This famous line has become the mantra of this entrepreneur here as she tries to make ends meet amid the challenging economic slowdown.

As the pandemic took its toll and severely paralyzed the not only country’s economy but also the world’s, many establishments were forced to stop their operations and close their businesses. The global health crisis has indeed become a major bottleneck of the business sector today.

Despite the current situation, many Filipinos have continued to prove their resiliency. As hardworking people, they have found the formula to thrive and make their way to the top.

In this town, which is more or less a three-hour drive from Davao City, a local food hub is making waves even on social media. A number of locals and tourists adore this nook because of its gastronomic offerings. With its specialties, including the widely loved special halo-halo and its best-seller empanada, the Ocampo’s Food Haus is a must-visit snack house where people can stop by to satisfy their palates and stomachs. In fact, it is now considered as the “pasalubong gateway” of the province, especially that it is situated in a prime location along the road of Poblacion, Sta. Maria.먹튀검증

The genius mind behind the success of the Ocampo’s Food Haus is a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) whose passion is beyond question. It is worth noting, though, that before Arlene Ocampo discovered a jewel in food business, she had to experience some failures first.

She was then a trader of “ukay-ukay” or used clothing in the town market. The business started out okay, but she noticed that as time went by, it slowly dipped until she could no longer bear the losses.
In 2019, Arlene, decided to quit from her “ukay-ukay” business, and, together with her husband, they opened a small food business instead. She started with a capitalization of P5,000 and just one table within a small space and one staff who helped her in preparing the orders. She initially offered the popular Filipino dessert halo-halo. She was glad witnessing how the customers accepted her business.

She would sell 10 to 20 pieces of special buco halo-halo and some other Filipino delicacies daily.

Her new business was doing well, however, family problems came into the picture few months after. She experienced anxiety and had to face her yet another big battle – her mental health. This created a negative impact on her to the point of shaking her faith in God. Luckily, she had a supportive husband who encouraged her to turn her deepen her passion in business and discover new things. Thus, she began making pastries and experimented on food recipes.

Eventually, she had overcome her problems and was able to go back to the business; now even bigger and eager with the motivation from her husband. Her spiritual life became stronger, too. According to her, God is really the “wind beneath my wings” who guided her all the way.

The words of encouragement from her loving husband ignited the zeal within Arlene, and this gave her the confidence to expand her business. She added different kinds of delicious refreshments and snacks on her menu. Leche flan, tapioca, mango float and more became part of the regular products. This move has made her gain the attention of locals and passers-by. The real “game-changer,” though, which made her sales skyrocket into new heights, was when she discovered this best seller specialty. Her empanada, a pastry filled with delectably prepared meat filling, won the hearts of many. Her customers would describe it as the best empanada they have ever tasted.

With the hard work, time, money she invested on her business, Arlene is proud to say that her empanada changed her life totally.

“I am very grateful to the agencies that helped me a lot and where I am now, especially to the DTI who never tire of encouraging me and making me participate in various seminars that are now a great help in my business, especially Ocampo’S Food House is famous for its special pastry which is the empanada that is the cause of all my development today (I am very grateful to the government agencies, especially to DTI, that really helped and encouraged me to participate in various seminars. These helped me improve my business and even made Ocampo’s Food House popular, particularly with the empanada we offer),” she said.

From earning P3,000 to P5,000 on a single, Arlene started hitting P50,000 to P70,000 a day. This helped her to expand and improve her business space and area. And, of course, give additional opportunities to more people in her locality.

She invested in machines to ease up the daily operations and improve productivity. She also hired 20 additional employees to attend to the growing customers and expanded her area to include a function hall. She maximized the area further by building commercial spaces as an additional stream of income. From local tourists, she now caters big companies in the province national government agencies and local government units (LGUs).

In 2020, with her passion and dedication to keep her business growing, Arlene was chosen to become the operator of the One Town One Product (OTOP) Hub of Davao Occidental, a program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that aims to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) expand and promote local business in a one-stop shop.

Arlene also graduated from the Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) program, which assisted her in running her business more efficiently and effectively.

“Through the seminar that I participated in through DTI, what I learned is what I applied, and I don’t regret everything because I am one of the graduates of the KMME program of DTI, which is why I became an equipped entrepreneur (With the seminars I attended through DTI, I was able to learn, and I never regret that I joined the KMME program, which equipped me as an entrepreneur),” she shared.
DTI-Davao Occidental program office manager Ma. Joycelyn F. Banlasan shared the agency’s commitment to support Arlene and other aspiring entrepreneurs in the province continuously.

Today, Arlene continues to inspire others to never give up on their dreams. She becomes the beacon of hope raised in greater heights to illuminate the lives of others. She is determined to embrace hope in spite of the limitations brought by the pandemic. And, yes, she is bound to move beyond these limitations to achieve her goals and help more people.

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