The Story of SILVER SWAN MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC. and PHILIPPINE GENERAL MERCHANDISING CORPORATION
The success story of a corporation and the man behind it should go hand in hand. Silver Swan Manufacturing Company, Inc. was started by the late Mr. Sy Bun Suan in the year 1942.
He first came to the Philippines as a merchant marine from Amoy China in 1931. After a few years shuttling between China and the Philippines as Captain of M/V “SUSANA”, he decided, with the encouragement of friends to establish the “Silver Swan”, a restaurant in Lucena, Quezon, now Lucena City. It was in this restaurant where he gained experience in selling as he had contact with salesmen of many different companies. In 1934, the manager of Nestle and Anglo Swiss Company, seeing this man to be aggressive and good selling, took him as a salesman for Southern Tagalog. He sold for his company Alphine Evaporated Milk and Senorita condensed milk which were then imported from Switzerland. He worked for them until 1937 when he accepted a job with F.E. Zuellig and company with higher income. He worked for this company until 1941 when the war broke out.
During the War, the first thing Mr. Sy did was to put up a small soy sauce factory utilizing the knowledge and past experiences with the Yao family to which Mrs. Sy came from. Late in 1941, they organized the Silver Swan Manufacturing Company with offices and factory in the same building in Elcano Street, Tondo Manila. Mr. Sy Bun Suan thought of the name Silver Swan as a brand because it rhymed with his name. In 1942, when Silver Swan was already getting popular, and with the help of the late Mr. Benjamin Dela Cuesta, he approached the Filipino Federation of Retailers Cooperative Association, Inc. located at the ground floor of the Bureau of Commerce, Echague Street, Manila to distribute the product. The Silver Swan was accepted for distribution not only by the Manila Federation but also the different provincial Federation of Retailers Cooperative Associations. In the capital of these provinces all over the country there were Federations which consisted of retailers cooperative associations in every town of the provinces. He was able to get these associations to help in the distribution of Silver Swan soy sauce. This product became the most popular brand of soy sauce in the market. Unfortunately, the war in 1945 destroyed his factory. After liberation, Mr Sy Bun Suan engaged in the import business by establishing the Philippine General Merchandising Corporation which later on became the marketing arm of Silver Swan Manufacturing Company, Inc. up to the present.
Early in 1953, he re-established Silver Swan Manufacturing Company, Inc. and manufactured soy sauce on a small scale in a one-door apartment at 219 A. Del Mundo Street, Grace Park, Caloocan City. Late that year, Mr. Sy Bun Suan offered to Connell, Brothers Company (Phils.) the exclusive distribution of this product for the whole country to which the later accepted.
In 1956, the Silver Swan Manufacturing Company, Inc., was awarded by the Business Writers Association of the Philippines the distinction as the best food product of the year 1955. The certificate of award was given by the late President Ramon Magsaysay to Mr. Sy Bun Suan in appropriate ceremony.
In 1979, Connell Brothers company ceased the distributorship of Silver Swan, and in 1980, Ayala Marketing company took over the distributorship of Silver Swan but closed after one year of operation.
In 1981, Philippine General Merchandising Corporation was re-activated and became the exclusive distributor of Silver Swan products.