Meet the founders of Pili Ani, Rosalina Tan and Mary Jane Tan-Ong. Working together as a Mother-Daughter duo, they have built a brand that represents a deeper kind of beauty - one that is founded on love and caring for others. We sat down with them to find out what it has been like build this business from the ground up together as a family.
Q: What were you doing before you founded Pili Ani?
RT: I was a businesswoman first and I was into trading, supply, industrial plastic bags and ingredients to the big five feed mills factory in the Philippines. I also dabbled in real estate brokering and life insurance. As for Mary Jane, after she got married, she became a distributor of San Miguel Corporation, one of the largest companies in the Philippines.
MJO: Also a businesswoman - I was into all types of trading of agricultural goods and distribution of liquor products in various locations here in the Philippines.
Q: What was the reason and passion that started Pili Ani?
RT: I started Pili Ani not as a business but really as a personal passion. I really wanted to help uplift the life of local farmers and promote organic farming in the Philippines.
Q: How did you both start working together?
RT: At first, I was just giving it away to friends and family because I loved the products and their benefits so much. It was my daughter who decided to step in as she saw that there was such a demand for the products. She helped me realize my vision to bring Philippine made products to the global market. She then decided to invest in clinical tests, hiring chemists, pharmacists and started attending international exhibits to learn more about how to make sure we had all the right tools to introduce this properly.
MJO: Well, let’s just say that it all started when I saw the warehouse full of Pili Oil instead of my liquor products! And seeing that despite her not having a store, people were already liking her products. I knew it was time to bring this powerful, potent and most precious oil to the next level.
Q: Did you ever work together prior to Pili Ani?
RT: After Mary Jane graduated college she helped me with our family business.
MJO: I have always admired my mom and tagged along with her since I was 7 years old. I learned so much and always made sure to help her out anytime I could.
Q: How is it working together?
RT: I think we work well together - I just sometimes have to let go and let her manage the business herself. I’m her mom, what can I say?
MJO: Like any mother daughter relationship we will always have moments where we disagree sometimes, but at the end of the day I always say, my mom is the boss!
Q: What would you say are your similarities? And what about your differences?
RT: I think my daughter and I are both very positive and jolly. She’s very easy to talk to and can connect with all kinds of people. We’re both hard-working and on the go - we just want to make sure things get done. She’s also very compassionate when it comes to people. In terms of differences I think that she’s very adventurous and courageous in starting new ventures. She’s so confident when she pursues new ventures. That courage is why Pili Ani was born!
MJO: My kids always say I’m so much like their grandma, but I would always deny it. However, I realized over time that we both are very passionate about aiming to make a positive impact not only in the lives of our local communities but also to push further and make an impact in helping our entire country. I want the world to know that we have a local and unknown treasure that needs to be shared with the world.
Q: Speaking of your kids, would you like for them to join you in this business in the future?
MJO: I always tell them that if they want to join me in this business they have to make sure that we always take care of everyone in the company, especially the ones who take care of our Pili Trees. It’s important that they continue to support our company’s values and goals and always be compassionate towards others.
Q: What do you admire most about each other?
RT: My daughter’s unwavering love and devotion not only to me but to her entire family.
MJO: My mother has been through so much and is so generous, sometimes overly generous. She’s always been so passionate about helping others that even during a time she was down on her luck and didn’t have much, she still shared. In those moments of hardships her golden heart always prevailed.
Happy Mother’s Day to you both! What would be your message to one another on this Mother’s Day?
RT: Continue to be a good role model to your kids and raise them with Jesus in their hearts. Don’t worry too much about them as you’re doing just fine!
MJO: Keep bringing that positive vibe you have and spread it to everyone you meet! Remember that you’re lucky because Mike (her brother) and I always have your back! Haha! Always know that we love you more than you will ever know. Cheers and I hope you live as long as a Pili Tree! Happy Mom’s Day!
The Pili Tree
The heritage of Pili Ani really begins with an amazing gift from nature only found in a specific region of the Philippines. This area, known as the Bicol region, is so remote there are almost no roads to get there. At the foot of the Mayon Volcano, in rich fertile soil, the Pili Tree grows and provides its bounty to the local people. Called the Chosen Tree, the magnificent Pili Tree is better described as the Giving Tree because of all the amazing things it provides to the community where it grows. Not only is it a source for a multitude of products including food, healing oils and anti-aging skincare, it supports the local economy in countless ways.
Locals have harnessed the Pili Tree’s unique benefits for centuries. They eat the nuts from the tree like a superfood snack. They harvest Elemi Oil, a rare and potent extract with healing and topical properties, from the sap of the tree. And then there is the Pili Oil…it comes from the fruit of the tree and people in this region have used it for hundreds of years to treat a variety of skin ailments including cuts and rashes. It is truly one of the only trees in the world where every part of it benefits mankind.
The resilient Pili Tree is hit by multiple storms each year but weathers each one and continues to stand tall, earning its other nickname the “stress-loving tree.” It actually bears even more fruit after every storm, further proof that the Pili Tree is truly a remarkable feat of nature, providing so many benefits from a single source.
What is Pili Oil?
The best kept beauty secret from the Philippines, Pili Oil is a remarkable superfood for the skin. This fountain of youth in a nutshell is sourced from the fruit of the Pili Tree. Taking 1,500 to 3,000 Pili fruits to produce just one liter of Pili Oil, it is truly rare and precious. Each step in the process is done by hand, with the fruits harvested, washed and processed entirely by the farmers and their families in the communities where the Pili Tree grows.
The Benefits of Pili Oil
The local people of the Bicol region have long known of its benefits, but more recently modern science has validated just how effective it is. It is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamin E which help rejuvenate, reinvigorate and revitalize and was also scientifically proven to be more hydrating than well-known Argan, Rosehip or Abyssinian oils. The potent Pili Oil is also rich in natural antioxidants which protect the skin from elements that cause skin aging, particularly free radical damage and other environmental aggressors. These ingredients are then compounded to create high performance products that redefine beauty, products like the Pili Ani Ageless Concentrate which nourishes skin deep from within while moisturizing and restoring skin’s youth and vitality, leaving it soft, smooth and supple, all from one amazing ingredient!
As the K-beauty boom has proven, people are eager for beauty secrets from around the globe. Allow me to suggest the next location for your radar: the Philippines. It's home to Pili Ani, a brand-new skincare line that recently landed in the US.
To you, this is an unknown brand that has yet win you over. To me, this is a major milestone. I'm overjoyed to be seeing a beauty brand come out of the country where my parents are from, especially since Pili Ani hails specifically from Bicol, the region in the Philippines where they grew up. Filipino beauty products aren't on the map as far as major US retailers go, and this collection could be the first to change that. But I digress — let's get to the goods.
The hero ingredient of the five-piece collection of serums and creams is pili oil. It is extracted from the bark and pulp of the pili tree native to the Philippines, where it thrives best during tropical storms. Most locals recognize pili for its edible seed (I can attest that the candied version makes a scrumptious snack), but the oil is comparable to other popular, natural skincare solutions like argan and coconut oils. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and E, and beta carotene, pili oil is a nutrient bomb for skin...
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