a history to remember

Lao Integrated Farms, Inc. (LIFI) started with a small goat’s barn and then flourished to become a proper farm with quality coconut trees. These trees were used to produce coconut sap-based goods – thankfully with the help of many government agencies, friends and colleagues. It was a daunting task for its founder to progress into an exporter, but it did happen. And now, LIFI is the Philippines’ leading exporter of organic coconut syrup.

    The birth of Lao Integrated Farms as an advocate of Organic Farming was when Mr. Benjamin Lao, the farm owner decided to till the unproductive 5-hectare land his father left for him. Back when he was a teenager, he had a horrible experience as he passed-out because of chemical fertilizer inhalation. He then promised himself not to use chemical fertilizers on his own farm.

    He was able to study and put into practice all his learning about natural farming and enhanced his knowledge by way of doing research. Not only did he use all existing resources in the farm as concoctions to various insecticides and pesticides, he was able to maximize his mean of income by selling natural waste materials which can be used as fertilizer (vermicompost). He was later appointed as Magsasaka Siyentista (Farmer Scientist) by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development under the Department of Science and Technology.  

    In 2008, Philippine Coconut Authority introduced Coconut Sugar manufacturing. Mr. Lao studied the product and developed new products out of it. He was doing business as Donnabelle Delicacies, selling various food products such as durian ice cream, durian candies, coconut sugar and coconut syrup. He continued to do research and development until he needed to expand the business because of the glut of demand. 

    He was later introduced to Atty. Rafael A. Morales, also the Managing Director of SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan Law Firm and changed Lao Integrated Farms, a single proprietor business into a corporation thus the business name, Lao Integrated Farms, Inc. Brand name was also changed to Donnabelle. 

    Atty. Morales and Mr. Lao are both multi-awarded individuals in their own fields. The former is a top-ranked lawyer in the Asia Pacific region while the latter, is a recipient of awards given by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Wageboard, Ernst & Young, among others.