Our story goes back to 2010, when co-founder Amalia Morante started experimenting with coconut sugar. In 2012 her Ninong invited her to his place in Surigao del Sur. There she saw the poverty of coconut farmers. The sales of Copra to mostly Chinese middlemen provided 2-3000 pesos per month. The farmers struggled and were often not able to send their kids to school. Many had no toilets, and in those conditions there is the constant temptation of joining armed rebels. An easy, yet destructive way out of poverty.
But Amalia knew about the value of coconut sugar and other coconut-based products. With such a precious resource as the Coconut Tree, these farmers had no need to be poor! She had herself grown up poor and knew what it was like to have no toilet. She had to work hard to pay for her own schooling and her hard work allowed her to rise out of poverty and into a successful career. Now she wanted to help these farmers progress too. So she promised them she would come back and help them set up a coconut sugar production facility.
She did. With the financial support of a friend and another Ninong she built the facility, underwent trainings with PCA on coconut sugar production, and in 2013 she met Benjamin Bernabela, then a Dutch volunteer with Gawad Kalinga working on social enterprise development. The next year the two of them joined forces to officially launch Kayumanggi Organics together as a social enterprise.
Later the name was changed to Kayumanggi Organic (without S), with the two words as two adjectives: Our products are "Kayumanggi", and "Organic".
For us, Kayumanggi means excellent.
Authentic Filipino excellence.
It has not always meant this in our culture, and we all know about that cultural tendency for whiter. We are on a journey to break a stigma that to be better needs us to be whiter. Our skin color says a lot about our history and is an important part of our Filipino origins and identity. We are here to live and inspire that Kayumanggi Filipinos are “Excellent in Nature”, just as all people and races! It is not the skin color that makes anyone inferior, but the standards we set for ourselves.
So let’s feel dignified! We start from accepting who we truly are - yes, to love yourself - and work our way towards excellence by giving it our very best every day! This is the message we want everyone to know and to experience through our products. Made with Love. From our family to yours. From our Farmers to You.