LYDIA Mandap made it through the bitter-sweet challenges of life. At the age of 48, she has made a substantial fortune for herself and her family. In only a decade, she built a modest home and a couple of micro-business ventures. She has achieved so much, without a husband by her side, all these only be selling quail eggs.

Our first encounter with her started a few months back during a socio-civic program to educate women in a small barangay in Porac town on the wonders of setting up their own businesses. Mandap survived the disaster of a failed marriage and had to provide for four of her children after his husband left her for a younger woman. “My life story is movie material,” she once told us over coffee.

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“I was devastated. The first thing I did was to look for a job but my salary would not make ends meet,” Mandap said in vernacular.

She remembered living with her children in house they rented along Cut-cut, she had to pay for the education of the children, provide for food and all other necessities. She was advised to marry again by her friends and to have the kids stay with some relatives as so she could arrange for her finances. All, these she ignored determined to see her and the lives of her children through.

“People looked at me with regret. But the more they told me that my situation was hopeless the more I wanted to prove them wrong,” Mandap said.

She took some P6, 000 that friend gave her and invested it in a little food cart that sold quail eggs. She sold quail eggs almost every day. She studied the local market trying to see how to improve her sales. It started slow for her but the rewards started to manifest when she started to earn P300 a day. She got a feel of the vibrant and diverse Angeles City demand for food and repackaged her cart that she steadily gained regular customers.

With a little patience, marketing skill, and proper budgeting she was able to save and later expanded her carts. She said that other quail egg vendors in Angeles City make more earnings that a person employed as a clerk in an air-conditioned office.

“There are some people here who run their business in ordinary clothes but when they close shop they ride on a Honda Civic or some other fancy car,” Mandap said as she motioned to us three of her carts that her sons already manage along the Nepo Mart area.

Mandap said that her life story had impressed on her the value of realizing her own strengths. She said that being a woman does not limit her opportunities in life but rather her gender had placed her in the midst of far greater opportunities.

Currently, Mandap manages two regular franchises in Tarlac of a famous food cart brand. She is also a volunteer of a Manila based socio-business group that conducts free assistances to women, especially housewives, who would want to put up their own businesses.

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