How an ex-fishball vendor became a millionaire

Posted at 04/19/2014 9:07 AM | Updated as of 04/21/2014 9:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines – From selling fishballs and gulaman outside the Quezon City Hall, businesswoman Grace Gupana is now making millions off of ampalaya capsules.

But making millions is nothing new to the 53-year-old Gupana, who first gained success through personally-designed Christian greeting cards.

This success, however, was short-lived.

Gupana admitted to being blinded by wealth, which eventually affected her attitude and relationship with others.

“Yumabang ako. Ang mga kapatid ko, humihingi, sabi ko, ‘Ang sa akin ay sa akin.’ Dumating ako sa punto na I was bitter to myself,” she said on “My Puhunan.”

Grace Gupana. Photo from My Puhunan facebook page

Despite making her first P1 million, she became bankrupt after devoting all of her earnings to hospital bills following the premature birth of her twins.

Gupana said this was when she hit rock bottom.

“Ang buhay pala ay fragile. Dahil nakikita ko ang anak ko sa incubator, that’s the turnaround na nagbago ako. Pagsisisi to the extent na I apologized to my parents,” she said.

The newfound humility prompted Gupana to start a new venture selling street food with a capital of only P800.

She then met an herbalist who introduced her to the wonders of bitter melon, or ampalaya.

Ampalaya is known to lower blood glucose, which is useful to those with diabetes.

After a year of research at the University of the Philippines, Gupana was able to develop ABS Bitter Herbs Ampalaya, a 100 percent natural herbal food supplement in capsule form.

The capsule combines the rich nutritional values of 7 powerful herbs found naturally in the Philippines.

Bitter Herbs. Photo from My Puhunan facebook page

Gupana said she is now making P150 million a year from ABS Bitter Herbs.

Despite this, Gupana said she has not forgotten the lessons she learned through the years, adding that she is focused on not wasting away her second chance.

“Ang gusto ko lang ay masunod pa kung ano ‘yung pinapagawa ng Panginoon sa akin,” Gupana said.

“We are created to be successful because we are God’s creation. Maniwala ka sa sarili mo na kaya mo. Mayroon kang kalakasan, mayroon kang talent, at mayroon kang pag-iisip,” she added.