Sweet and Savory Memories
Do you remember walking around the market or the shops beside school and marvel at all the snacks you could nibble on? They had it all: savory, sweet, spicy, sour, salty; and wherever you went there was always that one snack everyone loves. For Julie, the one that always brought back nostalgic memories were bagoong and mangga.
For three years, Julie has made and sold the Pinoy favorite, to rekindle the childlike excitement of having bagoong, the lingering salty taste in your mouth and the kick of sour from the mango that go so perfectly together that it just tastes like home. The business has been run by Julie’s family, the recipe is a trade secret although it is enjoyed by many. She loves selling their products at city hall or other events that welcome local businesses. They've also employed resellers for areas that are too far from their reach, and for the people who just need a little taste of home, they also decided to ship to OFWs around the world. The sweet and savory combination isn’t just about flavor, but it’s about bringing with them souvenirs of a not-so-distant past and reminiscing the joys of comfort. An OFW’s job isn’t always easy, it is bravery to move miles and countries away just to provide for the family, but through this product, they feel a sense of home, a sense of connection, that no matter how far they are from the pearl of the orient seas, they will always be close.
But the business isn't stopping there. Julie envisions to reach greater heights and to get the permit to take her product to the supermarkets. If everything goes well, we’ll be seeing more of her products on the international market.
Unfortunately, there have been obstacles to be faced. With COVID-19 on the rise, her suppliers are forced to raise their prices, while she struggles to continue. Sometimes as the tides grow rougher, her family members have to juggle their work and the family business, and Julie decides to carry on the work alone. Their sales continue to fluctuate from 5-10 boxes to none at all.
Despite the odds, she continues to provide quality bagoong and mangga for everyone to enjoy, with the knowledge that it serves a greater purpose, that it does not sell only for its taste, but also for the nostalgia that comes with it. Her business serves fanatics of the salty-and-sour, the homesick OFWs who want to indulge in a trip down memory lane, the culture that food represents. The local business with big dreams serves the Filipino people.