MANILA – After spending months in Lebanon as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), June Bustillo returned to the Philippines to start a new life.
Bustillo left the Philippines in 2003 to provide a better future for his family, but he was given the choice to return to his home country after his employer was killed.
Despite knowing that he would have to start over, Bustillo took a big leap of faith and returned home to his family.
“Sabi ko sa asawa ko, wala namang imposible sa buhay basta masipag ka,” he told "My Puhunan."
June and Myra Bustillo, owners of John and Mico Chicharon. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
Bustillo was forced to sell his watch and video camera for P19,000 upon his return. From that amount, he used P10,000 to build a small home for his family.
“Sabi ko, ‘Kaya ko naman siguro gawin mag-isa ‘yung bahay natin. Nilinis ko ‘yung koral ng baka, hinollow block ko po at ginawa kong mag-isa ‘yung bahay ko. Doon ko mapapatunayan sa pamilya ko na hindi ko sila papabayaan, kahit mag-isa ako, ginagawa ko ang lahat para sa kanila,” he said.
Bustillo and his wife, Myra, also used P1,000 as capital for a "chicharon" business, which they also started from scratch.
“Niluluto ko, binibilad ko, kapag naluto na, ipa-pack ko at ilalako [ng asawa ko] sa palengke,” he said.
John and Mico Chicharon. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
From selling on the streets of Mexico, Pampanga, Bustillo's John and Mico Chicharon is now being sold in shopping malls.
They are now producing 500 kilos of chicharon daily in a small factory.
“Ang isang taong masipag, kahit anong gawin mo, hindi ka pwedeng mag-hirap,” said Bustillo.
Through My Puhunan, Bustillo gave financial assistance to a fellow former OFW, Lourdes Policar, who was maltreated by her employer in Qatar.
After only a month in Qatar, Policar returned to the Philippines, but has struggled to provide for her family and ailing husband.
Former OFW Lourdes Policar. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
Bustillo provided Policar with cash as well as several packs of chicharon for her to sell in her neighborhood. Bustillo and his wife also shared the process of making chicharon, which may help Policar in starting her own business.
“Dito sa Pilipinas, kung makakahanap ka ng magandang pagkakakitaan na sa palagay mo ay makakasapat sa’yo kahit hindi ka muna maghangad ng sobra, mas maganda ‘yung nandito ka sama sama ng pamilya mo,” said Bustillo.