How ex-pandesal vendor became a millionaire

Posted at 08/23/2014 10:36 AM | Updated as of 08/23/2014 10:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Pursuing the dream of having his own bakery was what brought a former rice farmer from a sleepy town in Batangas to the busy streets of Tondo, Manila.

Metring Cuevas started out as a pandesal vendor, helping out his older brother run his bakery in Tondo.

Instead of learning in the classroom, Cuevas spent his childhood roaming the streets of Manila to sell bread.

Metring Cuevas, owner of Cuevas bakeshop. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page

As Cuevas grew in the baking business, he inched closer to his dream of putting up his own bakery when he eventually met his would-be wife, who was also a pandesal vendor herself.

Through a loan, one oven, and flour borrowed from his brother, Cuevas took a leap of faith and opened his first bakery in Leon Guinto.

The risk immediately paid off as customers flocked to his small bakeshop.

“Lumakas ang bakery namin dahil pinipilit namin maging masarap ang luto namin,” he said on “My Puhunan.”

A second bakery would soon open in Pedro Gil, signaling the start of Cuevas Bakery’s expansion across the country.

Today, Cuevas Bakery has 28 branches and is raking in millions of pesos in sales per year.

Cuevas Bakery is known for its freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies and special desserts.

Cuevas bakeshop. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page

Cuevas said his success as a baker was not by chance, and was a result of the hard work he put in even before he started his own business.

“Talagang mahirap dahil ang trabaho sa bakery hindi trabaho ng natatamad. Kailangan laging gising kasi ang tinapay maselan,” he said.

At 73, Cuevas is still hands-on in his baking, while passing on what he has learned to his children.

“Kung ano ang naging hanapbuhay niya noon, ipinamana niya sa amin ‘yun. Hindi niya kami pinabayaan na maging tamad,” said Cuevas’s son Vio.

Cuevas said despite his success, his true achievement is being able to put all his children to school and build a house for his family.

“Hindi naman kami naging maluho, at mababa ang ligaya namin noon. Nakikita kong nakakapag-aral ang mga anak ko, nakakakain kami ng masarap, OK na sa akin,” he said.