How 'Talangka King' overcame poverty to become a millionaire
by Vincent Paul A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 10/05/2013 8:30 AM | Updated as of 10/05/2013 8:30 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Imagine a bunch of crabs, trapped in a small pot. Theoretically, they can easily get out. But instead, they grab each other in an attempt to pull others down, ensuring that no one escapes.
That is where the term "crab mentality" came from. Usually, this denotes a negative thing.
But it was Gil Navarro's "crab" mentality, albeit a different kind, that earned him the title, "Talangka King."
On ABS-CBN's "My Puhunan," Navarro, owner of Navarro Foods, shared the early trials that life gave him which eventually led him to the little crabs, known as talangka.
Navarro was born into a poverty-stricken family. He was the only one of the 9 siblings that was able to enter high school.
"Nanggaling po kami sa hirap. Yung family ko ay walang trabaho," he admitted to host Karen Davila.
But even with a high school diploma, Navarro found it extremely difficult to help his family.
"Unang trabaho ko ay sa contruction. Tatlong taon. Tapos naisip ko, parang walang asenso," he said.
So he decided to open up his own business, selling bottles of crab paste. It was his early experiences with his father, picking talangka, that made him decide that talangka was a viable business.
"Bumili ako ng talangka sa P200 na kapital. Piniga ko tapos niluto kasama ng asin at suka. Tapos nilagay ko sa bote," he said.
He then started selling them, mainly by foot, enticing everyone he saw to try his product.
But even Navarro didn't imagine the success those little crabs brought him.
"Hindi ko aakalain na mauubos yung benta ko," he said.
Originally from Pampanga, Navarro's brand of crab paste even reached those as far as Tarlac and Rizal.
He even attracted the attention of restaurants and supermarkets.
"Kumukuha na yung mga restaurant, mga pampasalubong sa mga bus at mga supermarket. Sabi nila, gusto nila yung produkto ko," Navarro said.
At first, he only managed to make 50 bottles a day. He also earned a measly P3 per bottle sold.
Today, Navarro owns a factory that produces 2,000 bottles of crab paste a day, and earns around P7 million a year.
When Davila asked Navarro if he felt like a millionaire?
He laughed and answered, "parang hindi naman."
"Yung mga anak ko nakapagtapos na sila. Gusto ko kasi na maiangat nila yung buhay nila. Ayaw ko na maranasan nila yung dinanas ko nung bata ako," he added.Helping out
And in contrast to the earlier mentioned, crab mentality --where each crab was pulling each other down--Navarro extended a helping hand to a family who can't seem to find a way out of the pot.
Davila took Navarro to meet Yolanda De Jesus.
A "burong dalag" vendor that despite selling all day, only brings home a P100, which she would divide to feed her 7 kids.
"Yung kinikita ko ngayon, kulang pa rin. Hindi sapat na pangtustos sa kanila," she said.
"Wish ko sana na makaraos kami sa pangaraw-araw. Na mabigyan kami nang mapagkakataon. Yung may himalang dadating sa amin na hindi ko inaasahan. Yun lang naman kasi pag-asa ko. Wala akong maasahan na iba, wala akong malalapitan," she added.
That miracle came in the form of Navarro who was more than willing to help De Jesus.
"Tutulungan kita kung paano mo mapapaunlad ang negosyo mo," Navarro said.
Navarro then took De Jesus to a tour around his factory, teaching her how to properly make her own crab paste and burong dalag.
"Ako nagsimula lang sa P200. Sa sipag at tiyaga naiahon ko ang pamilya ko," said Navarro.
But De Jesus would be starting with more than just P200 as Navarro then gave her 40 kilos of shrimp, several kilos of rice and enough "puhunan" for her to buy the other equipment needed.
De Jesus couldn't hold back her tears and was barely able to thank Navarro.
"Malaking tulong po kasi sa hipon pa lang, hindi ko kayang bilhin yan," said De Jesus.
"Walang tamad. Kailangan magsipag ka para kumita ka at para may makain ka," advised Navarro.