Catherine Salimbangon: Harnessing the power of a berry—for better health

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RENOWNED wellness brand Organique Acai Berry was the brainchild of internationally accredited nurse Catherine Salimbangon and information technology professional Joseph Elton.

Being a giver of medical care, the compassionate heart of Salimbangon went out to her elderly patients, who are almost always forced to take unpalatable supplements along with their medications. They often muttered that there must be an alternative to be reinvigorated without having to take a bitter pill every time.

Health concerns and health-care delivery are considered lingering issues, especially for the elderly. But as they say, every problem has a solution—but having an excellent one is better…

Even the daily stresses of life took their toll on the health of the couple somehow, who worked very hard in raising their children. They realized the irony that, while they were working for the health sector, they were not in the best state of health.

Salimbangon was often feeling exhausted from the demands of her daily grind as a nurse. Then a “eureka” moment came when, one time from work, she witnessed a group of elderly men and women happily jogging.

Another instance that clinched her resolve happened in the nursing home she managed, when she closely observed a patient who took acai berry suddenly became physically active again.

Ambassador of health

WHILE they were based in the US, the couple aspired to bring the wonderful news of wellness back home. Thus in June 2009, Organique Inc. was born. It became an all-Filipino company that commissioned itself to produce a world-class food supplement—in the form of acai berries harvested from the Amazon rainforests of Brazil.

Starting the Organique Acai Berry business was hardly a bed of roses, but the indefatigable spirit of Salimbangon and Elton made them forge ahead, both being driven and full of optimism. The tandem did not see it merely as a business opportunity, but a means to help improve the health of many Filipinos.

As they packed their bags in 2010, the couple returned to the Philippines to begin the challenging task of introducing an awesome beverage: a purple-colored, all-natural fruit juice with a delicious chocolate-berry taste, minus the preservatives.

Through countless research, the purplish-black acai berry has been proven to have the highest level of antioxidants and phytochemicals to boost a sagging immune system and help the body combat free radicals, toxins and other harmful viruses.

As an ambassador of Organique Acai Berry, Salimbangon firmly believes in the adage “health is wealth.” It is for this reason she wanted to share the wonders of acai to her fellow Filipinos.

Wasting no time, the enterprising nurse took it upon herself to initially start the business through personal selling and online marketing, as she addressed every inquiry on acai’s exceptional nutritional value.

Later on, Salimbangon went to retail stores, doctors and wellness clinics to actively promote the manifold and superior health benefits of Organique Acai Berry.

That was also an opportune time. The government’s awareness efforts in making people understand the value of health and going back to basics were becoming aggressive, and that neglecting or stubbornly abusing their physiques will impact their lives and those of their loved ones, eventually.

Promoting a lifestyle

WITHIN eight years, Organique Asia, gained credible standing among its peers in business; and equally too, for its unique product—now an indispensable health supplement staple for thousands of Filipinos of all ages, regardless of their health disposition.

Sales saw a steady climb and consequently grew through strategic media efforts that helped gain a wider audience for Organique Acai Berry. The result: a significant market share—thanks to the availability of the product in major drugstores and supermarkets nationwide.

Salimbangon is grateful for the invaluable support of media partners who helped pave the way for Organique Acai Berry. They helped reach more people in different parts of the country as they learned more about its nutritional benefits.

The valuable involvement of like-minded wellness advocates who are knowledgeable of the importance and value of good health have become its staunch believers and partners. This, after they have personally experienced the delicious, health-giving goodness of acai berry.

Being the company’s chief executive, Salimbangon is thankful to its stellar roster of ambassadors, led by wellness guru and TV-radio host Cory Quirino; supermodel, actress and entrepreneur Tweety de Leon; as well as actress, fashion designer and dance-fitness coach-instructor Regine Tolentino.

Organique Asia has also tapped as subject matter experts former Health Undersecretary, broadcast anchor, alternative and natural health-medicine expert Dr. Sonny Viloria; as well as anti-aging medicine and Clinical Aesthetics Society President Dr. Sarah Cabodil, who spoke the truth about Organique Acai Berry as a super-food.

Salimbangon has thus achieved what she had envisioned: A healthier lifestyle for Filipinos, regardless of social status. As she put it: “Organique Acai Berry is not just a drink, but a lifestyle that one should embrace. Because, like in life, good health doesn’t just happen… One has to be intentional and persistent.”