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The right ‘mix’ – extending dreams outside the home

The aroma of ‘pandesal’ fills the humble abode of the Macasaet Family in San Mateo, Rizal Province. For three years now, the bread has not just become a common breakfast food for this family of six. It has become their hope.

“Ang pinaka-goal talaga namin sa pamilya ay maiangat ang antas ng aming pamumuhay,” shares Nemia, 46.

As a mother, Nemia, who used to sell snacks for a living and rely on her husband Medel’s income as a tricycle driver, thought that achieving this goal is impossible. However, with their determination, hard work and the whole family’s commitment to achieve this, they are getting to their goal little by little.

“Hindi naman p’wedeng laging iaasa namin sa gobyerno ang mga kakulangan namin sa buhay. Dapat meron kaming laging ginagawa,” says Nemia with conviction.

 

Finding the right ‘mix’ towards success

In 2012, the Macasaet Family of Brgy. Ampid I became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. For a family whose daily budget was around PhP400 only, the cash grants from the program have been a big help to answer their daily needs, especially the four children’s expenses in school.

However, couple Nemia and Medel understand that the program is temporary. The cash grants they receive every two months are not even sufficient for all their needs. Moreover, they know that the program will not be the answer to their dreams of a better life.

“Ang katwiran namin, binigyan ka (referring to the program), pero, ano ang gagawin mo sa ibinigay sa’yo,” shares Nemia, who relates how they planned and thought of ways to provide a better life for their children while the government is supporting some of their needs.

Knowing that their usual jobs will not be enough, they started their business baking and selling ‘pandesal’ at home. They loaned a small capital from a micro-financing institution to invest on an oven and initial capital for their business.

“Noong una, talagang halos wala kaming kinikita sa pagtitinapay. Pinag-aral namin ang panganay namin ng baking para magkaroon s’ya ng skills. Ngayon, s’ya na ang namamahala ng aming negosyo,” relates Medel.

The bakery, which they call M and Nems, has become their main source of income. On top of Medel’s income as a tricycle driver and Nemia’s income as a vendor, the bakery is able to ensure that their children remain in school.

“Importante sa amin na nag-aaral at nagkakaroon ng skills ang mga bata dahil ito lang ang makasisiguro na magkakaroon sila ng mas maayos na buhay,” says Nemia.

Today, their eldest, 21-year-old Cyrus, is able to support himself while helping the family’s business. Kim, 20, is in second year college while twins Clarence and Lawrence, 16, are in Grade 11.

Ensuring sustainability while helping others

The Macasaet Family credits the success of the bakery and their family to every member.

Every day, at four in the morning, Medel and Nemia start their day baking ‘pandesal’ and selling it to customers. Sometimes, Medel would go back to sleep at 5:30 AM so he can grab enough rest before driving his tricycle all day. Nemia will take charge of the baking and the selling until 9:00 AM.

At 10:00 AM, Cyrus goes around their five branches in other barangays in San Mateo to collect the sales and buy ingredients to prepare for the next day.

In the afternoon, Cyrus starts mixing the dough to cover the needs of all the branches for the next day. When the rest of the children arrive home from school, they start with their usual tasks such as helping in the preparation of the ingredients. At 4:00 PM, Cyrus delivers the dough to the branches.

The operation of this bakery gives the Macasaet Family optimism that they’ll soon be able to reach their dream—which is to improve their living condition. Little by little, this has been evident in their ability to provide for the needs of the children in school and the improvement of their home.

For these small successes, the family is determined to give their blessings to others, too. When choosing branches to expand their business, they ensure that they pick a family whose situation is similar to them. They provide a vendor with an oven and supply them with dough daily. Eighty percent of the sales becomes the income of the vendor.

One of the vendors of the Macasaet Family is Maricel Santos, 43, a resident of Brgy. Sta. Ana. Like them, Maricel’s family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya program.

“Malaki ang naitulong sa akin ng pagtitinda ng pandesal dahil ngayon, nakakatulong na ako sa aking pamilya. Dating nagtitinda lang ako ng junk foods sa bahay namin at kumikita ng P50 sa isang araw. Ngayon, kumikita na ako ng P350 o higit pa sa isang araw,” gladly shares Maricel, who has seven children.

According to Maricel, it gives her pride that she is able to help her husband, a construction worker, to support the needs of the children and no longer is reliant on the cash grants from the Pantawid Pamilya program. Further, she says she now finds better use of her time rather than spend it gossiping with neighbors.

For the Macasaet Family, their goal, just like their business, has expanded as well. Their dream is no longer just an improved life for their family, but more importantly, an improved life for other poor families who need opportunities to start again, earn some and reach their dreams eventually.***

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