A life outside the Philippines seems the only way for the Salimbangons to have a comfortable life – well paying jobs for IT manager Elton and registered nurse Cathy to save a lot for the family. Opportunities abound, but their status in U.S. was unsettling – they were working professionals, but not citizens in these countries. “We had working papers but we got tired of renewing it because it was tedious and very expensive (on their status in U.S.),” says the couple.
That’s when they decided to come back to the Philippines in 2008 and finally settle. “We thought it was a sign to come home,” say Elton and Cathy, who worked in both countries for nine years, raised three kids and worked hard for the family. “From the income we earned, we only spent one-fourth for living expenses and the rest were kept as savings.” So Cathy came home with the kids with their savings, then Elton followed after six months.
The Salimbangons are frugal, who until now live simply with only a small portion of their earnings spent on food, education of the three children and health of the family. They live a life on things essential like education – their two daughters are back in Canada, studying college while one son is here – and health, which they believe is the only wealth in the world that they could share with others. Indeed, in 2009 they founded The Organique, the company which is into health and wellness, giving consumers products like Organique Acai Premium Blend, imported from the U.S. and now one of top-selling health supplements in the country.
Cathy, who used to be a nurse in a home for the elderly back in the U.S. and Canada, serves as vice president for marketing. “We want people to have high quality of life by having a healthy lifestyle,” she says. “We want them to feel good and look forward to taking Organique Acai Premium Blend every day.”
Elton, who at that time worked as an IT manager in one of the few Nutraceutical Manufacturing Companies in California, says being healthy these days doesn’t have to be like swallowing a bitter pill. “It could be both healthy and delicious – a pleasant experience,” he says. He first came to know the health benefits of Acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee) berry on a popular U.S. TV program THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW. That time Acai berry was becoming popular in the U.S. as an energy booster and a weight loss drink. He thought, “Why is this only available in US? Why not also in the Philippines? I could do that…. He then sought the help of Food Scientist from the company’s R&D department to come up with what is now known as the Organique Acai Premium Blend. At first it was hit and miss, but when he decided to have his kids taste tested it, it worked.
Today, after seven years in the country, more and more people are taking Organique for its health benefits, not only those who are sick but also healthy ones. Because it boosts energy, preparing a person to do many activities in a day. Its rich content of antioxidants protects the heart and the whole body, increasing its immunity against diseases and improving blood circulation. Organique also contains phytonutrients, amino acids, minerals and omega fatty oils for overall health. It is 100 percent pure and natural, without additives and preservatives. It also helps promote lower cholesterol and blood pressure and lessen the risk of cancer.
A life-long advocacy
Improving people’s health by giving them one of the most nutritious food on earth has become a life-long advocacy of Elton and Cathy. As Organique helps people extend their lives by preventing sickness and keeping healthy, they are also sharing life’s greatest wealth – health. Although it took them years of struggle to get to where they are now, they believe it is their commitment to natural and healthy living that sustains them.
The first three years of the business were difficult. Elton and Cathy say they were always short of funds because the companies which helped distribute Organique usually paid them after three months to six months. Every day was a decision between quitting and continuing the business. “Often we thought of quitting, but we never quit because of our faith in God,” they say. There was a time that when they had only P2,000 left in their bank account, but they didn’t quit, instead they persevered. They knew what were doing was right, and finding the right partners was crucial to the business.
Theirs is family-owned corporation which has now 25 employees, mostly in sales and marketing. It is led and managed by the couple – Elton as president and Cathy as vice president. “I take care of the small things while Elton takes care of big ideas. Together we complement,” says Cathy. “And we treat our employees as family.” The everyday demands of sales and marketing require hands-on focus on details by Cathy while the major decisions go into the hands of Elton.
The life of Elton and Cathy has been seeking for good opportunities, whether abroad or here, and making the most of them for their family. Still the family is the priority like the children’s education and the family’s health. Today, they have greater responsibility – a family-owned business promoting a natural way of life to attain health, and Organique Acai Premium Blend is their first contribution to people’s health, and more to come in the future.