Resilient Pinay

Alvers’ CEO wins HANDA challenge, highlights continuity plan, advocacy

QUEZON CITY, Manila – With her resiliency and sense of adaptability, the Chief Executive Officer of Alvers Specialty, Ms. Everlyn D. Gicana, a Pinaypreneur with a food retail minimart in Las Piñas City, emerged as the winner of the HANDA Challenge initiated by the UP ISSI to document best practices of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing and implementing business continuity and resilience strategies through her effective business continuity plan.

In time for the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the HANDA Challenge Awarding Ceremony was conducted on October 13, 2022 as part of the E-HANDA Webinar: Promoting Resilient Pinaypreneurs.


Ms. Everlyn D. Gicana

The turning-point

“The shift from retail tapos naging food manufacturer – food hub, nagpivot po kami (The shift from retail to becoming food manufacturer – food hub made us pivot in the business),” Ms. Gicana shared on how the lockdowns brought by the pandemic affected 99.9% of her business since majority of the work force are all from Cavite and that they cannot travel to Las Piñas.

She also added that the situation challenged them to change because of the situation and that her skills and gained experiences in her previous jobs helped in obtaining raw materials. 

  “I created hybrid employee na kahit saan pwede siya ilagay na hindi macocompromise yung ibang department (I created hybrid employee who can be anywhere in the work but he or she doesn’t compromise the other departments),” Ms. Gicana stated highlighting her other business continuity strategies.

Pinaypreneur Gicana also added that she prepares for potential threats that may affect her business through planning to recreating business continuity plan and from time to time, they review their business model. 

“Pinaghahandaan namin siya through series of planning, implementation tsaka po I highly give importance to the feedback and inputs ng team (We prepare through series of planning and implementation, and I highly give importance to the feedback and inputs of the team),” she said. 

During the interview conducted by the UP ISSI HANDA Program Team, she explained that a resilient enterprise is always ready for any disasters and that it helps not only the company but also the community by giving employment and inspiration to other people who might be desponded. 


Working with purpose

“When I started building our business in June of 2018, I can genuinely say that I was driven with a purpose. And that is to help our Kababayans,” she shared.

In addition, she mentioned that she wants to help Filipinos by (1) providing access to great, healthy, and affordable food choices, (2) creating jobs especially for single moms and working students, and (3) supporting our local farmers and fellow MSMEs.

“Most of the time, being too busy is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. People do not have the time and energy to make healthy food. People will take whatever is available, whatever is convenient, even if it is unhealthy,” she stated as she explained why Alvers Specialty Store was created.

Pinay winner Ms. Gicana also emphasized that Alvers is where affordable and nutrient-dense go together and that every prepared food is made from scratch with the highest quality ingredients without preservatives or additives.

According to their official Facebook page, Alvers Specialty Store is a food hub that provides great, healthy, and affordable local food meals and ready-to-eat items. It envisions to be one of the best specialty stores in the world by preparing great food with great value. While it supports local farmers by sourcing out raw materials from them for its products, Alvers also ensures every customer with nutrient-dense food made with the highest quality ingredients that are free of additives and preservatives. Alvers is not your ordinary minimart. It is where you experience fresher food, and warm and kind service while supporting the local farmers and MSMEs.

Furthermore, Ms. Gicana mentioned that sourcing food from the local farmers is their way to help provide good economic growth and sustainable income for the community. 

“To produce nutritious food that improves the quality of health and well-being of our Kababayans, ingredients are not only carefully sourced internationally but also locally. And when we say locally, we mean we help to support local farmers and micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs),” she stated.

Ms. Gicana was awarded with training vouchers worth PhP 13,500 for two (2) UP ISSI Training Programs: (1) e-Honing Agents for National Disaster Awareness (HANDA) Program: Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity Planning for MSMEs; and (2) the Online Digital Marketing Course (ODMC). In addition, the UP ISSI HANDA Program Team invited Ms. Gicana in the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction COPE Webinar Special episode as a guest speaker to share her inspiring entrepreneur story.



Alvers Specialty. (2019, November 16). Brand Story: Alvers. [Status Update]. Facebook.


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