Magsasaka Siyentista Rebecca Tubongbanua: Woman of brain and brawn

Guimaras is home to the world’s sweetest and delicious mangoes. So is the brain and brawn of the McNester Mango Products’ Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Rebecca Tubongbanua, the woman behind the uniquely healthy, vitamin packed, and tasty Mango Sauce and Mango ketchup.
Rebecca’s products are deliciously tempting that you’ll find yourself using them on all sorts of food. The sauce and catsup create a different twist on the classic recipes such as spaghetti, dips for anything fried, and desserts. It even tastes great on pizza!

A former overseas Filipino worker, Rebecca, started her venture in 2003 with a modest capital of PhP7,000. She originally labored on calamansi puree, but then her attention was caught by the dilemma of the mango growers and farmers in Guimaras, whose sales to traders and exporters were limited only to “spot-free” mangoes. Those with slight defects were rejected, resulting in low revenues.

Such concern pushed Tubongbanua to develop and process the rebuffed mangoes and their by-products into something profitable.

Her efforts had a positive impact. She is now offering the unique mango products that she developed and formulated herself to mango lovers.
Through the help of Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) based in the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Guimaras, she toiled on high value commercial crop processing technology. The process is a science and technology intervention provided by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its TechnoMart Program.
The TechnoMart Program is a PCAARRD modality, which propels agro-based products from the communities to the markets.

Using the remaining by-products initially used for the dried mangoes, Tubongbanua was able to maximize the supply of raw ‘carabao’ mangoes, especially since these are very difficult to grow.
After several years of experimentation, she was able to perfect her processed products. The taste of her mango sauce and ketchup is comparable to the sweetness of the regular tomato-based sauces and dips but with a nice tang from the ripe Guimaras mangoes.

Her firm, McNester Food Products, which also carries her other mango products like the Mango Biscocho, Mango Otap, and Mango Piyaya, soon became the byword of processed commodities both here and abroad. Proof that a farmer can increase profits by value-adding their produce.

As one of the participants of the recent 13th World Food Expo (WOFEX 2012) held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Tubongbanua had the opportunity to present her products in this year’s biggest selling and order-taking event of all segments of the food and beverage industry.
Through the TechnoMart Program, the event gave her the chance to promote her products to a wider local and global market and has opened her doors to several prospects and opportunities.
Even if her business has already gone a long way from its backyard beginnings, Tubongbanua acknowledges that there are more things to consider and accomplish.

She shares her passion and success to other farmers by serving as resource person during trainings, seminars, field days, and investments clinics. She also provides technical assistance and hands-on training.

Her McNester Food Products promotes Guimaras Island through the unique and exotic Mango Sauce and Ketchup. (Christie A. Surara, S&T Media Service)


Author: tuklasinnatin

A Journalist and served government for 20 years. A community organizer who rose from a clan of artists and novelists.

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