When this doctor decided to plant mangosteen trees in the early ‘80s, people laughed at him, saying that there was no money to be had with such venture.
Even his wife questioned his decision. After all, he had already started growing rubber trees in their 30 hectares of land in Kidapawan City in Mindanao, which is known as “rubber country.
But the instinct of Alfredo Villarico, a general practitioner of medicine, proved to be correct. More than three decades later, Villarico (who has since retired from his day job as doctor) had turned the mangosteen trees into a profitable business.
Soon after the mangosteen trees bore fruit, Villarico put up Dr. Alfred’s Essentials Inc., a company which produces capsule supplements made with mangosteen pericarp, mangosteen-infused coffee, mangosteen jam, tea made from pure mangosteen leaves, and mangosteen soaps.
“Planting the mangosteen trees was providential,” said the 75-year-old doctor. “Back then, not many people were familiar with the fruit and its health benefits. Business aside, mangosteen is at least something that I could bring home for my family to eat, which I couldn’t do with rubber.”
According to Healthline.com, mangosteen packs many essential nutrients (while being low in calories) such as fiber, protein, Vitamins C, B9, B1, B2, as well as manganese and magnesium, among many others.
The fruit (which contains xanthones) also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-cancer effects. Some studies even suggest that mangosteen may promote weight loss, as well as control blood sugar.
His success in business led many to refer to him as the “King of Mangosteen,” though even today, he is still reluctant to accept the title. He says he’s just happy to be able to help so many people—those who consume their products because they become healthier, and the people who become gainfully employed because of the business.
While Dr. Alfred’s Essentials is a familiar product for people in the Visayas and Mindanao region, it’s not as visible in Luzon—at least not yet. But that may change in the near future, as company officials said they are looking to expand their reach in the northern part of the country in the near future.