By Lou Ellen L. Antonio
 
MARAWI CITY — In every redolent flavor of an ice cream conceals a secret ingredient.
 
But what does a durian ice cream in the Southern Philippines offer?
 
For Kimal Salacop Jr. who pioneered the first Halal durian ice cream in Lanao del Sur and Northern Mindanao named – Ammara ice cream, self-reliance has been the secret ingredient towards their success.
 
Kimal is not only an entrepreneur but also he engages himself in a cooperative. He is the chairman of the Desenting Serbisyo para sa Magsasaka Agriculture Cooperative in Marawi City.
 
The Cooperative is composed of mixed members. Some are displaced, some are not, but they were affected by the Marawi siege. As of this moment, there are 109 or 110 members.
 
Kimal started promoting his Ammara ice cream in his Sheikha Halal Food restaurant.
 
“Nag-umpisa ako sa resto namin sa Sheikha Halal Food para mag-introduce. Pero dito lang din actually wala akong plano na icommercialize. Then marami kasi na kumakain dito at sabi maganda. From there nag-umpisa kami so pinasok ko sa cooperative namin,” he said.
 
[I introduced it (Ammara ice cream) in my resto Sheikha halal food. I don’t have plans to commercialize it but then our customers said it tastes good. From there, I started to incorporate it into our cooperative.]
 
He also shared that 12 to 15 percent can be profited from the product.
 
“Yung iba mapupunta sa cooperative. May mga part na mapupunta sa donations sa mga Marawi siege victims kasi ito ang vision na makatulong sa unfortuante talaga,” said Kimal.
 
[ Part of it will go to the cooperative as a working fund while some will be donated to Marawi siege victims because our vision really is to help the unfortunate.]
 
Shared Service Facilities as fuel for success
 
Kimals’ cooperative recently received ice cream equipment from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as part of its Marawi recovery efforts. The provision of shared service facilities aims to help Marawi cooperatives get back on their feet after the Marawi siege and to boost their economic activity.
 

Some of the ice cream equipment received by Desenting Serbisyo para sa Magsasaka Agriculture Cooperative from the Bangon Marawi Shared Service Facilities Project of the Department of Trade and Industry and Task Force Bangon Marawi. (Photo by Gian Carlo Raman)

 
With this SSF, Kimal shared that they plan to build an ice cream factory.
 
“Ang mission nito for example maghire ako ng tao, lahat ito member ng coop. So in that way matulungan sila pati pamilya nila,” he said.
 
[ For this mission, we will hire people who are members of the cooperative. In that way, we can help them and their families.]
 
Trusting oneself as a vital component towards success
 
Kimal emphasized the important essence of self-sufficiency.
 
“Kailangan self-reliant tayo. Kaya nga pinag-aral tayo ng mga magulang natin to learn to understand what is life, to understand ano ang kabuhayan, to understand kung paano kumita hindi para maghingi sa agency ng government. And then if the government cannot provide, sisihin naman natin ang gobyerno,” he said.

A glimpse of the first-ever durian halal ice cream commercialized in Lanao del Sur and Northern Mindanao – Ammar ice cream by Desenting Serbisyo para sa Magsasaka Agriculture Cooperative. (Photo by Gian Carlo Raman)

 
[We need to be self-reliant. Our parents sent us to school for us to understand what is life, to understand what is livelihood, understand how to earn not to always depend on the government. And then if the government cannot provide, we will blame them.]
 
He also encouraged his fellow residents to not give up, learn new skills and stop depending on what the government can provide to them
 
“Ang mensahe ko lang talaga, do not give up. Huwag magdepend sa government alone. Do not think na you will only survive kung anjan ang gobyerno, kung bibigyan ka ng ayuda ng gobyerno. Dapat mawala yung ganyang pag-iisip,” he said.
 
[My only message is do not give up. Don’t depend on the government alone. Do not think that you will only survive if the government is there if the government will give you aid. That kind of thinking should be stopped.]
 
“Kapag ganon tayo walang mnagyayari sa Lanao del Sur. We have to move on, Kung tutulong ang gobyerno, okay. Kung hindi tutulong, okay lang din. We can still survive, ganon dapat ang mentality ng Maranao,” he added.
 
[If that is so, nothing will happen to Lanao del Sur. We have to move on, If the government helps, it is okay. If they cannot help, it is okay. We can still survive, that should be the kind of mentality of Maranaos.]
 
Kimal also said that instilling faith with Allah (God) can help them strengthen their faith.
 
“As long as you work on all your plans. You plan your work, you work your plan, and then it becomes a cycle of your life, and then, all will be possible with the help of Allah,” he said.
 
He also expressed his endless gratitude to DTI and TFBM. He also wanted them to know that they will never let them down and that they are committed to sustain the production of their ice cream.
 
The aromatic and flavorful durian ice cream of Kimal’s cooperative is an indication of hard work and determination towards success. (LELA/PIA ICIC)