THE SECRET TO 'PINGPING'S TINAPA' (SMOKED FISH)

SAMAR, June 12, 2003 By Angelica A. Angel (STAR) For Isagani and Guadalupe de Guzman, the first step from their hometown of Calbayog City in Samar to Australia was taken because they had no choice.

"My father had nine children and no means of livelihood when the big fishing boats came. Instead of competing, we just put up a factory of smoked fish called Pingping’s Tinapa in 1979," said Elizabeth de Guzman.

The business sent all nine children to college and replaced the original family home made of plywood into one of concrete.

Shelf life

Business further picked up when Pingping’s Tinapa improved its product’s packaging and shelf life.

It was Guadalupe de Guzman, now 67 years old, who approached the Department of Science and Technology for help. "The tinapa that we see in the markets today are wrapped in old newspaper and then slid into a sando bag," she said. "What we learned from the DoST was to place the tinapa in vaccum-sealed plastic bags to preserve its flavor and quality."

DoST technology also lengthened the shelf life of smoked fish from four days to six months, making the product more attractive either as a gift or a market commodity for buyers in Manila and distributors to Brunei, Singapore, and Australia.

Production

With the fear of spoilage minimized, Pingping’s Tinapa increased its daily production run by 50% to 300 pieces and its daily production value by 33% to P367, 200.

"We now maximize our production when fish is abundant and cheap," said Elizabeth de Guzman.

In terms of gross sales, the lengthened shelf life of smoked fish and better packaging increased actual gross sales from P2.94 million to P5.88 million in the span of one year.

Production is expected to further increase next year with the arrival of a P190,000 packaging machine in the second half of 2003.

The machine will enable Pingping’s Tinapa to expand production by another 2,000 pieces a month or close to the plant’s 4,600-kilograms monthly capacity and hire additional workers on top of the existing six workers and eight worker-member of the family.

"With this machine, we can export directly instead of go through middlemen. We are now working on getting accredited by the Bureau of Food and Drugs," said the younger de Guzman.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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