for Binalot’s food offerings. Recognizing the need for a steady supplier come typhoon, floods or other natural calamities, Binalot decided to go straight to the source in Nagcarlan.
On his search, Rommel Juan, CEO of Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc., happened to pass by Buhanginan and there met Rodney Oriel, whose team of four agreed to produce 3,000 pieces of cut banana leaves for Binalot. This partnership eventually grew to involve the whole township and became Binalot’s own corporate social responsibility (CSR) program called the DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program, which they formally launched in 2007.
Since its genesis, the DAHON Program has not only become a reliable form of livelihood for the inhabitants of Barangay Buhanginan; it has also helped build the barangay’s own dahunan where the townspeople regularly gather to socialize and prepare Binalot’s weekly orders, and has even provided financial support to both students and teachers at the local daycare center. The success of the program has also opened doors for expansion in Pila, Laguna, although main operations remain in Nagcarlan.
Last Oct. 18, Binalot officially launched Eggciting Harvest, a livelihood project under the DAHON Program in partnership with EMBRACE in pursuit of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. With the introduction of salted egg production to the program, both parties strive to form long-term partnerships to further empower the community of Barangay Buhanginan.