Why Ilog Maria
It was February 1987, it had not rained for 5 months, it was called El Niño. I called my mother long distance telling her the situation. All the black pepper, coffee and other crops that I had planted for the last four years, were dying.
She said, "sunduin mo ako, aakyat ako dyan sa farm, magdadasal ako, uulan." (Fetch me, I will go with you up to the farm, I will pray, it will rain.) My mother is a woman of few words and very strong faith.
She started praying the Holy Rosary at about 9:30 am. The three of us hardly ate lunch. I was with my girlfriend, Violaine.
At about 3 pm, it became very dark. Then we heard a clattering. Ice was falling as big as marbles on our tin roof and the ground. Then the thunderstorm, downpour - deluge. It lasted for about 30 to 45 minutes.
We heard my mother crying above it all. She had asked for, and was granted, a miracle.At about 430 pm she said, "iuwi mo na ako, sasabihin ko sa Papa mo."(bring me home, I'll tell your Papa."
We had to engage the four wheel drive of my old Land Cruiser as we left. The muddy ground was very slippery. When we reached the highway, 700 meters away, it was dry. It was dry up to Manila.
Violaine and I had gotten married the next month after that miraculous downpour.
Fast forward to 1994. I had gone to town to the local office of the Department of Trade and Industry. We were applying for a trade name for our little livelihood.
They asked me what name to give. I said I would ask my wife.
We agreed that it was to be "Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm" in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary with whom my mother, Lilia, had prayed for rain.
It was to be an auspicious name for us.It was to be the start of our journey to the Lord. A journey marked with many signs as wondrous as this first one. A continuing journey..
SPIRIT. We are aware that we are spiritual beings who have asked our good Lord for a physical experience. Spiritual matters take precedence in our daily lives.
ATTITUDE. We are not business people. We have discovered that our role is to help people live better lives. It is only in this perspective that we have opened our doors to the public.
ALL NATURAL. We recognize that all creation is grounded in spirit. We are farmers. We make a living through careful and responsible stewardship of nature. We make all our products from natural ingredients because we are the first and last users of our products. It is also because this is the very best way to make personal products.
NO CHEMICALS. We have not used any pesticides or chemicals anywhere on our farm in the last 30 years.
FIRST USE. We were the first users of these products about 30 years ago. We still use them daily. Each member of our family is a product tester. When one of us notices any deviation in product quality, the entire batch is scrapped. We never test on animals.
HANDMADE SMALL BATCHES. We make everything by hand in small batches to continuously build stocks in our store. Our products are always fresh. It's best if customers replenish every one or two months.
LOCAL. As much as possible, we source all raw materials locally. We have more difficulty working with local natural materials because their characteristics vary each time we use them, but we persevere. We source regionally, when there are no local sources. We have long standing relationships with our sources of non-tropical natural raw materials, so we always get the best quality and price.
FORMULATIONS. All our formulations are about 30 years old. Some are more than 300 years old. We have learned to adjust formulations to accommodate seasonal variations. We do not and will not change any of our formulations.