THE town of Gandara in Samar is promoting its cheese delicacy called "keseo" as one of its tourism and livelihood assets.
The product was developed when the Department of Agriculture decided to form the Gandara Keseo Producers Association (GKPA) whose aim is to make the native delicacy out of carabao’s (water buffalo) milk.
The GKPA was given a capital to buy milk from carabao owners and make this into keseo.
GKPA members are required to have knowledge in making this product since they are only starting by that time and they wanted to make money out of it, said Adelfa Gabejan, head of the local agriculture office.
Keseo maker Rebecca Margallo, 30, said they started as an all-women organization but since their husbands don’t have anything to do, they decided to let them join also.
Producers in this town make more than 500 pieces of keseo a day and sell them to store owners, locals and visitors.
The product is processed in the newly-built keseo processing center located in Natimonan village, 15 minutes drive from the town center.
Margallo said that keseo making has augmented their income. Some of them were able to finance college education.
“Our income in making keseo helped us give our children’s future. I am positive this product will make a name in other areas soon,” Margallo added.
The product is made up of carabao’s milk with a little mixture of vinegar. The liquid transforms into white cheese through boiling. It is the oldest home-based industry that made the town popular.
Early last year, the town introduced its product to Luzon-based buyers through the government-sponsored National Food Fair in Manila. (PNA)