Behind the Busy but Fulfilling Lives of Ilonggo DadPreneurs

Cris Antonio |

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If being an entrepreneur alone is tough, try being a parent! Aside from managing clients, parents need to juggle responsibilities at home as well as personal goals. While no one can have everything all at once, it’s great to know that you can somehow manage given limited resources.

Nowadays, lots of men are starting their own ventures in line with parenthood. Through hectic schedules, kids’ playtime, and dinner dates, can the modern dad succeed? Let these two Ilonggo #DadPreneurs show you how to balance work and family life.

James Pareja of Danao Dragon J Poultry Farm, Inc.

When James Pareja’s parents started the business 34 years ago, they only had a few thousand pesos and the will to start a good life for their family. Today, Danao Dragon J Poultry Farm, Inc. is a thriving company that supplies farm fresh eggs to wet markets, bakeries, and supermarkets in Iloilo.

“My brother and I work hand-in-hand to keep the business running. He oversees farm operations and production; while I supervise the office side of things…”

He credits his parents in being instrumental for him to enter into this line of work. Despite his fears, James is committed to learning and providing the best service to their clients.

“Everything fell into place when I decided to go back home and be part of it. Ever since I was a kid, [our parents] already exposed us to the business – how to run it, what to do, what not to do…I’m still trying to learn ALL the ropes. It’s not easy because the market is very unstable and there are plenty of unpredictable events.”

Handling accounting, finance, sales and marketing, and human resources on top of being a dad sure isn’t a picnic. But James says he manages by focusing on one thing first.

“…you just have to be efficient with the time you have so it can fit your needs. Always check your priorities and ask yourself: what needs to be prioritized today?”

He admits that fatherhood changed A LOT for him. But the down-to-earth, crazy father of two insists on taking care of yourself – mentally and physically.

“I don’t want [my kids] to grow up feeling that my work or the business is more important than them. As a hands-on dad, I (a) make it a point that I’m the one who brings the kids to and from school; (b) I attend school activities as often as I can; and (c) whenever possible, I leave the office early to spend the rest of the afternoon with them.”

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Weaving work into your family life requires determination and adaptability, according to James. The things that make you a good entrepreneur can make you a good dad, too! While he has dreams of one day turning the company into the biggest supplier of eggs in the region, right now, he simply enjoys being with his loved ones and giving his best in the business.

“Spending the day with my family is more than enough to make Father’s Day special. A small cake or a delicious cup of coffee can also make my day!”

Surprise Dad with delicious omelettes made with farm fresh eggs from Danao Dragon J Poultry Farm! To order, send them a message at their Facebook page @dragonjfarm.

Jerduen “Noi” Dongor of Kape Iloilo Coffee

One could say that it was during a fateful flight when Jerduen Dongor’s life changed for the better.

“In one of the flights to Manila, I was seated with Mr. Rayner Lorenzo, Chairman and President of Pest Science Corporation. He offered me a low-risk, low-capital opportunity to open a branch in Iloilo. Since service is already my forte, I grabbed the offer and ventured into entrepreneurship. I traded the resort life for my family life – and it was the best decision I ever made.”

For his first venture, he had no savings and no other source of income. He and his wife, Quennie, managed by keeping the overhead low and maintaining a simple lifestyle. Their sacrifices paid off - Noi currently heads and manages a diverse portfolio of businesses, from coffee solutions, pest control, to hotels and resorts.

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“Having a business is a roller-coaster ride. Some times are good, most times are challenging. But a good entrepreneur never gives up.”

Aside from resilience, Noi considers character, talent, skill, and connections as important factors when starting your own company. However, he says work should never get in the way of family:

“Being competitive is in the blood of every entrepreneur. It’s the reason why we work longer hours…But this should not be an excuse not to spend time with the people we love or the things we enjoy doing. I’m lucky we have diverse businesses - if I’m jaded at the office, I transfer to the coffee shops, brew my coffee, and I’m good.”

“My family and I love to go out and eat, or watch Netflix. What’s non-negotiable are the good mornings, goodbyes, and good night kisses. We keep our lines open at all times.”

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Since mixing fatherhood with entrepreneurship, Noi admits deciding what to prioritize has been a big hurdle. However, he believes that fathers and great entrepreneurs share similar characteristics that help them on this journey.

“Fathers are responsible, passionate, committed, disciplined and the visionaries for their family. The same traits are fundamental in running a business….”

The coffee-loving dad envisions his businesses expanding to other areas in the Philippines.

“…For Kape Iloilo, we wanted to be at the forefront of the coffee industry in Iloilo. We partner with local coffee farmers, farmer-associations, and other stakeholders to improve the coffee supply chain. The opportunities are endless!”

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For now though, he is thankful to be with his wife and daughter every day. When asked about Father’s Day, Noi says –

“…I will be delighted if I get a cup of a specialty coffee.” Give your Papa the best espresso he’s ever had with 100% Iloilo Robusta beans from Kape Iloilo Coffee! Order whole beans or ground coffee at their Facebook page @KapeIloilo. Fathers want nothing but the best for their loved ones. As more men enter into fatherhood and entrepreneurship, they can expect more challenges – at the same time, more love. This Father’s Day, make sure to give your #DadPreneur a memorable day filled with hugs, kisses, and their favorite foods.

Dads deserve a hearty breakfast with the perfect sunny side up and a hot cup of coffee. #SupportLokal businesses by getting your ingredients from Ilonggo entrepreneurs! Check out Danao Dragon J Poultry Farm and Kape Iloilo Coffee today.

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Cris Antonio

Cris Antonio is a freelance Copywriter, Editor, and Speaker. If she’s not writing or editing, she helps business owners and young adults build their presence on the Web.