Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
The Philippines is really seeing the ray of hope widen as the macro economy is seen to be improving, despite what is happening in Europe and America. In fact, the peso level is now towards P41 a dollar. But this can become a challenge for the Philippine economy, as our business model relies on export of jobs through OFWs and BPOs. These are huge contributors to our GDP. Real estate boom is primarily due to this flow, and consumption has continued to increase as Filipinos working abroad send dollars to their families here, and they get more money in exchange for their dollars. Once the peso breaks the 40s level and approach the levels of 35, this could be a serious problem. Maybe, what the government can do is to start paying our dollars loans, as our forex reserve levels are at an all-time high, and start borrowing in pesos and convert them to dollars. This may temper the appreciation of the peso and protect the current growth momentum we are having which will continuously give us Filipinos the ray of hope that our country is on its way towards progress.
This time, I would like to talk about a different Rey of hope. Just like any other person, Rey Lapid of R. Lapid’s Chicharon has to deal with his own share of challenges in life, but he was able to overcome these. He was just about 12 years old and was still living with his parents and nine siblings in Sampaloc, Manila when he figured out that he wanted to start his own business. During his summer vacation from school, he would help his father Frederico Lapid Sr., a Kapampangan who owns a meat stall in Quinta Market in Quiapo. He noticed that most customers who buy fresh meat would ask that the skin be removed, and after the purchase, his dad would just sometimes throw the skin away. He felt that they could use the skin and make chicharon out of it, so he started collecting pork skin at the end of each day. However, Rey did not engage fulltime with selling chicharon. Upon graduation, he was fortunate enough to be able to go to the USA and try his luck there. He started his own business which he named Lapid’s Restaurant, and he thought that this is the beginning of his success. However, he had to close it down after a couple of years. He went back to the Philippines without any money, but he was not hopeless.
It was in 1974 when he and his wife Violeta started their own chicharon business in Sampaloc. Guided by his experience and the tips that he got from his dad who is an expert in cooking chicharon, Rey started to develop his own technique and improve on his product’s quality. He used to dip his finger into the wok of oil to check its temperature, just like what his father did before, but he veered away from it. It took him a lot of tests before he could perfect the formula in making the crispy chicharon which he is now known for. As soon as he perfected his recipe, he then rented a stall in R. Hidalgo in Quiapo to sell his chicharon, and the business did very well. However, another problem came. His landlord noticed the success of Rey’s business and wanted to take advantage of it. One day, Rey and his wife were informed that their rent would be raised from P600 to P2,500. At that time, it was a lot of money, and Rey had no choice but to move out because the rent was too much.
The adversities did not stop Rey from expanding. He was able to locate another stall in Pandacan, and his business grew further. He also did not stop from improving his chicharon. In 1996, he came up with the idea of cooking the chicharon on the spot, just like how popcorn is popped right in front of the customer. He also introduced innovations in chicharon, such as adding chili flavor to it which catered to his customers who are looking for a twist from the usual bland taste of their favorite pork crackling.
Today, R. Lapid’s Chicharon has 100 outlets all over the Philippines. It also boasts of a 7,000-square meter factory in Valenzuela City which started its operations in 2004. He manufactures around 4,000 kilos of chicharon a day, and he supplies chicharon to major food establishments in the country. Because of the huge demand, Rey had to import raw materials from the USA, Europe, and other neighboring countries aside from his local suppliers. His success earned him several recognitions such as the Gintong Sikap Award from the Federation of Filipino Consumers Inc., National Consumer Excellence Award, and most recently, he was one of the PLDT’s MVP Bossings for the year 2010.
Rey’s secret to success is not just about hardwork; it is his desire to move past his challenges and conquer the trials that he faced. Had he remained depressed after his first failure back when he established that restaurant in the US, he would have no chance of attaining the success that he is enjoying today. And as part of Go Negosyo’s campaign Pilipinas: Now is Our Time, Rey encourages aspiring negosyantes to remain focused on the positive and never stop trying:
“I believe that NOW is the right time to transpire the vision of global entrepreneurship. Being a known brand for a Filipino product such as “chicharon”, I’m confident that R. LAPID’S can take the challenges of global competitiveness and be recognized internationally. We’re having it ready through modernization of our plant facilities and meeting all the international standards for food safety. Having all these in place, we continue to be responsive to any social commitments and expand more thus, helping people who are in need.”
Go Negosyo, together with CITEM, recently mounted the Export Coaching Boost Camp to help our exporters deal with the fast-changing global market, as well as the weaknesses in some export markets like in US and EU. We did three sessions in Pampanga (Aug. 1-3), Cebu (Aug. 28-30), and Manila (Sept. 5-7). In the Cebu run, we were lucky to have
Go Negosyo advocates Jay Aldeguer (Islands Group) and Steve Benitez (Bo’s Coffee) together with CITEM director Rhea Matute and Go Negosyo’s Ramon Lopez in a forum, while Johnlu Koa (French Baker), Marlane Villareal (Buy Pinoy), and Bong Jiao (XC Manufacturing and Trading Enterprise) participated in the Manila run. The fora allowed the exporters to interact and discuss ways to deal with competition and other challenges that entrepreneurs face. It also talked about the importance of being able to adapt to changes, to constantly review the best possible business model, to realize the need for continuing innovation, to know and serve the needs of customers and develop game-changing products and services, to embrace technology and maximize the benefits of social media, and to learn other strategies in growing one’s business. The lecture sessions were led by Go Negosyo angelpreneurs Pax Lapid who discussed the entrepreneurial mindset, Reuel Virtucio on entrepreneur concepts and business planning module, Poch Cid Jr. on marketing, Raju Mandhyan on sales and negotiation, and Tess Dimaculangan on business sccounting.