As Bicol’s signature tree, the pili stands as a metaphor for the region. It is highly resilient to the storms that regularly pass through the Bicol peninsula.
Endemic to the Philippines, local farmers have long been cultivating pili, with its nut the most famous by-product —a fixture in shops that sell delicacies.
However, for organic agricultural advocate, Rosalina Tan, director of Elemie Naturals Inc., makers of Pili brand of natural personal care products, chose to push pili’s potential further than just standard pasalubong fare. Tan is the founding president of the Organic Producers Trade Association (OPTA) as well.
“As an advocate for adopting an organic lifestyle, I wanted to explore other uses of pili that stays true to my beliefs. I wanted to come up with a product that benefits both the customers and the people that make them,” said Tan.
While collaborating with a team of scientists from one of the top universities in the country in 2014, Tan experimented the use of the meticulously processed pili oil to various personal care products including soaps, lotions and lipsticks adding natural moisturizing and other inherent benefits in the extracted pili oil.
The experiment led to new potential applications of the oils extracted from different parts of the pili.
Clinical testing reveals that its components contain high level of carotenoids (anti-oxidant), phytosterols (reduces inflammation), tocopherol (maintains healthy cells), oleic acid (hydrating properties), and linolenic acid (moisturizing properties).
All these ingredients found in every Pili Beauty and Wellness natural personal care product, not only makes it a powerful anti-oxidant and natural germicide, but also an ultra-hydrating moisturizer.
It’s this unique human quality to harvesting Pili that makes it a valuable industry for the Bicol region. Currently, there are around 14,000 farmers and farm laborers who are supported by the pili industry.
With this is mind, Tan rooted Pili Beauty and Wellness in her passion to turn her organic lifestyle advocacy to a business that is able to generate jobs and provide additional income for local farmers.
“Through Pili Beauty and Wellness, we wanted to provided pili farmers and the community with a new source of income while keeping true to our advocacy of promoting an organic lifestyle,” she stressed.
Rediscovering other potential use of the pili tree has reinvented it into a line of globally quality personal care products.
“When I made the choice to develop Pili Beauty, I was making it for the local farmers, farmhands, the environment, and my advocacy. Little did I know that I was leaving a legacy for the next generation to have a choice,” said Tan.
Just as it means, the story of Pili Beauty and Wellness is about choice—of choosing to share the Philippines precious beauty secret and choosing to use natural ingredients in their beauty products in an ethical and sustainable manner.