Resilience amidst adversity

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Life’s challenges can either make or break one’s determination. While some may falter when confronted with adversity, for some reasons, Ma. Ruby Bullag remains resilient and brave.

Ma. Ruby, the eldest of eight siblings, left Negros Occidental to find work in Iloilo City. Starting as a store bagger, she later became a saleslady in a boutique. When the store branched out to Boracay, she immediately moved there.

A year later, she married Rino Bullag, a Boracay-based hotel staff. Despite Rino’s steady income, it was still insufficient to make ends meet, so she sold siopao and pancit molo and built a sari-sari store for an additional income.

Through her store, Ma. Ruby met CARD Bank in 2010. She will never forget her initial loan of PHP 5,000.00 on October 27, 2010, because that money, along with their house and belongings, was burned into ashes that same night due to a neighborhood fire.

She was left with nothing but the courage and strong will to start over. By God’s grace, a lot of people, including Boracay citizens and CARD Bank provided essential necessities, which greatly aided their recovery.

She utilized the gathered funds from kind-hearted people to acquire a siopao steamer and continue her business. They slowly got back on track, producing 300-400 pieces of siopao daily.

Despite the setbacks, she stayed positive, believing in eventual success. “Life has been constantly revolving. We may experience failure, and a lot might be a reason for us to quit, but I am positive that in perfect timing, we would achieve the success that we are aiming for,” she said.

They were able to rent a house, rebuild a sari-sari store, and add a small cafeteria, all because of her income from the siopao business. Their small cafeteria gained popularity, and when apartment tenants left, she rented the entire house, turning it into her whole cafeteria.

With expansion in mind, they found a land where they built a three-story establishment, turning the ground floor and second floor into a 24-hour open restaurant and the third floor into their home.

They had also let go of the cafeteria after the end of the contract with the land owner and solely focused on their restaurant.

However, the flourishing business was affected when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2019. As a result, they had to cut their workforce and limit their operations during that time.

But as the world returns to normal, so do their businesses. Right now, they are expanding into providing a catering service. Sustaining the needs of her thriving business is quite tough, but she is thankful for CARD Bank because it is one of the reasons why her business got this far. In fact, she currently has a PHP 300,000.00 loan from the bank that she uses for their restaurant business.

Although they are still renting, years from now, with the help of her business, she hopes that they can purchase the land and call it their own.

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