VANCOUVER - The Connect show is the premiere event for the hospitality industry. This annual trade exhibition features over 350 exhibitors from across Canada and the world.
One of the booths that stood out was Sikat Trading Cooperative, a BC-based organization whose main objectives clearly champion Filipinos.
"The first thing we wanted to address was the issue of helping the Philippine economy by helping the sector that needs it most, which is the agricultural sector," said Sikat Cooperative president, Phil dela Merced.
Many chefs and buyers from various Canadian hotels and restaurants flocked to Sikat's booth to taste and learn more about their popular organic and gluten free items.
Products were purchased directly from farmers in the Philippines and sold wholesale in Canada.
"The strategy of Sikat is to be able to go directly to these cooperatives, to these farms, and promote their products. Right now, we have three basic products: banana flour, coconut flour, and coconut sugar. But, on top of this, we also have other products that are directly generated by the agricultural sector in the Philippines," said Dela Merced.
Sikat chairman Pio Acampado Jr. added that they also have hotel products like shampoos, lotions, soaps which are fruit-based.
"Because the trend now is to go natural," said Acampado.
Sikat also welcomes individuals to help promote these products and generate investments in the Philippines.
"Those who have their talents-- those who have something to contribute like their time and passion and experience in running organizations like ours--to participate and contribute their talents," Dela Merced said.