Multi-hyphenate (Mr.Jefferson Cayetano Catimbang) has, unknowingly, been a true-blooded patriot early on in life. As someone who has traveled to many parts of the archipelago, he saw the beauty all around him – from our hospitable kababayans, to our breathtaking natural wonders, unto our ingeniously handcrafted products, the sumptuous dishes – that he wants to brings all these great blessings to the fore; to all other parts of the country as well as globally, through his time-tested business concept.
Everything started when he was still a Marketing senior at FEU; winning the business plan competition within and in the national inter-collegiate level with his Kape’ Pinoy Inc. who ventured into fruit-flavored coffee where he ingeniously mixed different fruits with different varieties of coffee beans from all over the country. Years later, he revisited this concept at the university’s EntrepMall, where he represented the Alumni. True enough, his venture was hit and gave him confidence to pursue it outside his comfort zone.
“So I joined the corporate world via Unilab as a medical representative. In which I definitely learned and met a lot of people. Through all these undertakings, I slowly saw facets of my persona taking shape.” said Jefferson.
“During my first year in the corporate world, I suddenly fell in love, immediately got married and put up a family of my own. In all my endeavors my parents and family was very supportive, with that “Family” became my ultimate inspiration and decided to slowly set aside on climbing the corporate latter and focus more on business.”
“I put up a bar, coffee shop, food carts in the university belt area. This was replaced by a laundry shop that boomed. When I was assigned to Palawan. It was there that I realized how truly beautiful the Philippines is; admiring the beautifully crafted products from its many artisans.”
Being in sales, starting up a new family and putting up a business is absolutely stressful. That’s why my wife and I decided to put up a spa business. Hence, Babaylan Spa was born, a Filipino-themed spa that promotes the indigenous “Hilot” Massage. Our mission is to promote health and wellness through our Filipino Indigenous “Hilot” massage. Jefferson added.
With the success of the Sampaloc branch, he opened in Quezon City’s Roces district. This was followed closely by another branch within the vicinity that was closer to the Zirkoh bar. This opened his network to people in the entertainment industry. The spa concept further grew and opened branches in Cebu, Palawan, Cavite, and Davao. But this time, it was rebranded as B Spa.
With the spa operations running smoothly, after ironing out integral issues, it was now time for a rebranding. This was when Tribu Babaylan came into existence. It’s a spa, bar, and restaurant concept in one. So he, together with his wife, trained for the rigors of the trade, so that, when employees can’t report for work, they can still run the operations.
“We walk the talk, so to speak. It was at this point that I left my Unilab job to focus on our business. That’s when Tribu Babaylan came into the drawing board.”
“Luckily, I’ve met Sen. Manny Pacquiao then we’re able to convince with to join us and be a part company. But the process of formalizing the agreement took a year doing the rounds of legalities.” Jefferson added.
THE MP PROJECT
As per suggestion by the Senator and the People’s Champion Replacing Tribu Babaylan as its new business brand and concept, Maharlika Pilipinas (MP) encompasses everything good about the Philippines and its people.
Maharlika means “aristocrat” or “royalty” in modern Filipino.
It could also mean the high status of warriors, or a title pertaining to a “man of wealth, knowledge, or ability”.
Some claim that the word “Maharlika” bears reference to ancient Filipino nobility which included its kings and princes of ancient Philippine society.
Etymologically, the word could also mean or refer to someone born with a high or great birth, (with rank or title of maharlika which means “mataas”, “mahal”). Furthermore, the term may connote stature (such as highness or greatness in character, showing greatness of mind, or spirit – (marangal, dakila).
Or, it could simply mean excellent, fine, splendid, magnificent or “napakaganda” and “napakarikit” in local parlance.
“In other words, Maharlika Pilipinas’ could be similar or synonymous to royalty! And this rode well with our mantra of HILOT – Health, Integrity, Loyalty, and Teamwork!”
And then, the global pandemic happened, which held everything in abeyance.
“So instead of our commissary inventory go to waste, we instead cooked meals for frontliners. In turn, this gave an opportunity for patronage from frontliners who loved our food. So food delivery was made possible. This is one of the scenarios were adversity provided opportunity.”
“Our employees are long-staying. They’ve been with us even during the height of the pandemic. It’s hard to find loyal employees to work for you. During this trying time, I had to talk to our loyal partners to hold on and wait for the sunshine after the rain.”
In view of the foregoing, the Maharlika Pilipinas’ project is a holistic concept that will encapsulate the Filipino acumen by showcasing the very best of its natural and man-made wonders. And thereby bring the Pinoy identity to greater heights.
Today the Philippines, tomorrow the world
With the endorsement and involvement of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in this noble undertaking, it won’t be hard for people to see the greatness of the Filipino psyche!
The MP brand will start its circuit with overseas Filipino communities in Dubai, then to the business hub of Singapore, and slowly but surely to the rest of the world!