It is almost a given that Filipinos who go abroad usually seek for greener pastures. But when it’s time to return, there’s no assurance that a better life awaits our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
For Gregorio Coling, his savings as an OFW were not enough to sustain his life back home. He worked for almost three decades in Rome as a house help together with his wife. In 2019, he went back to the Philippines to manage the properties that he and his wife acquired.
“As an OFW, you do all the work - from cooking, ironing clothes, to everything. My experience in Italy was tough,” Coling said. “You can have large earnings in other countries. But I am a Filipino and I intend to stay here.”
Coling, who manages a piggery, decided to venture into another business. “My friend sold his beverage distribution business to me. That’s when I grew interest in Pepsi.”
He reached out to the nearest Pepsi Sales Office in Mahabang Parang, Batangas City. Now, Coling is among the distributors of Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI), the exclusive manufacturer of PepsiCo beverages in the country.
He owns Diwata General Merchandise, which is an exclusive wholesaler of PepsiCo products. His fast-growing business is geared to becoming a multi-route distributor to routes in Lipa, Ibaan, Rosario, and Taysan.
Coling admitted, “I earned higher abroad. But with hard work and perseverance, the business is gaining momentum."
He pushed for bigger sales and learned the tricks of the trade in no time. Within two years, Coling was able to increase his inventory and build a warehouse. He also bought a brand new elf truck to start routing in given areas.
Today, Coling got two more routes. He can now support his family’s needs and not solely depend on the earnings of his wife who still remains an OFW in Italy.
With more clients to serve, his sales volume increased from 1,500 cases in 2019 to more than 6,000 cases in 2021. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coling's business is thriving. He even purchased a tricycle through PCPPI's Motor Vehicle Sub Lease Agreement.
“What small businesses need during these times is support from big companies. With PCPPI's help and incentives for my good performance, I got to supply in areas unreachable to other distributors,” Coling said.
To inspire OFWs to be like Coling, PCPPI partnered with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). PCPPI and OWWA seek to bring opportunities closer to repatriated migrant workers. With a capital of PhP 15,000, they can already become PCPPI’s community distributor or wholesaler.
“We recognize our OFWs as modern-day heroes. They remain as among the strong pillars of our economy. PCPPI aims to help them restart in this trying time,” said PCPPI president and chief executive officer, Frederick D. Ong.
Interested and potential partners may reach PCPPI through their e-commerce website pepsiproduct.ph or call (02)888PEPSI.