Filipina Regala, 43, fondly called Pines, has been a member and group leader of Pagasa in Tarlac since 2012. Even prior to joining Pagasa, she already operates a sari-sari store in front of her house. In the past however, her weekly capitalization was small, thus the income she got from the store was not so much. To complement the income of the store, her husband delivered softdrinks to his sibling’s store.
As with other clients, her initial loan was 5000 pesos which she used to buy more goods to sell in her store. Soon enough, her once a week visit to the market and grocery to resupply her goods became twice a week. She buys 3000 to 4000 pesos worth of supplies every week. She began to stack up more items and eventually bought a refrigerator to sell cold drinks as well. These, according to her would not have been possible without the loan she got from Pagasa.
“Of course it (loan) was a big help because without the loan, we won’t have enough capital to continue selling,” she said.
In 2014, she invested in the operation of Pisonet. Pisonet is a mini-internet café that charges the customers one peso for every 4 or 5 minutes of internet use. She has four computer units located across the store in her house’s yard.
“We open (the cash register) every two weeks. On average, we earn 3500. At first it was really profitable earning about 8000 but after a while, we only earn about 3500 to 4000 but the income is stable to that’s still good.”
Just recently, she loaned 32,000 from Pagasa, more than half of which she allocated for the sari-sari store business and the rest for her family’s expenses. Most of the income from the store and the Pisonet goes to her family’s expenses as well to pay for bills and to send her children to school. Two of her three children go to school so she uses her income to pay for tuition fees and school expenses. The eldest is already graduating from a degree in Information Technology from Tarlac State University and the youngest is at Grade 11. Soon enough, she will be able to achieve her dream for her children to get their college degree.
“I want my children to finish school so that in the future, I won’t have to borrow money anymore because they’ll be able to help me out,” she said.
She’s also thankful that Pagasa has offered insurance as part of the services to its clients.
“When the staff said that they’ll be offering insurance, I was happy because you’ll never know what will happen. You do not have control over your life so it’s better to be secured. So when you’re gone, you’ll leave something behind to your family. That way, you won’t become a burden to them.”
When asked about her future plans, she said she wanted to continue doing the business and hopefully expanding it further. However, she notes that a key to be successful is to remain humble.
“Even if I’m earning more now, I usually don’t brag about it. I tell them I just earn this much so they won’t talk about you or feel that you’re bragging.”
The humility manifests even as she does her task a group leader where she leads more than thirty members of her Group EB Babes.
“I try to be calm and kind to my group so that they won’t say anything bad against me. I help out members who aren’t able to pay up their loans. We try to help each other out in times of need.”
For now, she hopes to continue serving as a Group Leader and availing of Pagasa’s loan services.
“I like how Pagasa operates because the policies are clear to me. As long as I’m able to do my business and maybe until I’m 60 and qualified, I’ll still be availing of the loans.”