TUPI, South Cotabato (MindaNews / 14 Aug) – A truly natural healthy food products that are world-class in quality.
Resting at the foot of the towering Mt. Matutum, South Cotabato’s landmark peak, a family-owned company has carved a niche in the Philippine food industry with their processed fruit product lines steadily flooding the commercial market for about two decades now.
Name the common fruits ever grown in the entire Philippines and they will likely be found in the 65-hectare plantation of Kablon Farm Foods Corp., a firm owned by the Pantua family.
Kablon Farm boasts of fruits like mangosteen, lanzones, different varieties of banana, passion fruit, guava, rambutan, avocado, langka (jack fruit), santol and durian.
Thousands of cacao, coconut and black pepper trees also dot the rustic farm now existing for about four decades. The farm is now being managed by the family’s second generation.
“Our all-natural product lines have become well accepted by the market and they are now novelty souvenir or pasalubong items from South Cotabato,” general manager Ernesto Pantua Jr. said.
“These are products proudly made in Mindanao that are world-class both in quality and appearance,” he added, noting they invested much in the packaging of their products.
From its lone pasalubong depot in the town of Tupi, where the company is based, it expanded its display center to the cities of Koronadal and General Santos to bring the products closer to the public.
Kablon Farm’s processed products include tablea, fruit jellies, jams and juices flavored with either guava, papaya, durian, coconut, mangosteen, pineapple, passion fruit, guyabano or their combination.
They are also producing plain or spiced vinegar locally called “sinamakan,” virgin coconut oil and chocolates.
Pantua, the third of six siblings, said their processed fruit products can be bought at major malls in the key cities of the country like Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.
Currently, the company is exporting to Hong Kong cocosugar-based jams and tableas, Pantua said, adding that they are also hoping to export their products to ASEAN with the looming integration of the economies of member states in 2015.
Prices of Kablon Farm’s processed fruit products in the local market range from P59 to P130.
Pantua said they began commercial production in the mid 1990s.
Because of the market’s patronage, the community is also now benefitting from the family-owned business venture.
Kablon Farm has been buying fruits from other growers because the company’s farm could no longer supply the raw materials for their products, Pantua said.
The company employs 75 people, he added.
From our home to yours
Eunice Marie Prudente, of the third generation, said that before the products are released to the market, they have to pass the family’s taste first.
“Every new product concoction is always subjected to a family taste test. Comments as well as suggestions for modifications are given and taken note of in the typical regular banter of a close-knit family,” she wrote in the company’s product briefer.
“Everything about our products must bear a stamp of approval from our family. We strive for no less when it comes to our consumers’ satisfaction. Being healthy, after all, need not be a luxury. It is how food is intended to be. This is how our family makes it,” she added.
The family credited the successful business to their patriarch, the late Engr. Ernesto Pantua Sr., who started it all with a dream to own a parcel of land where he can start a farm.
The elder Pantua started cultivating the farm in the 1970s by planting it with corn and abaca crops. But realizing the need for a long-range profitable farm, he decided to also grow fruit bearing trees.
It was the seed that fueled the family enterprise into success.
Kablon Farm is also a major supplier of black and white pepper in the different markets in Region 12 and other regions.
“We’re into intercropping to maximize the use of our farm,” the younger Pantua said.
Kablon Farm, which is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a member of the Advocate of Philippine Fair Trade, Inc. and Philippine Exporters Federation, Inc.
So when you are in South Cotabato looking for pasalubong (take home) items, visit their display depots and, according to their store’s slogan, “bring home the best.”