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More money for their honey

Gov’t agencies collab to help Sierra Madre gatherers get the right price for their honey

The Sierra Madre mountain range  stands as the shield of the Cagayan Valley Region against storms. It is  home to a great biodiversity. But beyond this, it plays a vital role in the lives of Cagayanos as it is their source of livelihood among which is the gathering of wild honey. 

Honey is considered a “liquid gold” by the locals in northern Cagayan. It is a highly valued product gathered in the Sierra Madre forests, not only because of its nutritional content but as an alternative medicine for various clinical conditions. 

Even if honey gathering is arduous, some natives, including Aeta families, living in the Sierra Madre mountains gather honey to earn money. However, they often sell a bottle of pure wild honey at a very cheap price. 

With this, the government intervened to help the gatherers command a higher price to compensate for their labor and the risk. 

Manjou’s Pure Honey is one of the successful entrepreneurs in the province. The venture was assisted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and National Economic Development (NEDA).

Gedielyn Paje, the owner of Manjou’s, ventured into wild honey production in collaboration with the local honey gatherers in the northern Cagayan area. 

She serves as the ready market for local honey collectors. She buys wild honey at a price higher than how much they earn if they sell it directly to households. With the government’s intervention, she underwent various trainings on hygienic and quality honey production.

Gedielyn Paje, honey producer in Cagayan, shows off a huge honeycomb gathered in the mountains of Sierra Madre. (Photo courtesy of Gedielyn Paje)

Paje is very thankful for the training as she was able to transfer the knowledge and technology to the local gatherers. The government agencies also served as a strong support pillar to her business as she learned a lot from packaging, market linkage, product innovation, and marketing strategies.

“I train my honey gatherers on the procedures and proper hygiene in collecting honey to ensure clean and quality products. I also educate them about the sterilization of their utensils in gathering the honey,” Gedielyn said. 

The honey products of Gedielyn Paje of Santa Ana, Cagayan. (Photo courtesy of Manjou’s FB page)

To ensure the sustainability of the venture, she also educates the gatherers on how to properly extract honey from the honeycomb. 

“We only get the chamber where the honey liquid is located. We leave the larval chamber to allow the reproduction of more bees. In this way we can sustain the production of honey in a natural way,” she explained. 

Her contribution to developing well-packaged and distinct honey products, and the promotion of sustainable honey production in Cagayan Valley, paved her way to be recognized as a national winner in the 2023 Productivity Olympics Industry under the micro category last year.

Recently, the DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute confirmed that her product passed the authenticity test analysis. 

Another interesting fact about Manjous’ Honey is that the honey the locals gather from the Sierra Madre is considered organic as honeybees source nectar from wildflowers that are abundant in the Sierra Madre forest, especially Narra tree flowers, that add to its distinct delicious taste and medicinal value.

Gedielyn Paje (left) and Michael Paggabao of DTI Region 2 showcase Manjou’s Honey products and other local products in Kadiwa outlets and Padday na Lima Trade Fairs in Region 2. (Photo courtesy of Gedielyn Paje)

Marketing is not a problem for Paje. Aside from her social media accounts, DTI Region 2 has included her products as an exhibit in all their trade fairs. The agency also gets bulk orders from her for tokens to guests as a promotional strategy.

To maximize the potential of honey, she also developed enhanced honey by-products like banana vinegar with honey, dried fruit tea with honey, ginger tea with honey, honeycomb, and others. In a year, about 1,000 pales weighing 25 kilograms each of honey are repacked and distributed to her suppliers nationwide.

With the blessings she is receiving, Paje also extends help to her gatherers. She often gives them rice, groceries, toys, and clothing. She also engages them in vegetable production as an additional source of their food and income, and in tree planting as thanksgiving and celebration of the abundant gifts from the Sierra Madre.  

To her and the gatherers, the Sierra Madre is not only their home, it is also a sanctuary, the source of the precious liquid gold that provides them livelihood. (OTB/GVB/PIA Region 2)

About the Author

Gene Baquiran


Region 2

I am simply amazing.

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