Determination was the key to success of Merle and Nelson Balicao when they started their business MER-NEL’S Cake House in January 1996 at the Grove Ave. Los Baños, Laguna. At first, cake business was never really a plan because baking is not a hobby for Merle Balicao, but with sheer hard work and determination the Balicaos have created a new life for their family and for other people.

BEHIND THE SUCCESS

Merle and Nelson’s story was not always a success; individually they have their own pains and problems. At a very young age, Merle and Nelson had to work hard to support their family. Both of them had to quit school to support their family. When Merle’s father died, she invested the small amount of money that they’ve received from mourning benefits on a small oven, a hand mixer and some pans. She learned simple recipes like chiffon cakes, tarts, pies and breads with this she started taking orders from their neighbors and friends to increase their family income. Nelson, on the other hand, found work at University of the Philippines Los Baños, Food Service Unit as a baker, cake decorator, and driver. With all these obstacles, the Balicao’s have dedicated their success not only to their family but also to the people in their community. To share their blessings, employment and support are provided to the people of Los Banos who did not finish school because of financial problems.

Mer-Nel’s Cake House have gone through a series of trials and errors to satisfy the taste of their customers. For them, feedback from their customers was a number one priority and eventually with perseverance and hard work MER-NEL’S is now one of the famous cake house in town.

HICAPS AND MER-NEL’S

HICAPS Marketing Corporation and MER-NEL’S Cake House have developed a partnership based on trust and confidence not just on the quality of products and services but as well as on the assurance that support is always there when needed. For over 12 years, this partnership resulted to numerous baked products with HICAPS ingredients that are tried and tested by MER-NEL’S. Magic Whizk, Hicaps Buttercream, and

Bluebell have been a household brand to their hardworking bakers. Magic Whizk have become one of the business booster of MER-NEL’S Cake House for their layered cakes. Back in the old days, MER-NEL’S use traditional ingredients for their fondant cakes which was not highly appreciated by the customers. With a touch of creativity, MER-NEL’S have created semi-fondant layered cakes out of Magic Whizk and positioned it as an alternative to fondant. From then on, the demand for their layered cakes have increased not only in weddings but were also highly anticipated by other people celebrating different occasions. Hicaps Buttercream and Bluebell on the other hand, have its own contribution in MER-NEL’S famous chocolate cakes that resulted to better output in terms of taste and consistency.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

For Merle Balicao, in putting up a business, one should always begin with one or two products. By this, an entrepreneur would have more time to focus and improve the product, such that it will later become as a specialty. Building a strong product or brand associated with your company will help promote and eventually make your business be known to everybody and expand your reach.