MANILA, Philippines – A small street food business was all it took to change the life of Lad Agustin, a high school dropout who grew up without the guidance of his OFW father.
Agustin said that growing up, he was kicked out of school several times and resorted to gambling and other means to make money for himself.
“Dumating ‘yung point nung nauso ‘yung pedicab sa subdivision namin, sama din ako doon, nag-pedicab din ako. Noong nauso ang ending sa basketball, dati kumikita ako ng P40 doon,” he said on “My Puhunan.”
Lad Agustin. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
His father eventually returned to the Philippines, but poor handling of their finances nearly led to bankruptcy.
This prompted Agustin and his father to start a barbeque stall business in Marikina under the brand Popoy’s Grill.
The business eventually grew to offer hamburgers and rice congee or “lugaw.”
As the business grew, the relationship between the two also became stronger. When Agustin’s father passed away, Agustin took control of the business.
“Siguro proud naman siya sa akin kasi from then on, lagi nga niya sinasabi na ako lang natira niyang naipundar niya,” he said.
Agustin managed the food business and came up with unique concepts such as the “buy 1, take 2” burger promo, unlimited lugaw and a vending machine that serves bulalo soup.
His company, the Agustin Consortium Group, has been offering franchises for Apork-able BBQ and Rancho Burgers.
Apork-able BBQ boasts as the only barbeque franchise chain that offers barbeque at P6 per stick.
Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
When he is not busy managing the business, he plays stage dad to his son Rain, an actor on ABS-CBN’s “Goin’ Bulilit.”
“Ayoko maranasan ng anak ko ‘yung naranasan ko before kasi I grew up without my father kasi nasa ibang bansa siya, OFW siya. Walang tumutok sa akin, nanay ko lang ang nandiyan,” he said.
In 2009, Agustin’s food business was wiped out due to floods caused by tropical depression “Ondoy.”
But this did not stop Agustin from continuing what he and his father started.
“Walang permanente talaga, pwede lahat mawala sa isang iglap. It’s just a matter of seconds pwede mawala siya kaya dapat i-treasure mo lahat,” he said.