From humble beginnings to world-class operations
- Ferliza Contratista () - November 11, 2006 - 12:00am
Behind the lively jingle of Mekeni Picnic Hotdogs, which is now gaining popularity among students and pre-school kids, is a story of a humble beginning rooted with faith, perseverance, patriotism and family.

Mekeni (Kapampangan term of halina) Food Corporation now a multi awarded meat processing plant producing 70 tons of meat products daily, owed it to the backyard poultry and piggery start up business of public school teachers Felix and Medicia Garcia in barangay Balubad, Porac, Pampanga in the 60's.

Feeling the need to augment the meager earnings they got from government service to support their five sons, the couple decided to maximize the participation of everybody into the business.

With 100 chickens, a pen and two piglets, the business started to roll with the children assisting in the chores as well as in selling the chicken eggs and ice candy within the neighborhood and in the market.

Little by little, the backyard enterprise flourished, becoming a full blown family business as regular demand for livestock grew exponentially during weekends and eventually expanded into chicharon and tocino making. It then ushered the birth of Mekeni Food Products.

The said meat business allowed the couple to send their boys to college, three of them landed high paying jobs outside the country.

But the Garcia's soft heart and patriotism were tested when looking after the damaging remains of the Mt.Pinatubo eruption, they decided to recall their two sons abroad feeling the dire need to help his displaced and jobless neighbors.

"You were born and raised here so why offer your services to other countries," was the most touching part of the patriarch to his sons.

With the family now intact, the Garcia's initially hired 30 qualified people from Balubad to help sustain the meat venture.

Soon the company studied all sources, including the competitor's products, tastes, packaging, price and all, in their effort of surpassing them.

In 2001, with the assistance in financing from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Mekeni Food Corporation acquired a property in the middle of Balubad which is now the venue of their modern meat processing factory.

Currently, Mekeni has 600 workforce treated as family under them, most are from the barangays.

The plant obtained Class AAA meat processing plant by the National Meat Inspection Service, one of only few factories north of Manila given such award.

Since then also, the plant garnered numerous government awards and recognitions for it's adherence to food safety, environmental protection and good manufacturing practices.

From a distribution confined only in Central Luzon, it's distribution network widened and spanned to Visayas and Mindanao.

Looking back and now 78 years old, Felix Garcia proudly says that the success of a business is just a reflection of the family that runs it.

BALUBAD BUT THE GARCIA CENTRAL LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES FELIX AND MEDICIA GARCIA FELIX GARCIA FOOD CORPORATION MEAT MEKENI MEKENI FOOD CORPORATION MEKENI FOOD PRODUCTS
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