Monday, November 3, 2014

1780 by SariSari: heritage Philippine products in one site

The sari-sari stores that we know have been a part of Philippine life for decades. It's everywhere -- those houses in our neighborhood that use whatever little frontage they have to sell canned goods, bread, chichirya (chips), softdrinks, cigarettes, and whatever else. We even have a sari-sari just two houses away from my home!

The physical sari-sari stores are what I call the earliest form of the 7-11 convenience stores. They are the run-to places when you find yourself craving for something to eat when stores are closed. Or the place you buy eggs from when you suddenly run out and it's just not worth a trip to the grocery. Or even the saving grace when a holiday shuts down all stores and you need to buy a few things.

This was what SimpleSoft CEO Ernell DyLim had in mind when he named his online site, after our iconic Filipino one-stop-shop. DyLim realized that there are consumers looking for certain products and merchants selling these products but there was no central place where they could meet. And oftentimes, cost was a big factor for the merchants to bring their goods to market. Thus, his site was born out of this need.

But even as this online platform grew in popularity, DyLim felt that there were still areas where it could make a sizeable impact -- small-time business enterprises and undiscovered gems around the country from microentrepreneurs. With this in mind, a new project was born -- 1780 by SariSari.

1780 by SariSari is now a sub-portal within that showcases Philippine heritage products that have not yet broken into mainstream urban commercial areas. The sub-portal highlights the wide variety of regional delicacies and crafts from different regions and makes us realize just how much more creativity there can be in local ingredients and indigenous crafts.

Why 1780? 1780 refers to the 17 regions and 80 provinces of the Philippines combined in 1 website.

Beautiful closeup photos of the products make up a slideshow on the 1780 home page

Each product has a thumbnail with the price, a Buy button and links to its details

The product details have an interesting write-up on the entrepreneur & a short story on the product
At the launch of the 1780 sub-portal, I got to see for myself some of the products that can be bought via the site . Here are some.

A beautiful banig spread of products one can find at the 1780 by SariSari sub-portal

Fashionable Paniya clutches -- made from buntal (palm tree) straw and acacia wood

Pili products like this Corioso and Hopia de Pili by Charito's Delights are indeed a delight to eat

My first time to see… ketchup!!!

One-of-a-kind pieces from Josephine's Jewelry use silver and gold metals
with jewels such as topaz, opal or even diamonds

Dark chocolate and spicy dark chocolate -- made from cacao and sold by Kablon Farms

CT South Tropic now makes wine out of fruits: mangosteen, passion fruit,
durian, jackfruit, pineapple and dragon fruit, among others

Really beautiful and vibrant colors in these banigs made by the Badjaos of Zamboanga.
Some are so intricate that they take 1-3 months sometimes just for a single mat!

For me, what makes 1780 by SariSari a wonderful idea brought to life are these:

* It recognizes the creativity of the Pinoy microentrepreneur & inspires more such entrepreneurs to look around their own locale to see how they can use what they have to produce world-class products.

* It cuts out the problems and additional cost of middlemen and allows the entrepreneur to connect directly with consumers.

* For consumers, we get access to products that we ordinarily would not see yet in metro cities and which are often found in the local areas of each of the entrepreneurs

You can find 1780 by SariSari at the e-commerce site of Also check the Facebook page of 1780 at

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