Ms. Merle Balicao, MerNel’s

MerNel’s has long been part of every celebration in every household in Los Banos Laguna. For decades, it has captivated the taste buds of consumers and has become the small town’s favorite cakes and pastries source. This is all because of the untiring and industrious woman behind the brand, Ms. Merle Mendoza Balicao.

Humble Beginnings

Ms. Merle Mendoza is just an ordinary woman years back, working in the University of the Philippines Los Baños student union cafeteria. It is here where she honed her baking skills. On top of her being employed full-time, she finds time to bake and sell her own produce. Merle had experience in selling Avon, Tupperware, Philkraft, land, and even calamansi, so selling was not that challenging for her. Through her hard work and determination, she was able to provide for her mother and her siblings.

When she started to build her own family with her husband Nelson Balicao, also a baker, she decided to quit her job primarily to dedicate more time for their kids while doing baking on the side. Her goal that time is to get just 3 orders per day, to be able to help her husband to sustain their living.

Rise to Success

Perseverance and hard work paid off. The three cake orders per day have now grown into a daily production of more than 500 cakes. And to accommodate the long queue of lines on their existing branches, they opened their business for resellers and even expanded in nearby establishments and malls.

“We value our customers by keeping a keen eye on what they are looking for, as we expand our reach nationwide.” Ms. Balicao said.

Indeed, MerNel’s has gone a long way under the leadership of Ms. Merle Balicao. In its 25th year in the business, mighty and strong, there’s no stopping MerNels expansion.

A Blessing to Many People

The Balicaos while creating a new life for their family, has also been a blessing to the lives of many people. As they expand and grow, they provided more jobs for a lot of people, taking care of their welfare as well as their families. Pandemic or no pandemic, Ms. Merle has been a consistent donor to the many outreach projects initiated by the Tag Media Group and other NGOs, generously giving out financial support, sacks of rice, and their very own cake produce.

Recognizing the Leaders of Tomorrow

“The CEO of MerNel’s, Merle Mendoza Balicao is with one of those rags to riches story that you like to read and be inspired over and over again. You’ll find the determination, challenges, and success in her.”

– Engr. Grace Bondad Nicolas, Founder, and CEO of Tag Media Group.

Ms. Merle Mendoza Balicao is a multi-awarded businesswoman who received the SME Company of the Year award at Asia Leaders Awards two years in a row, among other accolades from their community.

For her grit, determination, and leadership excellence, Asia Leaders Awards take the opportunity to recognize Miss Merle Mendoza Balicao, an ordinary woman turned into an empowered woman, among the Top 50 Rising Tigers in the Asia Pacific both in-person and tribute through the launching of the Rising Tigers: Nation Builders Magazine.

Rising Tigers: Nation Builders

Launching on March 22, 2022, at the Grand Hyatt Manila at the BGC in Taguig, “Rising Tigers: Nation Builders” is another brainchild of the Asia Leaders Awards (ALA) Committee.

This new publication will feature the best and the brightest in the Philippines and Southeast Asia who never fail to balance commitment to growth with corporate social responsibility, even during the most trying times.

“Asia Leaders Awards Presents the Top 50 Rising Tigers in the Asia Pacific to motivate us all that despite all the challenges, we will emerge triumphant. These are the top leaders with the very new vision of the world now,” shared Robert Laurel Yupangco, one of the ALA Board.

Asia Leaders Awards is the only recognition giving body whose awards committee is composed of respected leaders from different chambers, organizations, and embassies such as the Embassy of Singapore, Embassy of Poland, and Korean Council among others. Its main objective is to promote the Philippines as a premier business hub and destination in Asia.


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