Kalayaan fetes employees in double celebration

Posted on Dec 30 2019

Kalayaan Inc. employees, led by president Doll Alinas, were dressed to the nine as they celebrated their 20th year anniversary and Christmas party last Dec. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Saipan. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

School food service company Kalayaan Inc. celebrated its 20th anniversary and Christmas party with much fanfare last Dec. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

Employees, including president Doll Alinas, dressed to the nines in a grand celebration of the company’s two decades of existence that saw them through the usual birth pains, a devastating fire, and Super Typhoon Yutu.

Alinas, in her speech, said Kalayaan, which means freedom in Filipino, had its origins when it initially prepared food for the Philippine Independence Day celebration on Saipan.

They planned to make it into a food truck business that offered rice bowl meals, but Kalayaan settled to packing meals out of an apartment in Chalan Laulau in June 1999.

From an original two-man operation, Kalayaan eventually outgrew its Chalan Laulau home and moved to a rented house in Koblerville. In 2007, its operations were transferred to a 2,000-square-foot facility in San Antonio.

By that time, the company was already deep into school food service, which has since become the backbone of Kalayaan’s operations—a fact that is not lost on Alinas.

“To our business partners from financial institutions, suppliers, insurance providers, private, and governmental agencies alike: You are an integral part of why [Kalayaan] is able to deliver its outstanding service to our most precious clients—our students. You are fused with our team and we are proud to work with you,” she said.

In hindsight, Alinas said she was probably destined to work side by side with the Public School System, having worked for PSS before.

The company’s Procurement and Administration Department won the Christmas video presentation competition and the $2,500 cash prize that came with it.

“To our school administrators, teachers and staff: As far as difficulty is concerned, I think your work is definitely ‘up’ here, but having been a high school and middle school teacher myself at one point in my professional life, I know working with kids is definitely one of the most rewarding things anyone can do. The type of work we see that you do to make your students excel drives us to challenge ourselves even further so we can do better,” she said.

Alinas also thanked Kalayaan employees for loyally serving the company the past 20 years and even helping it endure a fire that engulfed its San Antonio facility in 2012, leaving the company with nothing to salvage, plus Super Typhoon Yutu that battered its relocated headquarters in Agingan Lane six years later in 2018.

“To be in business for 20 years means having incredible people in your company. …I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with a group of talented, passionate, and caring people. Your willingness to give of yourselves and help each other is very special and is deeply admired. You are simply the best,” she said.

Kalayaan’s ability to rise from the ashes has been exemplified by being the back-to-back No. 1 company in the years PSS bidded out its food service contract in 2015 and 2018.

“To add icing and frosting to this glorious two-peat victory for our company, we were awarded the Rota and Tinian food services contracts,” added Alinas.

King of the night Riel Paynor and queen of the night Corazon Domine.

Service awards were also handed out at the occasion, to Corazon Domine, Jessica Dizon, and Raul Dolotina (5 years) and Simplicia S. Sunio (10 years), who was also given the employee of the year award.

In a night of glitz and glamor, none shone brighter than Riel Paynor and Corazon Domine, who bagged the king and queen of the night plums, respectively.

Kalayaan’s Procurement and Administration Department also beat all comers in the Christmas video presentation competition and went home with the winner-take-all $2,500 cash prize.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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