Organic farming–starting from scratch

By Chit U. Juan


In 2005, I dreamt of having my very own coffee farm.

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Both my parents were born in Manila so we really never had a province to go home to. So, everyone like me who is city-bred longs to have a place you can “go home to,” right? I got involved with Amadeo, Cavite when we adopted a coffee farm of the mayor then to showcase as a Barako Farm. I would go and take our friends there to see coffee growing amidst bananas and papayas.

Not long after, we came across a property that was on the auction block. It was relatively small but right there on the main road. I would not touch the property even after acquisition until some five years ago. Looking back, it was a jungle of coffee trees and chico, langka, santol which badly needed cleaning up.

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Filipino food brand gets Green Apple award

February 24, 2013

Source: Manila Standard Today

Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. took home a Green Apple Environment Award in the recently concluded search organized by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-profit environment group dedicated to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.

Binalot, the lone winner from the Philippines, competed with 500 other nominations and was presented with the Green Apple Award in the House of Commons late last year. The recognition named Binalot as one of the International Winners in the Far East Islands. Along with a gold status, Binalot received a plaque and certificate.

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ROMMEL T. JUAN Entrepreneur of the Pinoy Binalot

Feb 15, 2013



ROMMEL T. Juan, president and CEO of Binalot Fiesta Foods, the fastfood company which serves food in the traditional binalot sa dahon ng saging fashion is one amazing success story.
In 1996, one year after graduating from the Dela Salle University with a degree in Marketing Management, Juan along with his brother and a friend started his company with PhP50,000 as initial investment.
“The whole idea of Binalot was inspired from my childhood memories when my Mom used to wrap our food in banana leaves during family picnics. Thus, all Binalot products are wrapped in banana leaves,” Juan said in an online interview.
Overnight Sensation 
His business became an overnight hit back in 1996.
“Initially, we did it just for fun but later, we realized that business was going very well so, we started to be more serious about managing it.  A few years later, we were employing more people that we ever imagined. We became responsible for almost 200 jobs and families were starting to depend on us,” Juan said.
Even after going through some rough sailing in 1997 and the next few years Juan and his partners decided to expand the business by opening it to franchising.  Today, Binalot has over 41 branches in the Philippines serving 200 meals each day.
“I wanted to grow this brand all over the Philippines. I also want Binalot to be a place wherebalikbayans (Filipinos living abroad) would bring their friends to try and eat authentic Filipino food,” Juan explains.
Social Responsibility
As CEO, Juan also wanted his company to be socially responsible and to give back and share their success with the community.
Binalot uses natural, organic and biodegradable materials for food packaging to make sure they don’t contribute to pollution and the degradation of the environment.
“We championed the use of biodegradable packaging especially after typhoon Ondoy hit Manila. We wanted to make sure that we contribute to the ‘green’ campaigns in our own little ways,” Juan said.
Also, as part of the corporate Binalot advocacy, Juan launched a social responsibility program called DAHON or Dangal at Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon. Through the program, the company was able to adopt and support the livelihood of some 30 families in Nagcarlan, Laguna, and the community, in turn, supplies them with banana leaves for their food wrapping.
“Part of our program included the adoption of the whole community. By doing so, we help these families earn a living. We also extended the program in Zambales where we support an Aeta community and in Legaspi, Albay where we support a women’s group,” Juan—who is married to Christine Gonzales Juan and father to three girls, said.
Business Acumen and Awards
Juan said he owes his business acumen to his parents.
“We were all encouraged to put up our own businesses.  My brother has his own truck body manufacturing business my older sister has an after school enrichment program she franchises and my younger sister has her own media consultancy firm,” Juan narrated.
Juan said his father taught them the importance of good old fashioned hard work and his mother instilled in the proper values and raised them to be morally upright.
“My father used to make us repaint school chairs for my Mom’s elementary school in Malabon.  We even picked up used nails, then straightened them and sold them back to my father whenever he had any construction being done, just to teach us the value of money. These are some of the things which I plan to do with my kids as well,” Juan said.
And all this training resulted in numerous citations for Binalot Fiesta.
“We won the Centennial prize for the UPS out of the box small business competition, an Anvil award from the PR association, the best retailer award from the Phil Retailer Association, a special citation from Entrepreneur Magazine , the BID challenge and the Intel Aim Corporate Responsibility awars (IACRA),” Juan proudly states.
Just recently, Binalot was also recognized for its DAHON program, winning the Green Apple Environment Award from the London-based Green Organisation.
But despite all his success, Juan’s feet remains firmly on the ground.
You don’t have to have a lot of millions in the bank. Family is number one on my list. I tend to judge people’s successes by looking at their family lives, and not their material gains. I always say, that business is like a rubber ball. If it falls, it bounces back. But family is like a crystal ball, if it falls, it shatters,” Juan said.
His advice to budding entrepreneurs?
“A positive attitude is really important. This will help you get through some rough spots in life which will mold and strengthen your character.  You have to be passionate.  You have to enjoy what you’re doing in order for you to succeed. And, of course, put God at the center of everything that you do.”

Binalot bags international environment award

for pr green apple

Binalot was once again recognized for its green initiatives! The home of the ultimate Filipino food experience recently won a Green Apple Environment Award from the London-based Green Organisation. The lone winner from the Philippines, it was recognized as an International winner in the Fast East Islands region and given a gold award status. Its winning entry focused on Binalot’s corporate social responsibility campaign, the DAHON (Dangal at Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program.

The Eternal Optimist

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A leaf of faith

January 4, 2013


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The News Today

Binalot supports ‘Field of Dreams’

December 19, 2012

Source: Manila Standard

Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc., believes so much in the concept that community-based development strategy is a more effective way of Corporate Social Responsibility that Binalot chief executive Rommel Juan established DAHON or Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa

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Nayon Program. The program was initiated to help the local banana farmers.

To widen the scope and impact of the endeavor, Binalot teamed up with the Junior Chamber International Manila and its corporate community development partner Caltex in promoting an active lifestyle through different sports via JCI – Manila’s “Field of Dreams” project.

Now on its third year under JCI – Manila’s Dare to C.A.R.E. (Community Awareness and Rehabilitation Effort), “Field of Dreams” has helped promote sports, education, and youth development. The event was hosted by celebrity model Henry Golding and TV sports buffMarc Nelson. Through the said event, 2,000 items of sports equipment were raised, one item for each child of the Smokey Mountain community. A celebrity football match was also arranged.


December 15, 2012

Source: TheDailyGuardian


THE BUZZLING Iloilo City’s gourmet scene sizzled once more with the grand opening of one of the most sought after restaurants in the country, the soooo popular BINALOT food haven at the GT Plaza Mall, dahlings!
Jetting in for the grand opening day was the ever energetic and articulate Binalot Fiesta Food, Inc.’s president Rommel Juan who was enthusiastically welcomed by Binalot-Iloilo franchisee cum owner, the statuesque head turner Cherie Gold Cajandig-Grabato and her debonaire hubby Jhong Grabato.
After the inaugural ribbon snipping led by Rommel Juan, Jhong and wife Cherie, Jhong’s dad former Municipality of Mina mayor Rey Grabato, and Cherie’s mom Ney Cajandig, the guests were treated to a long array of sumptuous Binalot Filipino  bestsellers  cuisines, dahlings!
Binalot’s to die-for bestsellers are its pride Tilapia and Boneless Bangus, Tapa, Beefsteak,  Inihaw na Baboy, Pork Bongga Longanisa, Pork BBQ, Pork Sinigang, Tocino, Sisig and many more. And what so special about these cuisines? All are served wrapped in fresh banana leaves in native indigenous plate, Thus “Binalot”, quipped Mr. Juan.
“Some dishes are not what you see in restaurants. You cook it at home but you don’t see it in a fine dining scene in restaurants,” said Cherie.
Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc.’s advocacy is the setting up of Filipino-themed restaurants and a foundation for entrepreneurs under one roof. “For me, it will always be Filipino first with Binalot’s DAHON ( Dangal at Hanapbuhay sa Nayon) Foundation which empowers the youth sector, gives jobs to our kababayans in the far-flung barrios, opportunities for education and at the same time preserve our environment,” said Mr. Juan.
Follow Binalot’s sumptuous offerings at,