15. Daniel Bustos, 23, @dannyhustlebustos
Daniel Bustos started AWON Coffee earlier this year, which focuses on selling drip filter coffees and ready-to-drink 24-hour cold brew coffee. It started with a simple passion for coffee and the goal to help promote, grow, and sustain the local coffee industry (all of their coffee is sourced locally). On the side, Daniel is a certified ESL teacher. He also works as a freelance writer and LOVES training Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA. If time permits and the swells are right, he also loves to go on surf trips.
14. Gio Manlangit, 25, @giomanlangit
Agape Kulture (@agapekulture) is an independent clothing brand based in the South. Gio Manlangit started their business last August 20, 2017. Gio shares: “I’ve always wanted to have a business that will reflect who I am, and what I love and believe in.” After graduating from college and working an 8-5 shift, Gio felt like he was wasting his time and realized that the corporate admin life isn’t for him. During that time, he also heard pastors preach about Agape love and that word has always been real to him. So, one day during his downtime at work, he decided to do something productive, started praying for a vision, and started working on his brand.
Gio is also a hiphop dancer/teacher, a freelance choreographer / coach, a freelance assistant stylist and stage director, and a freelance creative. He loves art, fashion, film, music.
13. Neil Dimapilis, 26, @neildimapilis
Neil Dimapilis started a framed sneaker artwork business that has been around for a year now. Like a lot of Filipinos, Neil has a certain appreciation for sneakers and art pieces, so he combined the two to make sneaker artworks that can be displayed in the homes of people who also appreciate, love, and collect sneakers. Neil shares that he dropped out of college because he never really liked his course and felt like he was just wasting his time learning something he wouldn’t be able to use. After that, he pursued a career in digital marketing while retaining his passion for arts and music.
12. Dean Justene Espiritu, 27, @DizkretClothing
Dean Justene Espiritu started a clothing line called Dizkrēt Clothing two years ago with which he wants to help peopleb ecome aware of issues that a lot of Filipinos encounter on a daily basis. “I’m hopeful that the messages we send through our designs and concepts will serve as calls to action,” he says. “The youth is a powerful force that serves as our message bearers.” Dean is currently studying interior design at the Philippine School of Interior Design.
11. Grayson Yañez, 28, @graysonofthebeach
Grayson Yañez’ clothing lifestyle brand is called Lawud, which started in June 2017 and makes and sells easy, flowy tropical polos. Grayson shares how the brand started: “I recently met a friend who had the same liking for easy floral polos, but we couldn’t find nice ones here (some look like tablecloths, others are too stiff); or if there were, they were foreign brands and very expensive. Both of us did not have any experience with fashion or retail and we wanted polos made for us / personal use only. But when we saw the potential and our friends also liked them, we thought about producing more and creating a brand and we were overwhelmed by the reception and support. And that’s how we really started and fortunately, demand became higher over time.”
Grayson loves the ocean and is also a marine conservation advocate. “I think that’s why the business, despite having no background with fashion, became a bit natural for us because it’s exactly the lifestyle I live and where the inspiration comes from,” he muses. “The term ‘Lawud’ actually means ‘open sea’ in Bisaya.”
10. Bryan Vergel Borero, 20, @brynvrgl
Ma. Louise Marie Leuterio and Bryan Vergel Borero started Gold Hunt Philippines in April 2019, which sells gold plated accessories. They say they started the business because they wanted to get rich early and make use of their money wisely. Both Louise and Bryan are law school students involved in other online businesses.
9. Paolo Magsino, 25
Paolo Magsino started Samgyup sa Bahay eight months ago. “It was just an impulsive decision and I didn’t really wanna stick all my savings in the bank,” he shares. An artist at heart, Paolo’s specialty lies in film-making.
8. Mark Christian Ilano, 28, @mcilano
Mark Christian Ilano established Puffles in September 2016, initially offering crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside Hong Kong style Egg Waffles with a twist of ice cream and your choice of toppings. Since then, Puffles has expanded to include Lollipuffles, a waffle on a stick topped with syrup and your toppings, Swiggles, creamy ice cream with all the flavors you can imagine (from Matcha to Blueberry Cheesecake, and many more!), and Puffles Milktea – because what better drink to pair with Egg Waffles than Milktea?
Mark grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. His parents were self-made business owners and he and his siblings were exposed to the daily operations and sales of the business since they were kids. “It’s definitely an experience that played a role in starting a business,” he shares, “and looking back, I’m very thankful and blessed to have learned from it.”
Mark has always enjoyed seeing different places, immersing himself in different cultures, meeting new people, and trying local delicacies. “It’s a beautiful world we live in; and when you have a chance to, I encourage you to see what’s out there and fully experience it,” he urges. “In every corner, there’s an experience waiting to be taken.”
7. Geoff Mabasa, 26, @samjopsal
Geoff Mabasa is the founder and CEO of transitflix.com, which came about in 2017. He is a marketer who wants to innovate the transit advertising space and saw an untapped opportunity in traffic. “I wanted to create an automated way of delivering smart content and ads to passengers of Grab and taxis through technologies like facial recognition,” he explains. “Also, having had worked with Grab before, I had seen the difference between what the drivers earned pre- and post-Uber merger, so I wanted to be able to help the drivers earn extra on the side by allowing them to transform their car spaces into advertising opportunities.”
Outside his business, Geoff’s passion pit is his home studio. He shares that he comes from a music background. In fact, he went to college under a music production program (complete 360 from what he does now). “I guess producing or playing music is what makes me feel better after a long day at work,” he adds.
6. Douglas Brocklehurst, 27, @dougbrock_
Douglas Brocklehurst owns a small Events Production and Media Agency called TMP Productions Inc. “I started to do business because I want to create my thoughts into my reality, which obviously is hard to do if you are working for others,” he shares. “I just love making people gather. It makes me happy to see them enjoying life through my events and activities,” he adds.
5. Iñigo Dulay, 29, @inigodulay
Iñigo Dulay currently owns three businesses: Fatwave Shack (@fatwaveshack), a bar at his family’s resort in La Union’ Buns & Bros (@bunsnbros), a restaurant specializing in handcrafted burgers in Makati; and CFMNL Fort (@cfmnlbgc), a Crossfit gym in Taguig. Iñigo grew up in La Union where his parents ran a few resorts, so he feels like it was inevitable that he puts up his own business, too. He began with his passion for Crossfit, in which he trained seriously to become an athlete. He invested in the gym he trained at, got certified to become a coach, and I has been a head coach and managing partner for eight years now.
After a serious injury during a competition in 2016, he was forced to rest for eight months. That was when he went back to his earlier passion: cooking. “I began playing around with burger recipes and decided to keep developing this into a full menu,” he shares. What became a weekend market stall became a small stall at a food park and eventually became a full-fledged restaurant, which Iñigo runs with his partners. In the past couple years, he decided to transform the restaurant space at his family’s resort into a bar. “The passions I’ve had in life I made into things I could do for a living, which I am blessed to have been able to do,” he says proudly. “I enjoy the challenge of finding solutions to keep my businesses going and I cannot wait to see where my projects will take me next.”
4. Paolo Sarmiento, 30, @sarmientopaolo
Paolo Sarmiento owns Jackdaw Timepieces (@jackdaw.ph) and Bijou Productions (@bijouproductions.ph). “I started a business because my ultimate goal is to become a business guru,” he shares. “I want to help and to encourage people to be entrepreneurs. To achieve that, I first have to build my own career, so that I’d be qualified to coach people. I also started my own business because I wanted to have more control of my life.”
Paolo has been practicing Brazilian Jiujitsu for 16 years now. He also used to compete in rock climbing competitions and used to be a drum teacher to little kids in his community. Aside from that, he is the youngest President of the Rotary Club of Makati EDSA. He also likes to read, play video games, cook, and paint from time to time.
In case you didn’t know yet, we have a page dedicated to all things business. Check it out here!
And now here are our top 3 inspiring Filipino entrepreneurs:
3. Kervin Rivas, 23, @kerv.delrosario
Kervin Rivas owns Life Enrichment Consultancy Inc. and plans to launch Make It Happen Media Production this month. At a very young age, during his pre-teen years, Kervin was already enticed by the idea of making his own money. As a matter of fact, he ended up immersing himself in part-time stints, like print ad and commercial modeling, as well as acting in various films and programs while in his secondary and university studies. Years of working for other brands opened his eyes to the brilliance of entrepreneurship, and encouraged him to apply what he learned observing the mechanism of our country’s business sector through the business owners he came to work with. “If I had been willing to spend long hours working for other brands to make a decent amount of money, then why can’t I spend the same amount of time and energy making more out of my own brand?” he asks.
Kervin also has a strong zeal to explore the beauty of nature, travel different cities, hike mountains, and take long distance bike rides across the country to relieve his stress, but cinema and the world of film has always been his passion. Uniting his burning passion for cinema and his business acumen has actually lead him to launch his own production house.
2. Avin Ong, 28, @ongavin
Avin Ong owns the Fredley Group of Companies, which has been around for five years now. They handle brands like Macao Imperial Tea and Sandaya Yakiniku. “Self-employment has always been where I wanted to build my career on,” Avin shares. “It plays such an important role for me to take charge of my development as a person, and so much more as an entrepreneur. It also allows me to help generate more jobs that will enable Filipinos to build a career without leaving our country.”
Unknown to many, Avin grew up as a scholar. “I am where I am because of the people who have generously invested in my education,” he says, “and I believe that the best way to honor them is to pay it forward through building the Fredley Foundation.”
1. Kayne Litonjua, 27, @kaynelitonjua
Kayne Litonjua owns Marquina Shoemaker and Busy Bee Cleaning Co. Along with his partners, he started Marquine Shoemakers to pursue his passion in fashion, specifically in shoes. For Busy Bee Cleaning Co, he simply seized the opportunity to offer healthier and cleaners homes for the general consumer. “The vision is to be able to empower consumers to choose a comfortable and convenient way of living through an innovative and advanced cleaning service business,” he says. Kayne loves playing soccer, and picking up aesthetics, art and deco when he travels.
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