A fisherman’s friend


John Cabillon poster

Mr. John Cabillon is the Visayas Regional Awardee for the Maunlad Category

As a young couple, Mr. John and Mrs. Rosma Cabillon supported their family by venturing into different businesses. With a capital of just PhP 1,000 (US$23), they started making and selling yema (dessert made of condensed milk) and used Rosma’s honorarium as a local barangay official to purchase a second-hand tricycle. This tricycle became their main source of income and gave them a relatively stable cashflow, allowing them to start a recycled bottle business. Rosma eventually worked as a funeral organizer to make ends meet and John continued to run the tricycle and recycled bottle business.

A friend’s relative working at Valiant Bank told them about the bank’s microfinance loan product, the Bugana (an Ilonggo term for Abundance). Mr. Cabillon applied for a loan, and was granted PHP20,000 (US$456.51). They used the proceeds to buy another second-hand tricycle and as a starting capital for a new business buying and selling squid, which they took over from John’s father-in-law. In just six months, they turned the business around and saved the labourers from losing their job. As their business became profitable, requests for financial assistance from their relatives also started to pour in. Particularly, Mrs. Rosma’s relative requested to take out a motorcycle loan under her name. Unfortunately, the relative refused to pay the motorcycle when it was stolen, thereby forcing Mrs. Rosma to work abroad just to pay off the loan.

Mr. Cabillon was left to manage and expand their business financing fishermen’s needs. Fishermen, in turn, sell their catch to the couple and this resulted to diversifying their business to seaweed dealership, sari-sari (small grocery) store, fish cage operation, sea cucumber harvesting, and pawned jewelry. Through hard work, business savvy, and additional capital from Bugana loans, the couple was able to grow their multiple businesses.

They now employ around seventy (70) people and all profits are being re-invested to the business for future expansion plan. “I want to establish a store in the Boracay Island because it’s a tourist destination. Through the help of Valiant Bank, I believe that this plan will be successful.” Mrs. Rosma added.

John Cabillon is just one of the more than 800 microfinance loan clients of Valiant Bank. Valiant Bank is a participating bank of the United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services Program that assist rural banks in developing the capability to profitably provide financial services to microentrepreneurs.