After living in different countries – USA, Russia and Oman for two decades, Ms. Monina Dela Cuesta Balubayan decided to go back to her hometown, Santa Maria, Laguna in the year 2013. Thinking that her age is above the limit to apply for a job, she thought of what could be her source of income. With all her thoughts that every business should start from being small, she then came up with the idea of starting a small café business in year 2014. Aside from coffee, she offered pasta, rice meals, noodles and boodle fight meals. The café business has been her bread and butter. But years after, she decided to close the business.

Fast-forward in 2018, Ms. Monina put all the efforts to master the pizza-making. She thought that putting-up a pizzeria in her hometown would be a hit since there is no existing home-made pizza parlor in the area. On May 11, 2018, her dream turns into reality as she registered the business name Monina’s Pizzeria at the Negosyo Center Santa Maria. She had learned about the services she could avail at the Negosyo Center.

At first, she offered take-out orders with only two flavors. But when she joined the food park during the Marilag Festival, more people loved her pizza and the increase in demand had begun. She then added more flavors to satisfy the cravings of her customers. A few months later, she was able to revamp her vacant space in Brgy. Bagong Pook, Santa Maria, Laguna and started to accommodate dine-in customers. Since then, the pizzeria added more items in their menu list like pasta, nachos, and fries to match the pizza.

In 2019, Ms. Monina was able to attend the coaching session on E-Marketing at the DTI Negosyo Center Santa Maria. She had learned the importance of online presence and was assisted in creating a free business website through Google My Business. This way, Monina’s Pizzeria can now be found online at where people could see her contact details and the directions on how to get to her place. She also created a Facebook page for the business. The pizzeria became more popular because of the social media posts, and people find it convenient to order and/or reserve seats through mobile or Messenger.

Also, Ms. Monina was endorsed to the DTI Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprises (KMME) Program 2019 and has qualified to become a mentee. Despite her busy schedule, she managed to finish the mentoring program. Her KMME journey has boosted her knowledge in marketing, costing and pricing, and a better understanding of business. She was grateful for all the support provided by DTI and Negosyo Center.

Monina’s Pizzeria is continuously striving to improve the quality of their products to meet the customers’ satisfaction. Recently, they acquired a bigger oven and offered Barangay size (30 inches) pizza. Now, the pizzeria is generating a much greater income, especially on holidays. And now, she’s still in disbelief that she has been gaining from something that she love to do, and that is creating pizza for her clients. The secret recipe to business success is putting the right amount of ingredients - time, hard-work, passion, and knowledge.

by: Joemarie C. Valizado

Date of Release: 6 December 2019

We Filipinos are known to be food lovers, not to mention our talents to turn a simple ingredient and make it into a dish or a snack to match our favorite drinks. Who could have thought that you can turn a noodle into a snack? In Laguna, there’s one famous snack made from fried Chinese egg noodles and its name give justice to its distinct taste. It is called “Shing-A-Ling”. There’s no clear history or even the etymology of its name, who’s the original and who’s the copycat, but we Laguneños are very familiar with this snack. For the Perolina clan in Pagsanjan there’s more to these egg noodles. One man from the Perolina family decided to introduce this snack to the different parts of the region and that resilient man is Mr. Mario Casipit Perolina. The job opportunities were scarce back in his youth. He had jumped from one job to another carrying the weight of being the eldest of five siblings and only finishing second year high school. He had been a jeepney driver, a guard in a power plant in Pagsanjan, and a truck driver carrying crashed rocks in a quarry in Magdalena Laguna. There’s no stopping this man to earn a living and prioritizing the future of his three children. To earn more he decided to have his own Shing-A-Ling business; a decision made on a wing and a prayer.

Mr. Mario’s mother had been making and selling Shing-A-Lings in Pagsanjan as a source of income ever since they were little. After resigning from his job in the quarry, Mr. Mario asked permission from his mother to sell his own version. He used his own savings and sought help from his uncles for capital. And on December 17, 1995, he officially started producing his own. His first kitchen was a small area just outside their house that used to be a pigpen and uses wood fire to flame his caldron

in cooking his Shing-A-Ling. He would get his supply of egg noodles from a Chinese man in Calamba and prepares everything by hand with the help of his wife. Seeing a small opportunity in Pagsanjan, he decided to extend their retail trade area infiltrating the markets of Biñan, Calamba, Lipa, Antipolo and Tanawan. Travelling by public vehicles, he started of carrying around thirty (30) packs commuting from one place to another with ten (10) samples of each kind of his three (3) serving sizes and sells these packs by P1.00, P4.00 and P5.00; a cheap price compared to the value of money today. He did not earn any from his first trial because every pack had turned into a food sample instead. Although disheartened, he never gave up and thought of it as a positive marketing strategy. Soon after, clients are ordering Shing-A-Lings one after another and selling about one hundred packs a day. Nowadays he can produce one thousand to two thousand packs of Shing-A-Lings, have 8 duly registered employees and two factories located in Layug Cavinti and in Pagsanjan, Laguna. He explains that he tasks the women to do the packing and the men the frying because women are much gentler than the men.

After earning enough he sought the help of DTI and soon became a member of ALAFOP (Association of Laguna Food Processors) and had joined trade fairs siting Ms Lory E. Jaraplasan of DTI Laguna as the one who helped him a lot.

“Tinulungan ako ni Ms. Lory at sya ang nagpursigi sa akin na sumali at mag attend ng seminars para sa dagdag kaalaman.”

“Gusto kong magkaroon pa ng iba pang pagkakakitaan para may ipamana pa ako sa aking mga anak.”

Now his Shing-A-Ling business is owned and operated by his eldest son and wife who were also into making banana chips. Mr. Mario is clearly unstoppable, for he would soon venture into another business of making rice crackers. He would do anything to provide a lot for his family, galvanizing his already carved legend to his clan. He exemplified that age and educational attainment are not impediments to achieve your goals. Perhaps we can also say that silver linings can also be found behind strands of egg noodles.♦

By: Josephine A. Ballesteros

Date of Release: 27 November 2019

As inspired by her mother who retails fresh fruits, Ms. Mariejoy “Joy” Abordo got an idea to produce fresh fruit juices. In 2017, she established her own business and named it “Fruitjoy Enterprises”. Back then, she had no business plan and didn’t know how to properly run a business. All she knew was blend fresh fruits, fill in generic cups, and sell. She didn’t even have a fixed price per size. But her lack of technical skills and knowledge in business didn’t stop her from pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. She even participated in bazaars.

One time, she received an invitation from DTI-Rizal who was looking for “Joy” to participate in a trade fair. Ms. Joy accepted the invitation and eagerly joined in the Samahan ng mga Rizaleño sa Sektor ng Agrikultura at Pagkain (SARAP) Heartilicious Fair. To her surprise, DTI-Rizal was searching for a different “Joy”. Again, such mistake didn’t stop her from grabbing the opportunity. It can also be considered as a blessing in disguise. Simultaneously, she was enrolled in the Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprise (KMME) Program where she became equipped with the business basics such as pricing and costing.

Joining in bazaars made her more interested with her business. However, she encountered challenges such as housing (it’s not practical to travel from Laguna to Rizal every day), manpower, right price per size, transportation, and capital. To solve their problems, they rented a place in Rizal, studied and formulated the correct pricing which she learned from a KMME Mentor, bought their own vehicles, increased bazaar participation, invented more flavors of fresh fruit juices, promoted their products, and saved money to be used for their business.

Aside from KMME and CARP Programs, the Department of Trade and Industry - Laguna Provincial Office (DTI-Laguna) assisted Fruitjoy Enterprises through the One Town One Product Next Generation (OTOP Next Gen) Program. As part of product development, they were provided with logo and label which partly contributed to their growth. “Fruitjoy” has become a popular brand of fresh fruit juices. In two years, their gross monthly sales increased by 180%. In addition, they were able to expand their market covering Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They also produced a new product line: ice cream (“Floatjoy”).♦

Date of Release: 20 November 2019

Before he joined the Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprise (KMME) Program, Sir Jerry was an Overseas Filipino Worker for four (4) years. He was forced to go back to the Philippines due to coup d'etat in a Southeast Asian country which affected his employment. Then he started retailing business and operated five (5) pasalubong stores for seven (7) years. However, he closed two (2) stores due to lack of supply of products to be sold.

He joined the KMME Program through a friend's referral. He got interested with the mentoring sessions because he was expecting to learn how to properly run his remaining pasalubong stores.

Throughout the 10 module sessions, he was a retailer of different food products. Since they were advised to bring product samples every session, he was challenged to manufacture his own food product. He joined a bazaar after the graduation and introduced buko cassava de leche. He got an idea to innovate the usual cassava cake because he wanted to be different from his competitors which sell famous delicacies in Los Baños, thus, he combined them into one product.

"Unexpected ang naitulong sa akin ng KMME Program. Noong nasabi sa akin ng KMME classmate ko na nagkaroon siya ng extra income worth ₱50,000 a month dahil sa pagbebenta ng product ko, doon ko na-realize na profitable sa akin at sa ibang tao ang sarili kong produkto. Two months after the KMME Graduation, nadagdagan ang sales ko ng 70% dahil sa buko cassava de leche. Masasabi kong impact ito ng KMME Program dahil na-motivate akong gumawa ng sarili kong produkto. Bukod sa sales increase, ang isa pa sa pinakanatutunan ko sa KMME Program ay paying forward to community. Hindi ako nagdadalawang-isip na tanggapin sa trabaho ang isang tao kahit kulang sila sa pinag-aralan, o kahit na nanay siya ng buong angkan nila dahil siya lang ang breadwinner. Dahil naniniwala ako na may kapasidad pa rin silang magtrabaho at may pakiramdam ako na siya 'yung tao na magiging loyal. Sa papamamagitan ng aking negosyo, natutulungan ko sila sa pagbuhay sa kanilang mga pamilya. At dahil din sa KMME Program, marami na ring opportunities ang dumating sa akin gaya ng OTOP Next Gen, HAFFI, at Sibol Pitching."♦

Date of Release: 18 November 2019

It was two years ago when I informally established Mr. Mimi‘s Kitchen in my humble kitchen to let my time pass and to mend my broken heart as my husband passed away year 2015. I needed something to cope up. Something to drive me busy. And since food is my no. 1 passion, I thought of creating my own “gourmet tuyo”. Around this time year 2016 I was not really like in full production. I just produced whenever I feel I have to or if the demand is really getting high. I do everything on my own from sourcing out my items, from mis-en-place, to production till marketing my item. So for a whole year, I can only make 1000 bottles, which I thought that time is okay because I did everything independently.

April 2018 when I received a message from DTI Batangas, inviting me to become a part of the KMME Batch 02. At first, I was hesitant for I was not aware that DTI has these programs to help MSMEs sustain and upscale their businesses.

Being under KMME for 3 months, it has molded my entrepreneurial mindset and taught me the technical business aspects.

After the program, I improved my production into triple compared to my past cycle. Now, I can produce over a thousand bottles of gourmet tuyo in a span of 1 and half month which before I can only have that inventory for the whole year…And per weekly basis now, I am using 60-100kg of tuyo. I have now 3-4 staff working with me. I have more clients, my products is on display and sold in stores and restaurants. And my big move now is next year, hopefully on January, I will start constructing my own production house and shop where in it will be the central hub for all my products and clients can just go there and pick up their items. And after this I will start applying for FDA and HALAL certification.

Alongside, I was able to put up a Korean stall located at Malvar Night Market. Also, right there and then, I am able to join both local and national bazaars and trade fairs. All this with my perseverance and hard work the big help of DTI Batangas in encouraging me that everything is possible and that nothing is too small to make you successful.♦

Date of Release: 18 November 2019

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