Sibuyas as currency: Japan Home Center to accept onions as payment in special promo

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2023 09:53 AM | Updated as of Feb 03 2023 11:13 AM

Customers sift through red onions at a stall in Divisoria market in Manila on August 18, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Customers sift through red onions at a stall in Divisoria market in Manila on August 18, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Are you among those crying from the ridiculously high prices of onions? Don't fret. For one day, consumers will be able to "Pay with Sibuyas" as discount store Japan Home Center launches a special promo that will treat the indispensable vegetable as a currency.

For the past months, netizens have been complaining about the surge in onion prices that allegedly reached as much as P700 per kilo. Netizens on social media said they can buy other essential goods at that rate.

Japan Home Center took the opportunity to launch its "Pay with Sibuyas” campaign.

"We’re launching a 'Pay with Sibuyas' campaign wherein customers can avail of our products in exchange for onions as their form of payment," JHC Marketing Officer Mitzi Gamboa told ABS-CBN News.

"The price of onions is rapidly increasing recently and we’ve seen posts and comments of people online jokingly saying if they can buy certain products using onions as their payment since their value is getting high... To grant their requests, we’ll be allowing them to use their onions in purchasing selected products at our store," she added.

On Feb. 4 in its Japan Home Wholesale Centre Panay Avenue branch, onions will be accepted as payment. One onion can be used to buy 1 item priced at P88 or 2 pieces of items on clearance or on sale.

Gamboa said any onion size would be accepted but there's a 3-item limit per customer.


Take note though that the promotion is only limited to its Panay branch.


But there's more to it than just riding on the viral price of onions that was dubbed by a lawmaker as the "most expensive in the world." 

Japan Home Center launched the promo to collect onions for its community pantry which will be launched on Feb. 9, Gamboa said. 

All collected onions during the promotion will be available for free at the JHCares Community Pantry which will open on Feb. 9 along Panay Avenue. Those in need can take items from the community pantry for free, she added.

"People within the area could take as much as they need and donate whatever they can. Since many people can’t afford these basic food necessities for their meals due to the high prices, they can just get anything they need in this community pantry for free," she said.

"Our goal isn’t to gain profit from this campaign but to be able to collect the onions that we’ll be using in our community pantry, attract new customers and create more awareness, especially for our Panay branch as well," she added.


Despite inflation that hit 8.1 percent in December 2022 or the highest since November 2008, JHC said it would maintain its current pricing at P88 as long as possible.

JHC offers kitchen tools, organizers, housekeeping products, bathroom essentials, pet care items, home decor, personal care products and other essentials.

Gamboa admits that like any other business, JHC too is hit by surging inflation. Because of that, some items may be phased out. This is also to give way to bring "more value items that entertain and contribute to having a better home for everyone," she said. 

"We are a concept store that sells at P88, so we need to stick with the P88 price tag even if all other retailers have already increased their prices. So customers can now really take advantage of our prices now before some of our items get phased out," she said.

When asked for tips on how cash-strapped Filipinos should spend their hard-earned money, Gamboa said "we should smartly spend our money on necessities first, and on products that will give us value for money."

"We want to continue offering high-quality products that will give the customers their money’s worth and somehow ease the burden of high prices of goods," she said. 


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