Friend of farmers | Manila weather

“… to grow your business, you need to be active; you can’t rely on your employees to do it all. You have to be able to do it yourself. “

Although it only takes a few minutes to cook the rice and prepare it on the table for a hot meal, so much work and effort goes into producing this staple of the Filipino diet.

Chrystel Ilano-Acuña’s family has been in the rice business for decades, the result of the labor of the great matriarch of the clan, Margarita Escueta. “Ma Lola Itay, as we called her, entered the rice mill industry as a teenager while running the rice mill of her parents, the former mayor of Laguna Pedro Escueta and Mamerta Gonzales “, explains Chrystel. “When she got married, she decided to be a rice trader with her husband, paying monthly rental of the warehouse land.”

With hard work and perseverance, she was able to build six rice mills which were passed down to her daughters. “However, she didn’t give them any capital, so they all had to learn how to grow them and start from scratch until they could buy their own trucks and machines,” Chrystel explains. In order to be able to stay up to date and grow, the siblings had to modernize, which enabled them to produce rice more efficiently and cater to different types of customers such as businesses, dealers and LGUs, apart from regular wholesale and retail customers.

“They also had to improve the packaging and support local farmers by helping them with funds to ensure the sustainability of the rice brands,” adds Chrystel. “Then they also planted their own red, black and brown rice to meet the needs of those who preferred healthier options than white rice. “

Brown rice (above) is also offered by Rice Delivery PH, in addition to the usual white rice variety. Chrystel (left) in the company’s warehouse. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

With digital marketing expertise, Chrystel has taken the business to the next level by bringing its products online through Rice Delivery PH, which has a Facebook and Instagram page, as well as a presence on the Lazada and Shoppee sales sites. The older generation is very supportive of her move, she says. “They were open to exploring new ways to reach new audiences and to be able to deliver the articles nationally.”

New generation ideas

Chrystel, a Communication Arts graduate from De La Salle University in Canlubang who also took a crash course at the International Institute of Digital Marketing, has always been enterprising. She recalls, “When I was about six or seven, I made a paper sign and posted it outside our door to sell my stationery. When I was in elementary school I would go to the market and find things that I could sell. to my aunt’s and mother’s friends.

“It was just the environment that I was raised in. I joined my very first mess when I was in college, and I was there, alone holding the booth, while I studied. for my exams the next day, ”she beams. “I always knew I wanted to help our rice business grow, and I was always amazed at how successful it was without any marketing efforts in place. Being in marketing and a salesperson online, I decided to pursue the business and bring the convenience of ordering freshly ground rice online and having it delivered right to your door. “

In addition to fast same-day delivery, it also guarantees the quality of its products. She shares a tip on how to tell if you’re receiving new inventory. She said, “Freshly ground rice should be shiny and slippery to the touch. If the rice is powdery or dusty (‘madarak na’), then it is old stored rice.”

Chrystel, who is also responsible for marketing communications and digital marketing at Chroma Hospitality, adds: “In the hospitality industry, customer service is always our priority, providing the best service, the best experience and the best product to our customers. . I’ve been able to apply this to my own clients in terms of ensuring fast deliveries, quick chat response, and delivering only the best freshly ground rice. Because of this, during the short span of my online business, I was able to get repeat orders. “

She takes inspiration from her grandmother’s work ethic. She remembers her Lola Itay, who died in 2009, saying: “Even in her old age, she helped the boys to spread out the (unground) palay grains to dry in the sun and to sew the bags which contained palay, bran. , and milled rice, because there was no automatic sack sewer in its day.

“Through his hard work, I’ve learned that to be able to grow your business you have to be active; you can’t rely on your employees to do it all. You have to learn the ins and outs of the business and be able to do it on your own. “

The dedication of farmers

Although she juggles the online rice business and her hotel job with family duties that include raising three children with her husband Jacques, Chrystel is happy to be of service to consumers and farmers. “I’ve had clients from all over the country, and it’s nice to suddenly see familiar names, which control and support the business. When I see the name of a former colleague or an acquaintance, I adds a little note to say thank you for supporting our local farmers.

The late Lola Itay Escueta de Chrystel (center in red) with her daughters-entrepreneurs Elizabeth Ilano, Honor Atienza, Myrna Realista, Irene De Leon, Erly Abalos and Susie Salandanan.  (Not in phoyo is Marissa Alinsod).  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The late Lola Itay Escueta de Chrystel (center in red) with her daughters-entrepreneurs Elizabeth Ilano, Honor Atienza, Myrna Realista, Irene De Leon, Erly Abalos and Susie Salandanan. (Not in phoyo is Marissa Alinsod). CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“They are very simple and hard-working people, who would travel far just to bring their harvest and sell it to the rice fields. I have always been impressed with their dedication to planting and harvesting palay. I just hope the next generation carries on. and continues its legacy.We need more farmers, we need more fields and we will always need and eat rice.

When the pandemic hit, the challenge was to ensure fast deliveries even under strict containment, which it was able to mitigate with the help of reliable logistics partners. Before the pandemic, the challenge was mainly about local procurement. “Our farmers’ rice fields have been hit by sudden typhoons. Imported rice also had lower prices than our own locally harvested rice.

His plea is to help the local agricultural industry, which is being battered by imports. “It has affected the local farmers a lot in terms of the low prices, but we continue to support them because it also means supporting their livelihoods, their families, their children and even the next generation. This is what everyone should understand.

Chrystel vows to carry on her family’s legacy. “I still have so many years to gain the same experience and the same stability as our company. I still have a lot to learn in terms of business, but one thing they always remind me to remember is to practice honesty and integrity.

“For many years our family has been known to provide the best quality rice and the most trusted millers. I hope to have the same reputation one day.

About me

Model

I have a lot of role models in my life when it comes to business and relationships. I admire how my mother Elizabeth and her six sisters Tita Irene, Tita Susie, Tita Myr, Tita Erly, Tita Patty and Tita Honor remain supportive, generous and close to each other. I think my Lola Itay rooted that in them. To this day, they are more than sisters, but the best friends of each other even though each has their own family.

Goal

To be able to support and see my children live their dreams. I hope I can convey not only the trait of hard work, but also the desire to always choose family first.

First paid job

Marketing communication assistant at Acacia Hotel Manila

Morning ritual

Praying for guidance so that I can conquer the day and brew my iced coffee – I can’t start the day without.

Special skills

Multitask. I think all moms can relate!

Time spent on social media

Since my job and business is based on social media, I spend about four to five hours a day on it.


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