Bicol Region, Philippines

Orgullo Kan Bikol means "Pride of Bicol".

Welcome to OK Bikol, for a glimpse of "Our Heritage, Our Pride".


OKB-Gayon Bicol 2017

Orgullo Kan Bikol (OKB)-Gayon Bicol – Regional Trade & Travel Fair 2017
October 5-8, 2017 at the Megatrade Hall 2, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

OKB-Gayon Bicol 2017

Bicol Region’s Trade & Travel Fair 2017 Features OTOP and HALAL Products

Now on its 21st year, OKB-Gayon Bicol has gone beyond an annual marketing event for Bicol Region’s fine products and tourism potentials. It has become a central platform to showcase the region’s heritage, to demonstrate Bicolano resilience and to uphold our pride. Once again, we bring to fore Bicol’s socio-economic potentials, trade/industry and tourism opportunities for valued partners, stakeholders, concerned individuals, institutions and the general public.

OKB-Gayon Bicol, through the years, has provided opportunities for our homegrown entrepreneurs to develop, find new markets and become more competitive. Organized by the OK Bikol Association, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 5 and the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 5, this annual marketing and cultural event is the longest running DTI-organized regional trade fair in the Philippines. The OKB-Gayon Bicol features Bicol’s best products made from finest handcrafted materials plus our prime food delicacies. It will bring the Bicolano entrepreneurs’ distinctive skills in weaving, innovating, and producing new products and designs to the world.

OKB-Gayon Bicol 2017 event offers wearables and homestyle products, processed foods, ceramics, furniture/ furnishing, fine jewelry, and other products that will surely delight buyers.

Joining this year’s fair are 141 MSME exhibitors from all over the region.  Twenty-six (40) from Albay, 15 from Camarines Norte, 22 from Camarines Sur, 25 from Catanduanes, 11 from Masbate and 28 from Sorsogon.   It will feature 32 new entrepreneurs, who will now be given full marketing assistance by the DTI via this trade fair. It will also feature 255 new products resulting from DTI-Region 5’s product development activities prior to the event.

As in the past, this marketing event is a convergence activity of OKB Association, Inc. in partnership with DTI-Region 5, DOT-Region 5, Air 21 and Bicol Harvest/Bicol Artist.

By way of this annual event, DTI enjoins domestic and foreign buyers to take a closer look and become more aware of what these 141 entrepreneurs produce.  The organizers endeavour to provide MSMEs better avenues to promote their fine products, and encourage them to explore the global market.

Madya kita sa OKB-Gayon Bicol 2017!


OKB-Gayon Bicol 2016 on October 6-9, 2016 at SM Megamall


Madya kita sa OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade and Travel Fair 2016!

Orgullo Kan Bicol (OKB)-Gayon Bicol, now on its 20th year happens again at Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City on October 6-9, 2016. This annual marketing and tourism event takes pride once more of homegrown Bicol entrepreneurs with the theme: “Moving MSMEs thru Innovation”.

OKB-Gayon Bicol 2016 brings to fore the distinct products of selected MSMEs under the Bicol Region’s priority industry clusters, Wearables and Homestyle (W&H); Processed Food; Agri-business/ Coco-Coir and Bamboo that highlights our trade-tourism capacities under one venue. It brings opportunity to enhance marketing and widen public perception on the potentials of the 6 Bicol provinces as it showcases Bicolandia’s competitive edge.

See you at the event…

OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade & Travel Fair 2015 Opens on October 8, 2015 @ SM Megamall


The OK Bikol Association, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 5 and the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 5 will be presenting the Orgullo Kan Bikol (OKB)-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade & Travel Fair on October 8-11, 2015 at Megatrade Hall 2, 5th Level, Bldg. B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Again, we open the door of opportunity for our exhibitors as we present this annual event in pursuit of fresh market for them. We remain committed to provide our entrepreneurs better avenues to promote their products; hence, we endeavor to sustain OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade & Travel Fair.

We invite you to come during the Opening Program on October 8, 2015 at 10:30 AM, or visit anytime during store hours from October 9-11, 2015 at Megatrade Hall 2, 5th Level Bldg. B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

See you there.

-OK Bicol Association, Inc.
-Department of Trade & Industry-Region 5
-Department of Tourism-Region 5

OKB @ 18

flyer front 6

We take pride in bringing to you OKB 2014.

Orgullo Kan Bikol-18th edition brings forth the best of our handcrafted products distinctly hewn by skilled artisans under our National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement (NICCEP) program. We showcase our splendid food specialties, finely processed by our local entrepreneurs under our Food Business Development (BIZDEV) program. The best product development outputs of these programs will be showcased under special settings: “Galleria Artisana” and “Pili Possibilities”. We will also launch the Bikol Pili G.I. during this trade fair.

This annual marketing event offers wearables and homestyle products, processed foods, ceramics/ pottery, furniture, fine jewelry, and other Bicol products that will surely delight you.

We invite you to visit OKB Regional Trade Fair during mall hours from October 2-5, 2014 at Megatrade Hall 2, 5th Level Bldg. B., SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

OKB-Regional Trade Fair 2013 Sales Up by 37%


October 17, 2013

DTI Bicol – Exhibitors in the recently concluded 17th OKB-Regional Trade Fair 2013 brought in PhP29.4M sales, 37 percent higher than last year’s PhP18.6M.

A joint project with the OKB Association, Inc., PhilExport, Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP), DTI-CARP and the Local Government Units (LGUs), the OKB fair has become institutionalized through the years.

The high sales was attributed to a display of wider product lines from wearables and homestyle, processed foods, ceramics and pottery, furniture and fine jewelry, with 129 new products that delighted the buyers. Bicolano products have really evolved and have become world-class.

To add fun and excitement to the OKB 2013 fair, organizers gave special awards.

Best Dressed Booth went to J. Emmanuel Pastries (food), Joy Gems (non-food); while DTI-CARP Camarines Sur was the top seller. They will be freed from the participation fee of PhP10, 000.00 for next year’s OKB.

The top three sellers were DTI-CARP Camarines Sur, DTI-CARP Albay and Morin Crafts, which came from the sectors on processed foods and homestyle.



Catanduanes BoothThe House of Pili, by J. Emmanuel Pastries is the Best Dressed Booth (food sector)DSC09088program4

OKB Regional Trade Fair 2013

OKB 2013 Poster

Orgullo Kan Bikol (OKB) – Regional Trade Fair 2013
will be held on October 10-13, 2013 at the SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Now on its 17th year, OKB Regional Trade Fair has gone beyond an annual marketing event for Bicol Region’s fine products and distinct food delicacies. It has become a central platform to showcase the region’s heritage, to demonstrate Bicolano resilience and to uphold our pride. Once again, we bring to fore Bicol’s socio-economic potentials, trade/industry and tourism opportunities for valued partners, stakeholders, concerned individuals, institutions and the general public.

Madya kita sa OKB 2013.

OKB-Gayon Bicol at Daragang Magayon Festival, April 1-6, Albay Province

OKB-Gayon Bicol sa Magayon Festival

OKB- Gayon Bicol joins Daragang Magayon Festival 2013 in the Province of Albay We bring  the finest of our region’s heritage as we continue to promote not only our distinct products, but the region’s socio-economic,  trade/industry and tourism  opportunities on April 1-6, 2013 at The Oriental Hotel Lobby,  Legazpi City.   

The event is one of the highlights of Daragang Magayon Festival, a month-long celebration held in Albay annually in April.  It is a collaboration of four (4) institutions: The Provincial Government of Albay (PGA), under Gov. Joey S. Salceda; the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 5, under RD Joy L.B. Blanco; the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 5, under RD Nini O. Ravanilla; and the Oriental Hotel in Legazpi City.

This project will  showcase what our region has to offer.  Guests and participants can partake of various Bicol handicrafts, processed food, tourist destinations and entertainment that will surely delight everyone.

Everyone is enjoined  to  take  advantage  of  this  first  OKB – Gayon Bicol at Daragang Magayon Festival as we endeavor to market our Bicol  products and tourist spots.  This activity is a mini-version of OKB-Gayon Bicol marketing and cultural event held every year at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.  (This year, said event at Megamall is scheduled on October 10-13, 2013.)

We look forward to the OKB-Gayon Bicol sa Daragang Magayon Festival 2013.

See you there!


(052) 480-5719 DTI and (052) 482-0712 DOT

Bicol Pili Nut @ Winter Fancy Food Show, USA, January 20-22, 2013

Booth Concept/Design

Bicol Region’s Pili Nut, one of the finest gifts of the Philippine tropics to the world, found its place at the most prestigious specialty food show in the USA. Five (5) companies producing pili nut snack food variants participated at the Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, last January 20-22, 2013. The WFFS 2013 broke records as the biggest specialty food promotional event with 1,300 exhibitors and and some 20,000 visitors from various countries.

Rising in market popularity, and offered by no other country in the world, our pili nut packs a punch in terms of taste, texture, versatility and nutritional value. Scientific studies conducted by the country’s institutions dedicated to pili (canarium ovatum) research have confirmed the nut’s impressive nutritional content – high in potassium, phosphorus and calcium.

Since then, the pili nut has rightfully been positioned as a premium nut, with its various snack product variants, like crispy, salted and roasted, among others under the regional brand: Chosen Pili. The pili nut snack products as specialty food are promoted as non-GMO,  naturally-grown, gluten-free, zero-grams trans fat, 100% natural, and no artificial ingredients used.

Judging from the very significant leads generated by our pili nut producers at Booth 2831 at the International Section of the specialty food show, our flagship commodity is now on its way to conquer niche markets in America and Canada.

Distributors, importers, food service establishments, special food retailers/ e-tailers, brokers and other exhibitors who came to the show found more surprises that only our pili nut can dish out.

After participating at the show, our pili nut producers anticipate that the expanding markets abroad will benefit the pili industry sector and redound to more socio-economic benefits for Bicol Region.

(Note: Participation at the WFFS is one of the components of the Pili Nut Trade and Business Mission to USA last January 17-27, 2013. The other components are: attendance to the Sustainable Foods Summit, Business Meetings with importers/ distributors, Pili Nut Forum at the Consulate, Factory and Merchandise Visits to selected mainstream outlets [Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Draeger’s]. The 10-day Mission was designed to sustain interaction and generate business deals with identified and potential US trade partners in mainstream and ethnic retail /institutional markets and pursue strategic networking with global and/or US players in food sustainability for DTI-Region 5’s continuing advocacy for its flagship commodity, the pili nut.)

Booth Concept/Design

The Pili Nut Trade & Business Mission to USA 2013 is a public-private partnership geared to sustain the primary goal of export business optimization for the Philippine pili nut as a premium nut, particularly in the US market. This initiative is a component of DTI-Region 5’s Food Business Development (BIZDEV) Program started in 2007 to position the Pili Nut in the US Market as a premium nut product.
Participation at the WFFS 2013 is a strategic collaboration between the OK Bikol Assn. (Pili Nut Group), DTI-Region 5 and the Philippine Trade & Investment Center (PTIC) in San Francisco, USA.

The Exhibitors

Exhibitors: Rosemarie Battung (Albay Pili Nut), Ryan Detera (Tia Berning Candies & Handicraft) and Lydia Lomibao (J. Emmanuel Pastries) are major players in DTI-Region 5’s Food Business Development (BIZDEV) Program since 2007.

Business Meeting

Rosalie (PTIC-SV), RD Joy (DTI-5) Rose (consultant) discuss business with Greg (importer/distributor for USA/Canada)

Potential Buyers at Pili Nut Booth

Potential buyers try the Bicol Pili Nut thru the product tasting and sampling at Booth 2831.

The Bicol Delegation during the opening of the Winter Fancy Food Show in Moscone Center, San Francisco.

The Bicol Delegation during the opening of the Winter Fancy Food Show in Moscone Center, San Francisco.

Bicol Delegation at Booth 2831

The Bicol Delegation at Booth 2831 with Rosalie & Mylene (PTIC-SV).

The Mission Participants at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco.

The Mission Participants at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco.

Deputy Consul General Jaymon, RD Blanco and Trade Commissioner Ignacio award Certificate to Winner Joy Sanchez of the Pili Kulinarya Contest .

Deputy Consul General Jaymon Ascalon, RD Joy Blanco and Trade Commissioner Mike Ignacio award Certificate to Winner Joy Sanchez of the Pili Nut Cook-off Contest.

Stakeholders on pili nut development pose for photos.

Stakeholders on pili nut development pose for photos after the Pili Nut Forum held at the Philippine Consulate.

Benchmarking/ visit to Blue Diamond (almond) Growers in Sacramento, CA

Benchmarking/ visit to Blue Diamond (almond) Growers in Sacramento, CA

Merchandise Visit to Selected Mainstream Outlets

Merchandise Visits to Selected Mainstream Outlets

Press Release_Asian Journal

Press Release_Asian Journal

Newspaper Article re Chosen Pili

Newspaper Article re Chosen Pili

More Press Releases

More Press Releases

For more details on the pili nut, please click these links: The Pili Nut Story and

“Meet the Pili” on You Tube (produced by Living Asia Channel for DTI-Region 5).

Chosen Pili Masthead

Links to the Exhibitors (Participating Companies):

1. J. Emmanuel Pastries

2. Tia Berning’s Pili Candies and Handicraft

3. Albay Pilinut

4. C.O.P. Pili Sweets and Pastries

5. The R.A.I.N.S. Handicraft & Delicacies

Chosen Pili Masthead

Contact in USA:

Silicon Valley Main Office:
4800 Great America Parkway, Suite 237
Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
Tel: (408) 980-9637/(415) 773-2336
Fax: (408) 980-9813

San Francisco Office:
Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco
447 Sutter Street, Suite 405
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 520-7247
Fax: (415) 773-1813


Contact in the Philippines:
Department of Trade and Industry-Region 5
3F Albay Capitol Annex, Legazpi City 4500
Albay, Philippines
Tel/Fax: (+6352) 480-5719


Blogs: Tradewinds Bicol, OK Bikol

Featured SME: Nitz Furniture & Piano Center

Nitz Furniture

07 December 2012

Nitz Furniture & Piano Center tops OKB 2012 sales—a hall of famer for Most Innovative Product Award

DTI Bicol – A three -piece eco-furniture dining set made of scrap plyboard  wins the nod of judges as the Most Innovative Product Award during the Market Week Philippines last Sept. 19-23 at SM Megamall.  This made Nitz Furniture & Piano Center a hall of famer for the said award in an annual national trade fair.  The company was also awarded as the Best Dressed Booth during the same event.

A DTI-Camarines Sur assisted enterprise, Nitz Furniture and Piano Center started  in 1995 after Engr. & Mrs. Nestor Flores inherited the business from their respective parents who, at  that time, were  competitors. The company is a home-grown entrepreneur that is famous for its cosmopolitan, space-saving, and multi-functional furniture pieces fit for modern homes.

Fresh from its victory during the Market Week, Nits Furniture & Piano Center also topped the sales for this year’s OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade Fair.

It has been DTI’s client for more than a decade now and a recipient of the agency’s entrepreneurial and skills training like marketing and product development.  It has also been granted loan by Small Business corporation (SB Corp.), DTI’s financing arm for micro, small, and medium enterprises. (MSMEs).


OKB-Gayon Bicol 2012 generates P18.7M Sales

11 October 2012

OKB-Gayon Bicol 2012 generates P18.7M

The OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade Fair has tallied P18.7M sales this year, or a 10% increase over P17.015M recorded in 2011.

Of the 98 Bicolano entrepreneurs who participated, 21 or 20% of which are new.   These micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sold their wares ranging from food, giftware & holiday décor, home furnishings, marine products, organic & natural products and wearables.  Home furnishings garnered the highest sales with P6.96M or 37% of the total sales.

“For this year, we highlight the evolution of Bayong in the special setting and in the daily fashion shows featuring bayong pamalengke, bayong pang eskwela, bayong pang opisina and bayong pang fashionista.  The induction of the newly elected officers of the OKB Association, Inc. also took place during the opening ceremony with Atty Leni Robredo as the inducting officer.  Another highlight for this year’s fair was the OKB Café, which offers Bicol delicacies.   We want the Bicol micro entrepreneurs to take center stage as they showcase the best homegrown products in the mainstream market”, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Bicol Regional Director Jocelyn L.B. Blanco said.

Among the six provinces, Camarines Sur had the highest sales earned with P6.8M;  followed by Albay with P4.1M; Catanduanes with 2.9M; Sorsogon & Camarines Norte with P2.2M each; and Masbate with P.524M.

The OKB-Gayon Bicol RTF 2012, which was held from October 4-7, at SM Megamall had provided opportunities for our 98 homegrown entrepreneurs and had developed and found new markets for their products.


OKB-Gayon Bicol features Products from 6 Bicol Provinces, plus more…
Bayong Special Setting
Bayong Fashion Show
“Bayong is in. Gamitin ang Bayong!”
Fashion Show by PWDs to Promote Abaca (c/o Mrs. Med Villanueva, PhilExport-Bicol President)
Mayor Krisel Lagman/ LGU Tabaco Abaca Fashion Show
Special Setting by RuMEPP
Induction of New OKB Officers by Atty Leni Robredo, with Ms. Shieralyn Escarro, President
OKB Cafe (Balay Cena Una)
Himig Kapitolyo courtesy of Gov. Raul Lee, Sorsogon
Daily, Live Musical Extravaganza & Cultural Shows, featuring Bicolano Artists & Movie/TV Personalities (c/o DOT-Region 5)
Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker Atty. Leni Robredo

OB-Gayon Bicol 2012
Regional Trade Fair, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong  City
October 4-7, 2012


·    This year, 2012, is OK Bikol’s 16th year; Our tradition continues, our heritage goes on.

·    OKB-Gayon Bicol is a showcase of public-private partnership; DTI’s Partners and Sponsors are Department of Tourism (DOT-Region V), PHILEXPORT, OK Bikol Association, Inc., RuMEPP, Local Government Units (LGUs), Line Departments and NGOs;

·    OKB-Gayon Bicol has become an annual marketing and cultural event which, through the years has provided opportunities for our homegrown entrepreneurs to develop, find new markets and become more competitive.

·    It has become a showcase of our Pili nut, Bayong, Ethnic Bicolano Food Products and other resource-based commodities and services, including tourist spots and destinations that are truly “Bicol”.

·    This year we have 98 MSME exhibitors [with 21 new (20%)] including DTI-CARP/ RuMEPP; and 2 Institutional exhibitors (DOT-5 and LGU Tabaco, Albay);

·    Sectors Participating    :    Wearables & Homestyle, Processed Food

·    OKB 2012 Highlights    :

Bayong Special Setting
Launching of new product labels (processed food)
OKB Café
Daily Fashion shows featuring Bayong
Daily Live Musical/ Cultural Extravaganza
Induction of New Officers of OKB Assn., Inc.

·    Milestones of OKB, so far:

1996        –    The first ever OK Bikol RTF was held at Harrison Plaza, M.M.

2006         –    OKB started promoting One-Town-One-Product (OTOP)

2007          –    DTI-5 and DOT-5 started an unprecedented partnership dubbed OKB-Gayon Bicol to promote the region’s products and tourist destinations under one venue, SM Megamall (to date, this partnership remains as the only tandem annual event of DTI-DOT held every October at SM Megamall in M.M.)

2010        –    Banner year for RuMEPP and DTI-CARP at OKB as they participated as sponsors;

·    Total Sales as of October 7, 2012    : PhP18.7 Million (highest sales, so far)


OKB-GAYON BICOL 2012: The Heritage continues, our Orgullo lives on.

SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
October 4-7, 2012

“Orgullo Kan Bikol”,  started by DTI-Region 5 in 1996, has since evolved into “OKB” – a fitting name to a project which, through the years, has transformed Bicol MSMEs into direct and indirect exporters, contributing significantly to the region’s socio-economic growth. By 2007, with the infusion of DOT-Region 5’s Gayon Bicol, the event has been institutionalized as OKB-Gayon Bicol.

Now on its 16th year, OKB-Gayon Bicol, the longest running regional trade fair in the entire country, once again takes center stage as it showcases distinct products from the 6 Bicol provinces. These products include wearables & homestyle, processed food, furniture & furnishing and health & wellness. This marketing-cultural event  indeed has gone a long, long way. And every step of the way, it endeavors to promote and market the distinct products of our homegrown entrepreneurs to discerning markets.

OKB is our vehicle to develop new entrepreneurs. Every year, about 20% of the total number of exhibitors are new, first-timers, debuting into the mainstream Manila market via this trade event at SM Megamall. This strategy contributes significantly to job generation in the six (6) Bicol provinces.

Reaping the fruits

OKB-Gayon Bicol is now reaping its fruits.
In terms of sales, some P131.2 million pesos were generated since its inception which in many ways perked up the business transactions in the region. This figure only includes the sales generated during the staging of the fair. It has also contributed much to investments and job generation in the countryside.

For last year alone, OKB-Gayon Bicol earned total sales of P17M, the highest sales so far in the history of OKB. This is considered to be remarkable since sales jumped up by 70% of our target, first time that happened, also in the history of OKB. The effect of this outcome to income and livelihood opportunities in the provinces is very significant

It is worth mentioning that we have developed a world-class packaging of our processed food products which are now more competitive and thus, reached as far as the United States of America for its market. DTI also endeavors to support MSMEs in areas of product development by tapping the services of local designers to assist OKB participants in developing new designs for their handcrafted products.

OKB partners and sponsors

To keep pace with the changing times, DTI Region V had been tapping both the private and public sector as its partners. The fair, being an example of a public-private partnership had the OKB Association for its private sector partner. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September 15, 2006, this association will eventually become the frontrunners of OKB Regional Trade Fair in the next years, although DTI will still be very much around to support this activity.

The officers and members of the organization together with DTI are working synergistically to continually improve Bicol products despite difficult times. The organization is still open to other MSMEs who are willing to be members and avail of the benefits derived from the association.

Since 2007, the Department of Tourism (DOT)-5 has become a partner of the DTI-5; hence, OKB-Gayon Bicol was institutionalized. The DTI-DOT tandem is an ideal combination as it really works, given the very substantial sales generated by the trade fair, which has since evolved; not just a marketing event but a cultural event as well. Tourist destinations and the rich cultural heritage of Bicolandia are highlighted which indeed brings to fore the beauty and bounty of the region. With this tandem, “OKB-back-to-back-with-Gayon Bicol” has drawn a lot of people to the fair and brought in excellent sales.

We also mention the ever undying support of our sponsors, the PhilExport, the Local Government Units (LGUs) other Line Departments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP).

Looking Forward

Much has to be done yet for Bicol to move steadily forward on the road to progress. A continuing partnership of all concerned sectors is much needed. It is heartening to note that our partners in development have taken worthy steps to strengthen the collaboration. As the partnership moves toward more substantial outcomes, we remain optimistic that the gains of our Orgullo will remain to be our pride; the tradition continues as our heritage goes on.

Mabuhay an OKB!

by: Bhem R. Berango
PIO, DTI-Region 5

OK Bikol (What We Make in Bicol)

(OK Bikol; What We Make in Bicol)

we make fine abaca products
beautiful handicrafts
our ceramic jars and houseware
treasures precious and rare

our furniture and furnishing
lighten daily living
christmas and holiday décor
delight you more and more

our baskets, rugs and mats today
top sellers of the day
lasa brooms and cotton handloom
clean, brighten every room

novelties, bags and fashion wear
more than your heart can bear
filigrees of silver and gold
date back to days of old

our pinangat plus our dried fish
taste like no other dish
sweet pineapple, coffee, pili
hot as Bicol sili

these and more, are what we have now
these and more, buyers wow
these delights beckon, ever more
come to Bicol, find more.

(c) 2007 Chito L. Aguilar

* “Pride of Bicol”.  The Bicol Region, Philippines is home to various fine handicrafts and superb, ethnic food. Our entrepreneurs produce distinct products from diverse indigenous raw materials, unique skills and inherent creativity for the domestic and export markets.

Chosen Pili Products and Companies

CHOSEN PILI is a play on words. In Tagalog, which is the inter-island lingua franca of Filipinos, “pili” means “to choose”; if  pronounced faster, with a glottal stop at the end, “pili” would mean “chosen”.

The best pili nut companies from the Philippines’ Bicol Peninsula have all come together under one Regional Brand: CHOSEN PILI, a seal of high quality afforded only to Pili Nut products that meet stringent international food safety and quality standards.

The following companies embody the CHOSEN PILI ideals, offering only the best and choicest Pili Nut product variants, from the Philippines to the world.  They have consolidated their efforts in assuring international product standards, consumer-friendly packaging, and innovative product development. They have gone as far as modernizing Pili Nut product variants to keep up with the cosmopolitan palate’s evolving food preferences, and the world’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Tia Berning Pili Candies and Handicraft

C.O.P Pili Sweets and Pastries

J. Emmanuel Pastries

Albay Pilinut

Llomar Foods Enterprises

More companies within Bicol are being groomed to join the CHOSEN PILI group. Branding and packaging are being developed, and stakeholders are trained to meet international food standards.

Masbate Basket Weavers

The Pili Nut: Crown Jewel of Bicol, Philippines

The Pili Nut

Pili (Canarium ovatum), a fruit-bearing tree endemic to the Philippines especially found in the Bicol Region of Luzon Island, yields a kernel precious to the country’s food sector: the Pili Nut.

The Pili Tree is a low-maintenance crop. It only needs pruning from time to time, requiring minimal fertilizers, or even none at all.

The Pili Fruit, green when young and turns into deep purple or black when ready for harvest, is blanched in hot water for three minutes to easily peel the exocarp and pulp, and expose the hard, bony shell.

The Pili Kernel is the most important part of the Pili Nut. With its testa stripped off, it is a slender, yellowish-white core. Only the purest, spotless kernels are used in producing the traditional Pili Nut recipes even the foreign market has come to love.

The traditional de-shelling of the Pili Nut, a legend in itself, is an experiential attraction within the Pili Nut industry. Experts throughout the Bicol Region practice the centuries-old process of pagtilad (that is, Pili Nut de-shelling using a bolo and a wooden board) with precision, speed and strength unrivaled even by modern-day machines.

The Pili Nut kernel has the flavor of pumpkin seed when raw, and takes on an entirely different identity when roasted. It is soft yet crisp, with an easy crunch that surprisingly melts in your mouth, making it a favorite snack food among Filipinos. The same delighted acceptance is true even in other countries that have already obtained the nut as an imported staple.

The Philippines and Bicol Region: Where Pili Grows Best

The Pili Tree can be spotted in bushes across tropical Asia and other Pacific islands, but the ones grown in the Bicol Peninsula, southeastern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, are acknowledged as the best-tasting. And why ever not; the region is where the best variables for growing Pili converge.

Home to at least five active volcanoes, one of which is the perfect-coned and world-admired Mayon Volcano, Bicol’s land is a fecund mix of volcanic soil and generous rainfall.

That typhoons regularly pass through the region does not even pose a problem to Bicolano Pili growers, as the Pili Tree is known as a “stress tree”, that is, the more it is shaken and beaten by storms, the more it blooms and bears good fruit.

The Philippines is the only country capable of the commercial production and processing of Pili Nut-based food and by-products, with Bicol supplying 80% of the total output volume.

Pili Possibilities

In market reconnaissance surveys conducted especially in the United States, it has been found out that the Crispy Pili, a recipe wherein the nut is coated with a very thin film of sugar glaze, is the most-favored variant.

The clamor for salted-roasted variants and other savory flavors has been addressed, and CHOSEN PILI companies are now rolling out Pili Nut flavors such as Sea Salt, and Chili Garlic, for export.

The kernel and the pulp are excellent sources of oil used for cooking or, when scented, in massage therapy.

The tree’s wood, meanwhile, is carved as furniture or home décor.
And the legendary hard shell, formerly only used as fuel, is now being transformed into fashion and home accessories.

The Pili Nut and its by-products have a steadily growing market in the United States, Middle East, Hongkong and China. The Philippines also exports Pili products to South Korea, Germany, France, and Great Britain.

Currently, efforts are underway to promote and protect the Bicol Pili as a “Geographical Indication”: the Bicol Pili G.I.

Pili Nut Recipes

Pili Pound Cake

Rising in market popularity, and offered by no other country in the world, the Philippine Pili Nut packs a punch in terms of taste, texture, versatility and nutritional value.

Scientific studies conducted by the country’s top institutions dedicated to Pili research, and replicated by studies abroad, have confirmed the nut’s impressive nutritional content (high in thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus). Since then, the Pili Nut has rightfully been geared to become a luxury food item: one of the finest gifts of the Philippine tropics, to the world.

Pili is a versatile gourmet treat lending a distinct flavor and taste to many culinary fare.  A must-try for a true gourmand, this beloved nut is an excellent delight when whipped as recipe for roasted potato and pear salad, angel’s hair pasta with pesto, sauteed beans and even snacks like energy bars and caramel popcorn. It is also a dreamy sensation when concocted into Pili rice, Pili stuffed chicken, fish toppings and more.

Discover the many ways the unique Pili combines into appetizing cuisine to suit everyone’s taste.

Pili Merengue Cookies

Penne with Pili Pomodoro Sauce

Pili Chicken Tartlet

Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Pili

All Pili Nut recipes were developed by Celebrity Chef Ms. Glenda Barretto, known internationally as the “Ambassadress of Philippine Cuisine”.  The pili nut recipe development project was one of the components of DTI-Region 5’s Food Business Development (BIZDEV), 2007-2012.

Wearables & Homestyle: Bicol’s Best in Fashion Bags and Utility Baskets

The Bicol Region is home of the best quality, innovative handcrafted products. Its homestyle and wearables industry is the most prevalent provider of income to many Bicolanos. For these reasons, DTI-5 has enrolled its homestyle and wearables industry, particularly the handcrafted fashion bags and utility baskets, under the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP).

The most dominant raw materials found in the Region for the identified products are abaca, buri, and seagrass (agas). These are abundant in all six Bicol provinces – Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, and Masbate.

The operators include nursery operators; suppliers of equipment, seedlings, fertilizers and finishing materials; farmers; gatherers; strippers; technicians and researchers; weavers; sewers; assemblers; quality controller/inspectors; packers; designers; importers; exporters; consolidators; subcontractors; brokers; freight forwarders; wholesalers; retailers; malls; gift shops; trade houses; and boutiques. On the other hand, the enablers include banks, national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), business chambers, producers’ organization, and the academe. All these stakeholders collaborate to achieve competitiveness in the homestyle and wearables industry.

From 2009 up to 2011, Bicol Region’s bags and baskets generated US$2.87-M export sales, PhP45.30-M domestic sales, P14.71-M investments, and 1,387 jobs. With the NICCEP, these figures are expected to increase by 10% annually.

The industry’s opportunities and constraints were already identified by the NICCEP-Bicol Core Group. To improve these opportunities and overcome the constraints, the Group plotted an action plan for the handcrafted fashion bags and utility baskets, with a total budget of P7,580,000, to be implemented starting this year up to 2015.

Through the NICCEP, it is expected that the industry’s competitiveness will be enhanced, contributing to the Region’s economic growth. Initial efforts are already being done by the NICCEP-Bicol Team through the conduct of meetings with the industry stakeholders and continuous collaboration with all the Team Members. DTI-5 plans to transcend the concept into the provincial level through the creation of Provincial NICCEP Teams, with the Trade Promo Officers as the Provincial Coordinators.

With such commitment to the Project, the NICCEP-Bicol Team envisions “to produce and sell best quality, innovative handcrafted fashion bags and utility baskets using indigenous and environment friendly materials for high-end foreign and domestic markets such as specialty shops, boutiques, and trade houses of the key trading centers in Japan, Europe, USA, and in the country, increasing annual sales, investments, and employment by 10% for the period 2013-2015”.

– Kia Bulawan