Eduardo Azores’ restaurant in Koronadal City, Mindanao has gained popularity for serving a favorite southern delicacy: pastil.
The restaurant, Ali-Ali Pastil, serves over 40 varieties of the dish, including laing and seafood. Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos in the city patiently wait in line for a taste of Ali-Ali’s delicious and affordable pastil.
The restaurant serves affordable, delicious, clean, and genuinely halal food.
Azores started his business in 2013 with only three kilos of meat and rice. Realizing the potential of the business, he introduced more varieties (most pastil places offer only two or three flavors), with the help of Rizal Micro Bank that provided an increase in his capital.
Azores’ decision paid off. Not only did the restaurant grow but he was also able to open a 24-hour convenience store, a catering business, and will soon open a lodging inn.
For his hard work, commitment, and entrepreneurial spirit, Azores was named the national winner of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA).
In accepting his award, Azores said his experiences made him stronger and wiser.
“We should not be swayed by our emotions and greed—that’s the most important lesson I learned when my wife died. Use your brains and logic when making important decisions. Save more than you spend; you don’t need to look rich for anybody. You do not have to brag about your success; it will speak volumes when it changes other people’s lives for the better.”
Other awardees were Lea Mancera, Regional Awardee for Luzon; Merly Domingo, Regional Awardee for Visayas; and Lucrecia Neri, Regional Awardee for Mindanao.
Romualdo Blanco, Jr. received the Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year title. Special Award for Agri Micro-business was given to Rolando Pega and Rosanna Sinapilo, and Caroline Jamias was the recipient of the Special Award for Preservation of Traditions.
This year’s CMA National Selection Committee was co-chaired by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno and Citi Philippines chief executive officer Aftab Ahmed.
CMA, a nationwide search for outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs, was launched in 2002 and is jointly undertaken by the BSP, Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. It is funded by Citi Foundation.
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