Meet owner of Wonderland coffee shop in Tawi-Tawi

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Dec 06 2014 03:17 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2014 04:59 PM

Edamil Patta, owner and operator of Wonderland Coffee Shop and Sari-sari Store

MANILA – A coffee shop owner from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi shares that running a successful business is all about being hands-on.

Edamil Patta and her late husband a coffee shop and a sari-sari store in the early 2000s, capitalizing on the island’s close proximity to Sabah and easy access to affordable goods.

But because they could not afford to hire employees, Patta and her husband brewed coffee and made the native delicacies themselves.

They also hired several relatives as helpers in exchange for food and accommodations.

“Sipag at tiyaga talaga kapag nagne-negosyo tayo tapos mino-monitor natin ‘yung tindahan natin para walang lapses. Ganoon talaga ang kailangan sa business, ‘yung 24 hours nakabantay ka talaga kasi mahirap kapag hindi ka nagmo-monitor,” she told

Patta said she drew experience from her days as a student when she helped her aunt run a local coffee shop.

“Noong nag-aaral pa ako, doon ako tumutulong sa tiyahin ko kaya alam ko, may background na talaga ako sa coffee shop,” she said.

Patta opened Wonderland Coffee Shop in the Bongao port area in the early 2000s, and later expanded the business to include a small grocery.

To keep up with the demand, Patta turned to loan sharks to grow their business. But paying off debt drained most of her profits.

In 2007, she learned about the KFI Center for Community Development Foundation Inc., a local microfinance institution, and sought financial assistance amounting to P4,000.

The business was again hit with financial woes in 2011, when Patta’s husband was diagnosed with leukemia.

He passed away that year, leaving Patta with hospital bills and debts. But instead of closing shop, Patta revived the coffee shop and sari-sari store and decided to run it on her own to support her two children.

Now on her 14th loan cycle, Patta recently availed of a P20,000 loan to boost operations.

She was also able to purchase a motorcycle, refrigerator, television, and other furniture needed for the coffee shop. She also invested her savings in jewelry, which is a custom in Tawi-Tawi.

Daily sales from the coffee shop can reach an estimated P6,000 while sales from the sari-sari store hit P2,000. In a year, total profits reach P720,000.

To sustain growth, Patta reinvests 90 percent of the profits into business.

Patta has plans to expand her market coverage and infusing more capital to her wholesale and retail business.

“Sana mag-expand pa para makatulong naman sa mga kamag-anak, sa mga nagtatrabaho sa amin kasi may mga pinapaaral din sila,” she said.

Patta was recently named regional winner in Mindanao in the 12th Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards (CMA).

The CMA, a partnership between the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Philippines, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. is a nationwide search for outstanding microentrepreneurs in the Philippines launched in 2002.

The program awarded 100 microentrepreneurs this year and provided incentives to boost their respective businesses.