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Living one’s passion amid a crisis
Published By: Inquirer.net | January 20, 2021
The weekend is usually the best excuse for everyone to get up later from the bed, but not for 35-year-old Jenny Maranan. Her Saturdays start as early as 3:30 a.m. as she has to begin preparing breakfast ‘silog’ (fried rice and egg) meals that she sells at The Good Guys Weekend Market at the outdoor function room of SMDC Trees Residences in Fairview, Quezon City.
Jenny is among the resident-entrepreneurs in the community who are given the opportunity to sell goods in the weekend market, where other residents can buy essentials for the week—rice, meat products, vegetables, poultry supply, fruits, and even pastries and dessert. For Jenny, the weekend market not just provides income opportunities but also paves the way for her to follow her passion—cooking.
Hailing from a family that finds pleasure in cooking, Jenny developed her culinary skills through her father, who was a chef at the Jai Alai Building and other restaurants. “My father made sure that I and my five siblings learned how to cook dinakdakan and other Filipino cuisines,” she recalls. “That was why I took up Hotel and Restaurant Management in college.”
Opportunity during pandemic
After earning her degree, Maranan worked at a couple of fastfood-restaurants before landing a front-desk job at an international hotel in Makati City. She had been working as a secretary in a clinic in St. Luke’s Medical Center in BGC for 8 years when she got married and relocated to Singapore in 2018.
Life in Singapore as a full-time housewife was fun. She focused on activities that made her happy and productive. “Cooking was an outlet whenever I missed home. Special dishes brought back memories of my younger years with my family. We had feasts on our table every day,” she recounts.
Jenny and her husband went on a vacation tour (Taiwan and Manila) in early 2020 and were forced to stay in Manila longer when the lockdown was declared in March. Her husband immediately went back to Singapore when flights resumed, but she decided to stay in their Trees Residences unit until the medical crisis was over.
Shortly after, The Good Guys Weekend Market was set up at Trees Residences, which opened its doors to residents who wanted to set up shop at the market as homepreneurs. Jenny was among the first batch of entrepreneurs who signed up for The Good Guys Weekend Market in June.
Enjoying the business journey
“I am happy because I get to do what I love doing the most and I’ve been busy daily,” she says. “Aside from the weekend market, I also cook lutong-bahay dishes during weekdays. My loyal customers order meals via Messenger group chat. I get satisfaction knowing they love my dishes. Last month, I was overwhelmed to get numerous catering orders for the holidays, which made me really ecstatic. My passion has turned into a lucrative business!”
Jenny now enjoys more time with her parents and siblings especially when they have get-togethers during special occasions. Although she misses her husband, she is thankful that they can catch up online daily. They have yet to decide if she will return to Singapore after the pandemic, but for now, Jenny is enjoying every milestone in her entrepreneurial journey.
Aside from keeping her startup food business, Jenny is also a volunteer-marshal who helps keep the weekend market in her community orderly. “This is one way I give back to SMDC for opening this opportunity for entrepreneurs like us—for free. At the same time, I am happy to serve my fellow residents who have been asking the organizers to extend the weekend market hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” she said.
Jenny and a growing number of resident-entrepreneurs from SMDC communities across the metro are grateful to the property developer for giving them assistance and hope in these trying times.
“We feel the support and concern given to all of us, the resident-entrepreneurs and the rest of the community dwellers, by the SMDC management, which allows us to set up at this weekly trading place for free. They even lend us the tables, chairs, and other materials we need to make this endeavor a recurring success each week,” Jenny quips.
The company maintains its commitment to further give support through its Resident Entrepreneurship Program, which provides guidance through regular business webinars and facilitates trade venues like The Good Guys Weekend Market.
“SMDC has truly lived up to its name of being The Good Guys through this program. I have seen how it has helped not only the residents who get their essentials right in their homes; it has paved the way for displaced workers to find an alternate source of income in these trying times. My volunteer work as a marshal is a very small gesture compared to the benefits that this program has done for us here at Trees Residences,” she says.