Iron Works

A couple from Atok Trail, Baguio City, Florence and Albert Fabian, started with an initial loan of 5,000 Pesos. This helped them purchase a welding machine and pay for one-month’s rent for their business in iron works.

Florence has been a member of Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation since February 2007. She never misses her payment and maintained to be a good payer. She has been with JVOFI and now she is currently on her 23rd cycle of loan and able to loan the principal amount of 75,000 pesos.

Albert used to be a laborer while Florence was a fulltime housewife. Albert, gained his experience in iron works by working for other iron works shops before while Florence attended business management training offered by JVOFI. Now, they co-manage their iron works business and from a single welding machine, they now have a bar cutter, grinder drill and electric drill. They also started another business of making foot rugs.

According to Florence, they are able to grow their business through prayer and hard work. They have also grown their client base not only in Baguio City but also from neighboring provinces like Benguet and La Union. “Sales is good and income has doubled from when we first started,” she attested. Through their business they are able to help other people by providing regular jobs. They currently have three employees and she plans to grow their business more so they can hire more people.

Sassy Girls

A native of Atok, Benguet, Mrs. Aurora Eslao or “Auring” as everyone calls her is a quintessential entrepreneur. She balances several businesses in different places and still looking forward for business expansion.

She has retail stores – a sari-sari store and 2nd hand clothes store (wag-wagan) at Sayangan, Atok; boarding houses in Balili, La Trinidad and in Sayangan, Atok and a piggery at Puguis, La Trinidad. On top of that she helps in their vegetable farm and leads a group of women called Sassy Girls Puguis Women’s Brigade Volunteer.

But it has not always been like this. She started as a vendor at Vegetable Trading post in La Trinidad. When she stopped working at the Vegetable Trading post she only had three pigs and so she wanted to look for other means to generate income.

She learned of JVOFI microfinance and started with an initial loan of 5,000 pesos. She is now at her 18th cycle of loan with a principal amount loan of 61,000 pesos. Within these five years she was able to convert her old house into a 14 room apartment with retail stores. She now employs two regular workers in her businesses and her sons have their own cars and their own businesses.

As a leader of the Sassy Girls group Puguis Women’s Brigade Volunteer under PNP, she is active in patrolling the neighbourhood after curfew hours. She also helps in disseminating information on health awareness like alert on Dengue, she extends help financially the members of her group and stands as an advisor when her group needs help on processing important documents and gives counsel on family related issues.

She is now starting to expand her business at Sison, Pangasinan where she bought a piece of land for another piggery.

Water Refilling Station

She used to be a housewife while her husband drives a taxi (not their own) before they’ve become a certified micro entrepreneur.

Andrea made her first loan in 2011. She used this to purchase goods to start a retail (sari-sari) store. She admits there is little profit in retail store business in their area due to increasing number of competition. She tried another business, a water refilling station and fortunately revenues from the water refilling station is much higher than the retail store. Mrs. Andrea Dagdague is now at her 13th cycle with the principal amount of 78,000 and serves clients from La Trinidad, Baguio and Beckel.

“We try to refrain from spending and we save,” that’s how she puts it, when asked how she grew her business. Although there are also some challenges like people who don’t pay their credit from the store, or people who don’t return their water gallons. We still strive to make it work despite setbacks, she added.  We just make sure to maintain cleanliness with our water and our gallons to make our clients come back.

We can now give more allowance to our children, we were able to buy a ref and a Hi Ace Van, “Nakakapag-outing na kami, dati kasi hindi kami masyado nakakalabas” (We can go on vacation now, before we were not able to do so) she quipped.

Now, she helps the community by employing four workers, three of whom are their neighbors. In order to accommodate more workers, she plans to widen her business area and expand her business.

La Trinidad Client

“Aw-awanak met lang, from the start per dia- ak” (I started from nothing, zero, I started on per day basis). Dona humbly admits that she started from zero, before reaping the success that she has now. She continues, “Although I tried to work for an NGO before, pay is still very little. Here in La Trinidad we live on vegetable trade, vegetables are mostly our source of income, so I might just as well do business in vegetable trading. Although sometimes we lose, the vegetable price changes almost every hour, typhoons come and damage the farmers’ vegetables, we expect a lot would be arriving but only few would arrive, and sometimes it’s all good, the weather is fine, the vegetable is good but the price is just low. However, we still strive, that’s why we need to be focused and hands on when you are in this business, she confides.“

She now owns a stall at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading post and has been in the business of vegetable trade for more than 10 years. She is very hands-on when it comes to her business and by virtue of her diligence she has acquired a Tamaraw FX, a truck, a house and lot and has expanded trade to Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Mrs. Donabel “Dona” Albino, is one of the most valued clients of Jaime V. Ongpin Microfinance Foundation Inc. She started in 2005 with an initial loan of 5,000 pesos. She spent her first 5,000 pesos to buy vegetables for re-selling. From her initial loan she now reached her 29th cycle of 79,000. She is one of the few clients who unfailingly met payment dues.

She is a role model, not only because she handles her financial obligations well but because she knows how to extend help to others. She has been financing small-time farmers, assisting those who are affected by typhoons by providing additional capital. She extends help to children of farmers studying in the city – provides for their tuition and other needs when the farmer still can’t send them money since harvest is still a few months away. In turn, these farmers sell to her their produce and pay her when they are able to. She also employs four people in her stall at trading post and another two at Urdaneta.

She dreams of expanding her business someday, by looking into different outlets and acquiring another stall for vegetable trading at Nueva Vizcaya.