Archive for December, 2017

“Lovin’ Lokal: Patok na Christmas Gift Ideas!”

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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On December 13, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla was joined by Rica De Ramos (Co Founder, Hue Love Prints), Ramil Mendoza (Co-Owner, Unit16sweets) and Marievic Bonoan (Assistant Director, Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion) for an episode discussing great local products to check out this holiday season.

Marieivic Bonoan was the episode’s first guest who talked about the Department of Trade and Industry’s program called Go Lokal.

Go Lokal is a retail concept store showcasing quality and innovative philippine products crafted, designed, and produced by the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises. It is an excellent marketing avenue provided for free by the DTI and its retail partners for MSME incubation, marketing, and branding. By offering only products of quality, unique design and compelling narratives, Go Lokal aims to inspire our entrepreneurs to level up and meet global standards. It is likewise a vehicle to discover emerging suppliers and new products with high market potential.

Marievic shared that through Go Lokal, many micro and small entrepreneurs are afforded the opportunity of reaching the mainstream market—something that would be quite difficult if they did it on their own. She shares that listing and placement fees for any product found in supermarkets or department stores could reach from five to six figures which would be too high for our micro and small entrepreneurs.

Aside from providing these entrepreneurs to a steady mainstream market, the process of getting to these shelves provided by DTI is invaluable. “First step is to go to your local negosyo center – all towns and provinces have one (…) the center will help you in every step of the way.” From getting your business registered, to marketing, planning and distribution, DTI helps these entrepreneurs fast track their business, acting as mentors, incubators and market providers.

As Go Lokal stocks the best from their trade fairs and products that are of quality and deliver consistently, customers who encounters their many kiosks or stores are treated to a microcosm of the Philippines’ entrepreneurial scene. Coffee from the mountains, chocolates from Mindanao, shoes and bags made from indigenous fabrics and crafted by Marikina’s artisans, and even innovative products such as a seaweed facial wash.

The second guest is Co-Founder Rica from Hue Love Prints—a  small local business which is perfect for gift giving. Hue Love Prints offers a bevy of practical products (i.e. note pads, bag tags, note cards, and pouches) in hundreds of colorful designs and prints. They are made to order so each customer will be sure that what they ask for is exactly what they will get.

Rica shares that her and partner started the business when they were searching for colorful and practical products for gifts. When they saw that there was a gap in the market, they began producing themselves. The road to being the company they are today wasn’t free of challenges of course. She shares that producing the product from end-to-end on their own was too tedious and would eat up there time in producing designs. In order to fast track their production, Hue Love Prints decided to outsource for services like special and quality printing so that they can focus on designing.

The third and final guest is Ramil Mendoza, the Co-Owner of Unit16sweets. Ramil’s business started as a small project with his partner where they put together what they found from different suppliers and sold it to their friends. What emerged was an innovative personalized chocolate business, that can be seen in birthdays, corporate events and weddings. What sets Unit16sweets apart from other chocolate businesses, is aside from offering chocolate bars with a range of flavors (from chili chocolate to sea salt), they also offer personalization of packaging and size, so that people are treated to something sweet & unique, both on the inside and outside of the product.

Unit16sweets has also had their fair share of challenges according Ramil. Because their product is customizable, it’s sometimes hard to translate a customer’s idea into the design of the product. It’s also difficult when many see the business as something like a convenience store. “Design really takes time,” Ramil said. However, he said the key is to just keep smiling and try their best to accommodate and work with the customer. After all, chocolate is a very happy and festive business to be in.

For more information on Go Lokal, Hue Love Prints and Unit16sweets, see:
Go Lokal:
http://www.dti.gov.ph/programs-projects/go-lokal
https://www.facebook.com/DTI.GoLokal/

Hue Love Prints:
https://www.facebook.com/HueLovePrints/
hueloveprints@gmail.com

Unit16sweets
https://www.facebook.com/HueLovePrints/
ask@unit16sweets.com

Discussions over pandesal

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Wilson Lee Flores with presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Wilson Lee Flores with presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Last Tuesday, I was invited by Wilson Lee Flores to be their guest for his Pandesal Forum, a breakfast chat with our media friends. Aside from being a columnist, Wilson is also an entrepreneur. He bought the Kamuning Bakery Café which first opened in the 1930s. It was my first time to be there and I was amazed how they still offer pugon-baked breads and pastries.

During the discussion, various topics and issues were raised. First on the discussion list is the tax reform program which might be signed before the end of the year. I believe that the tax reform is a must in order to process the build, build, build projects of the government. If we are to compare the Philippines to a corporation, we can consider the taxes as equity from its shareholders which are the Filipinos. The government aims to create right infrastructure programs in our country, so if we look at it in a long term basis, these taxes will aid the programs we want to be implemented.

But more than this, I believe that micro, small, and medium enterprise development is crucial in creating a more progressive country. I shared with them what we have been doing in Go Negosyo. We are pushing for the 3Ms which are Mentorship, Money and Market. For a country like the Philippines which is an archipelago, market access is indeed a challenge. But if we pursue infrastructure programs, the linkage between regions will be easier and people can have more access to various markets. I also think that the technology changes will aide their growth. It might be a threat to the brick and mortar businesses but we are all going digital. So I believe that even the traditional businesses must inject technological advances in order to have efficient business processes.

For mentorship, we have always been proud to say that we have mentored thousands of mentees under the mentorship program that we are doing with Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture. Our Kapatid Mentor ME program has trained more than 2,000 mentees this year while our Kapatid Agri Mentor Me has equipped 358 cooperatives led by their chairmen and finance officers. We are teaching these farm cooperatives so they can better manage their systems.

To complete the 3Ms, we are also giving importance to possible financing programs to be implemented. We have talked to big banks, rural banks, and even the micro-finance institutions to discuss programs which can help our MSMEs.

The discussion was then led to the private-public partnership programs. I have always been supportive of the PPP. There are certain projects that only the government can manage but there are projects where the private sector can co-manage. Our large companies and conglomerates are all willing to be of assistance to the development programs of the government. Let’s look forward to the projects that they will be doing in the coming years. Our airports are important and will therefore be of focus in the coming years. With the private sector as a partner, the continuity of projects is assured.

When asked about the best advice for entrepreneurs in 2018, I told them that entrepreneurs must be optimistic. If they are easily affected and swayed by the problems and national issues, then their outlook will be negative. They should also have creativity and innovation and must not just copy what is in demand in the industry. One must have a new business model. That is why we are teaching them with business skills which can better improve their ideas. We will turn these survival entrepreneurs to become sustainable entrepreneurs.

I also shared to them the benefits of a digital economy. Recently, I have separately met with Jack Ma of Alibaba, Nick Nash who is the President of SEA Group which handles Shopee, and also Inanc Balci of Lazada. All of them are managing online markets where micro and small entrepreneurs can sell their products online and customers can purchase them online. Uber and Grab also created a marketplace for transportation. In an instant, drivers become entrepreneurs as they become members of Uber and Grab.
Soon, these marketplaces will become cashless as we use e-wallet systems like PayMaya and GCash which are loadable cards which you can use for shopping.

I also clarified what President Duterte has mentioned in our ASEAN Business and Investment Summit wherein he declared that he will give additional funding for our MSMEs. I think more than the Conditional Cash Transfer program; it is better to give money to those who want to loan money for their enterprises. I believe that this can be studied. And whichever is the more sustainable way of assisting the poor Filipinos, that should be done.

I also shared some of the programs we have in Sulu and Marawi. We still have on-going programs in these areas and I think the President is working on improving and enhancing security in these provinces. Tourism will never blossom if we have insurgencies and serious security issues. And I believe that only the President knows what is best for Mindanao.

I was also asked by Wilson on what is my assessment on President Duterte as the CEO of the Philippines, I told them that the President really has the heart for the poor. “Well, you can see that President Duterte is compassionate to those who are helping the poor people… but if you are otherwise, then you will never be his friend. I believe that the president’s style is what we need today, his strong-handed leadership”, I said.

The ASEAN BAC Philippines will team up with Go Negosyo and my office as the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship to continuously promote for “Prosperity for All”. All groups from the private sector must form an alliance to see that these programs become a reality. It is not going to be an overnight solution. Poverty has been around for so many generations but we must be relentless in our pursuit for greater inclusivity and leaving no one behind.

Strengthening Public and Private Partnership After ASEAN

Monday, December 11th, 2017
Manny Pangilinan, Joey Concepcion, and Doy Vea

Manny Pangilinan, Joey Concepcion, and Doy Vea

The ASEAN chairmanship is successful because of the partnership between the private and the public sectors. For us in the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, we have partnered with government agencies and private companies in order to stage the conferences and the meetings we had for the past year.

Last week, we had a simple appreciation and thanksgiving night to celebrate the achievement we had for the 50th ASEAN year. We are glad to host a dinner for our government officials and partner entrepreneurs who are our allies in achieving prosperity for all.

For me, the Philippine chairmanship is one of the best chairmanships of ASEAN. Although we are considered the little brother of APEC, we are glad to have lived up to the expectation.

The chairmanship has ended but the work still continues. It is now time to turn our visions and plans into reality. The theme “Prosperity for All” will not remain a theme; it must be implemented.

I know that moving forward, the relationships we’ve fostered with the government and the large conglomerates will be beneficial for all—especially for important projects such as infrastructure development. Many of those who have rallied behind the call for shared prosperity will continue to join us through the many projects Go Negosyo has lined up in the coming years. Truly, the closer ties between the public and private sector will blossom as we all work together to bring inclusive growth and development in the country.

Here are some photos I wish to share with you:

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

 

Daniel Zuellig and Joey Concepcion

Daniel Zuellig and Joey Concepcion

 

Kevin Tan, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Felix Ang, and BCDA Pres. Vince Dizon

Kevin Tan, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Felix Ang, and BCDA Pres. Vince Dizon

 

Ricky Razon, Felix Ang, Erramon Aboitiz

Ricky Razon, Felix Ang, Erramon Aboitiz

 

Irene Barcelon, George Barcelon, Lance Gokongwei, Alfred Ty, Cong. Arthur Yap and Michael Tan

Irene Barcelon, George Barcelon, Lance Gokongwei, Alfred Ty, Cong. Arthur Yap and Michael Tan

 

Enrique Razon and George Barcelon

Enrique Razon and George Barcelon

 

Lizzie Zobel, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Joey Concepcion

Lizzie Zobel, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Joey Concepcion

 

Luis Virata, Libet Virata, and Daniel Zuellig

Luis Virata, Libet Virata, and Daniel Zuellig

 

Hans Sy, Joey Concepcion, Marissa Concepcion, Lance Gokongwei, Atty. Sal Panelo and PA RJ Jacinto

Hans Sy, Joey Concepcion, Marissa Concepcion, Lance Gokongwei, Atty. Sal Panelo and PA RJ Jacinto

 

Michael Tan and Cong. Arthur Yap

Michael Tan and Cong. Arthur Yap

 

Teresita Sy-Coson, one of the ASEAN BAC Philippines member, gave a short message during the appreciation dinner.

Teresita Sy-Coson, one of the ASEAN BAC Philippines member, gave a short message during the appreciation dinner.

 

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion thanks all the partners who made the ASEAN BAC Philippine chairmanship successful.

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion thanks all the partners who made the ASEAN BAC Philippine chairmanship successful.

 

Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea said in his speech, “With a lot of hard work and support from different sectors of the government, as well as the private sector, through the well-coordinated efforts, we can all be proud to say that we have hosted the 30th ASEAN and the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN successfully, safely, efficiently, and with dignity and elegance.”

Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea said in his speech, “With a lot of hard work and support from different sectors of the government, as well as the private sector, through the well-coordinated efforts, we can all be proud to say that we have hosted the 30th ASEAN and the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN successfully, safely, efficiently, and with dignity and elegance.”

 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, PA for Visayas Michael Dino, Jay Yuvallos, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Bettina Quimson.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, PA for Visayas Michael Dino, Jay Yuvallos, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Bettina Quimson.

 

Luis Ferrer, Hans Sy, and Edgar Saavedra

Luis Ferrer, Hans Sy, and Edgar Saavedra

 

Ricky Delgado, Joey Concepcion and Alfred Ty

Ricky Delgado, Joey Concepcion and Alfred Ty

 

US Ambassador Sung Kim, Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez, Ricky Delgado, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

US Ambassador Sung Kim, Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez, Ricky Delgado, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

 

Joey Concepcion, Sen. Migz Zubiri and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez

Joey Concepcion, Sen. Migz Zubiri and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez

 

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Manny Pangilinan and Eric Alberto

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Manny Pangilinan and Eric Alberto

 

Josephine Gotianun-Yap, and Sec. Ben Diokno

Josephine Gotianun-Yap, and Sec. Ben Diokno

 

BCDA President Vince Dizon with wife Essie, Doris Ho, and Russian Amb. Igor Khovaev

BCDA President Vince Dizon with wife Essie, Doris Ho, and Russian Amb. Igor Khovaev

 

Three Important Takeaways from the Tax Reform Bill

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

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With the new year comes a new tax system! On December 6, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by the resident tax expert Mon “The Tax Whiz” Abrea for an episode tackling the Tax Reform Bill and its implications for the Filipino people.

To those who haven’t heard of the tax reform bill that was first proposed by the Department of Finance and is now being processed in the legislative branch’s bi-cameral sessions, it is radically changing the current outdated tax system which weighs heavily on the ordinary Filipino.

During the episode, the three addressed the most pertinent questions and issues regarding the bill to clarify and prepare Filipinos for the change. Here are three key takeaways from the episode:

  • Adjusted tax bracketing means around 5M Filipinos with low wages will become tax-free

Many have heard that those earning monthly wages of Php21,000 and below will be tax-free once the bill passes. This is due to the adjusted tax-bracketing system which will also have those earning an annual income of 8 million and up to be taxed at a higher rate of 35%. For comparison, the current system only gives those with an annual income of 132,000 a free pass on income tax. “An additional 23% of Filipinos will benefit from this reform (…) around five million Filipinos”

  • Micro and small entrepreneurs will benefit the most from this bill

            According to Senator Bam, around 40% of the Filipino people are part of the informal economy wherein they don’t pay their taxes. These are mostly the small and micro entrepreneurs we see working hard to earn their daily income. Due to exorbitant penalties and requirements that wear out these entrepreneurs, many choose not to register in formal institutions, hindering them from accessing much needed formal loans and assistance.

By reforming the current tax system wherein business tax can be paid either yearly or quarterly, and penalties & compliance requirements being reduced, this will hopefully encourage many entrepreneurs to register their business.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is also working tirelessly on putting their system online. This will aid in reducing corruption schemes that prey on the micro and small entrepreneurs through fixers and surprise penalty fees. The system will also save many Filipinos time in terms of regularly having to visit physical bureaus.
The reform also seeks to exempt micro businesses who are still working towards a sustainable source of income in order to help these businesses scale before they begin paying their taxes.

  • Tax on products are still under review

With the tax reform that seeks to lower tax for those who need it most, the government also needs to raise revenue for its projects such as the Build, Build, Build (infrastructure development). With this, many Filipinos are being warned that prices of products such as automobiles, gas and sweetened beverages will be increased. As much as possible however, the government will seek not to tax products that are prejudiced against the common Filipino. Mon shared certain sectors that should be open to being taxed higher such as corporations and even medium sized businesses.

To expand your knowledge on taxes in general, visit The Philippine Tax Whiz and Center for Strategic Reforms Philippines.

This is not the end, this is just the beginning

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosted an Appreciation Dinner for its government and private partners last December 4, 2017

ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosted an Appreciation Dinner for its government and private partners last December 4, 2017

The year 2017 is on its last few days and as we close the year, we cannot help but look back on how wonderful the year has been.

I remember last January, we were planning for the year and meeting with partners. Now, we have all our partners beside us as we cherish this year’s success!

Last Monday, before the hustle and bustle of all the Christmas parties and get-togethers and just right after the fruitful ASEAN Week, we had a simple appreciation dinner for all our partners – both private and public.

I was happy to see our Cabinet secretaries and other members of the government who are our allies for growth and development. Among the secretaries and government officials who attended were Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, Science and Technology Secretary Boy de la Peña, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea, former spokesperson Ernie Abella, current presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PA Michael Diño, BCDA president Vince Dizon, PA RJ Jacinto, chief legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo, Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Dondi Teehankee, Rep. Arthur Yap, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Sen. Miguel Zubiri.

Of course, we also have our private sector partners including Tessie Sy-Coson, George Barcelon, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Manny Pangilinan, Enrique Razon, Erramon Aboitiz, Kevin Tan, Lance Gokongwei, Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Michael Tan, Ricky Delgado, Edgar Saavedra, Luis Virata, among others. They have been instrumental in helping us magnificently host the ASEAN year.

As we shared talks over food and drinks, I realized how we all deserve the celebration last Monday. We looked back on the ABIS2017 highlights, I told everyone that it is one of the best organized summits over the past 50 years. It is without a doubt through the leadership of President Duterte and the efforts of the private sector led by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council were able to have a great output for the 50th year of ASEAN. We are privileged to have hosted this milestone year for ASEAN.

I believe that having experienced the APEC hosting two years ago prepared us to the hosting of ASEAN. We had to live up to the expectation since ASEAN is considered as the small brother of APEC. I am glad that we all made it through.

What we are doing now with mentorship and MSME development is what we have been doing for the past 12 years of Go Negosyo with Sec. Mon Lopez. We are glad to have Sec. Manny Piñol as well to embrace the whole spirit of helping our micro and small entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector.

I asked Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea to give a short message. He related how it was a once in a lifetime experience for him to chair the National Organizing Committee. He said, “We had more than a hundred events to prepare for in various places of the country including working groups, meetings with senior officials, ministerial meetings, and meetings with heads of government. With a lot of hard work and support from different sectors of the government, as well as the private sector, through the well-coordinated efforts, we can all be proud to say that we have hosted the 30th ASEAN and the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN successfully, safely, efficiently, and with dignity and elegance.”

Medialdea added, “May I quickly add that the real heroes of this milestone were of course: our President, who was always hands on in all major events, from site inspections to plenary and bilateral meetings with hundreds of government employees lending support to the endeavor headed by no other than the highly-esteemed Ambassador Jun Paynor who did a magnificent job; and, the Filipino people for their support and demonstration of the Filipino dignity, hospitality and courtesy to foreign guests.”

The theme “Prosperity for All” should not remain as a theme. It must be implemented. I agree with ES Medialdea when he closed his speech by saying, ““The work never ends; The work starts now.” It is indeed the time to start working on our visions and make those plans a reality. I look forward to a stronger private-public partnership next year. May the relationship between the two sectors blossom as we both pursue development and progress for our country.

No one can deny that we are still faced with extreme poverty, but if we do not play the role of sharing and helping our micro and small entrepreneurs, the challenge remains a challenge. The essence of inclusivity is in sharing.

I will continue to be optimistic about the future of this country. I know you are too. Let us all work together in achieving the prosperity that we all have been advocating for.

This is not the end. It is just the beginning.

DFA Letter of Support for AMEN

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

LOOK: The Department of Foreign Affairs lauded ASEAN BAC’s contributions to the success of the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN this year and encouraged ASEAN BAC to sustain the legacy project AMEN as a continuing platform to suport our MSMEs. #ASEAN2017

 

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Succeeding in the Bazaar Business

Friday, December 1st, 2017

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To kick of the holiday season, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska Diego-Bobadilla were joined by two of the bazaar industry greats: Vanessa Ledesma of Mercato Centrale and Sandy Allan of Bazaar Pilipinas.

Every Filipino knows that once the holiday tunes start rolling playing everywhere, the inevitable pop-ups of holiday markets and bazaars will begin sprouting everywhere. There’s truly no other country that loves Christmas as much as the Filipino.

In fact, the bazaar and bargaining culture in the Philippines is deeply ingrained in our social DNA. Since time immemorial, Filipinos have largely socialized in a palengke or market setting. This is why the bargaining game or tawad is already taken into account by many negosyantes when selling items.

Another distinctly Filipino characteristic is our love of food. Food is everywhere and our days and social lives also revolve around food and meals. That’s why Mercato Centrale’s formula of upscaling the bazaar concept married with the best food finds was a surefire hit.

Mercato Centrale started in 2010 as a morning market at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and eventually grew into a night food market. Vanessa shared that the first inspiration was from the markets in Florence, Italy. Her and her husband, RJ Ledesma, ventured to replicate a similar setting and incubated a lot of stand alone food vendors. Mercato Centrale success stories include Manang’s Chicken, Sunrise Buckets, Tokyo Tempura, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, Mochiko and more. Today, the have expanded to over 10 markets in different regions around the country.

Vanessa shared that they were pleasantly surprised that Filipinos completely embraced the food market from the very start. “People arrived right away! When we first launched the morning market there were so many people already at 7am!”

She shares that Meracato has been very happy and fulfilling type of business—even more so during the Christmas season. “Vendors are very excited to try out their new ventures. It’s really a season for more adventure and people are really festive.”

As Mercato grew, it became more than just a place for people to be find delectable treats and for passionate small food vendors to have a venue to sell their goods—it also became the launchpad for many entrepreneurial success stories. Vanessa shared that they’ve taken on the task of incubating and mentoring these vendors. In fact, every Tuesday. the team opens up their doors to current and aspiring food vendors for TasteTest Tuesdays where people can test out their creations and get valuable feedback.

“We’re looking for the next Jollibee and Mang Inasal. We’re an incubator,” Vanessa shared, “We’ve partnered with go negosyo to address the pinpoints of these vendors. We want them to find their scalability.”

Something Vanessa has also tried to push vendors to realize is that in this day and age, presentation (or how instagrammable) you booth and food are count for a lot. Beyond the look, people also become attracted to certain booths because of the story.

Moving on from food and into the bazaar industry in general, there was no better guest to give us the rundown on the business than bazaar guru Sandy Allen of Bazaar Pilipinas. Sandy is the founder of the Facebook Group that serves as a source of information, tips, guidelines, questions, and many precautions. Starting in out in 2010, the group has grown from 40 to 60 people in a singularly eclectic community, to a group of 32,000+ members today. The group is composed of merchants, organizers, and even shoppers.

Unlike the food market established by Vanessa, where bargaining is not a thing, Sandy gave a lot of tips for both merchants and shopper with regards to this custom in many bazaars. “Filipinos are very thrifty. Even if you’re a regular, you will still bargain. In other countries this would be offensive,” Sandy said. She advised that entrepreneurs must account for these predictable custom so that they won’t be at a loss at the end of the day.”

Beyond this, she advises that vendors, if they’re really serious about making it in the bazaar business, to join more than one bazaar and to be hands on if its a new business. In terms of what will be a hit with the market, she says that “It’s really more of what you’ll stick by. Look at your passion, what is available, and what are your expertise.”

She also advised many to avoid the old hard sell habit of Filipinos called “barking” and to avoid using hugot as a selling point. Today, Filipinos are more likely to approach a booth with sales lady who is simply smiling but is not too aggressive.

For shoppers, she advised them to dress comfortably and to bring their own shopping bags. In terms of bazaar etiquette, she encourages people to not cut in lines or interrupt other shoppers when they’re being attended to by the sales people.

Her biggest message however, was to venue partners who overcharge bazaar organizers. “There is no standardization for bazaar organization so sometimes venues will really give the highest fee for rent. On average they charge over Php300,000 and even higher during Christmas, And the small scale entrepreneurs get edged out because they can’t afford rent. Only high margin businesses can profit. So, because these small scale entrepreneurs are disappearing, the edge (and the spirit) of these bazaars are also disappearing. I hope all this can change.”

Both ladies also warned vendors about a modus operandi where people fake being bazaar organizers or Mercato Centrale. They will ask vendors for a low upfront rent fee and will even have pictures ready as “proof” of the bazaar. To sign up for Mercato and to get the real inside on bazaars, follow their official facebook pages and groups only.