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Blog

Postcard - Sleepless in Hong Kong

The Moringa Kitchen

In 2008, Moringana joined the Natural Products Expo in Hong Kong.

This is one milestone which is very close to my heart. I was not yet looking into the export market but I wanted to find out what the international community would say about Moringana. The world was not yet fully abuzz with Moringa at this time but the interest was already starting to rise.

There is so much to be said about this trip. We left for HK late afternoon of June 25, soon after we wrapped up Sonia's 5th birthday party. Unknowingly we arrived in the middle of a really bad storm. I was befuddled to hear that it was at signal number 8. A Cathay Pacific flight which arrived about two hours after us was hit by bad air turbulence, many passengers were injured and ended up in the hospital. The night was a big wet mess. The Philippine delegation was nowhere to be found. I thought maybe someone forgot to tell us not to fly!

Later in the evening I looked out to the harbour. It was all beautiful despite the swirling storm. In my hand was a little book, The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva. It's old & frayed, and I tend to bring it with me anywhere. I thought how uncanny that the opening date of the expo would also be his feast day. I thought about how we just opened an office in Manila, the corporate life I left behind, and there would be no more turning back. No turning back. It echoed in my head and my heart. How will I run along with the pharma boys and survive? I have no team. They have all the media money. I have nothing. Will I encounter a Brutus? God, how many.

The view was distracting and my thoughts drifted to Wong Kar Wai and Tony Leung. Perhaps in another life, I’d have been working in film. Or baked cakes. How bad can it get. And if the expo will be cancelled we could just sleep in. But who sleeps in Hong Kong anyway.

HK Expo Display JPG.001.jpeg

In the morning, the show opened but the big beautiful hall was empty. Many buyers did not make it because of the weather, but we still hoped some would arrive later in the day, or the next day, if at all.

Towards noon, the hall was still empty and my heart began to sink.

Then, the miracle happened.

I don’t know but they just suddenly appeared, perhaps most came from the same flights, buyers pouring in from all over Asia-Pacific, the USA and some from Europe.

Their interest in Moringa was quite staggering. By some stroke of luck the organizers held a special forum on Moringa, and I was the only one who had it, so everyone flocked to my little corner not just on the first day but until the last day of the expo. The buyers came and got acquainted with us. It was a humbling experience too because I realized how unready I was for the export market.

One of the delegates I became friends with was a Filipina, like an angel who eased my quiet anxieties. The value of her business was perhaps already in the 100M mark but I was so moved by her humility and kindness. I will never forget that day and the things she told me to be prepared for.

She said, “Lahat tayo nagsimula talaga sa ganito, maliit lang. Don’t be afraid, have faith. Listen to your instincts and the business will come to you.” ( We all start small this way. Don’t be afraid, have faith. Listen carefully to your instincts and the business will come to you. )

Later, I'd hang on to what she said as the challenges came one after another. You think mompreneurs are all soft, lovely and cushy, but behind it all there's a lot of work and heartache specially at the beginning. I'm not very sure the superstar gurus tell you this. It's madness!  And those who try to harm or put down the good work of a mompreneur? They have good company in Dante's Inferno. I kid you not. It requires a very strong heart and gut to withstand harmful elements that come your way. You are not only protecting your brand, but your family too.

Thankfully I did not entertain ideas in film noir, and thankfully my knees did not buckle down. So here we are since that fateful trip to Hong Kong.

This is MORINGANA now!

It's available in over 500 retail pharmacy & health stores in the Philippines. We improved the packaging in 2010 with bolder light green lines on the box. Moringana is proudly Philippine made. We also have Moringana Malunggay Tea infusions made with Ginger & Lemongrass.

As to when I’m going back to Hong Kong with Moringana in tow ...maybe soon, maybe later.

We cannot wait!