A family-owned establishment, JBM Food Products has always been concerned with the well-being of its staff and the people they work with. Owned and managed by Jose and Lydia Morante, this business served as a link between calamansi producers and consumers, giving residents of Cabatuan and Isabela much-needed jobs and market linkages.

But more than that, this business is an inspiration that proved itself to be a vital part of the community it belonged to.

Healthy History

JBM Food Products is a family-owned and operated business that produces all-natural and healthy calamansi drinks. The business was set up in 2007 when the Morante couple worked together to help and support the families who relied on them at that time.

One of its main products is the Mighty Green 7-in-1 Calamansi Herbal Drink, which quickly became a popular choice among locals in Isabela.

But before it was successful, Lydia and Jose had to listen to what critics had to say. And the fiercest critic that the couple had to face was none other than their daughter.

“You can do better than this,” she said after tasting the product.

It may have seemed harsh, but the couple considered their daughter’s comment encouraging. They used this as a motivation to make premium juice products.

Lydia, who formulated the juice drink, shared how the words of their daughter helped them come up with the best formula to attract more buyers and make their customers come back for more.

Giving Back to the Community

JBM Foods is a strong advocate of giving back, which is why they have committed a fraction of their sales to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and other individuals in need of medical assistance.

Aside from continuing to support local farmers and partnering with government and non-government agencies, the company also opened up opportunities for differently-abled persons.

As dedicated parents, Jose and Lydia have always been inclined to share their blessings and pave opportunities for the differently abled sector — especially because it hits so close to home. They have a child who is likewise differently abled. Realizing how difficult it is for this sector to get access to basic needs or even jobs, the couple was resolute in making a difference.

JBM Foods and DTI’s Sweet Partnership

The Morantes couple has been working with DTI for a long time. The business joined many of the agency’s programs, and in return, the company gave back through DTI’s mentoring and outreach projects.

JBM was part of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Next Gen Product Development Program and the OTOPreneurs Design program, which helped improve their product design and the product itself.

In 2017, the Department of Trade and Industry invited Jose to become a mentor in KMME or Kapatid Mentor ME Program. Through this program, he shared his business knowledge and experience with starting entrepreneurs.

As a way of giving back, the Morantes couple also contributed to the DTI-Isabela’s I-CARE project, where the company donated cash and several boxes of their calamansi drinks to more than 400 families in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.

In 2020, JBM Foods were able to secure a loan from the DTI through the P3 Loan (Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso). The PhP 250,000 loan they secured was used to further improve the products and expand the business.

The company is considered one of the most active MSMEs in Region 2. In fact, it is a regular participant in provincial, regional, and national Trade Fairs conducted by the DTI, including the OTOP Virtual National Expo, the Hybrid National Food Fair 2021, and the National Food Fair (NFF) Digital Mall.

Still pursuing its goal of becoming a premium juice manufacturer, JBM Food Products enrolled for Halal Certification in March 2020. By June 2020, Mighty Green 7-in-1 Calamansi Herbal Juice Drink was declared Halal Certified.

“Always continue. Sometimes, you may feel hopeless, and things may not always go the way [you] planned, but you need to continue. At the right time, you’ll eventually reap what your heart desires and will be on the right track.”

No Pandemic Can Dampen JBM’s Progress

The COVID-19 pandemic spread like wildfire. The implementation of the nationwide quarantine put a damper on the progress of every business, one of which was JBM Food Products.

But the Morantes couple did not lose hope. The pandemic may have negatively impacted businesses, but JBM Food Products continued to provide premium products across the regions. With the increasing risks to health, people turned to healthy options like the Mighty Green 7-in-1 Calamansi Herbal Drink to boost their immunity.

With the growth in sales, JBM Food Products had to recruit 14 additional employees. They chose to hire students and laborers who were severely affected by the lockdowns. The couple worked tirelessly and doubled their effort to continue their business operations during the pandemic to improve productivity and meet the growing market.

Ultimately, the demand became so high that they had to release 300 to 500 boxes of their famed calamansi juice drink on a daily basis.

Yet the company didn’t hesitate to help out during the crisis. They donated cash to DTI Isabela’s I-CARE Project to help fund the purchase of equipment for healthcare facilities in Isabela and other provinces. They also distributed calamansi juice products to frontliners in Isabela who were working tirelessly to keep the community safe.

Moving Forward

Despite the pandemic, Jose and Lydia Morante of JBM Food Products continued to provide quality products across the region. Their company’s flagship calamansi juice product is consistently patronized by locals all throughout the entire Cagayan Valley.

The Morantes couple kept pushing on to provide a premium product. “Always continue,” says Jose. “There will be times that you may feel hopeless, and things may not always go the way as planned, but you need to continue. At the right time, you’ll eventually reap what your heart desires and will be on the right track.”

The Morantes couple’s resilience is an inspiration to other Isabelinos who are struggling during the pandemic. They are living proof that anything is possible with hard work and determination. ♦