Husband-and-wife team strikes ‘green gold’

The award-winning Lauat Hair Treatment Shampoo is RRDI’s best-selling product and is being exported abroad.

The Rainiers Research and Development Institute (RRDI) started as a backyard business of husband-and-wife team, Dr. Rainier Villanueva and nurse-wife Victoria, who formulated their own herbal shampoo made from lawat leaves: the Lauat Hair Treatment Shampoo.

A neurosurgeon, pharmacist, and medical technologist all rolled into one, Dr. Villanueva was drawn to the idea of marrying the traditional herbal treatment with modern medical practice. He conducted intensive researches and experiments to process the raw ingredients and turn them into a more convenient form meant for daily usage.

RRDI executive vice-president Victoria “Vicky” Villanueva holds a pack of lawat leaves, the main ingredient for the company’s best-selling product, the Lauat Hair Treatment Shampoo.

The shampoo is composed mainly of the leaves acquired from the lawat plant which is indigenous in the Visayan region, particularly in the island of Masbate. RRDI sources the raw ingredients used in its products directly from the province which, in return, provides livelihood to the locals.

Dr. Villanueva developed the fascination with the all-natural, traditional body treatments in his home province of Masbate. “In the early days, people in Masbate used lawat leaves to treat their hair and scalp problems such as dandruff and hair fall. These leaves are crushed and turned into a gelatinous form and applied directly into the scalp,” explains Victoria “Vicky” Villanueva, executive vice-president of RRDI.

Through word-of-mouth advertising, the Lauat Hair Treatment Shampoo became widely known not only locally but also internationally. From the shelves of local supermarkets, the shampoo eventually reached retail shops in foreign shores and even clinched a prestigious award in the 27th Salon International Des Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland way back in 1999.

‘Tawas’ roll-on deodorant by Lauat.

RRDI manufactures and distributes personal care products made of all-natural ingredients. Lauat Hair Treatment Shampoo is notably the first non-medical product distributed by Zuellig Pharma, a Swiss pharmaceutical company based in the Philippines. This helped build the company’s strong branding presence in the market. It is now being exported abroad, to countries such as the US, Norway, Germany, Australia, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Malaysia where there is a captive market.

Handcrafted soap bars by Lauat.

From its humble beginnings as a simple husband-and-wife business endeavor in 1989, RRDI grew to be one of the pioneers and recognized Philippine companies in the field of herbal and natural products such as shampoos, conditioners, soaps, deodorants, and other herbal treatments. The company has then developed more personal care products made from all-natural ingredients like lawat, gugo, akapulco, virgin coconut oil, carrot, calamansi, and tawas.

These all-natural RRDI products were showcased in the recently concluded 63rd Manila FAME, a trade show which showcases finely crafted products covering the home, holiday and gifts, and fashion sectors crafted in the Philippines for the global market. RRDI’s participation in this trade show has allowed the company to expand its market reach even more.

RRDI was one of the select companies featured in the Department of Agriculture (DA) Pavilion, which showcased a wide range of food gifts, body care and wellness products, manufactured by local communities supported by the DA-Agribusiness Marketing Service (DA-AMAS). The company’s partnership with DA and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), organizer of Manila FAME, gave Manila FAME trade buyers and visitors a welcome opportunity to get to know up close RRDI’s product lineup of carefully formulated herbal products.

AT THE 63RD MANILA FAME. RRDI’s executive vice president Victoria “Vicky” Villanueva (center)) with production manager Violeta Ferrer (left) and research and development head Rodel Atiga at the RRDI showcase at the DA Pavilion. (Photos by Jasfrey Carandang/CITEM)

From a simple backyard business, RRDI has become a full-fledged manufacturing company that positions itself as a one-stop service provider in the areas of R&D, raw material sourcing, product development, toll manufacturing/private labeling, product testing, and packaging development.

“If you want posterity and a continuation of your legacy, you have to have your own brand,” concludes Villanueva, who shares that RRDI also has a CSR program that involves sending several underprivileged youth to school and granting them part-time employment. (With reports from KSGuerzon)

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Food Philippines to showcase bestsellers in the world’s largest food fair

Going loco over coco...the Philippine coconut is touted as 'The Tree of Life.'

Going loco over coco…the Philippine coconut is touted as ‘The Tree of Life.’ (Photos courtesy of CITEM)

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is gearing up for the country’s much-awaited participation in Anuga, the world’s largest and most important food and beverage fair slated in Cologne, Germany on October 10-14, 2015.

The Philippine Pavilion at the Koelnmesse in Cologne will showcase the newest products of 30 premium food companies with culinary demonstrations and unlimited food sampling. A highlight of the Philippine presence in Anuga will be business matching activities and a Philippine business presentation before European trade buyers.

“The country’s presence in Anuga will be themed under the industry brand of Food Philippines. Anuga is considered by food and beverage industry players as the leading source of information on product trends, innovative products and distribution schemes. It is the ideal platform to reinforce the country’s brand promotion of the Food Philippines Premium 7, which include banana, cacao, coconut, coffee, mango, pineapple, and tuna,” said Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of CITEM.

Banana chips are favorite healthy snacks in the Philippines.

Banana chips: a healthy snack in the Philippines.

The participating Philippine food manufacturers will join the world’s leading food fair for the retail trade, food service, and manufacturing market. They will carry a wide range of the country’s best-selling food export products like seafood, tropical fruit products, organic muscovado sugar, coconut products, among many others. New food applications and derivatives like coconut chew, coconut flour, frozen tropical fruits, and pouch tuna will be presented to approximately 155,000 decision-makers from the retail, manufacturing, and food service sectors visiting Anuga.

The Philippine delegation to Anuga will be led by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, Jr. of the Industry Promotions Group (IPG), who will meet with key food importers and distributors in Europe to boost Philippines-EU trade relations, especially in the light of the Philippines being the only Southeast Asian country accorded with the GSP+ status for 10 years (2014-2024).

The Philippine mango is to die for...whether served fresh or dried.

The Philippine mango is always in demand — whether served fresh (background) or dried (foreground).

The country’s participation in this major industry event will highlight the potential benefits of the European Union (EU) GSP+ to the Philippines. Exports of the Philippines to the EU are expected to increase after the country’s official inclusion in the EU GSP+ Program in December last year. More products will be accorded zero duty.

“We at DTI and CITEM are confident that trade buyers from the food and beverage industry all over the world will find our product lineup to be refreshing and even inspirational. It is going to be a ‘Taste by Design experience,’” said Undersecretary Manalo.

DTI has been campaigning recently about the advantages of exporting under the EU GSP+ scheme, and encouraging qualified exporters to maximize opportunities from the said scheme. The EU GSP+ is a system of tariff preferences granted unilaterally by the EU to products originating from developing countries. It is a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance in the form of zero duties.

Manila FAME showcases the country’s finest designs

KENNETHCOBONPUE staged this special setting that gives a ‘sense of theater’ using spunbonded fabric.

KENNETHCOBONPUE’s Hive gives a ‘sense of theater’ using spunbonded fabric.

B-Luxe Chair by ITO KISH.

B-Luxe Chair by ITO KISH: Best Product Design for Furniture at the Katha Awards.

Manila FAME proves once again that it is the country’s premier design and lifestyle event as it showcased a host of finely crafted home, fashion, and holiday products that could attest that the Philippines is indeed an ideal sourcing destination in Asia for design-driven products.

As the signature event of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Manila FAME drew a number of local and foreign buyers who happily sourced for designer products in the four-day trade show held recently at the SMX Convention Center.

“We do not just follow trends; we set them. Manila FAME continues to inspire with a strong design statement on what is design-forward, popular, artisanal, and soulful. It’s a design experience like no other,” said Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of CITEM.

The Calli-Ideal Design bag won the Katha Award for Best Product Design in Fashion. (Photo by Jas Carandang)

The Calli-Ideal Design bag won the Katha Award for Best Product Design in Fashion. (Photo by Jasfrey Carandang)

In each show edition of Manila FAME, hundreds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the home, holiday décor, and fashion industries are continually given a platform to promote their export-quality products to the world market.

For its 60th edition this October, Manila FAME featured products that were crafted according to the ‘design stories’ of Soulcrafts (heritage crafts), Luxe (luxury items) and Gen C (Millennial products), as it aimed to cater to the needs and interests of all audiences.

Event highlights were the Design Philippines Scenography, ‘Be Our Guest’: A Table Accessories Showcase, Manila Wear, NeoTextiles Philippines, Red Box, OTOP Marketplace, and the International Hall.

Under the creative direction of Budji Layug, the Design Philippines Scenography featured the latest designs from a collection crafted by designers and exhibitors of the Design for Exports program, as well as, choice pieces from brands under Design Philippines and Manila Wear. Designers Eric Paras and Stanley Ruiz collaborated with Layug in designing the Design Philippines installation, which featured a giant salakab made of bamboo to set the tone for the special setting made of select design-forward pieces from a gathering of the country’s brightest creative talents.

Design Philippines Scenography designed by Manila FAME creative director Budji Layug, in collaboration with designers Eric Paras and Stanley Ruiz.

Design Philippines Scenography designed by Manila FAME creative director Budji Layug, in collaboration with designers Eric Paras and Stanley Ruiz.

Detlef Klatt's table accessories showcase was inspired by East and West street scenes.

Detlef Klatt’s table accessories showcase was inspired by East and West street scenes.

A tabletops setting titled “Be Our Guest” highlighted an eye-catching, ready-to-buy collection of table accessories developed under the Design for Exports Program by German master florist and designer Detlef Klatt, in collaboration with 17 manufacturers who are experts in working with materials such as abaca (a plant fiber), ceramic, wood, metal, capiz, mother of pearl, and other natural materials. On three 13-meter-long tables, over 800 table pieces such as baskets and bowls, trays and centerpieces, and tablecloths and placemats were laid out in an extraordinary presentation – a play of patterns, textures, and shapes that masterfully blended the table, products, and surrounding elements to create still-life compositions, as inspired by the street scenes of Berlin, New York, Tokyo, and Manila.

Unique fashion pieces combined artisanal crafts with contemporary sensibilities in Manila Wear.

Unique fashion pieces combined artisanal crafts with contemporary sensibilities in Manila Wear.

Fashionistas had a visual sampling of unique fashion pieces that combined artisanal crafts with contemporary sensibilities in Manila Wear. International fashion icon Josie Natori curated the presentation and teamed up with fashion desginers Cesar Gaupo, Lulu Tan-Gan, and JC Buendia.

NeoTextiles Philippines promoted the country’s indigenous fibers and textiles in support of local weaving communities. Designers Amina Aranaz-Alunan and Olivia d’Aboville provided new design directions to the participating textile manufacturers that created contemporary and versatile textiles and products for home and fashion.

Red Box Home Scenography presented the works of young designers Rachelle Dagñalan, Lilianna Manahan, Leeroy New, and Joseph Rastrullo who were matched with local manufacturers to create innovative products with a unique design sensibility. Red Box is a design development program of CITEM which aims to create the next generation of Philippine design talents.

The Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) Pavilion at Manila FAME. CAR is one of CITEM's LGU partner for the event.

The Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) Pavilion at Manila FAME, designed by Imelda Datul and Romulo Tapel II of DekoStyle Product Design Services.

Designer Rey Soliven (right) with Tap's Handmade Products owners Boy and Tessie Policarpio.

Designer Rey Soliven (right) with Tap’s Handmade Products owners Boy and Tessie Policarpio at the OTOP Marketplace.

The One Town, One Product (OTOP), a priority program of the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), showcased handcrafted pieces by skilled Filipino craftsmen whose skills have been passed on through generations of artisans. OTOP manufacturers teamed up with senior designers Viña Domingo-Roy and Rey Soliven, who both mentored Dagñalan and Rastrullo, to produce the latest collection from the regions.

Dong up Lim and Seok Hun Lee of Gracebell from Korea. Their paper products were a hit among the Filipinos. (Photo courtesy of Jas Carandang)

Dong up Lim and Seok Hun Lee of Grace Bell from South Korea. Their paper products were a big hit among the Filipinos. (Photo by Jasfrey Carandang)

Foreign exhibitors of home and fashion from Asia and the Pacific presented their export-quality products such as furniture, home décor, garments, fashion accessories, and scents in the International Hall. Participating countries were Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Taiwan.

Manila FAME is one of the longest-running trade shows in the Asia Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country approved by the Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

The 61st show edition, which promises to be bigger and better than the previous edition, will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on March 13-16, 2015.

Manila FAME: Celebrating Philippine design in style

T'nalak weaving in the Weaves of the Philippines special installation.

T’nalak weaving in the Weaves of the Philippines special installation.

The country’s design community, composed of seasoned artisans, creative entrepreneurs, and emerging design specialists, once again converged at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia Complex to showcase their unique and innovative creations in the recently concluded 59th edition of Manila FAME, the country’s much-awaited design and lifestyle event.

Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Manila FAME is a bi-annual showcase of craftsmanship, design innovation, eco-sustainability, and artisanship, featuring a wide array of certified, export-quality products such as furniture and furnishings, fashion apparel and accessories, holiday decor and gifts — all designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market. It is held every March and October.

A hit among Manila FAME visitors was the Craftspots, set within the Weaves of the Philippines setting, where live demonstrations of traditional weaving gave local and international guests a glimpse into the country’s weaving heritage. The special installations showcased the piña of Aklan, abel of Ilocos Sur, t’nalak of South Cotabato, and the tikog

Tikog mat from Samar.

Tikog mat from Samar.

mat of Samar. Installation artist Patty Eustaquio, interior design duo Vernice Songco and Marga Espiritu, accessories designer Natalya Lagdameo, and interior designer Rossy Yabut-Rojales collaborated with local manufacturers and weaving communities to give the country’s traditional weaves a contemporary spin.

Inside the exhibition hall, the Red Box special setting attracted visitors, where young Filipino design talents displayed their design-savvy products which were carefully developed with local manufacturers and exporters, under the professional guidance of Manila FAME creative director Budji Layug, a leading name in the Philippine design and home industry, who believes that “good design is good business.” While previously focused only on the home design front, this year’s Red Box program has expanded to include designers representing the fashion, holiday décor and gifts, as well as the One Town One Product (OTOP) Marketplace sectors, offering local and international buyers a bevy of well-designed products.

The OTOP Marketplace offers export-quality arts and crafts items handmade by talented craftsmen from the regions. In photo: Tess and Boy Policarpio of Tap's Handmade from Leyte.

The OTOP Marketplace offers export-quality arts and crafts items handmade by talented craftsmen from the regions. In photo: Tess and Boy Policarpio of Tap’s Handmade Products from Leyte.

A joint project of CITEM and the DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade (DTI-BDT), The One Town, One Product (OTOP) Marketplace presented design-forward arts and crafts products from select regions in the country, including the Yolanda-ravaged towns of the provinces of Leyte and Samar. Under this program, locally sourced materials used for these finely crafted items

were water hyacinth, bamboo, burnt wood, coconut, and a variety of natural fibers.

In the fashion scene, eye-catching apparel and fashion accessories made from indigenous materials were featured in Manila Wear, CITEM’s branding initiative that “aims to position the Philippine fashion industry in the tropical wear market segment, and push Philippine design and its unique sensibility that is better than the rest of Asia.” By the looks of it, the Manila Wear designers did a good job in pursuing this ambitious yet doable goal.

Exporters and designers were also recognized during the 59th Manila FAME through one of its show highlights, the Katha Awards, with VIP buyers from abroad and the local diplomatic corps members gracing the awarding ceremony and networking night. The Katha Awards, considered as the most prestigious award in the Philippine design scene, recognizes Philippine product design innovation and excellence. It encourages exporters to raise their design standards for Philippine export products and pursue a skillful exploration of new materials/processes.

The award-winning Bordeaux Chair by Industria Home Vico (Industria for his Bordeaux Chair (Best Product Design for Furniture).

The award-winning Bordeaux Chair by Industria Home (Best Product Design for Furniture).

The Katha Awardees for March 2014 are the following: Ann Pamintuan of The Gilded Expression for her crocheted hand bag with real twig (Best Product Design Award for Fashion); Roberto Borromeo of Navidad Crafts Export Corp. for his bird ornament with capiz wings (Best Product Design Award for Holiday Décor and Gifts); Miguel Aguas of MCAA Industrial Corp. for his Angler lamp (Best Product Design for Houseware and Furnishings); and Jude Tiotuico of Industria Home for his Bordeaux Chair (Best Product Design for Furniture). The Eco-Design Award, a special citation, went to Marivic Licardo of Floreia CVD Ventures, Inc. for her Poi necklace.

“Manila FAME is always about something new. The companies participate twice a year to present their latest product collections. Buyers come to Manila FAME to check out what’s fresh, exciting, and inspiring. But what’s sexy, in Budji’s words, about the 59th Manila FAME is the excitement provoked by the range and expansiveness of design ideas and materials presented,” said CITEM executive director Rosvi Gaetos.

Manila FAME is one of the longest running trade shows in the Asia Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country that has been approved by UFI (Union des Foires Internationales) or the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

This coming October, the people behind Manila FAME are bracing for a bigger and bolder edition of the trade show as it welcomes international exhibitors.