Payling’s Dried Fish and Pasalubong Center

Rafaela Ducay showcasing her products such as condiments, souvenirs, and sweet delicacies.

Tabo-an Market in Cebu City houses dozens of stores offering rich selection of different dried seafood including fish tocino (sweetened dried fish), dried squid, dried shrimps, dried mussels, and fish tapa. Yet among these best-seller varieties remains danggit, locally known as “buwad” in the province.   

The marinated danggit is the most popular among tourists. One of the store owners and distributors of danggit in Tabo-an Market is Rafaela Ducay.

Rafaela recalled her teenage memories not going out with friends but out in the market yelling “buwad”.

“Selling dried fish has never been easy. I have a dream living out of poverty and I used this to stay motivated in what I am doing,” said Rafaela Ducay.

Payling, as how she is called by her customers, remembers every single day she made to the market to sell buwad. “I manage working under the scorching heat of the sun just to sell all my buwad in the market.”

In 2003, Payling started to run her own retail store through her own savings. “All I have back then was my ambition to do well in the business I ventured in,” she recalled.

But unfortunately, Payling failed in her business. She was deceived by her business partner and eventually lost her business.

Early in 2016, she joined CARD, Inc., A Microfinance NGO, through her friend’s recommendation with an initial loan of Php 5,000. “I was able to buy loads of dried fish for my store from the capital I borrowed from CARD.”

Payling maintain her good performance and was seen to have the capacity to avail higher loans. She was recommended by her Account Officer to CARD-Business Development Service Foundation Inc. (CARD-BDSFI), a business development arm of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI). She was assisted to further improve her business by providing effective strategies to compete with in the bigger market.

“They allowed me to avail bigger loans by recommending me to CARD Leasing Financing Corporation, a leasing and financing institution of CARD MRI for me to sustain my business. They became my trusted business partner,” she emphasized.

CARD Leasing and Financing Corporation (CARD-LFC) is a member institution of CARD MRI that provides the highest quality but affordable leasing and financing services to clients that can improve their productivity, income, and sustainability.

With CARD’s assistance, her business grew. She also shared that the effective technique on getting and sustaining customers is in the product itself. “You have to know it. It must be clean, palatable, and most of all, fresh.”

Payling also added that true seal of quality is always measured by the customer’s level of satisfaction. “As we are in the business industry, we also have to listen to our customer’s objective and comments.”

As her business continually flourish, Mga Likha Ni Inay (MLNI), a marketing arm of CARD MRI, also tapped Payling as its regular supplier of dried seafood. Her products are distributed and sold at all Mga Likha Ni Inay outlets.

She now has a wide selection of dried fish and other products such as souvenirs, delicacies, and condiments.

Through the years of putting her time into it, she now manages a full stall at Tabo-an Market and a distributor at pasalubong outlets in Carcar, Naga, and other cities in the province.

Payling also never forgets to help other people. She is now helping her community as well by providing employment. She has now five people who work in her business.

“I am really happy with the people I work with, I earn their respect and loyalty and it is the kind of outcome and security I could get when we pour our heart and dedication into something,” she concluded.