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Gov’t interventions turns passion into successful enterprise

Mabilis, madaling lapitan at napaka-broad ng assistance.”

This is how Miss Raiisa Vargas, proprietor of Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods, described her experienced when she sought assistance from the government to infuse technology in handling their business’ products.

Vargas’ Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods is a food processing business that started in a backyard bangus processing that has now boomed and exporting processed Dagupan bangus products abroad.

Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods began when Raiisa and her husband Randy, whom were Fish Processing Technology graduates, established their bangus processing business in 2014.

With a passion and hopes to provide employment to their ‘kababayan’, the couple employed differently abled individuals and underprivileged women in their community-based social enterprise.

“May advocacy kami that time to provide jobs sa community especially differently abled individuals and at saka underprivileged women, kaya naisip namin bakit di namin umpisahan,” Vargas said.

As they start their business, the couples sought the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Dagupan City Agriculture Office to equip their employees with the right skills and knowledge in fish processing.

After several trainings, they produced their first products and introduced them to their friends, relatives and churchmates.

“It so happen na nagustuhan nila yong products, kaya naisip namin na hindi lang pala ito advocacy at pwede palang kumita at the same time nakakapag-provide ng jobs kaya tinuloy-tuloy na namin,”Vargas added.

With eagerness to improve its production process, Vargas then sought the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology Region 1 (DOST-1) through the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) - Pangasinan Satellite Office located in Urdaneta City.

Vargas applied for the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in 2018 and received the first phase of the program amounting to PhP269, 530.00 under the Innovation-enabling Fund (iFund).

Vargas used the funds received for the purchased of equipment and used some of it for the heat distribution test and nutritional analyses of their bottled bangus products.

“Ang maganda sa DOST, madali silang lapitan at mabilis ng serbisyo basta available sila at ang mga assistance na kailangan,” Vargas added.

She said that with the assistance from the government their business have obtained certifications from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and later secure a U.S. FDA Food Facility Registration in February 2021.

With their certified safe and quality food processing, the proprietors was able to distribute and sell their products not only in the province of Pangasinan but also across the province of Laguna, Metro Manila, Baguio City, Cordillera, Regions 4A and 4B.

At present, the Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods’ products have also reached the countries of California, Texas, Washington, Florida and San Francisco.

Among the products that Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods offers are Dagupan boneless bangus in pesto, garlic, hainanese, Asian steak, spicy masala, and chili garlic flavors.

They also produce bottled gourmet bangus in Portuguese style in olive oil, original and spicy adobo style in corn oil, pesto flavored in olive oil, bangus with tomato sauce, bangus with turmeric in olive oil, bangus hawaiian style, bangus with sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, ba-yo in corn oil, pesto tuyo delizioso, tuyo delizioso.

This year,  with their innovativeness and resiliency despite all the challenges in their business, especially in this time of pandemic, the firm was recognized as Best SETUP Adopter in regional and provincial level and received SETUP Praise Award from DOST.

"Gusto ko lang sabihin sa mga nag-uumpisa at mga nais mag-umpisa ng kanilang business na huwag silang mahiyang lapitan ang iba’t ibang government agencies, like DOST because they are there to help us,” Vargas said. (JCR/EMSA/PIA Pangasinan)

About the Author

Elsha Marie Arguel

Information Officer II

Region 1

Information Officer II assigned at PIA Pangasinan located in Dagupan City

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