Boracay, renowned for its pristine white sand beaches and spectacular sunsets, is a great tourist hub in the Philippines. Amid the abundance of hotels and accommodations catering to the hordes of tourists, running a guest house presents a business opportunity to entrepreneurs.
Jeangen Salilin, a businesswoman, carved out her niche in the vibrant landscape of the island through her determination and resilience. Her journey towards establishing a guest house on the islands was not smooth sailing, but rather a testament to her grit.
She first experienced the charm of Boracay during a vacation. Captivated by the island’s beauty, she returned to work there for six months. To fuel her dreams, Jeangen seized the opportunity to work in Singapore as a waitress. She gained exposure through on-the-job training, alongside her studies in Hospitality Management.
Armed with savings and experience, Jeangen returned to the Philippines and start her entrepreneurial journey by starting a bar and restaurant in Boracay. Together with her family, they moved from General Santos City to Boracay, ensuring her venture’s success. However, the rapid development around her establishment led to congestion, prompting her to relocate her business.
After relocating to her newfound place, super typhoon Yolanda unleashed its fury which affected her business. Nevertheless, she proved her grit and her business weathered the storm. In 2013, she discovered CARD Bank, a microfinance-oriented rural bank. With low interest rates on loans and insurance offerings, she applied for her initial loan of PHP 5,000 which she invested in a sari-sari store.
As her business thrives, Jeangen got access to a bigger loan amount from the bank in 2018, which she used to build her guest house. In 2019, even though it was not fully furnished, visitors and guests started checking in because of her warm hospitality.
However, the pandemic in 2020 brought unprecedented challenges, forcing her to close her bar and restaurant due to community restrictions. “My biggest concern was my responsibility to pay my loans,” Jeangen said. Since there were no tourists, the sari-sari store was their primary source of income for their daily needs and weekly payments.
Amidst the crisis, she found comfort in CARD’s financial assistance. Despite an existing loan, CARD Bank supported her with another loan to aid her recovery. She used the loan for their daily expenses, guest house maintenance, and repairs. It’s good that someone rented her place during the crisis. She even lowered the rental fee just to ensure she can accommodate others while they still earn for their daily needs.
“The products and services of CARD Bank were our support, especially in ensuring my businesses’ survival,” Jeangen said. “In challenging times, CARD Bank did not put pressure on us but rather assisted us in finding survival strategies.”
As the island gradually heals from the impact of the global health crisis, her businesses continue to thrive, with the second level of her guest house currently under construction. Resolute and optimistic, Jeangen said, “We will encounter more hardships, but I am confident that both we and our businesses will prevail.”