Mom sells seafood, ice candy to provide for her children
Just like any mother, Baby Gene Ortega only wanted to provide for her three children’s needs, so she looked for a way to earn and not rely for everything on her live-in partner.
In 2006, she started to sell seafoods supplied by a dealer in Mandaue City.
Ortega’s day starts at 5 a.m. as she prepares breakfast for the family and gets her eldest, April Imarie, ready for school.
After bringing her daughter to school, Ortega proceeds to a seafood dealer’s shop to pick up what she will sell after lunch.
“I carry with me a pail full of fish until I sell everything and come back home to my two other kids, whom I just leave in the care of my mother,” Ortega said.
Ortega said she leaves her sons QJ, 4 and Louise, 2, in her rented room in barangay Basak while she peddles fish.
Her mother, who lives nearby, watches over the kids.
“I start selling in the afternoon after I send them to sleep and aim to finish before 4 p.m. so that I can come home to them right away,” she said.
Aside from selling fish and other seafood, Ortega is also known among her neighbors and customers for her ice candy and snacks, which she gets from a supplier in barangay Jugan, Consolacion town.
Every day, Ortega also buys at least 100 pieces of ice candy from her supplier, each at P4. She sells the ice candy at P7 apiece.
“My average daily profit is P150, which I use to buy us food and send my eldest to school,” she said.
Ortega used to just stay at home and watch over her brood but since her partner’s income cannot make ends meet, she helped him out.
“I told myself I know how to sell because ever since I was young, I have been selling items and was even able to help my mother before,” she said.
Now that she’s a mother, Ortega said she wanted her kids to remember her as a loving mother who tried her best to provide for them.
“I was only able to finish high school. My dream for them is that they can finish a degree and improve their lives,” she said.
Ortega said she wanted her business to grow so she could send her children to college.
“My only problem is the capital. I have many business concepts in mind but I cannot start them because of lack of capital,” she said.
Ortega also faces another problem: Imarie needs a heart operation.
“I could not afford that operation and I pity her so much. I just wish there’s something else I can do.”
For Ortega, doing business is her only hope for a better life.
Ortega tried her luck in the recently concluded Search for Winners—Women in Need, Now Entrepreneurs and Role Models— by Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part of last month’s Mandaue Business Month celebration.
“I was one of the top 10 but did not make it to the top three. Anyway I will still try my best to look for ways that I can grow and earn more for the family,” she said.
“For someone like me who was unable to finish any degree, I really don’t have a choice. My goal now is just to provide my kids with what I never had,” Ortega said.
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