Elmer’s dream is for their regular customers to reach the age of one hundred or more.
Elmer’s dream is for their regular customers to reach the age of one hundred or more.

Elmer Macalingay, the General Manager of Health 101 Restoreant of Baguio City and Health 100 of La Trinidad, Benguet, is not your typical food chain top guy in a suit. In fact, Macalingay is a down to earth entrepreneur who has been attending entrepreneurship training of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as a participant at first and, later as a lecturer and resource speaker.

Macalingay holds a degree in Education from the University of the Cordilleras. He handled elementary classes and pursued a career as an insurance agent. When the insurance industry hit low in 2008, Macalingay started his dream business, a restaurant for vegetarians and health-conscious people like him. With his hands-on approach in managing his enterprise, Macalingay himself served as the delivery driver and food server, aside from being the team leader of his food crew. His variety of vegetarian and health food has been recognized and patronized by many government offices and availed of their catering services at meetings and conferences.

To improve his entrepreneurship skills, Macalingay attended the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) Pilot Program of DTI-CAR in 2016 where mentor entrepreneurs taught and guided him and his co-mentees across business modules. He applied his learnings to improve his business and tap more customers. He also envisions himself going into franchising to share his vision of serving healthy food at an affordable price.

Noting that healthy food is an important part of a balanced diet, patrons of the twin food chain shared social media posts claiming that the food offerings at Health 100 and 101 are a “must-try” especially for vegans.

Speaking in a DTI-led forum, Macalingay said “We are conscious of our carbon footprint, we use organic materials, and manage time and motion as we engage in e-commerce.” He also highlighted awareness on environmental consciousness and digitalization as important factors of their business.

When many business establishments opted to close due to the lockdowns, Elmer converted his enterprise into a community kitchen that offers healthy food for frontliners. This contribution of Macalingay made him the region’s nominee for DTI’s Zero to Hero Program. DTI’s Zero to Hero program aims to showcase selected micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) from 16 regions who embody what a “heropreneur” is—one who can build their dream enterprises with either little capital and experience.

Lately, Macalingay has embarked on expanding his business to include a farm and agri-tourism venture, the UM-A Farm and Restaurant, that offers organically grown food items from rice, vegetables, free-range chicken, and more. As the proprietor, he envisions his venture as a place where a family and groups of people can celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, seminars, glamping, and even weddings. ♦

Date of Release: 23 July 2021