A DOLE-assisted sustainable convergence project: When in Camiguin, follow the trend: Eat suman moron

Date Posted: July 2nd, 2015 06:01 AM

“For P8 apiece, you can eat suman moron during your visit to Camiguin. And when you leave, you can bring it as a coming-home give-away – pasalubong – at P100 per box, with one box containing 13 pieces of the delicious kakanin.”


This is Marichu A. Gulle’s tireless marketing pitch to customers of the Kasamahan ng Liping Pilipina – Balbagon Association, which has made the production and sale of suman moron, a thriving enterprise for its 53 members.


Suman moron, inspired by the Visayas’ famous traditional delicacy, is a trend favorite among Camagueños.


“Now it has also become a hit among visitors to Camiguin,” says Ms. Gulle, president of Kalipi-Balbagon Association.


Kalipi-Balbagon Association, says Gulle, started off in 2007 with only 20 women members in Mambajao, Camiguin’s capital town.


“Initially, our members offer kakanin treats for different occasions, or special pasalubong for tourists coming to Camiguin.”


The rice based delicacy became the association’s signature product in 2014 during the Mambajao’s Charter Day celebration.


“It all started when Mayor Ma. Luisa D. Romualdo invited local food producers to showcase the town’s homegrown products during Mambajao’s Charter Day celebration. Kalipi-Balbagon Association decided to take part and our suman moron became an instant hit. Overnight, our suman moron became the talk of the town,” Gulle said.


Gulle does not have a hidden trade secret in suman moron production.


“We use white and black glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. After cooking, we roll and twirl the suman moron, alongside each other for black-and-white type (tinambiran), or singly, either white or black, then wrap the product in banana leaves. After this, we steam it, and that’s it. Suman moron comes in salty or sweet and is best eaten with cocoa milk or tableya,” Ms. Gulle explained.


Suman moron production came to the notice of the DOLE Regional Office No. 10 in 2014 while it was looking for viable livelihoods that can be assisted under the DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, or DILEEP.


“We discovered that suman moron is very popular and can become a sustainable livelihood. Based on our observation, the delicacy was selling briskly, particularly the ones made by Kalipi-Balbagon Association,” said Raymundo G. Agravante, DOLE regional chief.


In September 2014, the DOLE regional office cobbled together the convergence support of the Municipality of Mambajao, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry by conducting a training for the members of Kalipi-Balbagon Association on new techniques in suman moron production and packaging, and benchmarking the association with other food handling providers of the same product.


Immediately after the training, the DOLE released P100,000.00 to the association for its suman moron business, using the Mambajao Water District Workers’ Association, a DOLE accredited co-partner (ACP), as conduit. The financial livelihood assistance was under the DILEEP.


The rest, as they say, was history. With the livelihood assistance, the association was able to ‘modernize’ and thus, increase, its production and sales. So popular suman moron has become that Camiguin visitors say that a trip to Mambajao will never be complete without a taste of its suman moron.


“Soon, Mambajao, through the Kalipi-Balbagon Association, will become the suman moron capital of the Province of Camiguin. We plan to distribute high-quality suman moron, first, to the whole Northern Mindanao, and finally, to the country,” Ms. Gulle confidently beamed.


She might just be right. Last February, the Kalipi-Balbagon Association, which has now 53 members, received unexpected visitors when a group composed of 70 people coming from different barangays of Vigan City benchmarked with the Association and said its suman moron was “the best suman moron they ever had tasted”.


“We are really thankful to the DOLE and its partners for their help. Today, we are preparing a project enhancement proposal for us to acquire more sets of production equipment, such as coconut grater, coconut extractor, steamer, heavy duty stove, large woks, and a motorcycle vehicle for the delivery,” she said.



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