Kasambuhay, Habambuhay: Scenes from a Good Life


Cover Story by Jesselynn G. de la Cruz
SOURCE: Sunday Inquirer Magazine

MILK memories are among the best flashback moments of life.

And every Filipino childhood has them – tucked away in the heart. Scenes that pop up in the mind and shoot a feel-good rush through the body. A glance or gesture that evokes a familiar thrill or recalls the calm certainty that all is right and well in the world. Snapshots so crisp they shimmer even through the haze of an approaching twilight.

It’s not difficult to get people reminiscing and talking about such moments, Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (NPI) realized, when they sought to find out what generations of Filipinos across a century think and feel about Nestlé and its brands.

The company got on this track about a year ago, when it was looking towards a corporate milestone – a hundred years of continued presence in the country, from when the Nestlé and Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Company established its first sales office in Calle Renta, Binondo. That should have been reason enough to celebrate. Except that for Nestlé Philippines, corporate longevity alone does not necessarily call for a celebration.

"It was not so much a question of whether we should celebrate, as what we wanted to celebrate," recalled Sandra C. Puno, Nestlé Director of Communications. "We didn’t want an event that would just be an occasion to trumpet our age and extol our achievements." If a centennial celebration was to have meaning for the company, she added, it would have to be in the context of the relationship Nestlé has, and that it hopes to continue, with Filipino families who have trusted the Nestlé brand and welcomed its products into their homes for generations.

"We believe our consumers are part of our 100 years and that we’ve somehow connected with their lives, so we went and asked them what they thought of a 100-year milestone," Puno explained. "And it was so heartwarming because we discovered that people, over a wide range of ages and sectors, had vivid memories of growing up with Nestlé products."

The memories were actual vignettes of real Filipino family life, at various decades and in different settings. Young boys and girls languidly sipping BEAR BRAND Sterilized Milk back when it was packaged in the unique paper-wrapped tin cans. Siblings waking up to a glass of warm NIDO Instant Full Cream Milk at the breakfast table and downing another one at bedtime. Stirring in MILO for a thick refreshing choco-malt treat and time-out energy boost.

Idyllic yet scorching summers made bearable with pitchers of NESTEA enough to go around among friends. Cherished NESCAFÉ moments, through life’s highs and lows, through tumult and tranquility, stimulating each day, each effort and making them all worthwhile. And other scenes around the dinner table or in the kitchen where Nestlé was part of the Filipino family.

It was clear then that the story of 100 years of Nestlé in the Philippines was tightly woven into the fabric of Filipino life. Tracing the history of the company was like peering into the window of a home where generations live and love, keeping alive the very ideals and traditions that Nestlé lives by, and that generations of consumers have continued to rely on.

This led to the crafting of the Nestlé centennial television commercial (TVC) "Kasambuhay, Habambuhay" (Companion in life – for life) as a special tribute to this unique relationship between the company and the Filipino family.

The centennial TVC, with the background song "Pag-ibig" written and composed by APO Hiking Society member Danny Javier, unfolds before the audience in 90 seconds, a 100-year saga of the Filipino family, all the while mirroring scenes from the viewers’ own childhood and adolescence, courtship and marriage, parenthood and grandparenthood. The scenes are endearing because they are familiar to every Filipino family and individual of the past century – as real as the lump in the throat and the tug at the heart that come with each personal flashback moment.

"The centennial TVC is inspired by love for the family, a cultural trait which unites Filipinos. We are grateful because through the years, Nestlé products have become very much a part of the Filipino families’ way of life, from generation to generation, in various stages of their lives," said Nestlé Chairman and CEO John Miller. "This relationship with the Filipino consumers, anchored on the quality of our brands and the role that these much loved brands have played in helping nurture and nourish Filipino families, is what led us to our centennial theme, Kasambuhay, Habambuhay."

Nestlé Creative Services Executive Leslie Go-Alcantara said the 90-seconder TVC, which was directed by Stephen Ngo, significantly focuses not solely on the centennial milestone of Nestlé Philippines but on the milestones in the life of a Filipino family, during which the Nestlé brands bear quiet witness.

"The message is that Nestlé has always been there during family milestones, and this presence through 100 years is why we are celebrating, and sharing with them, our own milestone," Go-Alcantara underscored.

"Good Food, Good Life," the global slogan of Nestlé, is a commitment honored by Nestlé Philippines and well understood, appreciated and expected by Filipinos – not just the company’s consumers but its employees and workers as well. Conscious of and driven by the mission to nourish and nurture generations of Filipino families, the Company’s 3,200 employees – just as much its Kasambuhay – are committed to produce and market products under Nestlé’s well-known and trusted brands such as, NESCAFÉ, NIDO, MILO, NESTEA, MAGGI, BEAR BRAND, NESTLÉ, and PURINA.

Through the years, as a genuine Kasambuhay in growth, Nestlé has also continually affirmed its confidence in the Philippines through investments and expansion. Fittingly, a fifth Nestlé factory in Tanauan, Batangas is currently under construction in the country during this centennial year and will start operations in 2012. The company’s growing investment in the Philippines also provides business opportunities to over Philippine 3,000 partners and suppliers, most of whom are thriving small and medium enterprises.

Alongside these investments are Nestlés sustained programs for Creating Shared Value in the areas of Nutrition, Health and Wellness (NHW), Rural Development, and Environment that impact positively on people’s quality of life.

Grateful for the memories and scenes of 100 years of a good life in the Philippines, and crossing the threshold into the next century, Nestlé Philippines celebrates this relationship of nurturing and trust with all who have been Kasambuhay, and promises to be around Habambuhay.

"Our mission continues into the future as we look forward to the next 100 years," Miller said. "That mission centers on our commitment to nurture generations of Filipino families with tasty products that promote nutrition, health and wellness."