MANILA, Philippines – With nothing but what he called a “saliva capital,” Rey Calooy, manager of RNC Marketing Philippines, made his millions from selling rags, to small packets of sugar, coffee and milk, to roasted organic chickens.
“Wala akong kapital. Nagsimula ako sa saliva capital lang tapos pawis na puhunan,” Calooy shared on ABS-CBN’s “My Puhunan.”
A saliva capital, though not a visually appealing thought, translates to the Filipino expression, “laway lang ang puhunan,” which means basically, leverage.
It can also by synonymous to the popular Filipino term, “diskarte” or making the most out of your situation.
And Calooy, at an early age, showed signs of the trait most Filipinos pride themselves upon.
Calooy, born into a poverty-stricken family, admitted that they didn’t even had enough money to buy even paper for his schooling.
“Wala akong pangbili ng papel. Yung mga prutas–santol at bayabas–yun ang mga pinang-exchange ko ng paper,” said Calooy.
As a teenager, Calooy, originally from Leyte, decided to go to Cebu in search of greener pastures.
There he worked as a “kasambahay” and a porter at a local wet market.
However, it was there in Cebu where he saw other kids selling dust rags in a nearby highway, playing with the “piso-piso” that they earned.
“Bakit nagagawa nila yun? Bakit ako hindi?” Calooy asked himself.
So he decided to take a dip into the world of business and dust rags. He saw potential clients in the form of local furniture shops and exporters.
Immediately, Calooy put his laway to good use.
He bought from a local manufacturer of dust rags at P15 a kilo and sold them for P25 each.
“Nag-try sila sa akin ng order na 50 kilos. Sa 50 kilos, naging 100 kilos. May 10 pesos na ako doon kada kilo. So sa isang buwan, may P4,000 na ako,” said Calooy.
Finding gold in ‘tingi-tingi’
But he wouldn’t stop there. In 1993, Calooy saw another opportunity to make more than what he was earning.
It was the customers’ wastefulness when it came to sugar and milk at a local coffee shop that convinced Calooy that money can be found in little small packets or “tingi-tingi.”
“Nakita ko yung mga coffee shop na parang takos-takos. Kailangan gawan natin ng paraan na pwedeng sachet tapos lagay natin yung logo nila,” said Calooy.
With a capital of P20,000, he put up RNC Marketing Philippines.
“Mano-mano,” Calooy admitted referring to how he started his business.
Today, Calooy has over 50 employees and makes around 20,000 packets of sugar, milk and coffee a day.
Still not satisfied with what he achieved, Calooy or the “Iron Entrepeneur of the South,” decided to sell organic roasted chickens.
He also started Rhea Noemi Food Products, a noodle products manufacturing company, and his own brand of coffee, “Kapinoy,” to help his fellow Filipinos.
“Dini-diverse ko na. Yung ibang mga naipon, pinundar ko sa ibang business to help employ other Filipinos. Yun ang pinaka-fulfilling na part para sa isang entrepreneur,” said Calooy.
Helping a struggling vendor
And Calooy got another chance to change the life of one Filipina in the show’s segment where they take a self-made millionaire to meet a struggling family.
Cathy Torre, a local vendor of packed “uling,” makes around P200 a day despite doing everything she can with what she had.
“Pumpunta ako sa mga tinda-tindahan tapos nagtatanong ako. Sabi ko, ‘te, baka gusto umorder ng uling pangtinda?’ 10+1 free deliver pa,” said Torre.
“Tutuldokan ko talaga ‘tong sobrang hirap na buhay namin. Bigyan lang sana ako ni Lord ng isang pagkakataon na magkapera kami,” added Torre.
Calooy, then, flew all the way from Cebu to Manila to meet Torre.
In a storage facility in Paranaque, Calooy showed Torre the simplicity of “micro-packing” and explained to her how he made millions off it.
“Wala namang impossible. It’s more on tiwala sa ating sarili na kaya natin,” said Torre.
Calooy also gave Torre a weighing scale and a hand sealer, along with two coffee machines for what Calooy called, “a lazy man’s business.”
“Everything starts with the mind. Kung ano ang iniisip mo, yun ang mangyayari,” said Calooy.
“Sana mapalago ko siya. Pagsisikapan ko siyang palaguin. Makikita niyo po ako,” vowed Torre.