ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – A former farmer is now earning millions by selling fruit juices and “nata de fruta,” or fruit-flavored jelly made from coconut water.
 
 
The 66-year-old Quirino Cruz now owns a mansion and hectares of land in Bulacan, but he said life hasn’t always been comfortable.
 
Because of the lack of finances, Cruz failed to graduate elementary and only finished fourth grade.
 
“Ako ‘yung batang pasaway, hindi ako nakapag-aral at ulila ako sa ina,” he said on “My Puhunan.”

Despite being challenged in reading and writing skills, Cruz aspired to be an entrepreneur and began selling junk and scrap metal.
 
 
His first foray into entrepreneurship was unsuccessful, but this did not stop him from reaching his goal of providing for his family.
 
Through the help of his chemist sister-in-law, Cruz ventured into producing fruit juices. He borrowed P35,000 to start his business.
 
“Nag-umpisa kami sa kaldero tapos mga chiller, timba timba lang gamit namin,” he shared.
 
From juices, his business expanded to the distribution of nata de fruta and ingredients of halo-halo like nata de coco, kaong, langka, monggo, and macapuno.
 
His small business with 100 employees now earns millions and packs 14,000 sachets of nata de fruta daily.
 
He was also able to branch out into a trucking and packing business.
 
Aside from his businesses, Cruz is also a proud owner of a poultry and piggery farm in his estate.
 
Cruz attributes his success to his hard work and determination to help not only his family, but his community in Bulacan.
 
“Galing tayo sa hirap pero nagsikap talaga ako kasi para sa pamilya at para sa mga taong katulong namin sa hanapbuhay,” he said.
By Alexei Oreskovic | Reuters
 
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Protesters blocked buses said to be operated by Google Inc and Apple Inc in San Francisco and Oakland on Friday, the latest sign of a growing backlash against the booming tech industry's impact, especially on access to affordable housing in the region.
About 40 protesters surrounded a corporate bus in the Mission district as it was picking up employees for the morning commute, preventing it from leaving for about 30 minutes.
 
The company for which the bus was headed was not immediately clear. A small sign in the front window said only "Main Campus, Ridgeview." An Internet search showed that Apple has offices on Ridgeview Court, not far from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, 40 miles south of San Francisco.
Two Google buses in Oakland were also targeted by protesters on Friday morning, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
"We want the ruling class, which is becoming the tech class, to listen to our voices and listen to the voices of folks that are being displaced," said a protester in San Francisco who addressed the crowd by loudspeaker from the back of a pickup truck parked in front of the bus.
Protesters unfurled a banner that read "Eviction Free San Francisco" and distributed flyers titled "San Francisco: A tale of two cities."
Apple declined to comment.
Google said in a statement that the company does not want to cause any inconvenience to Bay Area residents. "We and others in our industry are working with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to agree on a policy on shuttles in the city."
The buses have become among the most visible symbols of what some complain is the technology-driven gentrification of San Francisco, with young, well-paid tech workers forcing out less affluent residents, and city policies that some critics have said are too generous to the tech industry.
Twitter Inc, which won an exemption on the city's 1.5 percent payroll tax after it threatened to leave San Francisco in 2011, has been a frequent target of critics.
Bus advocates have said they ease traffic on already clogged highways as workers give up driving their cars to ride the buses, which usually have plush seats and Wi-Fi.
Opponents have said the buses crowd municipal bus stops and remove potential customers from cash-strapped public transportation systems, including regional rail services.
Earlier this month, protesters in San Francisco blocked a Google bus in the same neighborhood.
While Friday's protest in San Francisco seemed aimed at the tech industry in general, the protests in Oakland seemed to be more specifically targeted at Google. A photo posted on Twitter by a Google employee inside the bus showed two people outside holding a banner that read "Fuck Off Google."
Another photo he posted showed what appeared to be a smashed window on the Google bus.
Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer, one of the organizers of the protest in San Francisco said she was aware that other people were planning bus protests in Oakland on Friday, but that the group was not affiliated with the San Francisco protest.
"The only real connection is that most of our communities are being heavily displaced and people are very angry," she said.
Rents in San Francisco have surged. The median rent on a two-bedroom apartment rose 10 percent over the last year to $3,250, according to online real-estate company Trulia.
Evictions rose 25 percent to 1,716 in the 12 months ended in February 2013, according to a report by San Francisco's budget and legislative analyst.
A recent study by Bay Area Council Economic Institute found that for each job created in the tech industry, roughly 4.3 other jobs are created, such as dentists, teachers and cooks. That statistic was questioned by some of the protesters.
"The one thing that I do see is actually less people making more money, and they're not from here," said Lisa Garcia, who works with Poor magazine and participated in Friday's protest.
Tech workers have been good for business, said a man who identified himself as Hishal and the owner of Muddy's Coffee House, which is near a bus stop used by tech buses. "They are good people." But, he said, tech companies should pay the city when their buses use public bus stops.
"It's not fair that a lot of companies are using the infrastructure of the city without having to pay," he said.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
By: Maricel E. Burgonio, InterAksyon.com
 
MANILA - Philippine Long Distance Co (PLDT) said the cost of rebuilding its network after Typhoon Yolanda would have a minimal impact on this year's profit.
 
“We’re still consolidating the figures but it has made a dent of course because Central Visayas is an important market for us. Retail outlets and distributors are already immobilized and were getting them to be up again,” PLDT chief executive Napoleon L. Nazareno told reporters today.
 
“We don’t foresee a big dent really. We haven’t seen. There’s a couple of P100 million that we have to do when it comes to rehabilitation,” he said.
 
Nazareno said PLDT has to rebuild 140 base stations that the typhoon damaged. “What is important we are also in the process of integrating the network of Digitel and Sun and Smart. We’re taking advantage of the situation to do the one network layout so it’s actually part of our budget,” he said.
 
Nazareno said its capital expenditures remain at P29 billion for next year. “There could be additional but it may not be far from this figure,” he said.
 
PLDT's profit reached P9.25 billion in the July to September period, up from last year's P9.1 billion. This brought the nine-month tally to P28.95 billion, a two percent increment from last year's P28.38 billion.
By: Rain Castro, InterAksyon.com
 
MANILA - Non-life insurers could take a hit in the fourth quarter from an increase in claims by clients in typhoon-devastated areas, the Insurance Commission (IC) said today.
 
In a media briefing, Commission chief Emmanuel Dooc said insurance companies are expected to incur losses in the final three months of the year, as Typhoon 'Yolanda' claims rise.
 
"We are seeing very huge numbers, and we have not yet received the claims coming from the field. Many of the potential claimants have not yet attended to their claims," Dooc said.
 
Initial estimates peg the amount of insurance claims in typhoon-hit areas at P70 billion.
 
Cleto Obello Jr., assistant vice president at Standard Insurance Co Inc, expects processing of claims to take until the first six months of 2014.
 
"Most companies will be able to settle the claims. The insurance industry is a resilient industry," Dooc however said.
 
In the third quarter, the insurance industry enjoyed a 30 percent year-on-year increase in profit to P13.95 billion, after premiums surged 58 percent to P156.8 billion.
 
"That's about P50 billion per quarter, and we just have one quarter to go, so we will be able to hit the P200 billion target for the full year," Dooc said.
"The P50 billion this quarter is achievable. The total premiums as of end-September already exceeded the P120 billion recorded for the full year of 2012," he added.
By: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com
 
MANILA - Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc on Wednesday said it plans to build more subdivisions under its Camella Homes brand in second-tier cities nationwide over the next two to three years. 
 
"We are very aggressive, we are very bullish," Manuel Villar, Vista Land chairman told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G).
 
"We are going to build more Camella Homes in the second-tier cities. We are now in 65 cities and municipalities. We want to increase that to 100, that's our goal, maybe in the next two to three years," the former senator said.
 
For next year, Vista Land will build Camella Homes in eight to 10 new locations, adding to its more than 250,000 homes nationwide.
 
Villar said the company plans to expand in Valencia in Bukidnon, Zamboanga, Samar, Nueva Viscaya, Cauayan in Isabela and Zambales.
 
"We will probably have two more in Pampanga and three more in Bulacan," he said.
 
Vista Land has a land bank of 1,930 hectares nationwide. 
 
In the first nine months of the year, the property developer earned P3.8 billion, up 17 percent from last year's P3.2 billion. 
 
Real estate revenues rose by a quarter year-on-year to P5.13 billion in the July to September period, bringing the nine-month tally to P14.8 billion, up 22 percent from P12.2 billion a year ago.
 
Camella Homes and Communities Philippines accounted for a combined 74 percent of the company's revenues. Communities Philippines develops projects outside Mega Manila mostly under the Camella brand.
 
Vista Land is the holding company of five business units, namely Brittany, Crown Asia, Camella Homes, Communities Philippines and Vista Residences.
 
The property firm and P&G today launched a partnership wherein Vista Land's new homebuyers could get free products from the multinational fast-moving consumer goods manufacturer.
 
Existing homeowners can also get discounts.
 
"Starting January 2014, existing Vista Land homeowners in over 250,000 homes nationwide will receive exclusive discounts and free samples of P&G products. New residents will also be given P&G products that will help start their lives in their new home," said Sumeet Vohra, P&G Philippines general manager and president. 
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