Bantay Kalikasan

Transforming Ylang-Ylang to Perfume

Althea D. Cahayag
December 21, 2018

Did you know that the famous Chanel N°5 perfumeis made of Ylang-Ylang? (Gasps in amazement!)

It makes up around 10% of the perfume! However, according to Ben Mead, Elysian Essential Oils, Philippines Inc.’s Director, currently, there is no large-scale production of Ylang-Ylang that can support export to big customers like Chanel. (That’s just so sad!)

But who knows? This might change as Philippines now has resources to be a vital player in the oils and essences industry because of our rich biodiversity -- an Ylang-Ylang production is about to start in Iba, Zambales.

IROG (Iba Resettlement Organic Garden) Association, ABS-CBN LingkodKapamilya Foundation, Inc. - BantayKalikasan, Elysian Essentials, and the residents of Eco Village in Iba, Zambales, planted 2,000 Ylang-Ylang trees covering five-hectares of Hacienda Elysian in Eco Village. Once fully grown, the oils from the Ylang-Ylang will be extracted by Elysian Essentials to create perfumes and essential oils.

“We guarantee a market for everything that is produced. We extract essential oil or any high value extract that we then supply to our partners overseas,” Mead expressed.

According to Mikhail Dizon, Cluster Lead of BantayKalikasan, Elysian Essentials partnered with IROG to be contact-growers.

“We are seeing the future of essential oils that it will have a big market not only in the Philippines but also all over the world,” Dizon enthused. “This project will help IROG because it will give them a sustainable livelihood. They can plant the raw materials Elysian will use and they can also apply as employees,” he added.

Aside from Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver grass islikewise planted in the mountains. The community will also plant Turmeric which is known for its anti-cancer component. Elysian also plans to establish trial plantations of cinnamon. 

Eighty-four families also received gift packs from ALKFI-BK and Elysian Essentials during the tree-planting activity and the Earth Warrior Training.

The partnership also aims to have the Eco Village as a model community to be replicated around the Philippines. Branded as Iba Botanicals, Mead said that the name was derived, aside from the place, from what ‘iba’ means in Filipino – ‘different’. It is a reference that what they are doing is a different form of how companies operate in the Philippines.

“It is more of a sustainable, inclusive model, long – term community engagement, shared success, and a form of impact investing where everybody benefits, everybody works together to the project’s success. You engage the local community as partners and really align them with the success of the project,” he said.

“We entered in a 25-year agreement to partner with the community, really to develop this model for high value agricultural products. Twenty-five (25) years is important because we are taking a very long-term view for community development and also, some other products we plan to produce here require a long-term approach. Ylang-ylang tree will take around five years before its flowers bloom. The flower is where you extract the oil,” he explained.

As the project started, BantayKalikasan provided an Earth Warrior Training to IROG members and to the community of Eco Village who will be heavily involved with the partnership. 

Dizon shared that BantayKaliaksanconducts values formation to partner communities once they are given sustainable livelihood projects. “By doing Earth Warrior Trainings, we try to let the community have the sense of ownership to the projects given to them. The trainings also aim to see each other’s leadership potential and toteach them how to protect the environment while taking care of their own project.”