SORSOGON CITY – Pili (Canarium Ovatum) is considered a majestic tree because of its many uses – from pili candies, to oil-based beauty products as well as pharmaceutical products.

But wait there’s more.

Due to pili nut’s promising nutritional composition, the researchers of the Department of Agriculture – Sorsogon Dairy Production and Technology Center (SDPTC) led by Pedro Oliver, SDPTC Superintendent, have developed a plant-based milk alternative from pili nut kernel.

The study which started in March 2022 was funded with over P1 M by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR). Agnes Espinola, former Agricultural Center Chief III of SDPTC was the project leader, but she already retired last year.

The project was conceptualized in support to the Sorsogon Provincial Pili Development Board’s vision for the province to be declared as Pili Capital of the country by introducing different pili products to local and global market.

Thus, the DA Bicol launched the Sorsoganon’s Pili Milk at SM City Sorsogon on February 21, 2024.

No less than DA – Bureau of Agricultural Research Director Dr. Junel B. Soriano graced the event. He lauded the efforts of the SDPTC researchers in coming up with a plant-based milk alternative which is very rich in vitamin E and magnesium that is good for the development of bones and muscles.

Pili nuts are also loaded with monounsaturated fats, a beneficial form of fat which can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol thereby preventing the build up of plaque in the arteries.

“Pili milk is not just a simple beverage but a symbol of sustainability for the farmers as it will increase the demand for raw pili,” Director Soriano added.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ester E. Hamor of Sorsogon City pledged her all out support to the commercialization of the pili milk as she is an avid milk drinker. She underscored the province’s need to innovate. “For the longest time, pili products are limited to food products. I hope that in due time, our pili milk will be comparable to almond milk,” she enthused.

Dr. Geraldine F. De Jesus , Sorsogon State University President and concurrent Chairperson of the Sorsogon Provincial Pili Development Board, thanked the DA for developing a new product out of pili and expressed her support to its commercialization.

Dr. Edgar R. Madrid, Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations said that most of our milk come from dairy animals which have limitations. “Pag nagkasakit o infected ang mga hayop, they are not fit for milk production, which is not the case for pili,” he emphasized.

The initial pili milk product launched was in 100 ml bottle which was given free to the attendees for further sensory evaluation.

Present during the launching were farmers’ cooperatives and associations that are potential adopters of the pili milk technology for commercialization, namely: Barcelona Development Coop.; Sorsogon City Fruits and Vegetable Farmers Association; Pili Processors Association of Sorsogon; San Roque Eco Farmers Association; pili farmers and pili processors. They are keen on taking the pili milk technology commercialization but suggested some improvement on the product to be more viable and profitable.

Also present were Ailyn Adante, OIC Division Chief of DA 5 Research Division; Provincial Agriculturist Maria Teresa Destura; municipal agriculturists Benigno Bejison of Casiguran, and Sorsogon City Agriculurist Adelina Detera. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5 / photos by Eduardo Collantes, Jr.)