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Take an adventure that makes you MAD!

If you were too caught up trying to live and put food on the table, would you still sing and dance?

The Aeta community was hit with extreme poverty when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. Left with infertile soil, damaged crop lands, and the will to survive, the Aetas in Yangil stopped singing and dancing so they can focus on making it in life. Traditions can wait; hungry stomachs cannot. Forced to look for other means of livelihood, they resorted to kaingin (slashing and burning of trees that are turned into coal), which left the mountains barren.

Now, one seedling at a time, trees are being replanted in the Aetas’ ancestral domain, and in the process, plants seeds of hope for the community.

MAD (Make A Difference) Travel organizes Tribes and Treks tours, which take local and foreign tourists to more meaningful travel adventures off the beaten path. In Zambales, its main goal is to help reforest the 3,000-hectare ancestral lands of the Aetas. The eco-tour social enterprise goes “MAD” because it believes that travel has the potential to change perspectives and inspire others to build a kinder world.

Tribes and Treks Zambales takes its guests to Sitio Yangil where they get a glimpse of the Aeta way of life. They also plant seedlings for them. I joined a group of nine trekkers composed of guests from Sweden, France, Germany, and Manila. The day started with a briefing at The Circle Hostel in Liwliwa, where we were taught how to properly interact with the Aetas. We were specifically told not to engage in “poverty porn” – photographing or filming the dire conditions (i.e. crying children, hunger, poverty) of the community to elicit sympathy. Instead, we were encouraged to portray them in a positive light by showing them happily interacting with each other as they go about their daily lives. After the orientation, a 45-minute jeepney ride took us to the jump off point, where the trek began.

The trail was flat, but the open space was unforgiving. We did the trek when there was a looming typhoon in the Philippines, in the cool December climate. While the cloudy weather was a welcome alternative to a sunny trek, the winds brought in “sand storms” that pierced through our skin. We learned to take cover in patches of tall grass when available. If not, we would shield our eyes and offer our bare skin for the sand to pound on, until it passed. We had to change our course because the winds were so strong, that the local guides felt it was not safe to bring us to the nursery which is in an exposed, open area. We crossed a few calf-deep rivers, but according to the locals, these can swell during rainy season, so big that the Aetas are not able to cross lest they’ll be swept. Children who go to school in the lowlands need to walk this trail and cross these rivers everyday.

Tree-planting is the first agenda of the day as soon as we reached Sitio Yangil. The Aetas readily welcomed us with big smiles and warm greetings, as if we are returning members of the community. We were taught how to properly bury seedlings in little packets of soil. Our group was able to plant close to 300 seedlings, which will then be transferred to the nursery and will be cared for until they are ready to grow as trees. The reward after was a simple lunch of local Filipino fare (tinola, adobo, fried fish, locally grown fruits, and ice candy – yes, possibly your childhood favorite treat!), that was made special by sharing the meal and exchanging stories with the Aetas.

After a short rest, we were ushered to the community hall for cultural exchanges of singing and dancing. Mt. Pinatubo eruption hit the Aetas hard; when they were too busy looking for livelihood, they almost lost their heritage when they stopped celebrating in their traditional songs and dances. Now, the younger Aetas can freely and easily perform these traditions, and we had the honor of singing and dancing with them. The highlight of the day for most of us was learning traditional archery from Lolo Doyong, the resident super-archer who hunts wild animals for food using their bamboo bow and arrow. Aim, point, and shoot! It sounded easy but it was actually hard to hit the target.

Because MAD Travel promotes creating livelihood instead of encouraging dole outs from the guests, the locals showcased their produce and handicrafts for sale – honey, organically grown fruits, bamboo straws, handmade bracelets, bamboo whistles, and mini bow-and-arrow sets. The company also helps the community get access to the market, especially in reaching corporate accounts for their bamboo straws, which provides steady source of income for the community. The day is capped with a dinner at the home of the head chieftain of all nine tribes.

The experience definitely seared into the memory of the guests. We planted seeds on that day – seeds that will someday turn the barren mountains into a lush forest; seeds of hope for the Aetas who can look forward to life in abundance; and seeds of responsibility in everyone, making us realize that our small ways can have big impacts in shaping our future world.

It’s amazing how one small company is able to provide an adventure that matters, one seed at a time. It’s time to be MAD – it’s time to make a difference!

The trek involves walking through lahar covered valleys and rivers

The first activity once reaching the community is the planting of seedlings

Guests are taught native archery using bamboo bow and arrow. Aetas are hunters and foragers and use the bow and arrow to catch wild animals.

The chieftain shares the tribe’s music with the guests

Guests from France, Baptiste and Aya, share a French song with the kids

Aeta kids mingling with the guests

Aeta kids teaching the guests a traditional action song

Jonna Baquillas is a Doctor of Business Administration student at the De La Salle University. She takes adventures with a purpose – earlier, to discover the world, and lately, to make a difference. She currently engages in research on sustainable tourism and green consumption. She can be reached at jonna.baquillas@gmail.com.

CBRD, BDS conduct sharing session on case study research

The DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) and Business Doctoral Society (BDS) held a sharing session on case study research by Ms. Bianca Villar on November 20, 2018. Villar presented her dissertation titled “Architecting purpose-driven improvisation towards organizational effectiveness in extreme environments: Case narratives from organizations during Typhoon Haiyan”.

The dissertation positions itself within the scholarly conversations on organizing processes in disaster environments. In particular, the main research inquiry is ‘how does the interaction of individual and collective level attributes among improvised actions of the organizations explain how they can realize their goals, i.e. be effective, in extreme contexts?’. Using a case strategy approach, it surfaces narratives of two profiles of organizations that were critical to the response and recovery phase of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.

Bianca Villar is a PhD Candidate and an EU Marie Curie Fellow in the Group of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management (GREITM) at La Salle – Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain. Her current research lies at the intersection of organization studies and disaster science, where she is primarily interested in exploring organizing processes in disaster environments.

The sharing session was attended by doctoral students of DLSU and by faculty members from Holy Angel University and the Asia Pacific College.

CBRD-SERN head wins best business column award from Catholic Mass Media Awards

Center for Business Research and Development – Social Enterprise Research Network (CBRD-SERN) Head Patrick Adriel Aure recently won the Best Business Column Award from the Catholic Mass Media Awards for his Manila Times business column titled “Social entrepreneurship as a solution to the drug problem”. The news was released by the Manila Times last November 20.

In a Facebook post, Aure, a faculty member of the Management and Organization Department, cited how it was unexpected that he was given the award. “I did not receive any notification that my article on how social entrepreneurship may perhaps be used to solve the drug problem in the country has been nominated. When I mentioned this to my parents and [my girlfriend], I was skeptical, but being featured by the Manila Times made the feeling of winning sink in”, he adds.

The business column talks about “challenging the illegal drugs industry not in terms of attacking the suppliers, but redirecting demand from the drug users.” In his article, Aure enumerated three potential solutions to the drug problem. “The social entrepreneurship challenge is this: can we develop and innovate ‘products’ and ‘services’ that will disrupt the ‘illegal drugs industry’ and render them obsolete?” he highlights.

The business column was uploaded last March 7, 2017 in The Manila Times’ Managing for Society column.

CBRD-SERN attends knowledge sharing event on IIX Foundation’s “Roadmap for Strengthening Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines”

The DLSU Center for Business Research and Development – Social Enterprise Research Network (CBRD-SERN), represented by Patrick Adriel Aure and Ian Benedict Mia, attended the IIX Foundation’s knowledge sharing event on the proposed “Roadmap for Strengthening Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines” on November 20 at the Asian Development Bank.

With the roadmap, IIX aims to help “drive inclusive growth and meet the national and sustainable development goals” in the Philippines. It proposes several solutions on several issues including limited access to capital, lack of innovative financial products, knowledge gaps, and data gaps. The roadmap was created and presented by IIX Foundation, an organization that focuses on the development of “impact enterprises” and other social innovators.

Following the presentation of the roadmap, the panel discussion talked about the insights and experiences of three guests coming from the public sector, civil society, and social enterprise sector. They are Office of Senator Bam Aquino Programs Head Mr. Karl Satinitigan, Bayan Academy President Mr. Eduardo A. Morato Jr., and BagoSphere Chief Executive Officer Mr. Zhihan Lee, respectively. The panel discussion was moderated by IIX Foundation Chairperson Ms. Durreen Shahnaz.

One of the main points of the discussion was on how social enterprises can be taken to the next level and become sustainable businesses. In the Philippines, one of the main challenges of social entrepreneurship highlighted is on financing and investment-readiness. The discussion also highlighted the ongoing definition of social entrepreneurship in the country, and how the sector can move forward despite the ongoing debate.

CBRD-SERN is looking forward to attending more policy and industry-related events on social entrepreneurship.

DLSU-CBRD conducts consumer protection workshop for ASEAN government officials

The first batch of participants of the “Validation Workshop for Developing Teaching Tools in Six Consumer Protection Priority Sectors” pose with the DLSU-CBRD team led by Dr. Divina Edralin (seated, 6th from left). Also in the photo are representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat Ms. Sarah Firdaus (seated, 7th from left) and Ms. Clarissa Permata Abiwijaya (seated leftmost).

The second batch of participants of the “Validation Workshop for Developing Teaching Tools in Six Consumer Protection Priority Sectors” pose with the DLSU-CBRD team led by Dr. Divina Edralin (seated, 6th from left). Also in the photo are representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat Ms. Sarah Firdaus (seated, 7th from left) and Ms. Clarissa Permata Abiwijaya (seated leftmost).

As producers are expected to make their products and services safe for consumers, government must ensure that regulatory mechanisms on consumer protection are not only enforced but also properly communicated to the general public. This is the gist of the five-day consumer protection workshop conducted by a team of consultants formed by the De La Salle University Center for Business Research and Development (DLSU CBRD).

The workshop, which was funded by the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP), was held on September 3 to 7 at Pan Pacific Manila. It focused on consumer protection in six priority sectors: (1) consumer credit and banking, (2) product safety and labeling, (3) environment, (4) phones, internet services, and e-commerce, (5) healthcare services, and (6) professional services. Government officials and employees from the different ASEAN member states attended the workshop as part of their training in consumer protection.

Titled “Validation Workshop for Developing Teaching Tools in Six Consumer Protection Priority Sectors” or simply “Training of Trainers” (TOT), the workshop utilized training manuals and other materials developed by the DLSU-CBRD team based on Technical Manuals provided by the ASEAN Secretariat. The DLSU-CBRD team is composed mostly of DLSU faculty members, namely Dr. Divina Edralin (team leader), Dr. Jaime Cempron, Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan, Dr. Ronald Pastrana, Dr. Ana Lisa Asis-Castro, and Ms. Jennelyn Gannaban. Providing technical expertise are other DLSU faculty members, namely Dr. Anthony S.F. Chiu, Dr. Nelson Celis, and Mr. Benel Lagua.

The main goal of the TOT was to assess whether the training manuals and the proposed training methods will be useful to the different ASEAN government officials and employees, who are expected to echo the training they received so as to expand the pool of consumer protection advocates in their respective countries. The TOT covered a variety of topics on consumer protection such as substantive consumer protection issues, pre-market interventions, post-market interventions, and redress mechanisms. More importantly, the workshop participants were exposed to a variety of training methods such as interactive lectures, group discussions, case analysis, role plays, and structured learning activities. The feedback given by the participants will be used to improve the design of the training manuals before these are made available to concerned government agencies ASEAN-wide.

CBRD director delivers professorial chair lecture on PRESENT Bill

DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) Director Dr. Raymund Habaradas delivered his professorial chair lecture titled “What is absent in the PRESENT Bill? Why cash is not necessarily the answer to scaling social enterprises in the Philippines” on August 24, 2018 at the DLSU Faculty Center. Habaradas is the holder of the Doña Engracia Reyes Chair in Service Oriented Entrepreneurship.

During his lecture, Habaradas talked about the factors that contribute to the scaling of social enterprises in the Philippines, which he derived from several case studies he and his co-researchers have conducted under CBRD’s Social Enterprise Research Network (CBRD-SERN). According to him, organizational factors that contribute to successful scaling include business acumen, collaborative network, innovative product / service, and innovative business model; while the environmental factors are ecology of support, and competitive / market pressures.

Drawing insights from the experiences of local social enterprises, Habaradas identified possible improvements on Senate Bill No. 176, also known as the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Act, which aims to support the growth of social enterprises in the Philippines. Sponsored by Senator Bam Aquino, the bill is being supported by the PRESENT Coalition, an alliance of various social entrepreneurs and advocates, which include academia and civil society. Mr. Gomer Padong, Development Cooperation and Advocacy Director of the Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PHILSEN), served as reactor.

The PRESENT Bill

While the PRESENT Bill addresses some important points such as the need to get social enterprises integrated in the value chain, there are some provisions (or the absence of relevant ones) that betray a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that result in the successful scaling of social enterprises or in the scaling of innovative solutions to social problems. Habaradas mentioned that the proposed law provides for the establishment of a social enterprise development fund, and also provides for special credit windows. He wonders, though, what makes these different from the credit facilities already made available by government financial institutions to micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and which are not fully availed of anyway.

He also questioned the enforceability of certain provisions, such as the encouragement of local government units to collaborate with social enterprises, and the call for DepEd, TESDA, and CHED to “cause the integration of SE content and inclusion of SE courses in the curricula at all levels, especially at the secondary and tertiary levels.” He said that a more concrete mechanism must be in place to enforce these provisions.

To improve the PRESENT Bill, Habaradas recommended the following: (1) including provisions that will build cultural and social capital, rather than focusing on economic capital; (2) providing support to organizations that provide the platform for social enterprise development; (3) establishing mechanisms for effective cross-sector partnerships, (4) involving local government units in identifying problem areas with ‘neglected positive externalities’, and (5) removing certain provisions of the bill that are not enforceable.

Padong’s reaction

Padong said that the PRESENT Bill is continuously evolving, and that revisions are still welcome at this point. Since the initial draft of the bill was formulated in 2012 by 47 social entrepreneurship practitioners, it underwent eight changes mainly due to transitions from one leader to another. Padong cites that the PRESENT Bill is different compared to legislation introduced in other countries in the sense that social entrepreneurship in the Philippines mostly focus on poverty reduction. This distinction, he adds, is what makes social enterprises in the Philippines unique. “We have a different framing of social enterprises here in the Philippines because a big portion of our population is poor,” he said.

One of the ways by which the PRESENT Bill can undergo further improvements is through a more thorough collaboration with the academe. Due to its dynamic nature, the social enterprise sector entails a more dynamic collaboration among the different sectors involved in the legislation process.

Habaradas’ lecture was organized by CBRD-SERN in collaboration with the Management and Organization Department.

CBRD director invited to De La Salle Lipa research workshop

  

De La Salle Lipa organized a research capability workshop for its Academic Service Personnel (ASP) on February 15, 2018 at DLSL’s CBEAM Function Hall. Invited as resource persons are two research administrators of De La Salle University (DLSU). Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III, Director of the University Research Coordination Office (URCO), gave an overview of the seminar and discussed Research Tools for Decision Making. Dr. Raymund Habaradas, Director of the Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) tackled the following topics: Research for Managerial Decision Making – A Rational Approach, and Research for Managerial Decision Making – A Creative Approach.

Among the organizers of the event are Dr. Sheila Maloles, DLSL’s Director for Research and Publications; Dr. Jennifer Casabuena, Publications Officer; Ms. Analiza Resurreccion, Training and Events Officer; Dr. Ivee Guce, Chair of the Department of Mathematics; and Ms. Geness Aclan, ASP Coordinator.

CBRD initiates the Social Enterprise Research Network

Last February 22, 2017, the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) introduced its Social Enterprise Research Network (SERN) initiative during a social enterprise learning session sponsored by the Lasallian Social Enterprise and Economic Development (LSEED) program of DLSU-COSCA, which was held at Yuchengco Hall Multipurpose Room 302. SERN aims to harness the initiatives of researchers, faculty, students, and practitioners to form a network that advances social enterprise management and social entrepreneurship.

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CBRD research seeks to boost Philippine social enterprises

As part of the learning sessions under the Lasallian Social Enterprise and Economic Development (LSEED) Program of the Center for Social Concern and Action, the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) presented the results of the study, “Managing Social Enterprises in the Philippines: Challenges and Strategies.”

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CBRD, ALTCFT holds case writing workshop for DLSU and AIM faculty

Cases are teaching and learning tools that allow students to freely discuss issues related to the case, with the teacher moderating and facilitating the flow of the discussion. However, “if there is only one answer to a case, don’t use a case.  Better give a lecture!” This was one of the tips given by Dr. Fernando Roxas during the AIM-DLSU Case Writing Workshop held at the Meralco Caseroom of the Asian Institute of Management last May 15, 2015.

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