Leonora Magaling

A famous girl boss once said, “If you’re dreaming big, don’t be discouraged if you have to start small.” Every successful business begins from scratch, and for Leonara Magaling, she started hers from the coconut leftovers on her delivery truck.

Leonora was exposed to the difficulties of life early on. As a student, she had to work as a cashier in her aunt’s bakery, leaving her with only three hours to do personal chores and homework. She persevered in order to provide additional support for her parents who are a local farmer and a housekeeper. Looking back, this experience allowed her to develop time management skills, which would prove to be particularly useful later on.

After graduating from college in 1995, she applied for jobs but was rejected due to a lack of experience. Leonora remained committed, as she was still helping provide for her parent and siblings. Eventually, she was hired as a contractual employee at a ceramics corporation. Even on days when feeling unwell, Leonora never skipped a day’s work, still driven by her commitment to her family.

Despite repeated rejections and hardships, the willingness to seize every opportunity and keep moving forward would work favorably for her. Embarking in business means having a close relationship with risks—something Leonora was willing to face. From breeding pigs to nursing gardens, landscaping, setting up a restaurant, and selling buko juice, she ventured bravely into businesses knowing full well that there are inherent risks.

She also ventured in delivering coconuts to Bulacan and Metro Manila which were sourced from Baler, Aurora.

As the story goes, these ventures floundered, leaving her with “scraps”—leftovers that would prove to be the starting point for her eventual success. In distributing buko juice through her truck, she ended up with leftover coconuts that she did not want to go waste. This led her to develop a new recipe for yema buko pie in August 2016.

Eleonora’s buko pie is creamy, filled with not so sweet young coconut meat covered with a distinctive tasting crust.

With her family savings, she invested P800,000 to put up its processing site in Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan which is located along Mac Arthur Highway. This is also the site of their retail outlet.

This venture proved to finally be a success with the help of her famiy. She expanded her products to various kinds of yema buko pie – macapuno, ube, cassava, and other flavors. This also enabled the business to expand and establish a new processing site in Barangay Carillo, Hagonoy, Bulacan.

TLM Buko Pie Product
TLM Buko Pie Product

The support provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from 2017 to 2020 helped widen her market reach. Among the assistance provided by DTI were training, seminars, and trade fairs such as the Kapatid Mentor ME Program, Likha ng Central Luzon National Food Fair, and Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions International Food Exhibit.

With a resolute spirit and faith in God, Leonora accomplished her goals. Leonora’s success has also enabled her to provide job opportunities for other women. Presently, TLM Yema Buko Pie and Pasalubong Center has 12 female employees. Leonora always knew that women would be essential to her business’ growth because of their intelligence, passion, and hard work.

Leonora started small but with a big fighting spirit. For those who are struggling to start a business, she has this to say: “Business is like a game. At first, it is easy and controllable, but the more you reach the top, the greater the challenges.” It’s important, she says, to never give up, to never stop because there are certainly good things waiting on the other side.♦

Date of Release: 29 September 2020