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Bukidnon’s Cakeboom and Party Flavors is the DOST-10’s Best Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) at the regional level, after earlier being cited as Bukidnon’s best at the provincial level.

Owned by Richard and Golda Lim of Malaybalay City, they couple left their employment to start selling Filipino delicacies and cakes to sidewalk vendors. In 2008, their Piñasita pastry with pineapple filling was adjudged Malaybalay City Best Delicacy. This was followed a year later by Piñakasi, another pastry with pineapple, malunggay and squash.

As demand for their healthy products grew, the couple sought DOST intervention in 2012 through the upgrading of their production equipment such as cooker mixers and continuous band sealer for packaging. Food safety handling protocol training was also undertaken for the firm’s employees.

Prior to SETUP, Cakeboom mainly used manually operated non-food grade equipment. SETUP’s S & T interventions allowed Cakeboom to produce quality, competitive, affordable and healthy “pineapple-based pasalubong” food products. It has increased sales by 85%, productivity by 52%, and its outlets in Malaybalay from one to three.

“We are very thankful for the assistance shared by DOST through the Provincial S&T Center (PSTC) in Bukidnon. We become very efficient in producing quality products with our very own product which is pineapple,” said Ms. Golda Mae Lim, owner and manager of Cakeboom.

Best SETUP Adoptors are selected based on the following criteria:1) Technology, Process and Innovation Assimilation; 2) Product and Process outcome; 3) Financial Outcome; and, 4) Entrepreneurial Acumen and Management.

The selection process was initially conducted at the provincial level and from which winners from each province qualified for the regional level. Cakeboom will next compete at the National Level where regional winners from Region 10 have finished in the Top 5 in the last two years.

Also competing for regional honors with Cakeboom was Lanao del Norte’s Best SETUP Adoptor Manga Miyamaratiyaya Ki Isa, Inc. (MMKI) church-led foundation that has been providing livelihood for Maranao, Bisaya and Higaonon farmers of Digkilaan, Iligan City by processing tea from locally available herbs such as malunggay, lagundi (five-leaf chaste tree), tanglad (lemongrass), and ampalaya (bitter gourd) under the brand “Perfectly Natural Herbs”

MMKI's herbal teas and capsules are made without the use of inorganic chemicals and additives to ensure quality food supplements. During IFEX Philippines, Romy Ramos of Milagrosa Foods and Grains Company Ltd, distributor of Filipino food and products in the UK placed big orders for MMKI, and was particularly interested on MMKI's organically grown herbs.

"The growing demand for herbal teas in the market gave us an idea on sustainable funding we can create for our foundation. We started using herbal teas for our patients and we saw great results so we start making more and selling them. And, ever since, we do not use inorganic chemicals and additives when making herbal teas and capsules," said Thomas O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer of MMKI. “The malunggay, lagundi, tanglad, and ampalaya are good to use because they have a long shelf life, can be grown organically, and are easy and light to transport.”

Recently, MMKI got their certification from the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) in time for the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines. “We are the only one in the Philippine market that is certified organic. The Department of Health also recognizes our products for providing relief from specific illnesses. Our teas are a blend of herbs. Each has malunggay for vitamins, plus lemon grass for taste, but have enough of the primary herb to cure patients,” added O’Brien.

To date, MMKI has penetrated the international market and currently exporting their tea products to countries such as United States and Japan.

Also recognized during the same awarding program was the Local Government Unit of Malayabalay City for two best Grants-In-Aid Program: Essential Oil Production in Mt. Kitanglad Range National Park, and Establishment of 1-ton Bioreactor & Plastics Densifier: A Solid Waste Management Strategy of LGU Malaybalay City.

DOST’s Grants-In-Aid Program provides financial grants to S&T programs/projects to spur and attain economic growth and development by harnessing the country's scientific and technological capabilities.

Since its inception in 2000, DOST Region 10 have assisted 169 MSMEs, with a total project cost of P 161 M. Every year, an increasing number of enterprises adopt new technologies and equipment under the SETUP program.

SETUP is DOST’s nationwide strategy encouraging and assisting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations and increase their productivity and competitiveness.

SETUP is DOST’s response to the public’s demand for improved access to technologies and breakthroughs developed by the different facilities of DOST. The program focuses assistance on the following priority sectors: food processing, furniture, gifts//decors/handicrafts, agriculture/marine/aquaculture/forestry/livestock, metals and engineering, ICT, health and wellness products and services, halal products and services, and other regional priority products.

The technology intervention enables MSMEs to address their technical problems and improve productivity and efficiency through infusion of upgraded technologies to improve products/services and/or operations, human resource training, technical assistance and consultancy services, design of functional packages and labels, assistance in the establishment of product standards including testing, and database management system. (With inputs from Tess Superioridad-Baluyos, Ritchie Mae Guno, and Denise Melendres (CITEM)