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Saquio S. Pasiliao
Bgy. Laguit Centro, Bugallon, Pangasinan
LCAP Client of the Gulf Bank

Mr. Saquio S. Pasiliao, 43 years old, is happily married to Mrs. Macrina H. Pasiliao and blessed with 12 children, 2 of whom are now married. He is a noble farmer who began with 3 hectares of land which he inherited from his parents who are agrarian reform beneficiaries. With his desire to expand his plantation of palay and other agricultural crops, he acquired 2 more hectares through a tenancy contract.

With their growing need to support their children, Saquio started a livestock business of raising ducks or itik. The latter continues to grow with an average of 500-580 eggs per day from 700 ducks. They transport and sell these at the Mangatarem Public Market which provided them with another steady source of income. It also became an instant solution to the pest problem of their community because the ducks fed on the mullocks or kuhol which damage the rice fields.

These were all made possible with the assistance he received through microfinance loans provided by the Gulf Bank in cooperation with the NLDC. In his first bank transaction, Saquio received a loan of P25,000.00 which grew to a current loan of P40,000.00. He balances providing the needs of his family and diligently paying his loans while attending to his growing businesses. As proof, he was able to secure the education of his children who are now helping him with operations.

Proper management of their profit also allowed them to transform their simple bahay kubo to a bungalow, a constant reminder of their hardships and triumphs. From farming and duck raising income, Saquio was able to acquire 10 pigs, 6 cows, and 6 goats. He also expanded their equipment list by purchasing a farm tractor or "kuliglig", knapsack sprayer, Kubota machine used for water irrigation, and a motor tricycle for the transportation of goods.

The learning process never stops for Saquio. He constantly attends seminars and trainings to hone his expertise like pest management control, process of making salted egg, and rice management production.

His story of conviction and determination to prosper is now used to illustrate the rewards aspiring entrepreneurs will reap when they begin their own stories of hope and inspiration.


Lourdes C. Crisol
Purok 1 Cale, Tiwi, Albay
LCAP Client of the Rural Bank of Guinobatan, Inc.

She may have been battered by so many blows in life, but Lourdes Corral-Crisol managed to overcome all obstacles. Driven by an optimistic attitude, she always looks at the glass "half full" by turning challenges into opportunities. She did not let anything stop her from pursuing her entrepreneurial ambition.

The fifth in a brood of six, Lourdes was only nine years old when her father left them. Her mother provided for their needs by making and selling clay pots. The rest of the family contributed to make things a little better by working extra hard, because of this Lourdes managed to earn a degree in Elementary Education.

To supplement her husband's pay as a company driver, Lourdes taught in the morning at a kindergarten school in Barangay Cale and attended to their small sari-sari store in the afternoon. But one month into their marriage, Nestor met an accident and the company he was working in folded up. Luckily, an uncle offered the couple the chance to run a bakery that has been left idle for so long.

Lourdes and Nestor seized the opportunity. They invested their savings of P40,000.00 as initial capital for the bakery and expanded their neighborhood store into a mini-grocery. Lourdes supervised the production and manned the grocery while Nestor handled the distribution. Sales picked up, which prompted Lourdes to give up teaching so she could devote more time in managing the business and more importantly, in raising their four children.

Soon, they were able to buy a jeepney which they used as a delivery vehicle. They eventually bought a motorcycle so they could bring their products even to far-flung areas and be a step ahead of competition. An accident involving the gas oven also led Lourdes to shift to other fuel substitutes. For safety reasons, they built a brick oven-an innovation that did wonders for their business as more customers preferred pugon-baked bread.

Meanwhile, they kept on adding food items to sell in their mini-grocery, from fruits and vegetables to fresh fish products. Later on, they went into palay and rice trading. In 1996, they bought another jeepney to be used as a passenger vehicle. With it came the decision to set up a vulcanizing shop. The Crisol couple also ventured into hog-raising-adding to the list of businesses they currently own and are directly managing. "Whenever we have funds to spare, we always look for opportunities to invest them in something that can generate additional income," Lourdes said.

And as if possessiong a proverbial Midas' touch, their enterprises flourished. But more than their astute business sense, it is the couple's people skills which made all the difference. In fact, Lourdes and Nestor have been well-loved not only by their employees but by their community who has been persuading the couple to run for public office. But their repeated requests have been turned down. "We can still help the community even if we don't hold any elective position," Lourdes insists and she is correct.

This partners' in love and business passion and success in what they do inspire the people in their community to continue to persevere and be more creative in expanding their livelihood sources. They are living examples that hard work, patience, and faith will never go unrewarded and that anyone can be of service to their fellowmen if they want to, regardless of their stature in life.

Sonia C. Palmes
Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental
LCAP Client of the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation

Barangay Minoyan: the gateway to Mount Kanlaon National Park and home to Mambukal Mountain Resort. It is also the birthplace of Sonia Palmes.

Mrs. Sonia Cordero Palmes was born on January 5, 1951 in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental. Her father's limited income from farming allowed her to study only up to elementary level. Nothing much was expected of her and as the norm of her time, she married at quite a young age, Sonia married Leopoldo Palmes, a high school graduate. It was a union of a farmer and a farmer's daughter and they were blessed with nine children.

Despite her very humble beginnings, Sonia had her dreams. She had seen and experienced poverty in its most cruel form and longed to get out of that situation. With a little push and a little luck, she knew she could work it out. That golden chance came in the early stages of the Aquino government when stages of the Aquino government when President Cory enacted Republic Act 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. On September 4, 1991, the spouses were awarded and agricultural land with an area of 2,776 square meters. Finally, she had ownership to the land where their house stood plus a 4-hectare land for farming. She recognized this opportunity to turn their lives around.

But the couple was not spared from the challenges. No matter how hard they tried, they simply were not earning enough. They knew it was lack of capital to expand. This was not easy after government financial institutions gave up on them after their cooperative failed.They were denied access to the much-needed credit. It was then that she heard about the Project Dungganon, a project funded and assisted by NLDC, of the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) in 2002.

A neighbor invited Sonia to join the microfinance project. She was told that the program can assist them in their needs. However, Sonia became hesitant after learning about the group's weekly meetings. She thought that attending these meeting was a waste of time which can be channeled to other productive endeavors. Their weekly loan amortization was an additional burden. Still the fact remains that without any outside funding, her life's vicious cycle would be unchanged. She decided to take her only available option. She joined the group.

Utilizing an initial loan of P3,000.00, the family started a sari-sari store. Sonia was a good borrower which the NWTF appreciated. Their credit relationship established trust and confidence. Soon, Sonia was able to channel part of her loan to their farm. With ready access to credit, they ventured into farm-leasehold and diversified into sugarcane farming. What they lacked in formal education, the spouses more than made up with their business acumen.

From then on, it was all leaps and bounds. The couple was able to acquire a 10-wheeler truck and further increase their lease holdings. They now have 11 hectares of rice land. They have 5 regular farmers working with them aside from 10 other people working on a per contract basis.

Mrs. Palmes continues to work with NWTF to fund their businesses. All loans of which are diligently paid in full and on time. Her son has begun his own endeavor by tilling his own farmland. Sonia and her family did a lot of work to make their businesses flourish and continue to thrive. With the right combination of sacrifice, determination, positive attitude and being transparent and honest in all their transactions, they were able to transcend all the challenges that confronted them. Sonia also never fails to acknowledge the essence of all the financial aid and support she received from partner institutions such as NWTF and NLDC.

Now, her dream of being free from the shackles of poverty is now a reality and to all who struggle out there, she says, "You can do it too."

Fidela E. Tudtud
Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
LCAP Client of the Bukidnon Cooperative Bank

"Success will not just happen, it is up to you to make it happen." This is the principle of Ms. Fidela Tudtud, 44 years of age. Coming from a humble beginning during her late 20's working as a cashier for 6 years, she rose from the ranks - from an employee to an employer.

Her husband, Ronald, then a driver of the same company was already comfortable having a fixed monthly income. But Fidela was determined to do bigger things to better provide for their family. This prompted her to quit her job to start corn farming and a sari-sari store with an initial capital of P40,000.00. While farming and operating the store, she occasionally engaged in RTW buy and sell for office employees.

She cam across SIKAP (Sariling Impok, Kita at Pag-asenso) in 2007 which is a project of the Bukidnon Cooperative Bank (BCB) funded by the NLDC. She applied and was then given a P10,000.00 credit line. She valued this opportunity, embraced the disciplines being taught, nurtured her business, and made sure she took care of her credit line. For her, this was one of the vehicles to reach her dreams.

And she was right! Slowly, she started to reap the fruits of her and her husband's labor. She had consequently improved her asset base that includes 1 unit of Elf truck, a motorcycle, a multicab, a residential lot and building (worth over P1,000,000.00) and 7 hectares of farmland for their sugarcane production which they rent. Her P40,000.00 sari-sari store is now appraised at P100,000.00 and has expanded to include services such as rice wholesaling to supply the retailers all throughout the municipality. 

This also enabled her to provide for the basic needs of their children. They are able to send them to good schools believing that education is very important. Jean Pearl is now on her 3rd year of BS Nursing at Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City. Her brothers, Ronald James and Dan Daven are in 1st year college at Capitol University and Grade 4 at a public school respectively.

Fidela is not taken over by their success. Instead, she continues to be industrious, humble, religious, and has become even more generous. Currently, she has 1 driver on a regular status and 3 contractual renumeration and benefits. She also assisted her husband's niece's education from 1st year to 3rd year college. She gives back to their community by being a regular donor of the on-going building of the local parish church.

On top of her work, she remains a consistent outstanding SIKAP client. As an incentive, BCB increased her SIKAP credit line from Php10,000.00 to Php50,000.00 and gave her an additional service thru the Small and Medium Enterprises credit line of Php500,000.00 at a special rate to further help the expansion of her business.

Fidela shares her insight on her success to fellow microfinance beneficiaries. "You must take charge of your own journey and steer your way to achieving your dreams. People and groups will help you, but everything else is up to you." She also underscores the importance of respecting the creditors especially the account officer who will be your ally in developing your business. "Mutual respect is important and if this is achieved, you will not have any problem in dealing with them about your credit account."

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