Hover or tap underlined words for translations to Tagalog and Ilocano text. Listen to audio translations below.
Hard life may be prevalent` for most Filipinos like me, but we dream big, work hard though success may seem far. I thought I was one of the Filipinos who always thinks of what is ahead and what can I do to make a better life. Poverty may seem normal for many in the Philippines, but I knew I was willing to work the extra mile to have a better life.
I was always a dreamer while I was growing up. I am married to someone who is pretty much into the same goals I always had. We are partners and our faith in God is a bond in our partnership as husband and wife and as business partners.
I remember when we were just starting our life as a married couple. My job as an Instructor at a University and my husband as Technical Support were just enough to sustain the average life we had as a family. As we were starting a family, we thought of going abroad but at the end of the day, it was not meant for us. We thought it was harder to achieve our dreams by staying in the Philippines. Everyone wants to go abroad to earn a better living for their families and we thought we could be one of them. Since going abroad was not meant for us, luxury was beyond my imagination, but we thought we will work hard to have a better life, save some for the future, and share some to the needy. A better and more Godly perception with money was growing in us, as we involved ourselves in church functions and spiritual development.
We thought, with our hard-earned money, we could start a small Internet cafe in front of the University that I was teaching at. We did not have much money to invest, so we thought of buying second-hand computers to start. We started with 5 computer units. At that time, we only had the computers and our service to our projected customers. We could not afford an air conditioner or a luxurious space to render our services. Imagine a room full of computers that are working without air conditioning, considering a very humid and warm temperature in the Philippines all the time. We just knew that we were determined to give the best customer service and hopeful that we will be able to improve our situation with the profit we will make. At first, it was hard to balance our operational expenses. We just had faith that it will turn around as long as our commitment to our customers will keep growing. At the end of the day, we saw an income coming in. After one year, we decided to open another branch at the Robinsons Mall, Ilocos Norte.
Profit was good for both Internet Cafe, we decided to expand and venture to another type of business which we think the kids need in the area. We opened a Kiddie Kart in the same location, Robinsons Mall. The business was put up to provide toddlers and small kids a ride inside the mall. The opening of a Kiddie Kart was successful and barely over 4 months, we launched another business, Black Pearl at the Pure Gold Mall, Laoag City. The business was put up to provide the best fruit smoothies in Laoag City. A year after, we were ready to branch out our Kiddie Kart business in Santiago, Isabella.
My emphasis is not on how every detail of our businesses has worked. It was more of our enthusiasm, our focus, our hard work and most importantly, our commitment to God which aligns altogether our business perspectives. Filipinos may think we were born rich or inherited some money to invest. We were like some most typical Filipinos who were dreamers, thinking of going abroad to have better means and have a family to feed. Our aspirations and Godly perspectives made us into where we are at now. You don’t have to stop dreaming when there is no way you could go abroad and work. Our hardships while growing up were not an obstacle, but instead an inspiration for us to dream bigger. Hardships will always be a part of who we are as Filipinos. You should not stop aspiring for what you want to achieve because God can do it for you. Just continue to dream, work hard and always remember that God is the one who will grant it. Sure, there will be failures and challenges, there will be some people who won’t approve of what you do, there will be obstacles, there will be temptations to get worldly with money, and this is the reason why we always believe that our success depends on the values we carry within us. Sure, there will always be poor people to serve, but why not be one of those who could serve them and make a difference in their lives. – Contributor: Mona Abengoza Bareng, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
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