I WOKE UP one Tuesday morning to the aroma of my breakfast. Hmmm… corned beef. Could it be Palm or Hereford?

After my sumptuous breakfast of Palm corned beef, Skippy peanut butter, eggs and bread, I took a shower using Clear shampoo. Then I gargled with Listerine after brushing my teeth with Aquafresh. I normally don’t stay long in the john.

I dress up quickly, too. I have a very simple routine. I remember that Tuesday morning long before COVID-19, I simply wore my Hanes briefs and undershirt, Calvin Klein socks, pulled up my Dockers khakis and buckled my Burberry belt. I chose among my Cole Haans but finally decided to slip on my pair of Coach shoes. I donned a white Lacoste long-sleeved shirt and tied on my Ralph Lauren necktie.

Jewelry is not my fashion — no wristwatch, no bracelet, no necklace, just my wedding ring. My toiletries and perfumery are very few. That Tuesday, I sprayed Ferragamo scent (because I cannot afford a pair of its shoes) after I applied my Schzwarzkopf styling gel. Then, I was off to work with my old reliable Isuzu Crosswind I call “Sweetheart.”

I was to deliver a presentation that day on well-known trademarks, but after my lecture came the realization — I was not helping our local industries much except Jollibee, Datu Puti, RFM and San Miguel, among a few.

Would you believe there are a large number of Filipino products with world-class quality which, more often than not, are available for cheaper prices?

Did you ever think Figaro was a European café? Think again. Ala ey, Pilipino ata ya-an! (It is Filipino!) Established in 1993 by a group of seven friends, Figaro Coffee now has over 90 cafes worldwide. Inspired by their “Grow Local, Go Global” policy, Figaro aimed to establish 100 stores back in 2006. That is not impossible considering its quality products and services. There are millions of coffee drinkers and still hundreds of territories to conquer. Who says our Arabica and Barako (Liberica) are not competitive?

And if you thought Yellow Cab is from New York, you are definitely wrong. It is owned and operated by a Filipino corporation established in 2001 with only 15 employees. It now has around 130 outlets nationwide, providing employment to more than a thousand Filipinos and serving thousands of customers daily.

A Filipino once envisioned: “To be recognized as a world brand among the best world brands.” Ambitious? I say, certainly not. This company is guided by mantras… words from Confucius-inspired founder, Ben Chan. Bench started out selling shirts in 1987 from a corner of a mall in Makati. Since then, it has diversified its business and penetrated a wider market by setting up stores in the United States, the Middle East and China.

A lot more Filipino business success stories can be told.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has many programs that advance the interests of our micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs). They provide the avenues to develop, showcase, and market our local products here and abroad. Among them are Buy Local, Go Lokal, Mentor Me, InnoVex, and Bagsakan to name a few. These programs are supported by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) where we offer various programs for MSMEs, like the Juana Make a Mark which waives trademark application fees for women entrepreneurs.

Trademarks, service marks and collective marks play an important role in making these products known not only domestically, but internationally, as well. Making them known to the consumers is not the bottomline, but rather, the contribution they bring to the society and the economy.

Figaro, Yellow Cab, and Bench are among those Filipino marks which have shown that we can penetrate and compete in the international market. Their advancement also contributes to the development of our nation. They generate jobs for our people; they earn income for our country; they create a reputation for our domestic products; they showcase our culture to the world, and so on.

This morning, I was again awakened by Ate’s rhythmic ladle and frying pan. Seconds later, I smelled the aroma of our very own Kaykay’s longganisa (sausage)and Jimmy’s corned beef straight from the cattle country of Masbate. I rose up and went to the kitchen, sipped my Kalinga Brew from the mountains of Cordillera, broke my Julie’s pan de sal (a salty bread roll) and spread Lily’s peanut butter.

As is my Monday routine, after breakfast, I took a quick shower and enjoyed the lather of Ardent’s Malunggay soap. I hurriedly put on my Hanford undies and Darlington socks, pulled on my Peter Piper pants tailored by my former neighbor, tightened my McJim belt, slipped on my Gibi shoes and donned my Narda’s barong from Baguio City. I almost forgot to apply my StyleX hair styling gel from Splash.

Monday rush… I needed more adrenalin. So, I took my Enervon before I headed to work.

During the virtual flag-raising ceremony, I wore a very proud and confident smile looking at our tri-colored banner. Yes, I was happy. I am happy… more so with my Hapee toothpaste smile.


Jesus Antonio Z. Ros is Director III of the Bureau of Trademarks, IPOPHL. He is a proud Pinoy and father of two beautiful children, a boy and a girl.