Melinda Padlaon

Owner of a piggery, sari-sari store, and pasalubong center from Laguna

The Pidlaoan family used to make stainless ladles and bolos for a living. When the cost of stainless steel increased, the family decided to stop the production of these products.

To make ends meet, Tatay Jun accepted the job as janitor in Manila in 2000. From his first salary of P6, 000, they decided to venture into hog rising nearby their house in Laguna. They started with 1 sow and Nanay Melinda took care of this until it multiplied. They were able to supply to butchers in the public market of Siniloan and later on, to as far as Antipolo and Marikina.

While managing the piggery, Nanay Melinda also started a small sari-sari store, named Gwenn’s Sari-Sari Store, in their house at Brgy. Paagahan with the P2000 she earned from hog rising.

Since they are familiar with these products, Pidlaloans also sold ladles and bolos in their sari-sari store. This time, they get their supply to make the products from San Pablo City and Bicol.

The sari-sari store expanded its merchandise to include hammocks, rocking chairs, couch made of rattan, brooms and stainless kitchen wares. These were a hit among tourists passing by the Mabitac route going to Pagsanjan. Nanay Melinda’s was assisted by her niece in running their store.

In 2003, Tatay Jun decided to work abroad as a ship crew to support the education of their three children while Nanay Melinda continued to attend to their business.

In 2006, Nanay Melinda engaged into “buy and sell” of coconuts and supplied these to buko pie makers in in Mabitac and nearby towns in Laguna.

The family acquired a vehicle in 2008, which they use in delivering their products. On that same year, they also acquired a property from their combined business earnings and the money sent by Nanay Melinda’s husband.

Gwenn’s Sari-sari Store later evolved into a Pasalubong Center, selling lambanog, vinegar, food delicacies from Mabitac and broas bread from Lucban, Quezon.

Instead of ordering buko pie from a neighboring store, Nanay Melinda decided to her make own using her first loan from CARD amounting P15000 plus additional savings. Aside from being sold in their pasalubong center, their buko pies were also distributed in Mabitac’s bus terminal and nearby towns.

In spite of the challenges faced in the business, Nanay Melinda remained strong and continued to move on with the business to augment their income.

At present, their businesses reached an average annual sales of P1.8M with profit of P230, 000. They now have five workers and acquired a second hand jeepney and tricycle which they are using for delivery.

Nanay Melinda is planning on renovating their pig pen and expands their property to allot a bigger space for their products.

Weathered but not defeated by challenges of being a micro entrepreneur, Nanay Melinda continued to fight for her dream of a better future for her family.

~ Melinda Padlaon