Before you continue reading, think of your dream of having your own business.
You know what? It is never too late, or too early, to chase it, and even make it happen.
Mekeni Food Corporation, one of the biggest Filipino meat product brands, was founded by married couple and teachers Felix and Meding Garcia, who set up a poultry farm in the 1960s.
Capitalizing on their backyard in Porac, Pampanga, with 100 chickens, and two piglets, the poultry farm sold eggs, as well as ice candy, to the neighborhood.
The small family business was able to provide for their sons’ college education and soon, the enterprise expanded to manufacturing chicharon and tocino.
It also paved the way for the establishment of Mekeni Food Products in 1986.
Felix, who, like Meding, was 60 at the venture’s early stages, told ABS CBN’s MyPuhunan in 2013 that he did not think of his age when they were starting.
In 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted and its aftermath was felt in its neighboring areas, including Porac.
Residents were left jobless, and the situation urged the couple to help the community through their business.
This led Felix to call two of their sons, who were working abroad, to come back and offer their services to the country instead during this challenging time.
They, in turn, obliged and came home in 1993.
“We were moved by our father’s challenge to come out of our comfort zones if we were serious about helping the people. Our parents always told us that you don’t only live by yourself. You have to take care of other people”, son Prudencio said.
The business was able to provide employment opportunities to more than 30 residents.
Other challenges came afterward, such as the foot-and-mouth disease, and the Asian Financial Crisis, but Mekeni was able to withstand them.
Of course it wasn’t easy; the idea of closing down crossed the minds of the Garcia brothers, who were now managing the business.
Their father told them, “I just want to remind you how we’ve come to building this business, how come you made a decision without consulting our people”.
They also saw the dedication of their employees to the company and their jobs. And so Mekeni stayed through thick and thin.
“This almost led to the closure of Mekeni but by being open and honest to our people, the spirit of communal unity and cooperation thrived and everyone committed to continue what we started amidst the crisis ”, Prudencio told CEO Magazine. He is currently the President of Mekeni Food Corporation.
In 2001, the company, with financing assistance from the Development Bank of the Philippines bought a property in Balubad, Porac that soon became the location for their factory launched in 2003.
The meat plant was accredited as class “AAA” by the Department of Agriculture – National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS).
Mekeni Food Corporation has also won numerous awards, including Best Meat Processing Plant from 2004 to 2006 given by the NMIS, and is home to many popular brands such as the Mekeni Picnic Hotdog, and Mekeni Classic Tocino.
Mekeni logo from Mekeni Food Corporation’s Facebook page