Soap making!

A few weeks ago Teacher Bebe invited me to go with her and see how to make a soap. I am glad I went with her. The lady that demonstrated how to make the soap told us that the soap that we were making was to be given to the poor people here in Davao and the native people here too. She will also show them how to make the soap so that they will know and that it will be cheaper for them later. I will share with you guys below on how to make soap and ointment.

Honestly, here in the Philippines, a lot of the government organizations are now going to the poor barrios to show the women there how they can make a living even if they are a stay at home mom. My sister is really active in GenSan in attending  some kind of seminars that the government offices are giving and she then shares her knowledge from the seminars with the ladies in her neighborhood and at the Barangay Hall where they will have meetings every week.


My sister learned how to make powdered soap, liquid soap, bar soap (soap use here in the Philippines to wash clothes), lotion and glass cleaner. I am going to learn from her too. Their group of women in GenSan is already making powdered soap and selling it to people. It’s nice to learn and try to apply and share the knowledge to the people here at the house too.

The body soap that we made there in the group was herbal. Really, you can use any kind of soap mix that you like, such as herbal (guava, camias (eba), akapulko) and some others. Cook the leaves or roots first and use the liquid (juice extract) from it, oatmeal, cinnamon, perfume or cologne that you like. During our soap making the lady that demonstrated used AKAPULKO (we call it asunting here).

How to prepare the Herbal Soap:

Utensils needed:

  • Plastic pail (bucket)
  • Wooden ladle or bamboo stick
  • Glass or cup
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Cheesecloth or strainer
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Cooking pot (when preparing the concoction)
  • Plastic molders (size & shape you prefer)
  • Gloves
  • Mask

How to Prepare a Concoction:

  1. Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop or cut into small pieces.
  2. Measure 1 glass of chopped fresh leaves and 2 glass of water.
  3. Let it boil for 15 minutes (start timing when the water starts to boil.)
  4. After 15 minutes, remove from fire and strain in a cheesecloth. Set aside and let it cool.


  • 1 cup Caustic Soda
  • 3 cups of Akapulko concoction or some other herbal that you want to use.
  • 5 cups of cooking oil
  • coloring powder ( optional)


  • Prepare the materials and the utensils
  • Measure 1 cup of caustic soda and the 3 cups of Akapulko concoction and pour into the bucket.
  • Mix well by stirring continuously using the wooden ladle or bamboo stick. Just use one direction only when stirring. Stir until the caustic soda dissolved.
  • Pour 5 cups of the cooking oil into the mixture. Just pour it slowly.
  • Continue stirring until a consistency of a condensed milk is achieved.
  • Pour the mixture into the plastic molders. Set aside and let it cool to harden.
  • After 4-5 hours, remove the soap from the molders.
  • Allow 30 days or more for the soap to age before packing.

Just a reminder. Using Caustic Soda can harm the skin after contact. Wash immediately with vinegar or anything sour and then rinse it with soap and water.

Soon I am thinking of making bar soap with oatmeal. A friend of mine gave us some oatmeal soap and we really like it a lot. And for the oil I will try the coconut oil it might be good for the skin. If any of you know some other ingredients that will work better please feel free to share it here. To all of you that wants to make the soap, HAVE FUN Guys!

Post Author: Feyma (353 Posts)

Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin. Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. andy says

    Oh Feyma I hope you don't mind but I had to copy and print this one so I could do when I get there. Sounds like someting not only useful but fun to do. Nice article.

  2. Henry says

    Hi Feyma,
    Great article! I, too, like this business model for aspiring entrepreneurs (and not just in the Philippines). Actually, I always wanted to do something like this, but never got around to trying it.

  3. Hudson52 says

    HI Feyma,
    I remember my grandmother and mother making soap here in California. They would recycle the used cooking fats like from the frying pan then clearify it.
    It's almost impossible to make homemade soap now because of the drug problem. It seems caustic soda or lye is used to make meth. So to get it requires you to jump through hoops because its not on the shelf in the market anymore.
    Here's a big word…Saponification. Its the chemical process that takes place when fat and lye turns to soap…Im just full of useless information :)

  4. Danny says

    Kamusta ka Feyma,

    This I find very interesting, thanks so much. I will be sending this to Rose and her family too. Maybe they already know how to do this, but will send it to her anyways.

    Salamat kaayo, ingatz!!!
    Danny :)

  5. says

    Hi Feyma ! I had a good friend in the states that was big into making soaps and candles and fabric sprays. she did this as an addition to her largely popular essential oils business that she has since sold to a large company and has become semi wealthy from that sale. I brought several examples of her soaps and candles here to tagum city and my family loves it !

  6. Tyleen says

    Hi Feyma,
    olive oil is the number 1 natural soap here in Canada,,,,I love the way it makes my skin feel.
    European women have been using olive oil soap for centuries and their skins are wonderful.
    Why don;t you try some

  7. says

    Hi Feyma, nice article! Loved the picture. I have a friend in Taguig who facilitates the teaching of things like this and candle making, etc to women for business or personal purposes.

    Do you use a mold also like if you want it more round or create other shapes?

  8. says

    Hi Feyma, nice post! When I talked with Rose about it, she smiled. Yeah, her Lola made soap too – we will check later, if it has been the same procedure.

  9. Ann says

    Hi Feyma,

    Interesting article… I really wanted to venture into business one day when I live there for good, but I’m kind of paranoid because don’t know anything about biz, I’m afraid I might get bank draft (Lol)

    This is a good start for me, I copy & paste your soap making article so I won’t lose your recipes, I hope one day I’ll be able to use it..

    Thank you friend.

  10. Del says

    My grandma made soap in the 40,s I think she used wood ashes for lye some way.
    My wife live in the PI 4 months of the year when it is cold in the states.

  11. geronette says

    so uh… what kind of measuring cup will I use?? will I use the glass?
    I'm planning to use this soap as an investigatory project. Please help .thanks!

  12. perla canonigo says

    Hi feyma, Its nice to know that a filipina takes pride in homemade soap making, I guess you don,t need extra virgin olive oil to create a good soap. Infact the pomace one will do better.
    I am homemaking soap for a hobby(expensive tho) I am using varieties of polyunsaturated oil like peanut, sunflower, avocado, olive, castor, and of course mix with a 10th % of coconut or palm oil to make my soap hard and lathers well. I never use any synthetics colorants but naturals, derives from coffee, cocoa, tea, and other herbs and spices. I always use goat,s milk instead of water to make my soap milder and lower the ph level. I hope I could send you some pictures of my remaining curing batch now.
    I hope I could also share the soap making to filipinos who are interested to make it as a sidekick income later on. But I a bit of shy to come out. You inspire me to write. Thanks

    • cath says

      hello, i especially like the information you have about soap. im a starter and i really need a lot of help. please feed me with your information. thank you!

  13. lui says

    hi feyma,

    i find your soap making very interesting.
    im into beekeeping and wanted to incorporate my bee propolis extract to the body soap.
    as far as i know, when you mix water with caustic soda, the mixture will become hot.
    do i have to let the mixture cools off first before adding the cooking oil?
    will the outcome off the produced soap differ if i let the caustic mixture cools off and the procedure you mentioned?
    also, the medicinal properties of the herbs and my bee propolis might be affected if the temperature of the mixture exceeds 50 degrees centigrade, if mix them with water before pouring the solution to caustic soda.

  14. jeerah mae says

    hello.,, feyma i was wondering if i can use another herbal like what u said,guava.,,, is it the same with the procedure of the akapulco..?? thank you very much for this nice soap hope i can use it for my investigatory project…^_^

  15. Norie Acebes says

    Hi, enjoyed reading your article. Can you please tell me where to get the caustic soda, or soap making supplier?

  16. lhanie says

    Hello Fey, ask ko lang sana if saan nakakabili ng Caustic Soda? Thank you very much sa informations.

    • says

      Hi lhanie – I will ask the teacher again where to get it. It’s been so long I can’t remember where. I will also ask my sister she knows where to buy too and let you know.

      Thank you so much for dropping by here

      Take care!

    • says

      Hi lhanie – Try going to Amesco Drugstore they might have there, or ask them where to get it. My sister knows where to get it in GenSan.

      Take care!

    • says

      Hi ryan – I’ve heard you can buy caustic soda in Amesco drugstore. If they don’t have ask them where to get one.

      Good luck!

  17. Glenda E. Saligan says

    Hi! I am a government employee here in Cotabato Province working at the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology. We do have a custodial care program wherein we provide free education, food and school supplies to 739 government wards. They are students in the elementary, secondary and tertiary departments of CFCST. And since the budget given to us by the Philippine government is not enough for the needs of these children (composed of the Bangsamoro, Indigenous Peoples and the migrant settlers). The soap making steps you’ve shared will be tried by our children so as to teach them skills and help in the meager budget for their upkeep. Thanks again!

    • says

      Hi jynah – I think you can buy soap made from the non profit organizations, or to some women group. They make different kinds of soap there. Just inquire to your local government office in your area, they will direct you to the group.

      Hope it helps for you. Thank you for stopping by!

  18. says

    Hi. This reply may to your article may be a little late but I just stumbled upon this article recently. I am very interested in soap making for my own use and I am having a problem finding where to buy lye or caustic soda in Manila. Would you be kind enough as to direct me? Thanks for your help.

  19. Andres Hipolito says

    I am now making soap, herbal bath soap in particular.

    I learned this when I went to Manila.. I enrolled at Ticanocah Livelihood Training Center. The seminar is so informative and I am now making an income from this.
    You can inquire from them or send a message at [email protected]. Or text them at 0908-8656820. The trainor is so accommodating and we are only less than ten per class. Try to learn how to make soap and you will realy enjoy it. I am now base in the province and selling soap.

  20. Lily MV says

    Hi Feyma, great article regarding making soaps. I find it very interesting to make your own soaps since most soaps nowadays are filled with chemicals. It seems like going back to natural soaps are the right thing to do right now, but do you know anything about natural liquid soaps? There is a group that makes those here in the Philippines and here’s their site

  21. c. go says

    hi there,
    i’m interested in making my own homemade soap and selling them locally. i wanted to register my products, which is why i checked what the bfad/fda required. their list of requirements, to say the least, is not at all friendly to people like me who doesn’t have the money to start a huge business. first, and this was what bowled me over, was that you have to have a laboratory. i mean really? if you’re making handmade soap to sell in craft shows or maybe some local spas, do you have to build your laboratory first? i can’t even shell out on thousands of dollars worth of essential oils, so how can i finance such a structure? this really stifled me. i was so excited after reading your blog that i couldn’t sleep. i read everything i can about hot process soap making, and i couldn’t even sleep just considering the possibilities. now, i feel depressed. like my creative juices were squeezed out of me. is there no way around this? your suggestions or advice will be most welcome.thanks and i’d appreciate it if you can personally email me your response.thanks in advance.

  22. Lino says

    Hi Feyma – here in GenSan, where can I find caustic soda? Will try to make soap and use it for debudding goat horns! Hope you can direct me to a place to buy here or in Davao. Daghan salamat!

    • says

      Hi Lino – Try to go to the pharmacy there. Some of them carry caustic soda. Can’t remember the particular pharmacy that carries it. Just ask around though. I have to ask my sister also where she gets it and I will email you.

      Take care!

      • Lino says

        Thanks Feyma – so far have gone to Mercury Drug, not available and have gone to a couple of hardware stores – no luck pa run – will continue search and hope your sister will “pull thru”? BTW – is your sister’s group still making soap and stuff? Baka maka join or visit ako? Daghan salamat!

    • says

      Hi joana flor atienza – Try asking at the pharmacy, ask them too if they know some place where you can get it.

      Hope it helps you a little there. Thank you for stopping by and have fun making soap.

      Have a great day!

  23. margot says

    Hello po ma’am. Good morning po. Ma’am i am an aspiring soap maker and i want to use this as a business as well. Can u help me on starting this dream of mine. Thanks a lot.

  24. Vivian says

    Hi feyma,

    Please ask your readers to be careful in making soap. I notice that the recipe you gave was in cups and that you did not specify what oil to use, just “cooking oil”. If you do a bit of research, you will find out that oils have different saponification values..meaning it takes a certain number of grams of caustic soda (lye) to saponify (make soap) using coconut oil. The amount of caustic soda will be different for different kinds of oil (palm, olive, canola, castor, etc). So its not good for your recipe to one cup caustic soda without specifying the type of oil used. The result might be that the soap will be lye heavy and will cause irritation or burns. Thats why some soapers rely on soap calculators that are free to use online. Some good calculators can calculate fragrances and even additives like aloe extracts.

  25. says

    Hi Henry – Hmmm, I guess now you had something to think about. 😉

    Good luck to you. As always I'm happy to see you here. Take care and God bless!

  26. says

    Hi Hudson52 – Honestly I am not really sure if I will use the used oil for the soap that I want to make. I will get problems with my skin easy. But if somebody wants to use it good for them.

    Good thing we can still get caustic soda here in the pharmacy. The main use for that is to harden the soap.

    Hey another word for us to learn here.

    Nice to see you here. Thank you so much for your comment.

  27. says

    Hi Danny – Sure, something for them to do. I am sure they will enjoy making it. I would not be surprise if Rose and her family knows about it. Its getting popular now here in the Philippines.

    Good to see you here. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Ingat too…

  28. says

    Hi Tommy – Wow your friend had a good business then. Maybe I bought some of your friend soap and candles when I used to lived in the States? 😉 I collect nice candles before.

    Good to see you here Tommy. Take care and God bless!

  29. says

    Hi Tyleen – Yes I was thinking of making soap with olive oil extra virgin, since we have sensitive skin.

    Thanks for the good tip too. Good to see you here.

    Take care and God bless!

  30. says

    Hi Michelle – I really want to make a candle. I have been thinking that since I was still in the States, but never got around to it. Hopefully soon though.

    You can use any mold. Some with the baking stuff (can't use for baking again after you mold soap in it), even just a small plastic cups will do. Just use the molds just for the soap though. My kids wanted me to make and mold it with the cartoons character. Not a surprise there… Ha ha ha…

    Thank you so much for stopping by!

  31. says

    Hi Del – I can see your grandma made soap in the 40's, not much company making a lot of soap at that time though. Good for her.

    Is your wife from the Mindanao area?

    Thank you for stopping by here!

  32. Del says

    Sorry for not answering sooner,I was talking to a friend today on sktpe he told of your reply,He lives in Angeles City Panpanga,that is whear we stay in the winter.My wife is from Iloilo she went to Manila at 13 to work as a maid for her Aunt and her uncle,He wasPC befor it became PNP. She went to angelws City to work for an Aunt whoes husband wae killed in WW2 she was cooking in Olongapo when I met her that was 33 years ago.

  33. says

    Hi geronette – You can use the glass or the plastic. Whatever you have around the house is good. Just remember this the utensils that you use on making this soap, don't use it with other stuff because of the caustic acid, just wash it up with water and put it away for the next time you make again.

    Good luck with your project. Nice to see you here.

  34. says

    Hi perla canonigo – Good for you. I like what you are mixing. It's sounds good to the skin.

    Gosh, the Pinays nowadays are really into the whitening soap. At the grocery shelves you can see lots of the whitening soap from a not so famous company to a famous name dermatologist. I've never used one before in my life, I don't need it.

    You can email me privately on the prices of your soap. I will ask around if people would be interested.

    Thank you for stopping by. Hope to hear from you. Take care!

  35. Jocelyn yturralde says

    Iam interested in learning to make herbal soap. Is there any livelihood program here in Angeles city? I ‘ill just wait for your reply. Thanks

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