In the province of Tarlac, Anao is the only sixth-class municipality and is the smallest in terms of land area and population. However, these have not prevented Anao from showcasing excellent environmental, economic and human resource development programs benefiting 1,963 households in 17 barangays.
Sometime in 1988, the Technology & Livelihood Research Center (TLRC) discovered that there were at least 72 flowering ylang-ylang trees scattered around the town of Anao. This led to their recommendation for the development of the ylang-ylang essential oil extractor project for Anao as part of the Rural Industrialization Can Happen (RICH) program.
The ylang-ylang oil’s potential as a dollar earner convinced the Municipal Government of Anao to venture into the large-scale propagation of ylang-ylang. In 1990, the Municipality of Anao became one of the beneficiaries of Pres. Corazon Aquino’s Program to Refocus Orientation to the Poor (PRO-POOR). Line agencies and the provincial government pooled their resources to support the research and development of the ylang-ylang livelihood program.
The Anao Ylang-ylang Primary Multipurpose Cooperative (AYPMPC) was formed in August 1998 to serve as the core group in the overall implementation of the program. Each year, the municipal government allocates P400,000 from its 20% development fund to strengthen the program. More importantly, it has enacted an ordinance guaranteeing the community ownership of the ylang-ylang trees planted along the roads, transferring of appropriate and viable technology, distribution of free seedlings, and provision of marketing support.
At present, 17,400 ylang-ylang trees are in bloom in the municipality. The trees’ powerfully sweet fragrance purifies the air. Their uniform appearance, a result of regular maintenance, beautifies the town. Around 170 households earn P250 to P800 a week just by selling ylang-ylang flowers to the local government at P50 pr kilo.
One kilo of ylang-ylang flowers produces 10-12 ml. of essential oils that is now registered in the Intellectual Products Office (IPO). It is used as an important ingredient for perfumes to spice up products like soaps, shampoos and body oils. In fact, the local government of Anao has already launched these products in the market. The fragrance is now being tested by the International Flavors and Fragrances in New York while investment opportunity seminars are being conducted in other municipalities in the province.