Pili Nuts are one of the most famous pasalubongs from the Bicol Region. It is an ethnic food that comes from the fruit of the Pili tree called Canarium ovatum. Pili nuts usually grow in the Region of Bicol. That’s why it is one of the most common livelihoods in the area and can be seen in the market. Tourism contributed to the growth of the Pili Nut business in this area because this is what the tourists buy as a pasalubong.
Fifty-three-year-old Teresa Desin from Legazpi, Bicol used Pili Nuts, a product popular to tourists, as her livelihood. Being a mother of five, Teresa used Pili Nuts as her family’s source of income for their daily needs and expenses.
Inspired by her husband, Desin, Teresa named her business, “Desin Pili Nuts,” known for its unique taste and affordable price compared to its competitors. The business was running smoothly until the COVID-19 pandemic came.
The pandemic caused a lot of changes in tourism and in market transactions. The number of tourists in various places in the Bicol Region has decreased due to the restrictions implemented to avoid the transmission of the virus. Because of this, Teresa’s Pili Nut business suffered greatly as the number of tourists declined. She realized that she needed help to solve her problem.
Fortunately, CARD Bank, a microfinance-oriented rural bank which gives financial assistance to low-income households through its products and services, helped Teresa save her business.
Teresa borrowed money from CARD Bank amounting to PhP15,000 and used it as capital to develop her business and improve her product recipe. With this capital, she made mouthwatering and nutritious Pili Nuts for her customers. Because of her recipe, her sales increased by PhP25,000 during the first year, PhP40,000 during the second year, PhP120,000 during the third year, and currently, her business is earning PhP275,000.
Aside from the financial assistance, CARD Bank helped Teresa with the education of her children who are now fully qualified police officers and teachers. Teresa also had the means to build a new house and buy a tricycle for her husband and son. She also opened a sari-sari store business to add to her sources of income. Because of this, Teresa improved her family’s chances for a better life.
According to Teresa, the recipe for her Pili Nuts is a blessing from God. When she added determination and hard work as recipes to success, she experienced victory in the midst of struggles.