Inspiring: From Frustrated Call Center Agent to Frozen Foods Businessman

I worked in manufacturing for eight years with better salary, health benefits, bonuses, and paid vacation. Within those eight years, I held five different positions through promotions. But everything ended when our company was badly hit by global recession last 2007 and I had no choice but to look for another job after the company closed indefinitely.

Most of the manufacturing companies out there suffered the same fate so I decided to try my luck in BPO. I was hired by a call center in Batangas and although the offer was lower than what I previously earned in my manufacturing job, I did not let it slide.

In the first few months as a call center agent, every day was a torture. There were 27 people in my batch but after 3 months, we were down to 16. After another 5 months, we were down to 12, and before I resigned after 3 years, only three of us were left.

I can honestly tell how difficult, stressful, and how pressured we were during our stint. In three years, I handled HP, Verizon, and Dell accounts as technical support. The experience was just awful so I promised myself I will never ever work in a call center again.

It was July 2008 when I received a call from Mr. Jones asking for help setting-up a wireless connection on his laptop. Because his laptop had obsolete software, the call took about an hour and we had a very good conversation. He promised me that he is going to help me work in the US and I became hopeful.

After almost a week, for some unexplained reason, I received a call from him again. This time, he needed help in setting-up his outlook email. He was surprised when he learned that I am the same agent who helped him a week ago. This time, he gave me his personal contact email (although it is strictly prohibited, I managed to keep it).

Right after I arrived home that day, I sent him an email which he responded within four hours. He told me that he will be in Manila by September to do a final interview with four nurses whom the agency has selected. Mr. Jones was working in the HRD department of Washington State Hospital and he said that it was his 3rd time going to the Philippines. He asked me to email my resume in advance and he will talk to his immigration lawyer about me.

I sent him two follow-up emails until the first week of September but I did not receive any response. With that, I became hopeless until the day he arrived.

That morning, I received an email from the US. It was his daughter telling me to call a certain number (a hotel in Manila), and that his father was waiting. I immediately dialed the number and the hotel information officer told me that Mr. Jones transferred to another hotel for some reason. I got the hotel’s phone number and I finally got a chance to talk to him.

Right there and then, I filed leave of absence and rushed to his hotel. He was very glad to met me. He said he lost contact through email because his computer was corrupted so he had to ask his daughter back in the US to check his webmail for my contact details.

Our conversation lasted half a day while I was trying to reformat his laptop. He asked me to return tomorrow to assist him in his interview with the four nurses. And so, I did.

After our final meeting that day, he told me that he is going to Davao to meet his girlfriend whom he was planning to marry. He also told me that there’s a high possibility of me going to the US together with his girlfriend because our papers were submitted and processed by his lawyer at the same time. I was extremely hopeful.

After a two-week stay in the Philippines, Mr. Jones returned to the US, but he told me to wait for further details from him.

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You Won’t Believe How these Batangueños Started their Successful Toy Business

On July 2009, Karl Aguila was working as call center agent in Lipa City when his older sister in Taguig informed him that her husband lost his job as result of company downsizing. Tony, his brother-in-law was a fabricator in a small steel fabrication facility in Lower Bicutan. His sister asked him if the family with two young daughters (aged 3 and 2) could stay with him at his house in Lipa City.

Tony received P42,000 as severance pay. The family relocated to Karl’s and they lived together in the latter’s house which was acquired through Pag-ibig housing loan.

Karl is single but he still supports his family in Mindoro Oriental. He has been working in Batangas since 1999.

Tony couldn’t find a job. After few months, the P40K was compensated on daily needs. Karl’s salary was just enough for the whole family. The three talked almost every night on what to do in order to survive. After few more months, Tony and his wife was penniless and relied only to Karl’s salary. Tony was desperate to find a job, but luck was really evasive.

It was February 15, 2010 when Karl asked his sister to buy some vegetables at Lipa City Public Market. Gina, Karl’s sister brought his 4-year old daughter to the market. When Gina returned home, Karl noticed the child’s toy which was bought by his mother. The toy was called “clapper”. A synthetic-like balloon in different anime characters. Gina bought the “Dora” character.

Gina told Karl that the toys being sold by the guy in public market was selling like a hot cake. She bought the toy for P15. Karl got interested with the toy and he immediately went to the market to see the guy who was selling it, but the latter already left.

With only P1,200 left on his salary that day, Karl asked Tony if the latter is willing to sell the same toys in different spots in Lipa City. Since there was no other choice, Tony agreed with Karl’s plan, the two went to Baclaran the following morning. They met a boy selling the same toys and asked him the source, but the boy refused to give information. They approached another girl selling the same, and she told them that the toys are from Divisoria Mall.


The same Dora clapper balloon bought by my sister for his daughter.

The two wasted no time and took LRT to Divisoria. There, they found the source of the said products. At minimum wholesale price of 1 box (25 pieces), the price was P7 each or P175/box. They bought 4 boxes (100 pieces) for P700.

While taking their lunch inside a fast-food, Karl counted his money. He still had an extra P200 which was good for one more box. The two guys bought another box and went home.

The next Saturday, Tony decided to start selling the toys. He prepared the toys and went on to start selling at around 9:00 when people started getting out from the church. He sold the toys for P15 each, making P8 profit for each toy.

Three hours later, all 25 pieces were sold out, and Tony needed to go home to get another box. In just one day until 4PM, Tony sold 86 pieces of clapper toys. He made P688 net profit. The three were so happy when Karl arrived from work. For the first time since Tony’s family relocated to Karl’s house, the family became hopeful.

The following day (Sunday), the remaining clappers were sold out for P20. Again, it was selling like hotcake. Tony made a total P1,280 net profit. He immediately returned to Divisoria later that day and spent all his money on toys.

For several months, Tony was selling toys on the streets like this in photo. Photo credit

In the next three months, Tony sells different kinds of toys in different areas of Lipa City, while Karl resigned from his job as call center agent, and was accepted to a newly-built manufacturing firm in Santo Tomas, as manufacturing supervisor.

As one of the pioneer employees, Karl was included in the core group to be sent to Germany for technical training prior to opening of the factory the following year.

On August 2010, four months after Karl was hired, the company announced its closure due to some major problems. Karl and his fellow employees were immediately paid P100,000 each as severance pay, including advance salary for three months while they were looking for another job.

Saddened by the unexpected turn of events, Karl decided to use the money to buy a stall in Lipa City public market to sell toys. The stall were managed by his sister and his brother-in-law.

The stall was perfect for toy products and the business became profitable.

Karl concentrated on his online ventures, while Tony was able to develop the toy store into a wholesale store.

Six months later, Tony started to offer wholesale products. He get his supplies from Chinese traders in Binondo.

On 2014, the small toy business became a storage of products. Tony built a warehouse in a rented land and started supplying toys around Batangas. He needed to hire six people to assist him on his daily deliveries and inventory.

Both Tony and Karl were not business minded, but due to necessity, the family were able to think outside the box. Although they only copied the idea from the guy who first sold the toys, their perseverance, dedication, and correct planning, made their small business became successful and profitable.

Although Karl got married last 2013, they are all still living under the same roof, and have no plan to separate yet.

“There comes a time that you feel hopeless and helpless, but if you just think positively, some luck could struck you”, Tony said.

“Yong ginawa namin nong una sugal talaga e. Yong original P1,200 na ginamit ko, pang konsumo namig yon for the next whole week. Di ko na inisip, basta kailangan lang talaga kumita”, Karl recalled. /Santi Valle/

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Inspiring: How this Shoe Repair Man became a father of 4 Engineers and a Teacher

A 52-year old Batangueño father who has been repairing shoes and umbrellas for 35 years, have something to tell when it comes to managing a household budget.

Emannuel “Manny” Lat, a native of Malvar, Batangas is an outspoken hero to his five children. The hardworking father who refuses to stop repairing shoes said his secrets on how his five children managed to finish college lies on good budgeting.

All of his four sons finished engineering courses at Batangas State University, while the youngest and only daughter finished Teacher Education at De La Salle Lipa. Manny said the secret is correct budget management.

For 35 years, Manny walks everyday within the Malvar, Lipa City, and Tanauan City area yelling “payong repair sapatos” repeatedly to attract customers’ attention.

“Minsan sa isang upuan lang nakaka 600 to 700 pesos ako” (Sometimes, in just one spot, I earn 600 to 700 pesos), Manny said. When asked about his average daily net income, he said he never earned lower than 500 pesos. It is always in between 600 to 900 and sometimes as high as 2,000 pesos.

“Pag tag-ulan malakas dahil sa payong” (During rainy season, there are lots of umbrellas to repair), he said. Five hundred pesos is his benchmark and any excess amount is considered additional savings.

Let’s take a look at Manny’s household budget during the time when his younger daughter was still going to school a year ago. Although his four sons were helping him, his budget remains the same.

All of his sons are living with their own family so only his daughter and wife are left home and included in their daily budget.

Daily net income of 500 pesos (three-adult household)

Daily budget
Food – P180 (5,400/mo)
Utility Bills – P60 (1,800/mo)
School Allowance – P100 (3,000/mo)
Clothing – P50 (1,500/mo)
Savings – P80 (2,400/mo)
His pocket money – P30 (900/mo)

The above figure may seem impossible to someone who work and spend daily but Manny and his family managed to survive and even sent his children to college.

See Also: 10 Underrated Jobs that Pays Higher than Call Center Agent

The above budget is for 500 pesos earnings only. If Manny earns more than 500 (which is happening almost every day as he said his average earnings if computed is about 800 pesos), all excess goes to savings.

“We have P1,800 monthly budget for utility but in fact, our electric bill is only around P1,100 and water is just around P240 – so we still have an excess of P460.”, Manny said.

“We have P1,500 monthly budget for clothing but most of this money were spent only to our daughter. I and my wife seldom buy clothes. 1,500 is enough for our daughter’s monthly clothing”, he continued.

“Our food budget is always in excess because my wife goes to public market every three days spending only around 800 each of the time. We always have an excess of around 200 pesos from our food budget”, Manny explained.

“Savings should be a part of budget and not should be taken from excess. We never actually had a savings of 2,400 a month due to excess. We always have at least 5,000 a month, and my pocket money is always at least P300. I never smoke and I drink only occasionally with my sons, so my daily pocket money budget is also accumulated from time to time”, Manny continued.

Mr. Lat also noted that all of his sons’ tuition fees before were taken from long-time daily savings

When asked if the family also spend money on recreation, Mr. Lat said that ever since his oldest son got a job, the whole family, together with his in-laws are having a family reunion every May in the beaches of San Juan, Lemery, or Mabini, Batangas.

He also said that they spend family Christmas party and spend some money from their savings. His youngest son also brings the three of them to fast foods every end of the month according to his wife, Elenita Lat.

“We are living in not-so-luxurious but happy life. Our younger daughter is becoming spoiled because her brothers are always giving her something, but I always remind them not to give her money. She has to earn so she understand how to spend. She just passed the board exam and just started working as a substitute teacher”, Mrs. Lat said.

The family is living in above poverty line, but Mr. Lat refuses to stop working.

“It’s my daily exercise. I do this just to make my own money. They all have jobs and they are all earning. I have to earn for myself and for my wife. I return home early at 10 AM so it is not really a big hassle”, Manny concluded.

There’s a lot of people, even single people who are earning more than the Lat family, but because of uncontrolled spending, they struggle to survive.

This story only reminds us that whatever amount we are earning, with proper budget management, we can survive, and can even have a little success in the future.

Mr. Lat also mentioned that his close friend (kumpare) who was also a shoe repair man and sells taho (sweetened soybean and sago pearl) in the morning, now owns a junk shop and 2 passenger Jeepneys. /Jenny Mendoza – Calamba City/Disclaimer: Contributed articles does not reflect the view of This website cannot guarantee the legitimacy of some of the information contributed to us. You may do additional research if you find some information doubtful. No part of this article maybe reproduced without permission from this website.

Rags to Riches: How this Mindoro Banana Planter-turned Internet Marketer Will Inspire You

Some 17 years ago, Nestor Casiple of Bansud, Mindoro Oriental was working in his uncle’s banana plantation.

After graduating high school on 2001, Nestor studied computer programming, but after just one semester, he had to drop out because his family couldn’t afford the expensive tuition.

His first plan was to go to Batangas to try his luck working in manufacturing firms as production operator, but his ailing mother did not allow him to go. He was prompted to work in his uncle’s small banana farm business.

Every week, his uncle sells banana products to Tanauan City, Batangas. Nestor had a chance to accompany his uncle when one of the latter’s worker got sick.

While waiting for the banana buyer inside Tanauan Public Market, Nestor saw an ad looking for Internet shop attendant. The ad says “High school graduate or college level”. Thinking that he is qualified, he immediately bought a biodata form and submitted an application. The owner asked him several questions, and after seeing that he has basic knowledge on computers, Nestor got a job.

See Also: How this Family Defies All Odds and Escape from Poverty

Nestor returned the following week and started working as one of two Internet shop attendants.

As a stay-in worker, Nestor had every hour to learn computers. He learned how to create blogs, basic website creation, and some web programming. He joined in forums where he can learn web creation and design.

He had his personal private blog on that exists even until today.

On July 2003, an American rancher asked Nestor if how he can sell his fresh milk online.

David Newman, a rancher from Wyoming, USA met Nestor in one of web marketing forums and asked him suggestions on how he can introduce his products online.

Nestor grabbed the chance to use his knowledge. He offered Mr. Newman help for free.

After David sent him pictures and details needed for a website, Nestor started creating a sales page on At that time, David had 12 milking cows that produces five gallons of fresh milk every day.

After a week of creating a website, Nestor started working on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

After 30 days since the website went online, David received three calls from local customers. His milk was sold out that the following month, he needed to buy more cows to supply his growing customer demands.

After six months, David had 20 cows giving him more than 10 gallons of fresh milk every day.

Nestor couldn’t believe when he received $200 as bonus from David. That time, the exchange rate was P52.00. Nestor’s salary was P3,000 a month, and receiving a full P10,400 was unimaginable for him. He worked hard on David’s website during his free time, helping the latter to build his dairy company. Nestor agreed to be a permanent employee of David for $300/month working virtually.

Nestor, after purchasing his own computer resigned from his job and returned to Bansud where he can concentrate working online.

For 14 months, Nestor received $300 regularly until he called it quits. David’s company became bigger that needed an expert programmer. It needed a professional website designed by experts.

The money he earned from David enabled Nestor to create his own professional blog. Although Nestor focused on his own venture, he remained an SEO consultant and online business adviser to David.

On 2005, Nestor founded a content writing service business. He started hiring three content writers. After six months, he had six writers, one programmer, and one web designer. On 2007, he created an online company Top Content Writers.

Nestor managed to finish his BS in Computer Science degree on 2009 while running his online company. From 2007 since he founded his online company, he was able to buy 5-hectare of rice fields, 2 hectares of banana and coconut farm, 2 rice mills, and some real estate properties in Bansud and Calapan City.

Today, Nestor employed more than 20 freelancers on his online business, while employing more than a dozen people in his plantations.

Nestor admit that it is hard to explain to non-Internet oriented people how he created his wealth, but as long as he is doing everything legally, his neighbors comments does not concern him at all.

See Also: Inspiring: Yaya Graduates Cum Laude

Nestor also revealed that since President Duterte entered on national politics, his new news website has been making him at least $5,000 a month.

When asked what his ultimate secret is, Nestor answered, “I think my real secret was, I was not addicted to playing cyber games. I worked more than 15 years with computers assisting gamers, but it was never my dream to be a master gamer. There is no money in playing games. There are more losers than winners. In my job as Internet Marketer, everyone is a winner” /Paolo Ortaleja with Nestor Casiple/

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Inspiring: Yaya Graduates Cum Laude

Lucille Giquin, a nanny from Bacolod did not bother hardships and strives to finish her college degree with flying colors.

Giquin graduated cum laude with a degree of Hotel and Restaurant management in STI College Cubao.

Roland Benzon, her employer held the smartphone to record the moment Lucille Guiquin’s name was called out, followed by the words “cum laude.” Guiquin walked the stage with her aunt and her ward, Benzon’s son Josh.

Benzon shared a photo of yaya and her alaga on his Facebook page this Friday.

Guiquin, who now has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, was employed by Benzon in 2006 to look after Josh.

She fed, bathe, “chaperoned” the child, and even helped with homework and exam reviews — tasks that were “beyond the call of duty” in Benzon’s words.

Impressed by her determination and the value she placed on studying, Benzon made a promise to send her to college after his son turns 10.

Guiquin did not waste the opportunity.

“Even though she still did household chores and cared for Josh, she strove to finish each semester with honors. Why? So she could qualify for a student subsidy and help defray her tuition (savings for us!),” Benzon wrote.

He continued, “She even saved up for her own laptop, so she could complete her papers and reports on time … Four years of university passed so quickly, and she is done. Well done, Lucille. Well done!”

The son of the Benzon household’s cook, Caloy, graduated on the same day, adding even more joy to the occasion.

“Caloy and Lucille were classmates, in fact. Though he wasn’t the ‘family scholar’, we realized that most of his mom’s salary was going to his tuition, so we chipped in, too,” Benzon shared in the comments section of his post.

He added that the class valedictorian from Bacolod was, like Guiquin, a “small town girl.”

“What I learned from her valedictory address was that her parents separated when she was young, and her mom raised five kids on her own, with little food on the table,” Benzon wrote as another comment under his initial post.

He continued, “An OFW benefactor helped fund her education, but when the donor passed away, she almost dropped out. She worked as a sales clerk in a mall store to make ends meet, and managed to get scholarship elsewhere. Her story was filled with challenges that the delivered her speech half-crying. But, in the end, she triumphed, graduating at the top of her class.”

The inspiring stories that Benzon shared received tremendous positive feedback from friends and strangers online, with many applauding Guiquin’s achievement. ALG, GMA News
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How this Family Defies All Odds and Escape from Poverty

While I am taking rest on top of big rock along Malisbog River in rural Silay City, Negros Occidental, I recalled how my deceased uncle and his children lived here some 30 years ago. My cousin’s resort is just 500 meters away, but I decided to take rest here and alone to reminisce something.

For more than 30 years since this place was infested with the New People’s Army, this is the first time that I visited this place again. Everything has changed since then.

My job as inspector for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allow me to return to this place – a very memorable place which became a big part of what our clan has become today.

Some 30 years ago, my uncle Manuel Punzalan, the youngest brother of my father, had to work daily on his corn fields and banana plantation in order to make a living. He and his wife were blessed with six children – four older daughters and two younger sons. Gina, the oldest daughter was 12 years old when we always played here along the river. I was the same age as her. Since eight to thirteen years old, she helped his father during Saturdays and Sundays when not attending schools on weekends.

Gina, and her two younger sisters had to walk two kilometers of forest and rice fields to attend school. They do the same going home. They crossed three rivers (Malisbog, Napilas Dako, and Napilas Gamay Rivers) every day. There were many times that they had to spend overnight in our house near the school if the rivers were flooding.

Uncle Manuel has to go to city’s public market every Saturday to sell his banana and other farm crops. He had to travel two kilometers by foot with his carabao pulling his products to the nearest public transport station.

He always return home on Sunday afternoon with rice, some groceries, kerosene (because there was no electricity), and some important home supplies. Those were the family’s normal everyday life until Uncle Manuel disappeared on 1989 – three years after former President Ferdinand Marcos was ousted, and the NPA became stronger. Although his remains were not found, it was widely believed that Uncle Manuel was executed by the NPA after being suspected (without evidence) as military asset.

My cousin Gina was in her third year high school when the only adult male was taken from their family. My father, who is the older brother of Uncle Manuel managed to convince Aunt Lilia (Uncle Manuel’s wife), to leave their place and live with us at barangay proper for the sake of her female children.

The youngest, Edwin was six years old when the whole family transferred to our house. Since Gina was always on top three of her class, one her high school teachers offered help to finish her high school. Gina graduated valedictorian and was admitted to the Philippine Normal College (PNC – now PNU) in Manila as full scholar. Aunt Lilia’s siblings in Malabon helped her finished her college. Gina graduated on Cum Laude in 1994 with Bachelor of Chemistry degree. She immediately got a job in a multinational laboratory while pursuing a Chemical Engineering degree at Mapua. Three years later, she graduated Cum Laude.

With high paying job, Gina helped her three younger sisters finished their college. She also bought a stall in Silay City where Aunt Lilia has been running a dressmaking business for more than 20 years.

Mildred, the second daughter finished nurse and has been married to a fellow nurse from Iloilo. The couple with their two children migrated to New Zealand on 2001.

Sandra, the third finished Industrial Engineering and has been working in Laguna since 2002. She live in Batangas with her family.

Julius, the oldest son finished Mechanical Engineering and has been working in Australia since 2012. He brought Aunt Lilia to Australia sometime in 2015 for a short vacation.

Edwin, the youngest who was six years old when the family left this area, is an Agriculturist and works with the provincial government.

Edwin decided to develop this place which the family still called their home.

A couple of hours ago when I arrived here and had a cup of coffee with him, he told me that their father might be buried by the NPA somewhere inside their property.

Edwin, who is now 35 years old, is the most emotional of all.

He turned their place into a private and exclusive resort where only close family members, friends, and other relatives can visit.

He also said that some five years ago, a resident of this place and a close friend of his father told him who killed Uncle Manuel. He told him that most of the people who were involved in the killing of Uncle Manuel were already dead, but some of their family members are still living nearby.

The suspicion that NPA killed his father was proven after 25 years when a rebel returnee admitted the crime.

While his family are living happily, the families of the members of the New People’s Army who killed Uncle Manuel are still living in extreme poverty.

As I take the last sip of my coffee, looking up at the top of the cliff, I can’t imagine how hard it was for my young cousins to travel four kilometers a day some thirty years ago.

I took my mobile phone out and called Gina informing her that I am on top of the rock near their former house. She couldn’t believe, but when I sent her some photos of the place where she spent her childhood, tears started to flow while she is telling me the hardships she experienced three decades ago, and how she missed her father.

Working as director in a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm in Cavite, now at 44 years old and a mother of two, my cousin Gina always tell her family’s story with her children – a story that will probably last for generations – a reminiscing story of poverty, grief, perseverance, hope, dedication, and success. /Gary O. Punzalan – Bacolod City/Disclaimer: Contributed articles does not reflect the view of This website cannot guarantee the legitimacy of some of the information contributed to us. You may do additional research if you find some information doubtful. No part of this article maybe reproduced without permission from this website.