MANILA, Philippines – Duck farm owners Leo and Josephine Dator had to weather not just one, but two storms, before attaining the success they have today.
In the 1980s, the then newly-wed couple borrowed P15,000 to put up a duck farm in Laguna.
Their initial capital afforded them to purchase 500 ducks priced at P30 each.
“Wala pa kaming ipon nu’n, syempre kakakasal lang namin. Wala pa kaming ganung kalaki na puhunan,” Josephine said on “My Puhunan.”
Leo said because of the small investment, they had to save their earnings to expand the farm.
“Hindi muna kami nagpatayo ng bahay, kung ano muna ang kinikita natin, iniipon namin siya and then nage-expand kami. Every time nakakaipon kami para sa materyales, nagpapagawa kami ng housing,” he said.
Leo Dator of Itlog Ni Kuya. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
Their sacrifices and hard work paid off, and by 1990, their duck farm grew from 500 to 34,000 ducks.
However, the Dators encountered a setback in 1995 when one of the deadliest typhoons hit the country.
“Bumagyo ang Rosing, so totally wiped out,” said Josephine.
It took the couple years before they were able to regain momentum. In 2006, Itlog Ni Kuya and their “Peking duck project” were launched.
But another deadly typhoon, Milenyo, again wiped out their farm business.
Without a money-making venture, the Dators decided to find work elsewhere. They flew to the US and from being budding entrepreneurs, the couple tried their luck at housekeeping.
“Dapat ako lang ang aalis pero hindi siya pumayag dahil alam niya hindi ko naman alam ang ganoong trabaho,” said Josephine.
Josephine Dator of Itlog Ni Kuya. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
After a year, the couple returned to the Philippines and tried once more to revive their duck farm.
Their perseverance and hard work paid off, as the couple again found success with Peking ducks, salted eggs, and the Filipino favorite balut.
Their farm now produces 1,000 eggs daily.
According to its website, the ducks bred in Itlog Ni Kuya are all “organically raised.”
“They are fed with rice bran, fishes, sweet potatoes and fresh water shells or ‘tulya’. Fresh and dressed Peking ducks (US-breed locally grown in Victoria, Laguna) are also sold with the organic salted eggs,” it added.
Ang Tindahan Ng Itlog Ni Kuya has branches in Calamba and Victoria, Laguna.