Maharlika Pilipinas hopes to bring the best of the Philippines to the world. Conceived by Jefferson Cayetano Catimbang, the idea was a result of his numerous assignments in other jobs to many parts of the archipelago. There, he saw the best parts of the Philippines: from our hospitable kababayans, to our breathtaking natural wonders, to our ingeniously handcrafted products, and sumptuous dishes —all great blessings consumers should know about.
Since he was a marketing senior at FEU, Catimbang has always had his heart set on a business. His various ventures served as stepping stones to his eventual idea, putting up a spa business with his wife.
Babaylan Spa was born, a Filipino themed spa that promotes the indigenous “Hilot” Massage. He, together with his wife, trained for the rigors of the trade, so that, when employees can’t report for work, they can still run the operations.
“We walk the talk, so to speak. It was at this point that I left my Unilab job to focus on our business. That’s when Tribu Babaylan came into the drawing board.
With the success of the Sampaloc branch, he opened in Quezon City’s Roces district. This was followed closely by another branch within the vicinity that was closer to the Zirkoh Bar.
This opened his network to people in the entertainment industry. The spa concept further grew and opened branches in Cebu, Palawan, Cavite, and Davao. Catimbang thought of rebranding it into Tribu Babaylan: a spa, bar, and restaurant concept in one.
Luckily, he met Sen. Manny Pacquiao and was able to convince with to join and be part of the company. As suggested by the People’s Champion and Senator, replacing Tribu Babaylan as its new business brand and concept, Maharlika Pilipinas (MP) encompasses everything good about the Philippines and its people.
The MP Project
Maharlika means “aristocrat” or “royalty” in modern Filipino. It could also mean the high status of warriors, or a title pertaining to a “man of wealth, knowledge, or ability”. Some claim that the word “maharlika” bears reference to ancient Filipino nobility which included its kings and princes of ancient Philippine society.
Or, it could simply mean excellent, fine, splendid, magnificent or “napakaganda” and “napakarikit” in local parlance.
“In other words, Maharlika Pilipinas’ could be similar or synonymous to royalty. And this worked well with our mantra of HILOT – Health, Integrity, Loyalty, and Teamwork!”
Unfortunately, the global pandemic happened, which held everything in abeyance.
“So instead of [having] our commissary inventory go to waste, we cooked meals for frontliners. In turn, this gave an opportunity for patronage from frontliners who loved our food. So food delivery was made possible. This is one of the scenarios were adversity provided opportunity.
“Our employees are long-staying. They’ve been with us even during the height of the pandemic. It’s hard to find loyal employees to work for you. During this trying time, I had to talk to our loyal partners to hold on and wait for the sunshine after the rain.”
Because of the lessons learned from the pandemic, the Maharlika Pilipinas’ project became a holistic concept that encapsulates the Filipino acumen by showcasing the very best of its natural and man-made wonders. And thereby bring the Pinoy identity to greater heights.
Today the Philippines, tomorrow the world
With the endorsement and involvement of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in this noble undertaking, it won’t be hard for people to see the greatness of the Filipino psyche!
The MP brand will start its circuit with overseas Filipino communities in Dubai, then to the business hub of Singapore, and slowly but surely to the rest of the world!