Longganisa in Isabela
Name of village: Angan


Learning Express is a life-changing 14-day journey for the students from Singapore Polytechnic and Isabela State University, Cabagan. Individually, it is prominent that we have grown and matured emotionally.

I joined this programme with the intention of finishing a two credit module in my polytechnic life. It was perfect for me as with one stone, I was able to hit two birds- to go overseas and finish a semester long module in two weeks. I was ecstatic to be chosen to take part in the OSIP and couldn't wait to go! However, I felt uneasy nearing the date of meeting my groupmates for the first time as I wanted us to tart on the right note. This feeling slowly dissolved as I got to know each and everyone in the group. Team Cabagan or my MagatDam Family comprises of our strong-willed Leader Wei Xiang, Innovative Chermaine, Life of the party Daryl, Witty Wesley, always joyful Jolie, Entertaining Emmanuel, photographer Dylan, charming Donn and me, storyteller Mae. And this is our Lex trip…

Picture 1: Our very first group photo together before our flight to Philippines.

I had hoped to forge long lasting friendships with my groupmates and dreamed that our project would be successful after the 14 days but most of all, to be able to make a positive impact to the village we were going to. My first impression on the group and our facilitator, Mr Tan, came when we attended a 1-day course on Design Thinking(DT). This was for us to learn DT tools and use it in identifying the problem and offering the best solution to counteract it. Mr Tan, played an important role in gelling us together by constantly encouraging us for more active discussion. Although the DT training was a bit dry for me the tools came in helpful with the need statement and solutions. Also, I found that the application of the DT tools was easier during the trip than learning the theory.

Picture 2: Our finished product of longganisa; handmade with love from Team Cabagan

We were only told that our group was to stay in a longganisa making village and that the business is currently not doing well. They were full time farmers and part time longganisa makers. The longganisa business is by order basis where they will only make the amount of order they get with a minimum of 15kg thus, the sales were not consistent. Initially, I thought we would have to design a machine to make the longganisa production faster and more efficient. Oh how wrong I was! After applying POEMS and interviewing the villagers, competitors and customers, we found other issues.

Within the second day of homestay, we have already identified the needs of the community. They needed machines to help grind the meat rather than manual chopping, new equipment such as knives and chopping boards, higher capital and more orders.

Picture 3: One of the villagers intensively chopping the meat into finely diced pieces.

The making of the longganisa in Angan is very manual and intensive. From the very start, the washing of intestine four to five times is already difficult for an ageing woman to do. Additionally, fresh water comes from pumping a well thus, all the bending and pushing has great negative effect on their bodies. The most intensive part of the process is the manual chopping of meat as from big blocks, it has to be turned into finely diced pieces. This usually takes them 2-3 hours just for 15kg of meat. After making the longganisa, they will suffer from body aches which will last for a couple of days.

Picture 4: One of the villagers holding a worn out and old chopping board.

Furthermore, the equipment that they used are old and worn out. The chopping boards and knives are old and blunt. With this, it is harder for the women to chop the meat faster and finer as every now and then, they have to be taken out and be sharpened.

They thought of resolving the issue about old equipment by buying new ones. However, that is not possible due to another issue-low capital. They only have 5000 pesos as capital and have to be maintained monthly to buy the ingredients for their orders. To combat the manual labor that they faced, buying a grinder would be the best solution but simply not possible due to low capital.

Their biggest issue in their longganisa business is their low quantity of orders. Their business is by order basis, thus without orders they do not make any sales. Their orders fluctuate as customers are also farmers. This inconsistency in orders affects the sales of longganisa directly such that only several times a year do they experience high quantity of orders. In the unlikely event that there will be leftovers, house-to-house calls has to be done.

Picture 5: One of our later night discussions on coming up with the need statement during homestay.

With the need statement of "I need to know how to promote the sales of Longganisa out of the village", the solution that we came up with was a business plan. A step-by-step business plan for the longganisa business to be known to a larger population and thus, increasing their sales. The business plan was carefully curated by us to suit the needs of our persona, Anxious Antonia.

Picture 6: Our group's solution to the need statement.

Step one was advertising. We had three suggestion for the community to take up. First, we made a radio recording advertising Angan Sarap Longganisa to be played in the school's radio station. This came to our minds after we found out that other villages listen to the radio station thus, appealing to a larger audience. Secondly, was to set up a makeshift stall in the wet market for 40 Pesos a day. We think this will be effective in promoting Angan Sarap Longganisa to a wider population as people from all around Isabela goes to the same wet market. Lastly, we created designed name cards that they can use for mass distribution to spread the existence of Angan Sarap Longganisa.

Step two was packaging. We decided to improve on the plastic bag packaging to entice more customers. We also aimed that the Angan Sarap Longganisa trademark will be the woven baskets. The woven baskets were made using banana leaves, coconut leaves and pandan leaves. The estimated time of making a woven basket is 3 minutes for a beginner. Thus, it was fairly easy for the villagers to learn how to make the woven baskets.

Step three was marketing. We presented four marketing strategies that is relevant for the business. Bulk discount can be used to encourage customers to buy a large quantity of orders. Bulk discount can be used to encourage customers to buy a large quantity of orders. Psychological pricing was to have a psychological impact on the customers about the retail prices. Referral discount was to spread the name of Angan Sarap Longganisa to more people as with reference, the customer will attain a discount on their next purchase. The different sizes were to cater to the preferences of customers.

Step four was transportation. We were hopeful that after the first three steps, the quantity of orders would have gone up and delivery of the longganisa would be all around Isabela. Thus, we designed a woven basket to be attached at the back of a bicycle to keep longganisa fresh upon delivery.

Picture 7: The MagatDam Family.

I never thought that I will say this but I am so thankful that internet was not so readily available in the campus. If not, we would have been less sociable but more into our phones. This 14-day trip has taught me a lot spiritually and emotionally. If given a chance at implementation trip, I'll drop everything here in Singapore and go back. Even after a month has passed, I still miss everyone's laughter and our group's inside jokes. I am so thankful for this opportunity to have met such wonderful and loving people. From the awkward hellos, to ear piercing singing to snot-filled tears, we went through them all as a family. MagatDam.

Written by: Diorivie Fragata