In a series of meetings spanning from February 28 to March 1, XRoads Philippine Sea Salts, founder Ms. Lennie DiCarlo, from San Diego, California, explored collaborative opportunities in Western Visayas, with assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VI and the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB).

XRoads Philippine Sea Salts is renowned for delivering unique culinary sea salts to the global market, enriching flavors while uplifting small communities in the Philippines, and contributing to the revival of the country’s salt industry. The company is supplying traditionally made salt to major restaurants and hotels in the US packaged in handmade nito boxes.

XRoads Philippine Sea Salts founder Ms. Lennie DiCarlo (in pink), together with DTI Region VI and DTI Iloilo personnel led by PD Ma. Dinda Tamayo, IDD Chief Mary Jade Gonzales and EMB representative Pia Napuli during her visit to the DTI Regional Office VI on 28 February 2024

On February 28, Ms. DiCarlo visited the DTI Region VI office, where discussions revolved around her upcoming engagements with local salt manufacturers in Guimaras and Iloilo.

Emphasizing the potential of the local salt industry for both domestic consumption and exports, Ms. DiCarlo highlighted the significance of DTI’s support in her endeavors. DTI Iloilo Provincial Director Ma. Dinda R. Tamayo and Industry Development Division Chief Mary Jade Gonzales warmly welcomed Ms. DiCarlo and her team, setting the stage for productive partnerships.

Ms. Lennie DiCarlo and team takes a group photo after the meeting with the local “Tultul” salt producers in Guimaras, DTI Guimaras personnel led by OIC-PD Juvy Benliro and representatives of the local government of Jordan, Guimaras on 29 February 2024 at the Jordan Municipal Hall

Continuing their journey on February 29, Ms. DiCarlo and her team, in collaboration with DTI Regional Office VI, DTI Guimaras Provincial Office led by OIC-PD Juvy Benliro and the local government of Jordan, Guimaras, initiated a market linkage between local “Tultul” salt producers in Guimaras and XRoads Philippine Sea Salts. The meeting, aimed at enhancing the production standards of local salt producers and providing market promotion assistance, brought hope to the Tultul salt industry. The team also conducted visits to local handicraft producers of handwoven pandan and nito crafts in Guimaras to engage with various sectors of Filipino craftsmanship.

Lennie DiCarlo meets Ms. Lorlie Noblezada, Miagao’s “Asindera” and founder of De Paul Artisanal Salt Manufacturing together with the team from DTI Region VI led by DTI VI OIC-RD Rachel Nufable and DTI Iloilo led by PD Ma. Dinda Tamayo in Miagao, Iloilo on 01 March 2024

The group also visited the Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative, renowned for its hablon products where discussions ensued about potential collaboration for crafting all-Filipino bayong souvenir bags, symbolizing a fusion of Filipino heritage and modern design.

During her visits, Ms. DiCarlo actively engaged with local artisans, inquiring about their production capacities and pricing structures, aiming for a win-win situation that would satisfy both parties. She sought to understand the needs and aspirations of the local artisans, ensuring that any collaboration would be mutually beneficial.

She also offered valuable advice to further enhance the quality of the products and shared insights and suggestions based on her expertise, aiming to support local artisans in improving their craftsmanship and product standards.

She collected salt samples to undergo testing in the US to ensure they meet food safety standards, with XRoads covering the expenses. She also provided prototypes of nito boxes to be replicated for bulk orders.

Ms. DiCarlo’s vision of incorporating Filipino products into XRoads’ offerings was met with enthusiasm from both local producers and DTI representatives. She expressed her desire to not only sell Filipino products but also share each product’s story and the community it came from. She aims to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines to the global market, adding depth and authenticity to XRoads’ offerings.

Through these engagements facilitated by DTI, XRoads aims to expand its product range and open up market opportunities for local artisans. As XRoads continues its journey of exploration and collaboration, DTI’s support remains crucial in developing important partnerships and stimulating economic growth in the Philippines. ♦

Date of release: 04 March 2024