I did not choose the soap, the soap chose me. This was how Dionisio Martes described how he came to experience the wonders of a home-made organic soap, one of the home-made products proudly presented during the 35th Strawberry Festival of La Trinidad, Benguet.
One of the best-seller products during the festival, the Natural Metaphors Organic Products soaps come from different variants like strawberry, rice bran, glutathione, salad bar, collagen, oatmeal, activated bamboo charcoal, guava, and strawberry and goat’s milk.
Zylene Ligaya, secretary of the Natural Metaphors Organic Products explained that each soap has a specific use.
For dry skin, Ligaya advised to use the strawberry soap, strawberry and goat’s milk as moisturizers for beautiful skin, oatmeal soap for allergy-prone sensitive skin, collagen soap for softer, whiter, and clean complexion.
Also, rice bran soap is recommended for acne problems, skin asthma, and allergies, guava soap for cleaning wounds and it is effective for all skin types, salad bar soap.
Dionisio Martes, one of the soap’s users since 2012 said that the soap made his skin softer as compared to his previous soap.
“The skin is the absorbent part of the body therefore it is the most affected whenever we apply anything on it so we have to take care of it. If there is such thing as organic soap, then I will claim Metaphor’s soap as organic,” Martes said.
Soap Making Process
Unlike the soaps in the market, the organic soap was done through cold process. In soap making, there are two ways in the production−the hot and cold.
Organic soap developer, Lorna Ayupan differentiates the cold and hot process. She said that cold process is a way of making soap using fresh or uncooked ingredients and have to harden the soap for a month before packing it while hot process requires heat in soap production killing the enzymes present in the ingredients but the soap can be hardened up to two weeks.
“Cold process preserves the enzymes present in every ingredient of the soap so it is effective when used,” said Lorna.
From an accident to a business success
The soap was accidentally developed by Melody Ayupan, daughter of Lorna when she was 14, because of her desire to address her skin problems. With the help of their family’s chemist friend, Melody first made the rice bran soap and the salad bar soap afterwards.
The soap was intended for family’s consumption but Melody gave the extra soaps as gifts or tokens to every event they attended. To their surprise, those were given soaps claimed that the soap has great effect on their skin and they keep on asking where the family brought the soap.
//photos from kawabasa creatives facebook page
“The soaps are not meant for business but due to the demand of the consumers, Natural Metaphors Body products came to existence and became a business,” Robinson Ayupan, father of Melody explained.
The Ayupan family originally resides at Santiago, Isabela where they started their business in 2003. However, in 2007 the family moved in La Trinidad, Benguet and continued the business. On the same year, the Natural Metaphors Body products were registered in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Benguet.
Also, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) assisted the products in 2009 by providing machines used in soap production.
To date, the strawberry soap, and strawberry and goat’s milk soap are the One Town One Product (OTOP) of La Trinidad in complementation to LT’s main product, strawberry.
Going the extra mile
“The business is alive and getting better. From the amount we get from selling soap, we save a peso for our scholarship program,” shared Lorna.
Out from the Ayupans’ desire to share their blessings, they are looking for needy but deserving students to be one of their scholars.
Ligaya revealed that there are increasing number of users and distributors as time goes by.
“The soap is addictive because once we use and see its effect; we do not want to use other soaps anymore. Also, the soaps are not only for curing skin problems, it is also a preventive soap for the occurrence of various skin problems,” stated Ligaya.
On the other hand, theatlantic.com noted that “natural” does not always mean worry-free.
“People have to be vigilant once they have skin allergies to the products they use. They have to read labels,” cautioned Dr. Michael Steirstoffer, a dermatologist practicing in Philadelphia.
Thus, we should not rely solely on the experience of others. We have to read the labels if it is appropriate to our skin type to prevent ourselves from blaming the seller if the soap did not meet our expectation. Also, it doesn’t mean that expensive soaps will make great difference; at times home-made soaps have the capability in fulfilling our dreams of having a fairer, softer, and glowing skin. //Margaret Anne B. Litilit