Honoring Lola Emak:
SINAMAK FOOD PROCESSING AND PRODUCTION
The renowned Mt. Canlaon is truly magnificent not just for mountain climbers and hikers. It is also prided for its agricultural production, thanks to the climate and topography of the place. This encouraged 26-year-old Ronald C. Paron to pursue the kind of business venture his foreparents have started.
Continuing the legacy
Paron is a 26-year-old agripreneur from Barangay Masulog, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. He graduated from the La Consolacion College – Bacolod with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Human Resource Management. His enterprise is value-adding, processing spices into coconut vinegar, locally known as sinamak.
Sinamak is a vinegar-based dipping sauce infused with many different spices. It is made from all-natural ingredients—100% natural coconut vinegar and spices—which can only be found in Canlaon City. The demand is high in every part of the Ilonggo province as sinamak has always been a part of their dishes.
Paron’s grandmother, Maxima “Emak” Paron, established the sinamak business with her own recipes when she was just 23 years old. She struggled to put together the perfect spices to make a bottle of success. As their family grew, the business also flourished and became their source of income. The sinamak business helped the siblings finish their studies and improve their standard of living. But due to limited capital, they could not sell sinamak in large volumes. Paron vowed to continue the work of his grandmother; thus, Emak Sinamak was reborn.
The branding of the sinamak came from his grandmother’s name in honor of her dedication and sacrifices to develop and enhance the product’s taste. He also used the famous Mt. Canlaon as the background for the product label of Emak Sinamak.
Carving his own path
Paron’s friend, who works at the DA in Canlaon City, informed him about the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program. The competition gave Paron a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, knowing that his agribusiness will also open the doors for other related businesses like barbecue stands and chicharon making. It opened his creative passion to recreate his grandmother’s signature sinamak during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Planting short-gestating crops in their backyard has been the family’s primary source of living, with the DA-Canlaon providing them with vegetable seeds and agriculture-related training. To sustain his business enterprise, Paron developed a 1.17-hectare land area for the production of spices. He also bought the produce of other farmers, which paved the way for additional livelihood opportunities for local growers of ginger, garlic, langkawas, and chili peppers, as well as the mananguite or coconut vinegar farmers.
Paron gathered all the local coconut vinegar from the mananguite by buying all of their coconut wine for a reasonable price. During the pandemic, he was able to provide them with a considerable income, especially in times when the demand is high. The market demand of Emak Sinamak continues to increase within Canlaon and nearby cities even during the pandemic.
He currently produces 100 bottles of 350 mL sinamak on a daily basis for either Php 100 (without dispenser) or Php 150 (with dispenser). His products can be seen in local grocery stores, vendors, restaurants, coffee shops, government offices, nearby cities, and provinces. They are also brought abroad by friends as pasalubong or take-home. As part of his promotions, Paron’s friend, a local-based radio personality and social media influencer, would often advertise the product throughout the province of Negros.
The sinamak spicy dipping vinegar business enterprise was named Paron’s Food Product, registered under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and is currently awaiting its application status at the Department of Health’s (DOH) Bureau of Food and Drugs.
Hand-in-hand with the government
The DA-Canlaon continues to provide support services to the local farmers through training, seminars, and in-kind interventions. Paron actively participates in its programs and services to enrich his knowledge. In fact, he is an organic agriculture practitioner who maintains and improves the soil fertility of his land by using carbonized rice hulls, which are incomplete or partially burned hulls that can serve as soil fertilizer, conditioner, and source of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other micronutrients that are vital to growing crops. Since Canlaon City is one of the major producers of rice in Negros Oriental, rice hulls are always in abundance.
Paron also attended an electronic commerce skills training conducted by the DTI for the development of his products, particularly packaging and bottling, product labeling, standard operating procedures, and food safety. These improved not only the quality of his products but also their features.
Making his own legacy
As one of the Central Visayas’ Regional Level awardees, Paron shows enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment in every organization that he is involved with. He actively participates in various community development endeavors: Regional Peace Communication Committee Head at the Youth for Peace Philippines, Inc.; Top 10 Most Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Visayas; Visayas Area representative at the National Youth Volunteers Coalition; elected Federated President at the Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (Canlaon Chapter); a peer educator at the Commission on Population Region VII; a manager at the Canlaon City COVID-19 Quarantine Facility Unit Camp; and a Youth Focal for Livelihood Training in Negros Oriental.
This is just the beginning of his success, as he is still in the process of filling each bottle with utmost hard work. With God’s grace and helping hands of the people and the government, Paron looks forward to the day when Emak Sinamak becomes a staple in every food trip. ###