2012 RBAP-MABS Microfinance Conference and Awards Ceremony

Over 200 rural bankers and other participants throughout the Philippines attended the 2012 National Roundtable Conference organized by the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) – Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program. The two-day conference is a gathering of all RBAP-MABS participating banks to share and exchange experiences on microfinance operations, new developments in the field, and marks the Programs’ 15th anniversary. The United States Chargé d’Affaires, Ms. Leslie Bassett, opened the 15th year anniversary of RBAP-MABS and Awards Dinner along with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Monetary Board Member Ignacio Bunye.

The MABS Program, now on its 15th year, was developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with RBAP.  The Program is overseen by the Office of the President through the Mindanao Development Authority.  The Program works with rural banks to develop their capacity to profitably provide financial services – microloans, microdeposits, microinsurance, …

The Healing Touch

With four children to support and without a stable income, it was an everyday struggle to make ends meet for Mr. Danelito Castro and his wife. They were so hard-pressed that they could hardly pay basic monthly bills that amounted to a few hundred pesos (less than US$10). Faced with these circumstances, Mr. Castro set his mind on establishing a small business – one that he could immediately start with minimal capital. The couple decided to manufacture herbal products, since they both had extensive knowledge and background on the medicinal properties of trees. To differentiate their product from the wide range of herbal products already available in the market, they used genuine extracts from 49 kinds of trees with medicinal properties. With an initial capital of PhP 3,000 (US $68), they were able to manufacture and produce the first batch of Millennium Herbal Oil using empty liquor bottles as containers.…

The Right Recipe for Success


Back in 2009, Carina Gonato was a simple housewife who tried to make ends meet by selling consigned chicken lumpia around her neighbourhood. Upon the suggestion of her neighbours and recognizing that she could potentially earn more, she decided to make and sell her own chicken lumpia. It took her three months to perfect the recipe. After numerous taste tests, gathering her neighbors’ feedback, and tweaking the recipe, she finally gave it a go initially selling her lumpia inside the Mactan Export Processing Zone compound. Through word of mouth, her lumpia gained popularity and soon, orders started pouring in. She named her budding business Nateck’s Lumpia House, after her husband.

Initially, she did not have problems with sourcing her chicken supply because she only used up 5 kilos per day. But as her orders increased, she needed to have additional capital to catch up …

Call for Nominations: Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards

Dear Friends and Partners,

Citi Philippines, the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc., and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are conducting the ninth run of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards, a nationwide search for outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs. The awards program aims to elevate awareness of and provide support for microfinance by recognizing outstanding microentrepreneurs.

There are two awards categories: the Masikap Award and the Maunlad Award. The Masikap Award is open to microentrepreneurs who successfully started a business that is now a reliable source of income for the family. The Maunlad Award, on the other hand, is open to microentrepreneurs that have grown a business to a level that is now generating employment for people apart from household or family members.

A national awardee and three island group (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) awardees will be chosen for each category. The respective prizes are as follows: PhP200,000 for …

Spreading her peanut butter’s sweet success

MEET OUR CLIENT: Jennilyn Antonio

Jennilyn Antonio became a MABS client in 2004 when she applied for a micro loan with MABS participating bank Rural Bank of Mabitac (RB Mabitac) in Cabuyao, Laguna. Her first loan of Php 30,000 was used to buy a peanut grinder for her startup business of homemade peanut butter. Later on, her succeeding loans of Php 30,000 (second), Php 50,000 (third to sixth), and Php 100,000 (seventh) were all approved and repaid 100% on time. All her loans were invested in their business, which saw significant results.

By 2004, her product and brand Ehje’s Peanut Butter was established and approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs. In 2005, the business reached gross sales of Php 3.6M and a profit of Php 555,000 (50% of which was reinvested in the business). By 2006, the assets of the business reached a market value of Php 989,000. …

A downpour of blessings from dry goods retailing

MEET OUR CLIENT: Anunciacion Santillan

In 1999, Anunciacion Santillan used a mere folding bed along the sidewalk as display area for the dry goods she sold. Back then, life was not easy – she and her husband worked hard but still earned barely enough for their family. Less than a decade later, she now owns six merchandize stalls in the Bantayan public market in Bantayan Island, Cebu.

The change for the better was not entirely miraculous but was borne of more hard work, perseverance, financial discipline, and a little outside help.

Year 2003 became a crossroad for the Santillans when they discovered First Agri-Industrial Rural Bank (FAIR Bank) branch on Bantayan island. Mrs. Santillan’s first loan, which amounted to Php 20,000, was used to augment her savings to be used as business capital. Access to more funds and capital increased her opportunities to expand and sell more.

Anunciacion Santillan won the National Award under the Maunlad category in the 2008 Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Anunciacion Santillan won

Making the world go round thru caps, food, and music

MEET OUR CLIENT: Estela Lagunzad

What would a mother give to feed her family’s hunger for food, knowledge, and music?

Estela Lagunzad and her family have taken root in Tacloban City, Leyte, very near the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center where her husband used to work as a minimum-waged security guard. Besides personally taking care of the family, she had to man their sari-sari (retail) store and, on the side, had sold Natasha, Tupperware, and Avon products. Mindful of their children’s future, she had to find ways to augment her husband’s low income so they can better provide for their children’s needs.

In 2003, the Rural Bank of Dulag (RB Dulag) opened a branch in Tacloban City. Through the bank’s microfinance services, Mrs. Lagunzad was provided with a Php 15,000 loan (US$300) in January 2004. She used the amount as capital in putting up a home-based eatery catering to hospital …