By BENJAMIN SARONDO
A professional basketball player turned businessman, Michael Chase Manansala, 40 years old, proved that he can showcase both offense and defense not just on the basketball court but also in the field of agribusiness.
After playing point guard for the Shiga Lakestars in Japan, Manasala moved to the Philippines, where he serves as the president of Kuroda Electric Philippines Incorporated, based in Laguna Technopark. Manansala said that the skills he applied in managing the company were more based on the strategies and techniques he learned from basketball. Controlling the business is like playing a game, Manansala added.
Outside the corporate world, Manansala has a farm in Mexico, Pampanga. He established Chase Goat Farm, where he breeds and sells goats. When he started during the pandemic, he only had six heads, but presently, he has 400 heads that are already reserved for purchase. But Manansala shared that starting a business, particularly a goat business, is not an easy win.
Michael Chase Manansala serves as the president of Kuroda Electric Philippines Incorporated, based in Laguna Technopark. Apart from his corporate work, he also established Chase Goat Farm, located in Mexico, Pampanga. (Michael Chase Manansala)
Manansala admitted that he did not like the taste of goat meat when he first tried it. But as the cliche says, the customer is the number one priority in a business. When he started the restaurant Sa Tapsilogan and Bulalohan in Pampanga, which later became Bigboy Restaurant, he asked his customers what else they wanted to try and what he could improve in his business. “They said goat meat,” Manansala said.
Manansala established Bigboy Restaurant, where he can use the goat meat in the goat dishes he offers. (Michael Chase Manansala)
In order to satisfy his customers’ cravings, Manansala then bought goat meat, also called chevon. “Luckily, my chef in the restaurant knows how to cook goat meat,” Manansala stated. “Surprisingly, it was fully consumed in just a single day,” Manansala said.
Curry made of goat meat is served at Bigboy Restaurant. (Michael Chase Manansala)
But the next day, when he tried to buy more chevon, no one sold it to him, even if it was available in their shop. “I tried to ask the goat farmers, and they said that they only sell goat meat when they are really in need of money or when there is an occasion, but for their own consumption only,” Manansala added.
Manasala then roamed different provinces like Bulacan, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas, and many more, but goat farmers still do not sell their goats. “I found out that when you sell a goat per day, you need to have at least 200 heads to supply for a year daily, there is no stable supply since the majority of goat farmers only have backyard farms that only have one to 10 heads,” Manansala stated.
Rebounding from challenges
Instead of relying on the supply of goat meat in the market, Manansala decided to start his own goat farm, but he encountered the same problem where goat farmers do not sell their goats. So, Manansala cannot start his goat farm and breed them when there are no goats to take care of in the first place.
“But during the pandemic, when most people needed money, I took the opportunity to purchase all the goats that are for sale in the market,” Manansala said. He started with six heads back in September 1, 2021, and now he has 400 heads available before celebrating the second anniversary of the business.
Boer Anglo is one of the goat breeds that is being raised at Chase Goat Farm. (Michael Chase Manansala)
But the challenge of starting his goat business does not stop from buying goats to breed. Manansala said that he thought goat farming was just an easy business because he only needed to feed them grass, but along the way, he admitted that he was wrong. “I had no idea about goat farming when I started this business; every day there are things happening that I am not aware of, and I cannot ask for advice from other farmers since it is very rare that there are big scale goat farms in the country,” Manansala said.
Luckily, Manansala was able to understand Japanese materials, such as videos and research, about goat farming, which served as his reference in taking care of his business. But what motivated him the most to learn and understand goat farming was when 50 goats on his farm died, and even veterinarians could not tell the reason why.
Championing his market
When he started his business, instead of finding a specific market where he could sell his goats and goat products, Manansala created a market for himself. “Aside from my goat farm, when I am unable to sell my goats alive, I establish my own meat shop where goat meat can be processed and sold,” Manansala said.
Manasala added that when the goat meat is still unable to be sold, he has restaurants where he can use the goat meat on goat dishes he offers. And when the goat dishes are still not consumed, he can freeze them to extend their shelf life.
Goat sashimi is one of the best dishes served at Bigboy Restaurant. Also, goat ramen is one of the best-sellers. (Michael Chase Manansala)
In the worst scenario, these steps are still insufficient to sell out the goats and goat products. “I can consume them; I am confident with the quality of my goats,” Manansala said.
“I did not know that I could easily sell my goats; that is why I established a meat shop and restaurants. But right now I have 400 goats and I have 1,000 heads reserved, so I will just continue breeding,” Manansala stated.
Despite Manansala’s busy schedule serving as the company’s president, he was still able to manage his time handling Chase Goat Farm. “We all have 24 hours; my work requires eight hours, and I still have 16 hours left. You can sleep, you can chill, and you can work; what matters is how you handle your time,” Manansala said.
He also emphasized the importance of communication tools to manage all of his work. “I use different platforms so I can still connect with people from my farm while I am reporting to the office,” Manansala stated.
Manansala said that he uses different platforms to connect with people from his farm while he is reporting to the office, making his business manageable. (Michael Chase Manansala)
Manansala added, “I started my business during the start of the pandemic, so half of my work is done at home and the other half at the office. And now, I can let my hired people handle tasks in the farm, meat shop, and restaurants, and so far, we have not encountered any major problems.”
Manansala believed that the strategies and techniques he learned from playing basketball for his goat farming business helped him to have a good system for managing and coping with the challenges he encountered. Manansala said that he still has a passion for basketball, but now he is more passionate about providing food that is delicious, natural, and healthy. And what he loves about his goat farm is the opportunity it offers people who seek to earn a livelihood.
Photos by Michael Chase Manansala