It is one thing to nurture a dream for a brighter future for one’s self, and it’s yet another to go beyond yourself, and plant a dream for others.
Carlos Los Baños, 54, believes in the power of dreams. A self-made farmer in Tanauan, Leyte, the married father of three has one important dream for his family: for his three children to finish college. College degrees, he believes, will take them places and give them a better life.
“It’s hard to be uneducated. I don’t want them to take after me, with no degree, because it will be difficult to look for work. I really want them to finish,” Carlos shares.
Allan Siloterio, 39, also believes in dreams. A tricycle driver and father of two, Allan hopes to be able to earn enough to provide for his family, especially for 11-year-old Mary Jane, who has cerebral palsy.
“We’ve known about her condition since she was still three months old, and she has been on regular medication since then,” shares Allan.
Life has not been easy for Carlos and Allan. For a long time, Allan has struggled in purchasing Mary Jane’s costly medication. Without her medicines, she experiences terrible seizures that leave her in severe pain and discomfort. Carlos, meanwhile, had to endure the difficulties of starting from scratch after Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed his family’s home and livelihood.
Things began looking up, however, when Pilmico’s Mahalin Pagkaing Atin (MPA) program came along.
MPA is a flagship program of the Aboitiz Foundation in partnership with Aboitiz food business unit Pilmico. This program started out with the concept “Save the Backyard Farmer” that aims to provide sustainable means to grow the feeds volume by helping create profitable backyard and medium-scale farms. MPA’s primary goal is to champion sustainable entrepreneurship by promoting local produce, instilling a “pride of product, pride of place” mindset for both farmers and local consumers, and providing essential linkages and partnerships for local farmers.
Since its launch in 2014, the MPA has already created fruitful partnerships among farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers in 20 areas nationwide with high incidences of poverty, disasters, and conflict.
Thanks to MPA, Carlos and Allan today are successful entrepreneurs. Carlos continues to plant rice, while Allan drives his tricycle and sells firewood. They both take care of two hogs each, with the mother hog bearing an average of 12 piglets per cycle which they sell for as much as PHP2,500 each. Despite the challenges of being a backyard farmer, both Carlos and Allan are determined to sustain their livelihood—in order to fulfill their respective dreams.
“The donation is really a lifesaver—especially when it comes to my children’s education,” Carlos says.
“Through the added profit, we are able to live a better life. We were trained to be entrepreneurs so that someday, we can be financially stable and attain financial freedom.”
-Allan Siloterio, MPA beneficiary
Armed with the love only a father could have for one’s family, Carlos and Allan boldly took the first step and planted dreams by embracing the opportunities before them. Through hard work, perseverance, and faith, they are now well on their way to achieving their dreams.