Alumni Entrepreneurs Export Filipino Artisan Products to Australia

From our well-loved cacao and durian to hand-crafted leather pieces, here are some Philippine products that have hit the shelves of Australia.
Cacao and Durian

Mary Grace “Eyeth” Belviz is the woman behind Rosario’s Delicacies – a Davao-based food manufacturing company best known for their durian and cacao. In 2019, Eyeth joined the Australia Awards Women Trading Globally Program, which empowered and equipped her to pursue international trade for Rosario’s Delicacies.

“It was empowering to meet different women entrepreneurs with different experiences and stories. I learned a lot from my classmates and from the short course. The experience made me more confident in exporting,” she said.

While in Melbourne, Eyeth met the owner of Filo Artisan Trade – an online store of Filipino-made products – who is interested to sell Philippine tableya in Australia. Eyeth supplied them with 200 packs of Rosario’s Premium Tableya Duo in 2019, which eventually doubled the following year.

Meanwhile, exporting durian in Australia during the pandemic came as a sweet surprise for Rosario’s Delicacies. In collaboration with travel writer and blogger Lindsay Gasik of the blog Year of the Durian, which features various durian varieties in Southeast Asia, Rosario’s Delicacies provided the Philippine durian of the blog’s “durian box” that was exported to Australia.

“If I didn’t try to export, we would have experienced big losses during the pandemic because sales in the local market is almost zero. It was a blessing that I was able to join the Australia Awards Women Trading Globally Program before the pandemic,” she said.

Leather Bags

Michelle Manalo is the founder of Leather Studio Manila, a small enterprise that produces beautiful handcrafted leather pieces. “My Australian education allowed me to have a wider perspective in business which is not solely on numbers but also on people,” she said.

Michelle completed her Master in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations at the University of Sydney in 2012 through the Australia Awards Scholarships. Almost a decade after finishing her postgraduate studies, Michelle is once again representing the Philippines in Sydney – this time, through her locally-made leather pieces. Exporting her leather bags was made possible by Frankie and Friends General Store, a Manila-based company that markets small and sustainable businesses that support community livelihood projects. In 2020, Frankie and Friends opened a physical store in Sydney, Australia, which included The Leather Studio Manila as one of its brand partners.

I was humbled and delighted knowing that I was one of the handpicked brands to represent our country in their first physical store outside the Philippines. I’m excited to see our bag designs inspired by our local culture to be appreciated and worn not just by Filipinos living in Australia, but also by Australian themselves,” said Michelle

While everything is still uncertain because of the pandemic, Michelle is focused on empowering local Filipino craftsmanship. “I hope that I would still be able to provide opportunities to fellow Filipinos by upskilling more women, tapping more local artists and collaborating with more Filipino artisanal communities in promoting our artistry through the designs I will be creating,” she said