From sampaguita vendor to OFW to entrepreneurship

  • Wednesday, October 04, 2017
  • By Ion Gonzaga
  • 0 Comments


I experienced selling sampaguita when I was a preschooler. I joined my grandparents as they go to school fronts and public market in Laguna to sell.  I pick up flowers with my cousins very early in the morning, climbed huge Ilang-ilang trees to find the most fragrant flowers. We sew the flowers in a string, and bring them to the streets.

When I was a grade schooler, I sell donuts and Filipino delicacies on the streets of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. My mom bake the cakes, we sell on the road. Sometimes we use a tri-bike, but most of the time, we walk and shout, "Eeeehhhh donut, pisooooo!"

On weekdays, aside from my school bag, I carry 2 huge plastic bags with mamon and brownies to be delivered in our school canteen in Divine Word College.

During elections, I get paid to distribute voter's guide flyers.

I love the thought of getting something in return for the effort I was "hired" to do.

Back in high school in Las Pinas, after classes, I help in our little sari-sari store. We  also had an "ice candy" and "ice for sale" ad in the gate. It took me ages to learn how to properly tie an ice bag.

In college, I posted a "karatula" in front of our house for personalised music CDs. CD-burning was a hit then - I was a suki of CDR King. I travel by bus from Pacita to Ayala just to buy bulks of CDs. I had a long list of songs where my customers select up to 16 mp3s. For 80 pesos, they'll get the songs with a personalised CD cover which I also designed. I know, I know... sorry na!

We also sell streetfoods in the garage - fishballs, kwek-kwek, kikiam. That has also become my way to connect to people in the community. I didn't only sell, I also gained friends and, uhhmm, met my crush while she's buying squidballs -she kept comng back, apparently because we had the best fishball sauce pala, akala ko...

Before graduating from the university, I started a webhosting business. I buy high-scale web hosting server packages and resell some spaces. My first customer was the Computer Science department of my university.

I did a lot of websites in Manila as a freelancer. I was a racketeer.

My young mind then has always been wanting to creating a business - even before setting foot here in Dubai.

Here in UAE, I still do gigs. Some brands pay for sponsored posts. I write scripts for radio commercials. I write paid articles for other websites, and so on.

Actually, in my first year here, with my dad, uncle and friends, we registered a web design company only for me to volt out because I wasn't really prepared to take the risks of being an entrepreneur.

Several times in my youth I failed... but forward I go.

I am still young. I keep discovering... from people's stories, books and seminars.

Why do I want to become an entrepreneur? Aside from not wanting to remain OFW forever, and being my own boss, creating a business that brings joy to people is what I've always wanted to do.

Today, that goal is not just empowered by passion. It is passion and purpose that fuels me now to strive to get that elusive opportunity to become one.


If you are like me, who are serious about becoming an entrepreneur, take the first step now.  Learn from the insights and experiences of people who are already successfully doing it.

This weekend, Dodong Cacanando, Armando Bartolome and Paulo Tibig, 3 of today's top business experts in the Philippines are spearheading this advocacy. It's all about entrepreneurship, franchising and business essentials. The event will be hosted by the great financial advisor, motivational speaker and author, Randell Tiongson.

Do not be intimidated at the thought of starting. We, OFWs don't need to just settle to work for other people only, even if we're away from home. Some of us aims to put up a business when we go home. When are we going home? Why not here? Why not now?

Having listened to the spekaers in the past, I know that you can get the answers to those questions at the summit. Be informed and be inspired. Be equipped with the right midset. Help yourself so others can help you unleash that passion.

The event will start on Friday, October 6-7. Please follow this link to learn more about the speakers and for more details of the event.

How great it is to be in the same room with like-minded people - people who share the same dream, people who have the same drive, passionate minds that want to make things happen in fun and practical ways.

It's not just about learning - it's about building relationships as well.

When you have been told that you cannot do it, it's about time to listen to people who believe that you CAN do it.

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Top photo credits to hiveminer.

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