Siblings help farmers in Mindanao with their kamote chips business


This duo from Parañaque found success in their first business using their own family recipe of kamote chips and they did not forget to help Mindanao farmers.

“We get our kamote mostly from Mindanao. We [offer] loan to the farmers so that they can buy fertilizer and as well as seeds for the kamote. Then we buy their whole harvest so that they’re guaranteed for the month,” Francesca Rotor Reyes shared with the Philippine STAR.

The siblings order around four to five tons of kamote from the Mindanao farmers.

“I think that, because We’ve been blessed with so much that it’s the least that we can do is give back. Especially to the farmers who have helped us. Because without them, we wouldn’t have Balay Baler,” she added.

Alexandra Rotor Reyes recalled how she asked her older sister Francesca if they could try selling her own recipe of kamote chips during the pandemic.

“My parents decided to stop giving me allowance and I thought of a way to make money. I saw all of my friends, they were selling food online or like in our village groups. I suggested to my sister that maybe we should try selling our kamote chips that we make at home. And that’s how the idea started,” Alexandra told the Philippine STAR.

Francesca liked the idea and started creating small batches of kamote chips.

“I used to make it at home and then we would give it to our family and friends whenever we have dinner or we have outing. But it was just like plain chips lang, no added flavorings no nothing. It was only during the pandemic when we decided what if try to develop the recipe. Make it thin, crispy, flavorful,” Francesca recalled.

Around July 2020, they started selling inside their village. At first, they were nervous if anyone would buy their homemade products.

“We decided to post on a Facebook group. 100 pouches [of Kamote chips]. When I first posted it, no one was commenting. I told my mom, No one’s ordering. I decided to leave my computer.When I checked my laptop again, it was sold out already and we were so surprised that people actually wanted to try it,” Alexandra said.

That’s when the siblings decided to be all in for the newly found business. After a few months of trial and error, they achieved the perfect recipe!

“A lot of trial and error that we did to come up with this finished product. We both don’t have backgrounds in business or management. We were just learning everything as we go,” Francesca said.

During the Ber months, they also received a sudden influx of orders not just locally but also internationally.

“Some of my friends they said, “you know I only ordered kasi you’re my friend but when I tried it, I couldn’t believe ang sarap pala.” Francesca added.

“Our house became a warehouse. Our dining room [was] filled with buckets. Our garage [has] no more cars, just sacks and sacks of kamote,” she noted.

Their sales kept on getting high even after the Ber seasons until they were forced to pause operations in May 2021.

“My dad passed away during the pandemic and he would help us a lot in the business,” Francesca said.

“We rely on each other like you know when we’re in the kitchen. Sometimes I would go out kasi I was crying, and she would fill in for me in the kitchen. We are having such a hard time dealing with his loss. It was hard because we already had a waiting list so people we’re just asking like when is our order gonna be received,” Alexandra echoed.

While grieving, Francesca and Alexandra continue to expand their business as they offer their success to their father.

“We took that leap of faith. My dad was confident enough in us that he knows kaya namin. We really pushed for the business to continue after my dad died because we realized that would be our main source of income for the whole family,” Francesca stressed.

“This is for dad. We’ll do this for him,” Alexandra said.

Janelle Lorzano
Janelle Lorzano
Janelle Lorzano likes long walks on the seaside and listening to people about their lives. When she isn't writing, she travels and discover new places.