Ms. Serapia “Cherry” Cano Jimenez, together with her salted egg products.

It is known for a fact that life isn’t always sweet. At some times, it can be really salty.

Year 2020, the corona virus pandemic began. The national government implemented preventive measures to minimize the spread of the virus. Community lockdowns had happened and it had halted the daily routines of every working individual and the operations of businesses throughout the world.

During those times, no one was safe and prepared. Challenges were faced by the smallest and even the biggest of establishments.

In Victoria, Laguna, the Duck Raising Capital of the Philippines, resides Serapia “Cherry” Cano Jimenez. Cherry Is a duck farm owner and a salted egg manufacturer carrying a business name CHERRY’S SALTED EGGS. For over 35 years, Cherry has been a supplier of salted eggs in Barangay Pagalangan and nearby communes in Victoria.

“Napakasakit (Very painful)” — this was the word Cherry used as she recalled her business survival experience during the pandemic.

“A, grabe… kasi noon pandemic na ‘yun, ‘di namin alam kung ang aming product ay mauubos…, tapos ‘yung aming mga boy, ‘di namin alam kung mapa-pasweldo namin…, tapos dumating din sa point na ‘di maka-deliver sa amin ng feeds… nakaapekto talaga sa farm (During the pandemic, we weren’t sure if we would be able to sell our product, [and] if we would be able to provide salaries for our employees. There was also a time where we’ve experienced zero [duck] feeds deliveries which greatly affected farm operations)”, Cherry narrated.

Despite the problems with logistics, Cherry managed to continue her business. She sought help from the local police to transport her products to customers. “Sa awa ng Diyos, may mga tumutulong sa amin (Through God’s grace, there were help to us)”, Cherry exclaimed.

Cherry was also selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Laguna Provincial Office’s Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP-NSB). LSP-NSB is an entrepreneurial program that aims to bring DTI services closer to people through conduct of trainings. It also provides livelihood starter kits to established microenterprises located at priority barangays.

DTI, in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Victoria, profiled Cherry and invited her for LSP-NSB validation. After the validation, she participated in an entrepreneurial training which involves discussion on different DTI programs and services, consumer education, starting a business and action planning. She was also interviewed for the possible livelihood items needed for her business.

On December 2020, Cherry received five thousand worth of livelihood package composed of 15 sacks of salt. “During that time, malaking bagay ‘yung 15 sacks ng asin dahil nga nagkaka-problema kami sa supply at deliveries (During that time, those 15 sacks of salt helped compromise the delays of our supply deliveries)”, Cherry said.

She also added that, through the 15 sacks of salt, she was able to brine 30,000 pieces of duck eggs. With those salt on hand, she was able to produce salted eggs before the raw duck eggs rotted.

Cherry also shared that aside from the additional raw materials DTI provided, she was able to promote and market her salted eggs to fellow microenterprises. “Nagdala ako ng sample [nung training] …at thankfully nagustuhan naman nila (I brought sample salted eggs on our training and am thankful that my fellow entrepreneurs liked my product)”, Cherry narrated how she used the opportunity to market her product.

Cherry was grateful with the support DTI has given to businesses like her during the pandemic. She stated that she would never forget DTI service as she hopes to market her product on a much larger scale.

If to give a piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs, Cherry said, “Kahit ano ang dumating na pagsubok, pipilitin na bumangon para ang antas ng hanapbuhay ay lumaki (In spite of any challenge, we should strive to continue for our businesses to grow”. ♦

Date of Release: 26 June 2023