PHOTOGRAPHY CULTURE FOOD ART & A BOX OF LIFE FULL OF SURPRISES

The Mountain Maid – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

There is a convent up in the mountains producing jams and other delicacies. The main mission is to help the poor students to support their education. A charitable institution who’s business is to fulfill the future and dreams of children from the mountain region.

 

The Mountain Maid

 

 

 

Located in Baguio Benguet, Philippines known as The Good Shepherd Convent. This place is always a part of the destination for tourists that visits everyday. The place was originally a school ministry  conducted by sisters to harbor orphans who are in need of protection. With the increase of students under their care, providing provisions for the children has become a challenge.

In order to feed the growing number of children the sisters had to beg for scraps from the market of peelings and portions of vegetables that are unsold. This paved the way for the sisters to conceive a solution to support the children. Strawberries were abundant in the mountains and Sister Mary Carmel Medalla knew how to make strawberry jam which she learned from California. It was a blessing in a way to teach the students culinary and at the same time provide for the needs of the children.

 

Since this place has become a popular tourist destination, snack bars and an ice cream parlor operated inside the vicinity. Although it is not one of their products but a popular local brand it is a good way to cool down while visiting the place. I am not sure about their arrangement but could possibly be a franchise to add to the earnings of the mission.

 

A lot of flavors are available to choose from cookies and cream to the local flavors like tablea yema.

The mission has grown and is called The Mountain Maid Training and Development Foundation. The quality of their products has become popular across the nation and most of the tourists often looks for the brand Mountain Maid.  This is the counter where the products are on display. You would select the product that you would like to purchase and then write it on a piece of paper.

Once you have your piece of paper you would need to fall in line to pay and get your order. A lot of changes has occurred across the years in the center here are some.

  • In the earlier days they used to use second hand jars that you would return once consumed. Now they use a standard bottle with different sizes and no need to return.
  • They used to accept only girls in the program but now boys are also welcome.
  • The sisters used to run all the operation but now they have lay staff who has become partners in running the business.
  • Everything used to be done manually but has shifted to semi mechanical operation.
  • Credit cards and debit cards are accepted for payment.
  • Only bio degradable bags are used now.
  • The foundation used to be tax exempted but now is one of the top taxpayers in the city.

 

The lanes are organized to provide quick and good service to the customers.

This gallery is a section where you could learn about the history of the convent with a small garden. This is also a perfect spot to view the beauty of the Cordillera mountains.

 

A beautiful family place to spend a little time after buying a bottle of jam and other favorite delicacies.

Starting with only a product of strawberry jam the center has expanded to producing more than 60 other products.

Products including

  • Jams – Strawberry, Ube (purple yam), Mango, Orange, Guava, Blueberry and Guyabano.
  • Peanut brittle
  • Nuts
  • Pickels
  • Cookies
  • Coffee and Tea

 

On display are the sisters who developed each product which has become best sellers. Their talents has helped the mission to grow and put a lot of children to college.

As mentioned by the center there were a lot of offers of export, expansion, retail outlets and on line selling. These they declined as they believed of not being slaves to the market. Doing so would leave little time for the students to study as education is the main goal of their mission and not profit. This also would give less time for prayer for the sisters.

What is it that makes people keep coming back? Is it the quality? Is it the wish to support the mission of the center? It is not common for a fusion of charitable mission, business and education. I believe apart from the good quality it is one way for us of helping children who struggles to find a better future.

 

A beautiful thing to see a place that is selfless not thinking about the profit but the benefit of others. Something that we do not see very often now these days. If we had more centers like this our world would be a better place.

 

Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you again soon. Cheers.

 

Resource

http://www.goodshepherdsisters.org.ph/baguio-social-enterprise

All photos are original and taken with Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm