When people think about how they are going to spend their weekends, most people visualize rest. However, for the family of Chona Calayo, weekends are meant for baking for profit. 

Moriones Bakers’ Shoppe started its business operations in 1998 when Ms. Calayo, a former bookkeeper of Marinducare Foundation Inc. purchased pieces of machinery and equipment for root crop processing. She wore two hats to maintain her day job while pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams.

Chona Calayo flexes Moriones Bakers’ new and improved labeled and packaged cookies during the MIMAROPA Naturally Agri-Trade and Tourism in 2018.

Marinducare initially tried to establish a root crops processing center to provide an extra source of income for farmers. The project’s major product is cassava flour, however, it did not materialize due to a lack of support. The determination of Ms. Calayo paved way for the opportunity to train a women’s group on baking and cooking using cassava flour.

With the acquired equipment from Marinducare and a gas range owned by her mother, Ms. Calayo started to bake her cassava cookies, which were eventually delivered to Pasalubong stores for consignment. Its packaging then was transparent plastic and a printed label on ordinary bond paper. The improvised packaging materials lasted for three years until she had availed the Department of Science and Technology’s SET-UP financial assistance to upgrade her label and packaging, sealer machine, and an additional 12 planchas oven.  

Carrying their foundation’s philanthropic core values that Ms. Calayo embodies in her, she put up her own Pasalubong Center in 2016 to help other local manufacturers by buying their local produce and selling them. Moriones Bakers’ Shoppe was then renamed Moriones Bakers’ Shoppe and General Merchandise. 

Ms. Calayo joined the first batch of the Kapatid Mentor Me when the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched it in 2017. She also attended other DTI programs and projects such as the One Town One Product (OTOP). With DTI MIMAROPA’s assistance, she was able to acquire the enterprise’s Intellectual Property Trademark, GS1 barcode, improved product label and packaging, and microbiological and nutrition facts analysis among others. She also attended different seminars and training on Standard Sanitation Operating Procedure (SSOP), current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), eCommerce, and SGS Kaagapay sa Negosyo Program which equipped and helped her secure her Food and Drug Administration License to Operate (FDA LTO) in February 2020. 

Following the narratives of other entrepreneurs, Moriones was also affected when the COVID-19 pandemic halted the economy, preventing them from joining the different national trade fairs they were set to join. Ms. Calayo did not see this as the end of the road for the products they have already produced as these were donated to frontline workers for their consumption.

What started as a humble weekend business, Moriones Bakers’ Shoppe and General Merchandise has acquired six employees and continues to provide additional income generation opportunities for cassava farmers in their community. 

“Success is when you know you are not the only one who will succeed,” said Ms. Chona Calayo.

Date of Release: 31 August 2022