Lowly ‘suman’ eyed as Antipolo’s top export
If the country’s lowly buko juice can reach the US shore, why can’t Antipolo’s “suman?”
Antipolo Mayor Nilo Leyble told the Inquirer on Friday the pleasant prospect of exporting tons of suman—glutinous rice wrapped in coconut frond leaves—to the US and European markets after joining Chinese-Filipino businessmen and other government officials in trip to Beijing, China.
According to him, exporter Philip Young wanted to invest in the local delicacy which the city has been known of.
“He wanted us to produce two tons of suman every month. This would obviously increase and stabilize the income of our suman makers,” Leyble said in a phone interview.
Leyble joined the delegation of businessmen and government officials headed by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan who attended a conference on economic and social partnership on Sept. 22 to 29.
The mayor said the idea of suman being sold in the groceries in the US and Europe excites the around 40 suman makers in the city who earn only on weekends and Holy Week due to the influx of churchgoers.
Thousands of religious and Catholic devotees visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage which houses the 385-year-old image of the Virgin Mary. Suman makers usually make ends meet from the earnings they get from the purchases of suman and other delicacies by local and foreign tourists.
Leyble said the investor will send a technical team on Monday to meet with the local makers and assess their production.
He said he had proposed the creation of a cooperative to ensure that the products would meet the quality standards and other export requirements.
“We would also like to equally divide the work among local producers,” he added.
Asked how perishable goods can be exported without being spoiled during shipment, Leyble said the businessman knew what he was doing as he has been exporting delicacies for several years.
“The packaging also has something to do with it,” the mayor said.
Leyble, who had worked at a suman factory when he was a child to augment his baon in school, said the suman export is a big boost to businesses in Antipolo.
Rebecca de Leon, a 45-year-old suman maker, said she was delighted by the plan for it would always mean additional income to her.
“We don’t have to worry about the capital because somebody would finance it,” De Leon said.
She said her family had been in the business since 1970s and if the plan is realized, this would be the first time her products would be exported.
“Minana ko na ’to sa nanay ko … Masaya kami na matitikman sa abroad ang luto namin (I inherited this from my mother … We are happy that our products may be served and consumed abroad),” she said.
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