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Making passion your business and cause

An ice-cream brand that does not only tastes good but also does good.

Dec 15, 2011 09:00 am

An ice cream brand is helping the state’s premier teaching hospital care for its indigent patients.

Passion should be your business and your cause. For Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay, son of former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., this philosophy has reaped dividends that are more satisfying than money.

One of his passions started in childhood. “I don’t know why, but I’ve liked ice cream more than any other dessert since I was a kid,” he shares. “Now that I’m old, I always look for ice cream even when I travel.”

[related|post]It was serendipitous then that his father started a dairy farm in 2008 after serving 12 years as a senator. The farm, one of only a handful of major producers in the country in terms of size and volume, was established to address the country’s demand for dairy products. The elder Magsaysay, who had served as the Senate Committee Chairman on Agriculture and Food, found out that the Philippines imports 99 percent of its dairy needs.

“At first, it was difficult because dairy farming is not really suited for temperate countries like the Philippines,” shares Paco. “But I saw my dad’s passion and through it I saw my passion as well.”

Driven by his childhood infatuation with ice cream, in 2009, Paco started his own artisanal brand, named Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, after his only daughter. Dubbed “The way ice cream should be,” Carmen’s Best has earned praises for its creaminess and rich flavors.

“Unlike commercial ice cream brands, we don’t dilute the milk that we use for our products just for the sake of having more volume,” he explains. “I also carefully monitor what our cows eat so that consumers get the best quality from cow to cone.”

Carmen’s Best is still largely a small home-based enterprise with a staff of three—a size that suits Paco just fine. Sales have picked up thanks to positive word-of-mouth marketing, but Paco is not targeting an aggressive commercial expansion. For him, the greatest satisfaction is seeing patrons light up whenever they taste his ice cream for the first time.

Paco’s third passion took shape when he volunteered at the MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas in 1982. There, he was exposed to the plight of patients and families coping with the illness or loss of a loved one. When he became a director of the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation (PGHMF) two years ago and was put in charge of its ways and means committee, Paco had no second thoughts about donating part of Carmen’s Best profits to PGHMF.

The PGHMF, according to its website, is a non-profit, non-stock organization established to help the Philippine General Hospital provide excellent healthcare to its indigent patients. It also acts as a conduit for civic-minded individuals and corporations who want to make donations to the PGH.

“Entrepreneurs should always support social causes but they should choose a cause that is close to their heart,” Paco says. “It’s something that should be thought about. If you’re supporting something that is close to your heart, then it will be a more meaningful experience for you.”

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