A down-to-earth businessman with nothing but love for food and cooking, Edgino Bogayong, also known as Kuya Chito rose from the turmoil financial, relationship, and career disaster into a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs. Having been left by his wife because of his drug addiction, Kuya Chito had nothing more to lose but his life, which he actually attempted to take thrice.

Deep into his depression, close friends commented that this was not the Chito that they knew. Chito was known in his early days as “madiskarte”, although he did not excel in school, he always has the eyes for business opportunities. “Tamad kasi akong mag-aral” he said, “Mas gusto ko yung hands on, hindi puro libro lang” he added. So friends of his advised him to get out there and find a business venture that he thinks would do well with his personality.

An eye for opportunities

His cousin went home from Japan and Kuya Chito got interested in a Japanese snack food called “Takuyaki” which literally translate to “Japanese squid”. His cousin knows how to cook this and here he saw an opportunity and went back to his friends to tell them about the business.

Loving Friends

Kuya Chito is blessed by loving friends. At the time that he needed them the most, they offered him a capital to begin his own business and a new life. Edward Sevilla, an engineer at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), told Armand Elechicon, a district supervisor of Wyeth Philippines; Larry San Juan, now based in London; and Rogel del Rosario, supervisor of the Davao Union Cement; to shell out 12,500 each so they could raise 50,000 pesos for him. Kuya Chito will never forget this people and as he was thanking them he said “Babayaran ko kayo agad, huwag kayong mag-alala” to which his friends replied “Kaya hindi ka yumayaman e, ‘di ka pa kumikita, magbabayad ka na!”

To begin a new life

God must have always been by his side guiding him. As a startup, it’s always hard to get an application approved in a mall. With a capital that small, mall managers are easily turned off. But a friend of his, Domingo Teng, owner of Kimball Plaza mall, offered him a space. With a place, a small capital, and a business idea, Kuya Chito recipe for success is now complete.

Taking obstacles as a challenge

As any startup business owner would experience, finding your market is the hardest part of the process. When he was running his business, he got comments like “magsarado ka na lang, wala kang kikitain dito”, because he was only earning less than a thousand a day gross income. But he was never down, even without his wife and children, his mom was still there to support him and he took comments as a challenge. Adversity is really a blessing as Napoleon Hill would put it.

Behind every man’s success is a woman

This was also true with Kuya Chito. He started his business in 1997 and four years later, the business is still just getting by. He then asked his wife to help him out. His wife improved the recipe to fit the Filipino taste but the real success, he said, was not the recipe, but it was that his family is now complete again. Now, his prayers were answered. But more than that, the recipe seems to be working. He tried to survey the customers by setting up a cellphone raffle to get their comments. And majority of them liked the change in the recipe. He then finally hit the target market.

Expansion

The business is now growing as the recipe has captured the taste of the locals. Eventually, Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki branched out to Fitmart, Gaisano Mall, and KCC. A friend told him he should try franchising it, and anxiously, after months of research, they came up with several pages that includes the contract and operations manual. He was actually doubtful if the franchise would sell at 90,000, but months later it did and now Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki is unstoppable. He opened a franchise in Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Baguio, and Metro Manila totaling to 76 outlets (as of this writing) and still growing as he is opening several outlets a month.

His first million pesos

He achieved his millionaire status by 2004 and he attributes it to the following:

1. Quality food and service – paying attention to these aspects of your product will pay off in one way or another. Never stop improving your product if you have the resources and time.

2. Perseverance – the determination to follow through your dreams no matter what is the deciding factor if you will push through or not. Most people fall down on the first blow, but successful people make the difference by standing up again.

3. Help from the experts – “I believe two heads are better than one” Kuya Chito explains, while he humbly admits that his success would not be possible without the help of other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because you do not know everything, so asking for advice actually increases your perspective of the business which in turn increases your chances for success.

Conclusion

Talking to Kuya Chito, it inspires me to know that with whatever financial status in life, you still have a chance to become a millionaire. Regardless of your educational attainment, social status, and whatever adversities you have, a million pesos is still within your reach.

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