A ‘pungko-pungko’ comeback story

A ‘pungko-pungko’ comeback story

As a student, lunch time is probably one of the most crucial things where one wants something good but at the same time not break the bank. Introducing Carlos Ledesma’s pungko-pungko stall. It offers the perfect solution to this lunchtime dilemma.

“Pungko-pungko” is a style of eating wherein people sit on a small bench and just pick whatever food they want off the table. This total experience of enjoying delicious and affordable fried food items, best with vinegar, hanging rice and cold soft drinks, is what makes pungko-pungko endearing to Cebuanos.

From vegetable lumpia (tauge) starting at P4 to the crunchiest pork chops and ginabot (deep-fried ruffled fat) at P50, one would surely ask for more than what one could ever imagine in just one square meal.

However, despite Carlos’ success in his small business, it was not always like that in the beginning.

Years before doing pungko-pungko, he worked in a shooting range as a machine operator, earning just enough to support his family of eight. Eventually, he had to retire when the spread of Covid-19 became rampant and the future of the company’s employees was at stake.

In 2022, he made the initiative to stand up for his family and decided to start a pungko-pungko business. He opened his stall just across the Cebu Institute of Technology – University, with students and teachers flocking all over his place during dining hours.

This was his comeback.

Since then, Carlos has continued to serve his customers inexpensive food that’s good at the same time. On top of that, his friendly customer service and mindset in the business is what keeps his gears grinding.

“Though there is another pungko-pungko beside me, still, I don’t see them as my competition. In fact, we help each other out like when I run out of hanging rice, I buy from him and then I pay him. Same goes for him with me,” he said.

Now that face-to-face classes are back, the month of February is an opportunity for him as he is earning even more than what he usually earned during hybrid learning.

“So far, business is good. Income is good. I have no problems at all except for the manpower,” Carlos said.

With his good sales each day, he sees a future where he would do expansions from his business. Now that he already has his food selection, it’s time for him to upgrade with his refreshments section.

“We plan to put a ceiling for cover and a secondary table as well for customers. We also plan to sell refreshments like fruit shakes,” he added. S


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