Organic farming advocate discovers the pili nut’s wonders

Pili Ani was an offshoot of Rosalina Tan’s advocacy for the organic. After serving as the founding president of Organic Producer and Trade Association for 10 years, she then moved to Bicol where she also promoted organic farming by joining Regional Agricultural Fisheries Council Region V as a board member from the private sector.

During her stay in Bicol, Rosalina discovered the many benefits of the pili tree which were overlooked. When the pili nut is harvested, she discovered that it was a super food. The pulp covering the pili shell is a local delicacy but is mostly discarded as waste product which develops a bad smell due to fermentation.

Through research and collaboration with Biotech, she found out the oil extracted from the pulp was comparable to olive oil.

Hydrating Mist, Gentle Facial Cleanser, and Purifying Toner.

She started to showcase the pili pulp oil in all the exhibits she joined. She was hoping that someone would pick it up as she was semi-retired and not thinking of doing any new business. After two to three years of showcasing the pili pulp oil and still no takers, she decided to do more research and consultation services and even enrolled in a DOST training class on making soap and lotions. She hired consultants and experts in the cosmetic industry. Finally, she came up with pili oil-based bath soap, shampoo, lotion, face cream and lipstick under the Naturalle Wonders brand. She did it not really for business but just to showcase what pili oil can do.

These were not available in the market but only for her Rotary and ZONTA friends as giveaways. They received very good feedbacks. Word got around and people began to look for her products. It was during this occasion when two elegant ladies went to her office and were delighted with the products but were disappointed because they were not available for everyone. They bought a lot and they brought it to the United States as gifts for their friends.

Intense Hydrating Facial Cream.

Mary Jane, her daughter, chanced upon this incident in her office and it opened her eyes to the many possibilities of her mother’s advocacy. When she discovered her warehouse full of pili pulp oil that Rosalina purchased from the farmers, Mary Jane decided to help her mother.

She told Rosalina, “Mom, what you are doing is not sustainable. If you really want to help the farmers, you have to treat it as a business to be sustainable.” Her daughter Mary Jane then stepped in because she realized the potential of her mother’s advocacy. She did more research and they joined international exhibits to get the hang of the beauty business. This started the Pili Ani journey.

They have come a long way, learning from the various exhibits they attended abroad, through trial and error and getting the right people and developing a dedicated working group. They started the Market in the United States, where they learned the ABCs of starting a cosmetic line. They invested time, effort and money to become wiser in the inner workings of the beauty industry.

Rosalina had many mentors and it was their suggestions and guidance that helped her move forward. It was also critical to get the right people for the right job and to maintain a harmonious team that enabled her to get the job done.

She was truly happy when she saw the fruits of their labor especially when they learned that their efforts have made a footprint in the global market — a proudly Philippine-made product at par with international beauty brands.

Gentle Facial Cleanser and Purifying Toner.

Rosalina and MJ had a daunting task; they had to tell the world about the benefits of pili and elemi oil so more people would be interested to try their products. They also needed to elevate the Pili Ani brand into a world-renowned Philippine beauty brand that delivers the product’s promise.

Rosalina started this beauty venture in her twilight years. She was lucky her daughter Mary Jane got interested in this worthy endeavor and shares her advocacy. She now runs the business while Rosalina provides the vision and sources of growth of the company. Today, Mary Jane’s daughter, Kiara, is a third-generation Pili Ani convert. Rosalina’s secret to succession planning is to inculcate the values and selfless service to the community.

Photographs courtesy of pili ani
Mary Jane Tan-Ong and Rosalina Tan, mother-daughter powerhouse of Pili Ani.

Rosalina wants to be remembered as a compassionate leader who inspires others to be kind. She hopes her small act of kindness would create a ripple with no logical end. Her favorite Bible verse from James 4:17: “If anyone then knows the good, they ought to do, and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

As a spiritual person, she believes everything comes from God and she is a good testimony as God’s daughter.

Rosalina’s secret to good health is having a happy and positive outlook in life. Having a healthy mind, being surrounded by good people, while maintaining an organic lifestyle leads to good health.
Rosalina is creative and positive through her personal experience as a child was not easy. She was an orphan at a young age of 14 with nine other siblings. She learned from observation and became creative in solving problems. She became more positive as she lifted up everything to God with strong faith. She loves reading, writing, painting and gardening.
In five years, Rosalina will be 81 years old. She prays and hopes she will still be around, watching and enjoying the fruits of the pili tree that she has planted, and the Pili Ani brand will be the most sought-after product in the personal care and beauty line as well as the pharmaceutical line with more innovations from this wonderful gift of God to the Philippines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *