The Perks of Being Human

It’s incredible to think that three years have gone since the world was shut down by the pandemic. We’ve all suffered tremendous pain, grieving lost lives and livelihood. But we are all survivors. Resilience and faith have brought us to here and now, making sense of the world that has emerged post-Covid. We are ready to dust ourselves off and seize the opportunities fueled by the entrepreneurial drive from many businesses determined to succeed again, including in our own company, Human Nature.

We started with the dreams of a young mom, a cosmetic junkie and a jaded capitalist. The co-founders had different interests; but common values rooted in Gawad Kalinga, the nation-building movement that sparked heroism among ordinary Filipinos. I had read a lot about harmful chemicals lurking in baby products, and I wanted to minimize my children’s exposure to them. Camille, my sister, had always been obsessed with makeup and skin care even at a young age. My husband Dylan had already founded a successful publicly listed company, but he had left this lifestyle turned off by capitalist greed. He was happy volunteering full time in GK and could not imagine trading building homes for selling lipstick!

But with more discussion and prayer, all of us saw the gap in the market to provide affordable natural cosmetics. We didn’t know anything about the consumer goods business, but we were determined to try! We also felt that God gave us a mission to do business differently grounded on the values of being pro-Philippines, pro-poor and pro-government.

MELOTO-WILK committed Human Nature to become a company that will bring people out of poverty by providing dignified employment.

We committed Human Nature to become a company that will bring people out of poverty by providing dignified employment and improve lives especially the poor. To this end, we decided to pay our people a living wage instead of just the minimum wage. Today, we pay our employees even the rank and file double the minimum wage. We close on Sundays to ensure that families can be together, and everyone gets proper rest.

Even during the worst days of the crisis when stores closed and sales plummeted, we didn’t lay off any of our employees but instead provided a lifeline to them that was only made possible through God’s providence and the collective sacrifice of all employees, some of whom took deep pay cuts to stretch our resources.

Now in post-Covid times, we recommit to our mission to provide world-class Filipino products, bring people out of poverty and steward our planet. We have launched plastic bottle-free products and continue our refilling programs to reduce our packaging waste. We continue to release new products that cater to the changing needs of the market, especially the younger generation.

I hope that we see this fresh start as an opportunity to build back better. To re-build all Filipino businesses with the commitment to become better stewards of our country, our people and our culture. Industry can play a big role in improving society if we see ourselves not just as profit-generating entities but as shepherds of our employees and stewards of the resources we propagate. Money is not the end but the means to better serve society.


Anna Meloto-Wilk is co-founder and president of Gandang Kalikasan Inc., makers of Human Nature, one of the largest social enterprises of natural personal and home-care product line in the Philippines.