NEFEDCCO opens new branch store

The Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO) recently opened its new branch store “Cremeria Ecijana” to bring buffalo milk products closer to the market for wider customer reach last May 30 along Maharlika Highway, Pinagpanaan, Talavera in Nueva Ecija.

NEFEDCCO serves as the umbrella organization and marketing arm of dairy cooperatives formed under the guidance of PCC in the province which has been designated as the national impact zone (NIZ) for the carabao development program.

Its main store and milk collection and processing center is located at barangay San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija which produces and markets fresh, pasteurized, non-fat and flavored milk drinks (pandan, lacto-juice, coffee, strawberry and choco), pastillas (pastillas de leche, plain pastillas, yema pastillas, and ube pastillas), cheeses (cottage cheese, quick-melt white cheese, paneer and plain white cheese), yogurt drinks, leche flan, ice candy and ice cream.

Said products are also available in the branch store and NEFEDCCO now entertains and accepts additional buffalo milk treats from consigned local entrepreneurs such as milkaroons, bibingkang gatas and macapuno which are being developed by the Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a PCC-assisted dairy cooperative.

According to NEFEDCCO chairman Gerardo F. delos Santos, they will also display different carabeef products in the future after ironing out standard requirements.

“We want this branch store to be completely packaged, offering not only milk-based products but meat as well,” he said.

He added that they are also planning the same expansion in Quezon City and other parts of Luzon if the venture of the Pinagpanaan branch store becomes a hit.

Other promotional activities, according to chairman delos Santos, include leaflet distribution to terminals and passersby and the use of social media through a dedicated facebook page for its products.

Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, PCC acting executive director, promised to support NEFEDCCO in its endeavor and left a piece of advice to the people behind the federation.

“As you expand your market, it is important that you maintain the good quality, availability, and speedy delivery of your products. To top this all, good customer service must always be your way of practice. If you consistently do this, customers will freely come and patronize your products and they themselves will become ambassadors of your store and products,” he said.


GK-assisted poor families develop, sell high-end carabao’s milk products

Carabao’s milk can be transformed into high-end food products, which could be profitable sources of income especially for the rural families.

The carabao’s milk, aside from being a healthy and nutritious drink and as an ingredient for making milk candies, among others, can also be processed into high-end cheeses and ice cream that can be competitive products not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

For the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm (GKEF), located at California St., Pandi Angat Road in Angat, Bulacan, their Gourmet Keso and Karabeau ice cream products are fine examples of this truism.

“The two products are outcomes of our two sustainable social enterprises that we established here in the GKEF to help the Filipino poor to have livelihood opportunities, help the dairy industry, and harness the potentials of dairying in the Philippines,” Erica Ng Wong, social entrepreneur and change catalyst officer of the Gawad Kalinga, said.

She added that the two enterprises are just among the 37 enterprises that they are currently promoting and sustaining in Gawad Kalinga (GK).

The GK is an entity pursuing a noble purpose of helping others. Its name is derived from Tagalog words “gawad” (provide) and “kalinga” (care). Thus, the GK’s purpose is to provide care for poor communities to grow and develop, the GK official explained.

The other enterprises pursued elsewhere by GK, Wong said, are the Aura Natura, Bambike, Bayani Brew, Enchanted Jams, Enchanted Farm Café, First Harvest, Friggies, Golden Duck, Grassroots Kitchen, Hamlet, Hiraya Chocolate, Human Nature, Plush and Play, Red Carpet,The Bee Empire Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates and Trese, and others.

“The development of Gourmet Keso and Karabeau ice cream, along with other enterprises that we have here in the GKEF, is part of our mission to help end poverty in the Philippines,” Wong said.

She said that thirty percent of the proceeds from the marketing of these two products, like those of the enterprises they are assisting, goes to building the houses and dreams of people in poor communities.

Gourmet Keso

According to Wong, the Gourmet Keso uses carabao’s milk as its main ingredient.

The development of this enterprise, she said, was led by Marie Cavosora, the founder and chief enabling officer of the dairy yard in the GK community, with team members composed of Atty. Alexander L. Lacson and Atty. Patricia Ann T. Progalidad, who are both experts in their disciplines and in businesses enterprises.

Cavosora said that the Gourmet Keso is a type of high-end cheese, which is product of Europeans, Americans, and Filipinos collaborating together to produce the best that can be derived from dairying.

Its development, she added, has now evolved into a bigger type of a dairy-yard enterprise of people in communities working together. It, in a different way, provides the mechanism to erase the state of “poverty existing in their minds.”

“We are currently working with the Philippine Carabao Center and other organizations and agencies for the further strengthening of this enterprise,” Cavosora said.

With the help of other agencies, those involved in the enterprise are assisted in identifying sure markets for the raw milk harvest and developed milk products thru various types of trainings in dairy buffalo production, products development and in improving their general well-being.

“More than that, we seek the connectivity and partnerships that we can get from all the key players in the dairy value chain to attain the desired progress and development for the rural residents involved,” she said.

Among the cheeses being processed and sold are Bufaline Soave and Bufalina Brava. These cheeses carry the name “Gourmet Keso” as their brand.

The Bufaline Soave, according to Cavosora, is a semi-aged, semi-firm, creamy, mild yet flavorful kind of cheese. It is great when toasted on a baguette or the long thin loaf from French that is commonly made from basic lean dough, and punctuated with jam or salsa.

The Bufalina Brava, on the other hand, Cavosora said, is an aged, crumbly but creamy cheese, bursting with flavor and accented by herbs and spices. She explained that it is best tasted on a fresh baguette, on canapés (a small piece of bread or pastry) or sprinkled on garden salads.

Cavosora added that these cheeses are being processed through their collaborations with Marcial Mays, the processor of other high-end cheeses known by its brand—“La Latteria d’ Ischia” (see separate article about this brand on this issue of the newsletter), who serves as their processor for their cheeses.

She said that these cheeses are processed without additives, artificial flavors and substitutes.

“With the carabao’s milk natural goodness, there’s no need to over-process or compensate the products with additives. We simply make sure that we start with farm-fresh, organic carabao’s milk from our local farmer partners”.

She said the cheeses are processed in the European tradition of producing cheeses. Their usual buyers are the local and international visitors in the GKEF, she added.

“Each week, we are getting at least 700 visitors and guests in the GKEF, many of whom don’t go away without buying the products,” Cavosora said. “We sell the each product at Php195 in vacuum sealed-type packages,” she added.

Karabeau ice cream

While the Gourmet Keso attracts many buyers, the GKEF Karabeau Ice Cream as an enterprise is also doing well.

In fact, according to Wong, it is well-loved by the foreign tourists and guests and also by the interns that they have in the GKEF.

“To test the products, we conducted sensory evaluation and the result affirmed that it is really superb,” she said.

Wong added that they mostly pick international guest, intern and visitors in the sensory evaluation test that they conducted for their ice cream.

“Our French guests and other international guests loved our products. In fact, we actually have here our Italian visitor who keeps on coming back to our ice cream booth (located inside the GKEF) to buy ice cream for the last two weeks. Thus, we are very sure that they love our products,” Wong happily explained.

Wong said their ice cream is currently available in two flavors namely “malted vanilla blast” and “peanut butter goodness”.

“We just started this business last October 2014,” Wong said. “Thus, we are still in the process of developing new flavors for our products as part of our products development initiatives,” Wong explained.

She said they are working with Chef Kenneth Tordesillas of Hive Hotel & Convention Place in Metro Manila to develop new flavors for their ice cream. They include chocolate brownie with kasoy and Pinoy mint chocolates.

Two student scholars of the GKEF are working with them for this enterprise. The scholars are Krizteen S. Reyes, 18, and Rinalyn M. Pagao, 17 (both from Bulacan) who are on-the-job trainees as part of their requirements in their course on social entrepreneurship and preparation as future entrepreneurs.

She said the two are studying under the Gawad Kalinga’s program on School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED).

“They are top performing students who are sons or daughters of farmers. We help them learn how to create the businesses they want to pursue later on,” she said.

She said the SEED program is approved by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“Every month, we get an average gross income of Php25,000 for the 19 to 20 liters of milk processed into ice cream. We buy the milk from a dairy farmer, Edgardo Dela Torre, in Bulacan,” Wong said.

The name karabeau comes from the coined words “kara”, which means “care”, and “beau” which means “beautiful”.

“Our two products, Gourmet Keso and Karabeau ice cream, are proofs that providing added value to the carabao’s milk can bring in more income for entrepreneurs,” she concluded..

PCC-PIMD conducts special projects review

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) through its Planning and Information Management Division (PIMD) recently conducted a Special Projects Review (SPR) to enhance the alignment of accomplishment to the agency’s major final output accountability report card (MARC) on May 11-12 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Said activity was participated in by 35 PCC employees, staff members from PIMD and Business Development and Commercialization Unit, and PCC researchers who are involved in the special projects.

Currently, PCC has 17 special projects from various funding agencies such as the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Department of Agriculture-Biotech, and Bureau of Agricultural Research.

According to PIMD, Special Projects Review MARC is an event which is formerly called as the Special Projects Review. They said the MARC is joined with the SPR because it indicates the targets, wherein the target corresponds with a budget. The target of the SPR is the MARC technical support services that have three performance indicators which are the production support, market development and the education services extension and training (ESET).

Special projects are externally funded with one or three components with three performance indicators. The PIMD stressed that all PCC employees must be aware of MARC that is why it decided to conduct the Special Project Review. The event, they said, aims to create a convenient venue for discussion among PIMD and young researchers for them to clearly understand where their researches belong, what will be their contributions to MARC, and on what performance indicator they should connect.

Moreover, the SPR-MARC is being organized twice a year and this time it is scheduled in May and September.

“This is not a traditional ‘let’s-sit-down’ conference wherein researchers just present the researches. We make the activity as light as possible to encourage all participants to actively engage in the process,” Alvin David, PIMD planning assistant, said.


PCC launches 1st FLS-DBP San Jose City, Guimba, Ilocos Norte clusters to take course this year

Dairy farmers now have wider access to best practices and technologies in carabao dairying.

A development modality called the Farmers Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) makes this possible.

FLS-DBP project leader Dr. Eric Palacpac said this innovative and creative way to help dairy farmers is no longer a promise but a mandate realized thru a PCC project.

“Several years ago, PCC experienced difficulties in spreading technologies and it took us a year to come up with this kind of project wherein dairy farmers will surely grasp the learning and enjoy as well because this is a participatory-type of class, there are a lot of exciting activities,” Dr. Palacpac said.

The said project which started on May 13 at San Jose City hall will run for 34 weeks every Friday with accredited FLS-DBP facilitators to guide the participants along the course.

PCC acting executive director Dr. Arnel del Barrio, and deputy executive director Dr. Felomino Mamuad both gave inspirational messages about how PCC was able to surpass challenges on dairy buffalo production in the past.

“Change starts within ourselves,” Dr. Mamuad told PCC partner-cooperatives who will participate in 1st FLS-DBP.

“Discipline is key to achieving high milk production with great quality,” he added.

The first cluster of participating cooperatives includes San Jose City’s Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) and Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Cooperative (SIPBUCO).

Modules to be used for the training were developed by Dr. Ester Flores, head of PCC Genomics and Informatics; Dr. Danilo Aquino, PCC at CLSU director; Dr. Edwin Atabay, scientist I; Mina Abella, national coordinator for product development; Wilma del Rosario, National Impact Zone coordinator; Dr. Cyril Baltazar, national gene pool coordinator; Ma. Theresa Sawit, head of socio economic and policy research; and Estella Valiente, development officer.

Sawit, Chairman Melchor Correa and Eliseo Mislang of EPMPC, will serve as facilitators.

According to Dr. Palacpac, the idea of FLS was an adopted version of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development’s (PCCARD) project on strengthening the goat industry thru pest management.

PCC will launch FLS-DBP in Guimba, Nueva Ecija on May 20 and in Ilocos Norte on June.

Craving for ice cream? Try Papa Diddi’s unique delectations

“I scream for ice cream!” is one of the favorite yells of ice cream lovers out there.
Undeniably, an ice cream treat makes life a little sweeter and refreshing.

Papa Diddi’s farm-to-table ice cream shop, along Maginhawa Street in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, brings delights and pleasures especially during the summer season, guilt-free for its indulgence.

Papa Diddi’s ice cream company is a newly-opened ice cream parlor which started last March 11. Upon entering it, the interior designs are quite catchy because of the wooden shelves decorated with books and an old photo of a man smiling. This man is actually Papa Diddi himself, the late father of the present owner Paul Perez.

The shop, a tribute to Paul’s father, was inaugurated on the latter’s birthdate. Papa Diddi, who had a passion for food and reading, was a lawyer to the farmers. He would usually get local produce in exchange for his legal services and, from these, he’d prepare homemade ice cream for his family during summer.

Paul, 46, took the Ice Cream Short Course at Pennsylvania State University, in the US mainly for the planned operation of Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream Company.

“Being a father to eight kids, who are all ice cream lovers, I thought it would be great to share with my own children my childhood experience of partaking my own father’s homemade ice cream,” Paul said.

He added:

“During summertime, we counter the heat with the luscious ice creams. I grew up, therefore, looking at ice cream as a labor of love and expression of gratitude for the farm blessings,” he recalled.

According to Paul, now that he has his own family, he wanted to do the same undertaking his father had. After being disappointed with the taste of local commercial ice creams and how expensive artisanal ice creams are, he ventured into his father’s passion, which is for making homemade ice cream.

“Working on homemade ice cream is like a bridge. It brings back so many good memories of rural summers of my childhood as well as it starts a new family bonding activity with my eight children. Indeed, making homemade ice cream has become a family affair – with my wife helping me select choice ingredients; with the big kids reading the recipes, and the small ones helping pour or mix the ingredients using their small hands,” he shared.

Distinct taste

What makes Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream stand out is its use of ingredients outsourced straight from local farms. The vegetables used are from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, the cacao is from Davao and Cagayan, the black rice is from the Mountain Province, the coffee beans are from La Trinidad, while the creamy carabao’s milk that serves as the base for his creations is from Majayjay and Magdalena in Laguna. The flavors are certainly creative, original, and organic.

Papa Diddi’s highlights its unique delights with the following flavors and inscriptions:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly – The kids’ favorite snack now turned into an unforgettable treat of ice cream.
  • Mango Ginger – The country’s favorite fruit punctuated with ginger to make it a memorable flavor.
  • Sweet Basil – An herb for many dishes is now an ice cream for many celebrations!
  • Davao Meets Bicol – Davao’s pure dark chocolate meets its match with Bicol’s famous sili.
  • Double Chocolate – The country’s most famous tableas: Batangas and Davao create a wonderful ice cream experience.
  • Never Early for Halloween – Who would ever think squash can become a wonderful ice cream flavor?
  • Roasted Strawberry – La Trinidad strawberries roasted to perfection.
  • Tarragon – Used a lot for teas, but now made into ice cream.
  • Sweet P. – Sweet potatoes ice cream: a flavor that entices everyone to come back for many times over.
  • Roasted Forbidden Rice – Mt. Province’s famous black rice made into a signature flavor.
  • Starry Surprise- Star anise is given a new twist as ice cream.
  • Avocado Rhum- The celebrated avocado fruit mixed with a Philippine rhum.
  • Minty Choco- Most ice cream lovers prefer a chocolate flavor. Adding natural mint into this, promises that they will be hooked for life.
  • Dulce Gato- Cagayan Valley’s famous Dulce Gato made into ice cream.

Paul tries to come up with new flavors for his ice cream every two weeks. He makes small batches of ice cream for his shop with some help from his staff. He crafts ice cream daily at midnight to ensure its freshness and quality.

“Our ice cream base is made of carabao’s milk. I cannot think of any other base as this is what my dad used for his ice cream back then,” he said.

“I think the uniqueness of our flavors coupled with the use of real carabaos milk is eliciting positive responses. People find it pleasantly unique and one can taste the real flavors thus they come back over and over again,” he added.

Paul uses an average of 180-200 liters of milk per week for his company’s ice cream. For him, carabaos milk is perfect for ice cream as it enhances the flavors and brings out a very creamy texture.

One ice cream scoop costs Php59 and an additional Php20 for the next scoop. Diners can also choose to add toppings for only Php10 each, turn it into a cookie sandwich for Php95, or pile it on an “ice cream nest” for additional Php25.

Papa Diddi’s attracts customers from the cross section of society – from doctors to students, from office workers to home makers. As long as these customers crave for ice cream, especially if they are in Quezon City, they consider at once going to Papa Diddi’s to quench their craving.

Currently, Papa Diddi’s has 26 different ice cream flavors. Eight are best-sellers, among them are Dulce Gato and Double Chocolate.

This artisanal ice cream parlor, because of its natural ingredients and goodness, was also featured in various blogs and articles such as wheninmanila,, choosephilippines,,,, misshapenidentity and others.


Papa Diddi’s menu varies from time to time since it depends on the time of harvest and seasonality of the ingredients. These variations, however, adds appeal to the product as it keeps customers being intrigued by the new flavors that Papa Diddi’s offer.

“From the get-go, we wanted to make ice cream using the freshest produce from the different farms, gardens and markets of the Philippines. This is very interesting, but we face a lot of challenges as we are dependent on the harvest. So, if typhoons come, our production schedule has to be adjusted,” he said.

Social responsibility

Papa Diddi’s believes that education is the key to alleviating poverty. A percentage of its sales goes to book donations for local libraries in farming communities where the ingredients are sourced from, to honor his dad’s passion for reading and helping the community.

“It’s just my small way of paying tribute to my father who introduced me to the purity of homemade ice cream and who taught me to never forget the poor,” he said.

His family’s love affair for ice cream and sharing the blessings to the communities is expressed in the firm’s self-imposed exhortation of “Supporting Communities Out Of Poverty (SCOOP)”.

Aside from his ice cream shop, Paul also has a marketing consultancy business. He is also hoping to open more branches of Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream in the future.

“We are committed to become the best Philippine ice cream producer using only Philippine produce. This commitment pushes us to be always on top of our game,” he proudly concluded.