Search spotlights women who defied odds, found success

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Friday, August 22, 2014


MORE Filipinas continue to head for foreign countries to work, but some who remain confident in the country’s economy choose to stay, becoming entrepreneurs instead.

Thirty-year-old Mary Claire Abarquez of Barangay Guizo, Mandaue City said she knew in her heart she was born to succeed as an entrepreneur.

At the age of six, she joined her family in selling plastic bags, spices and kitchenware. When she reached high school, she continued selling food and other products until she made it to college. She also worked part-time in a fast food chain.

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“Entrepreneurship runs in my blood,” she said.

But life has ways of testing a person’s will to succeed. Abarquez, who has nine siblings, found herself juggling two jobs at the same time, as barangay secretary and as a direct seller, to help her family.

In 2007, she pooled her resources after working as a barangay secretary and set up a store in the Mandaue City Public Market. She started with P50,000, selling rice, corn and general merchandise.

Her business now earns P900,000 a month. She plans to build another branch in Mandaue.

Nothing came easy, Abarquez said. She relied on hard work, patience and a strong faith in God.

For Flordelyn Patigayon, her business began with her interest and passion for nature, specifically orchids and ornamental plants. For six years now, she has operated the Babel Landscape and Maintenance Services.

Although she came from a well-off family in Bukidnon, the 43-year-old entrepreneur said she went through a lot of challenges. Her family disowned her during her teenage years when she chose to stand by a man, now her husband, whom her parents disapproved of.

Big break

In order to survive, the couple sold bananas, vegetables and rice cakes together. Her family eventually accepted them when they saw their determination to survive together.

They gave them their blessings and shouldered their wedding expenses.

Patigayon said her business began to grow when Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung purchased orchids worth P250,000 from her. Since then, more clients knocked on her door. She said makes it a point to offer affordable deals to her customers, to keep them satisfied.

She treats them, she said, as if they were her own family.

Patigayon said she earns an average of P61,000 a month. She never had difficulty manning the business because her husband and children take turns in watching over the business.

Eventually, the family’s business services expanded from selling orchids to landscaping services for various companies like the Manila Memorial Park in Liloan, Deca Homes, Maria Luisa, Northfield Residences in Canduman and Green Hills Subdivision in Cabancalan, Mandaue, among others.

Both women are finalists in the search for Women In Need, Now Entrepreneurs (Winners), a project of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Twenty finalists are competing, out of a field of 47 entrepreneurs who went through a Basic Entrepreneurial Skills Training conducted by the Benedicto College Business Administration Department and a Basic Banking course provided by RCBC.

The coronation night will be on Aug. 27 in the Mandaue City Sports Complex. (More in Monday’s issue)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2014.

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