“Corollo’s Takoyaki Station”, owned by former Overseas Performing Artist, Ms. Evangeline Corollo Peñaranda, embarked on its journey back in 2006, when takoyaki was first introduced in Dasmariñas City. Initially, they sell their products via a food cart and settle near the sidewalks of De La Salle University, Dasmariñas City. Like other businesses, they’ve experienced a series of ups and downs. One was back when road widening started within the vicinity where they sell their products. They were forced to leave due to the construction, but then they did not stop doing their business and eventually rented a place where they could establish their business, which up until now has been operating.

In the year 2020, the COVID-19 virus massively affected not only the health of people but also businesses all over the globe. A threat to health emerged, and that’s why a series of lockdowns were executed that made almost every business struggle. Fortunately, their business is one of the essentials that was allowed to operate. Then one day, their family got sick, and going out was very limited. The owner, Ms. Evangeline, remembered a traditional way of doing what her parents did way back when they were sick. They tried extracting ginger, adding lemon grass, and making it into a juice drink. They consumed that healthy juice drink and were well. The owner had an idea of exploring some innovation in the juice drink. She added honey, lemon, and calamansi to improve the flavor of the drink. At first, she only distributes the drink for free, along with some food, as they advocate helping the front-liners during the pandemic. Then one friend of theirs who tried and enjoyed the healthy juice drink suggested them to add that product to their business. They tried to work out the idea as they explored more about developing their product.

They sold their products and started generating sales of about five hundred pesos per day. But during the development stage of the product, another problem arose. They noticed that their product turned out to taste like vinegar just after three days without refrigeration, and their bottle for packaging, which they only bought at public wet markets, was getting deformed due to the poor quality of the packaging. Also, their labelling seems not to be appealing due to their lack of skills and knowledge in labelling their product. It’s been a challenge for them because the physical appearance of their product looks like bottled vinegar—and so they say. They tried searching for a solution to their problems and saw a post from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Cavite’s Facebook page that offers a program called One Town One Product Next Generation (OTOPNG). They learned that this program helps MSMEs develop their products holistically. They grabbed the opportunity despite the online setup due to the health protocols implemented during quarantine. They inquired and registered to participate in the said program.

Their journey under the OTOPNG program started, and they acquired a lot of knowledge. There, they find the solution to their problems. They learned the proper procedure for preparing the juice, the measurement of the ingredients, and techniques for bottling their products. They were also referred to a supplier of bottles that would not be deformed and be presentable enough to be sold. Also, their logo was developed and improved, and they were also offered and provided with three more logos and labels for their three different varieties of flavors for free. They were very thankful to the department and the program as well as the people composing it who helped them, for they were all approachable and very willing to help and answer queries.

Also, during the pandemic, they sought help for their business’ finances and found the program offered by the DTI through the Small Business Corporation. In 2020, they applied and were approved with a Forty Thousand pesos loan amount through the CARES Program and in 2022, they were approved with another Fifty Thousand Pesos loan amount through the RISE UP Program to help their business grow and cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Since she was a former overseas performing artist in Japan, she observed and adapted there that a product with good quality is everything. When your product is excellent, then it will sell and generate income. They carried that mindset and applied it to their business here in the Philippines. But then they noticed that here, the quality of a product is not the be all and all. They realized that they still need to put more effort and techniques into marketing their products. To acquire more knowledge, they started attending various DTI Free Webinars and Trainings where they acquired a lot of knowledge that they are now applying to their business. They were also invited and participated in trade fairs conducted not only by DTI but by some of the government offices as well. They were part of the Kalakal Cavite Trade Fair and other local trade fairs conducted by both DTI and the City Government of Dasmariñas. Today, they generate sales through trade fairs and bazaars with around Seven to Ten Thousand Pesos during peak days.

Corollo’s Takoyaki Station aims to transform their business by focusing on manufacturing food products such as their healthy juice drink. They envision their business in the next ten years to be mass-producing products, directly dealing with farmers as their main supplier, and helping them generate good and fair sales. Since she was a daughter of both farmers, it has been a part of her mission to tap into and help the farmers through their business. As of now, they generate jobs for two regular and two part-time employees. Also, their advocacy of helping other people, first the front-liners, now those in need, particularly those in the streets, sometimes in jails, by providing them food, continues.

Today, Corollo’s Takoyaki Station is planned to be developed, and hopefully by next year it will be registered with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) as a One Person Corporation (OPC). And to prepare for this bigger challenge, they have enlisted to join and participate in the next batch of the upcoming Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) program to help them gain more knowledge in doing their business since they are planning to improve their business model and look forward to supplying chain groceries and stores nationwide.

Date of release: 4 January 2024