By: John Maico M. Hernandez

Women beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Sitio Masasa, Brgy. San Juan, Tingloy, Batangas underwent a training on coconut-based products processing aimed at helping them establish their own community enterprise, May 17-18.

The women beneficiaries were trained on processing of coconut jam, macapuno/buko pastillas, buko yema, macapuno/buko in a jar, buko yema, and buko juice. The processing technologies used and transferred to the beneficiaries were developed by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Dr. Florencio C. Reginio, Jr. (Assistant Professor 7) and Mr. Prince Joseph V. Gaban (Science Research Specialist I), both from IFST-UPLB served as the resource speakers during the training. An awareness-seminar on Basic Food Hygiene and current Good Manufacturing Practices was also integrated in the training to ensure the implementation of food safety systems and safeguard that every product they produce conforms to standards. Participants had a hands-on activity on processing each product with strict compliance to food safety standards. The training upskilled the women beneficiaries and provided them with knowledge advantageous to their pursuit in establishing their community enterprise.

Considering the booming tourism industry in Sitio Masasa’s beach popularized by public since 2017, the initiative to offer local delicacies and tourism products is an attempt to spur socio-economic opportunities in the community.

Being a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area, Tingloy has been identified as one of the sites for the implementation of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program of DOST-CALABARZON. CEST program is a package of DOST interventions focused on improving the lives of various rural communities in Health and Nutrition, Economic Development, Human Resource Development, Environmental Protection and Conservation, and Disaster Risk Reduction & Management and Climate Change Adaptation, via S&T intervention. Through CEST intervention, rural communities are expected to be more progressive, more resilient, and growing. One of the interventions eyed for Tingloy is the establishment of a community enterprise focused on processing of local delicacies and tourism products.