Breaking biases: Filipino-made products are world-class!

Department of Trade and Industry
(Photo by Mr. Mark Ches Ang)

While there’s a growing awareness of the global competitiveness of Filipino products, there are still some Pinoys that are biased towards imported products because they think locally-made goods are not “high quality.” But this perception is far from the truth. Through a continuous information drive, we at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) want to show Filipinos why Filipino-made products can be as good as—if not better than—imported brands. Let me further explain why.

Filipino-made products reflect fine craftsmanship. Innovation and craftsmanship are second nature to Filipinos. We have met several creative Filipino craftsmen who are passionate and meticulous in coming up with products—from journals/notebooks to kitchen accessories (e.g. flatware, bottle openers, dessert servers), to mirrors and small furniture, to wearables, and even in toys and gifts. Thus, with every locally-made product, you are assured of well-thought design and guaranteed quality. For example, Haspe Design Studio—which utilizes local wood and employs weaving craftsmen—creates products by combining tradition and technology. This company applies their time-tested Baliuag, Bulacan handmade traditions in furniture-making, wood carving, and bone inlay while utilizing modern technology in improving product quality.

They are made-to-last. A smart buyer would prefer products with the promise of durability. The competitiveness of Filipino products is evident in materials used.They are not disposable and are intended to last a long time with proper maintenance. That’s why locally-made products such as bags, home decors, and furniture are world-class: they are usually made from durable and sustainable materials such as coconut shell, abaca, bamboo, and capiz shells. These raw materials are locally-sourcedfrom farmers and other raw material producers.

They are crafted using mindful processes. We are proud to claim that a lot of Filipino business owners are very mindful of sustainability and its impact on the environment.  For instance, Kawayan Lifestyle Accessories banks on the abundance of bamboo in the country. Consideredamong the world’s fastest-growing plants and most viable raw material for sustainability, the bamboo is transformed by the company into sustainable, durable, and well-designed timepieces.

 They are made from locally-sourced materials, and processed through innovative, globally-acknowledged methods. Our GoLokal! partners producing food products source 100 percent of their main raw materials locally and support farming and fishing communities. Through meticulous processes and technical expertise, our business owners are able to source raw materials that are of high quality.

Oh So Healthy! Crisps, for instance, has a team of expert food scientists who have innovated a snack made from 100 percent real fruits and vegetables that are locally sourced. The quality of their products is at par—if not better—with foreign brands in the same category. The proof of high quality are the certifications acquired from various institutions, like from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Halal Certification from the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines, Inc., and the Non-GMO Certification from the National Sanitation Foundation International. Thus, it’s not surprising that this brand has been able to penetrate foreign markets, including the US, Japan, and Singapore.

Products are distinctly of good quality because of geographical advantage.  The location of the source of raw material has an impact on the quality and distinctiveness of an end-product, contributing to its global competitiveness. Take for instance, the globally-awarded Davao-based chocolate manufacturer Malagos Chocolate, which attributes its world recognition to the terroir—or the natural environment that includes soil, topography, and climate—ofits farm.

Malagos’ Sales and Marketing Head Rex Puentespina explained to us that the farm’s locationcreatesa natural environment suitable for growing cacao of single-origin goodness. Of course, this is on top of the continuous refinement in their processes at the farm. The company has been consistently receiving world recognition for its cacao products. Last year, it won four Gold Awards at the World Drinking Chocolate Competition 2020 in Hannover, Germany.

These are just a few examples of the global competitiveness of Philippine-made products. That is why we should go past our biases favoring foreign-made or imported brands and patronize locally-made products of high quality.We should make a commitment to promote Philippine-made products to our families and friends and support local businesses and the economy. Let us Eat Local, Buy Local, and Go Lokal. Start the movement, and be proud!