Making the world go round thru caps, food, and music

MEET OUR CLIENT: Estela Lagunzad

What would a mother give to feed her family’s hunger for food, knowledge, and music?

Estela Lagunzad and her family have taken root in Tacloban City, Leyte, very near the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center where her husband used to work as a minimum-waged security guard. Besides personally taking care of the family, she had to man their sari-sari (retail) store and, on the side, had sold Natasha, Tupperware, and Avon products. Mindful of their children’s future, she had to find ways to augment her husband’s low income so they can better provide for their children’s needs.

In 2003, the Rural Bank of Dulag (RB Dulag) opened a branch in Tacloban City. Through the bank’s microfinance services, Mrs. Lagunzad was provided with a Php 15,000 loan (US$300) in January 2004. She used the amount as capital in putting up a home-based eatery catering to hospital employees and visitors.

A year after putting up the eatery, Mrs. Lagunzad became confident of spending “extra” for her children’s penchant for music. She applied for another loan of Php 20,000 (US$400), the proceeds of which she used to buy an electric guitar and saxophone for her eldest son. In summer of the same year, she enrolled her daughter in a piano class, with the thought of her kids possibly forming a band in the future.

The musical talents of Mrs. Lagunzad’s children developed side-by-side with the growth of her food business. This development brought about the birth of the Rondayan Kids Band, originally composed of the three Lagunzad children: Ron-ron, Day-day, and Yan-yan. The band’s repertoire includes classic, mellow, disco, and ballroom dancing music and plays instruments such as electric guitars, saxophone, piano, and drums. By 2008, the Rondayan Kids Band had added three more members and had performed all over Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) in venues such as Leyte Park Hotel, McArthur’s Resort Hotel, Hotel La Rica, and Hotel Alejandro, and is earning much more than what they need for their personal necessities and school tuition.

In 2007, Mrs. Lagunzad diversified her business into nursing cap manufacturing, which she perfected just by merely observing a neighbor who used to be in the business, and practicing the craft on her own. Her product swiftly gained popularity among nurses and nursing students from hospitals and schools in the region because of its high quality and low price.

To date, Mrs. Lagunzad has completed the payment of her 17th loan cycle worth Php 25,000 (US$500). In 2007, her four businesses recorded approximately Php 2.8 million (US$56,000) in total sales for the year. Her annual profit is over half a million pesos ($10,000) while her savings increased to almost Php 100,000 ($2,000).

At present, Mrs. Lagunzad, her family, and her businesses have already gone a long way – from being a mere wife of a security guard, she is now a stage mom to her accomplished performer children and an entrepreneur with 20 full time and 25 part-time employees benefiting from her businesses.

Truly, the tide has turned for the better and carried Estela Lagunzad, her family, and her community to a better shore – one that has more than enough food, learning, and music to nourish the mind, body, spirit, and soul.