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Rising from the ashes

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”, says Rovelyn Villareal, former corporate employee and owner of RV Pie and Native Corner. Rovelyn’s business sense bloomed at a young age, when her mother gave her and her siblings P1,000 as allowance. Instead of buying food, she would use the money to cook and sell food to her friends and neighbors every week. Her passion for business only grew as she went to college, where she continued selling homemade food around the campus.

After college, Villareal ventured into the corporate world, starting as an area supervisor at Candy Corner in SM City Cebu. Using her savings, she started a small business selling local delicacies at the wet market. Disaster struck when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake jolted Central Visayas in October 2013. As her business faced bankruptcy, she decided to join the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Women Entrepreneur model contest, in which she won 1st place. She used the P50,000 cash price as capital for her new business idea, selling buko pies made from their family’s recipe. Her buko pie business became a huge success with local exhibit coordinators inviting her to sell in mall exhibits. She was noticed by an SM City Cebu leasing manager as her stall attracted a growing number of customers, not just locally, but foreign tourists as well, who would buy her pies to bring back home.She then started introducing new flavors such as mango, strawberry, blueberry, pineapple and peach-mango to her products.

When the pandemic hit, Villareal helped her eight employees by giving out groceries and keeping them employed, even if the business suffered. Villareal said, “I appreciate the malasakit of the SM admin in the midst of pandemic. They are always thinking of ways to help us and help keep our business alive in these trying times.”

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