Marilou Arellano started her roadside eatery and buko pie business in 2015, and has since become popular to locals, road travelers, and the occasional tourists.

“Bago nagka-pandemic maganda po ang takbo ng negosyo. Marami kaming regular na customers at may mga orders din mula sa mga kakilala dito sa bayan,” she related.

When the pandemic started, she decided to close the stores, but decided reopen after two months so that her employees can earn again.

Wala po silang trabaho. Kaya naisip ko na magbukas ng lang ulit para kahit papaano ay may kitain kami kahit pang-sweldo nila,” she added.

Marilou also resorted to online business. She delivered short-order dishes to get by, pay rent, and provide salaries of her employees. But her efforts were not enough — she still had to let go two of her four employees in the eatery.

Fortunately, Marilou heard about the Bayanihan CARES from the provincial DTI office. “Nakapag-apply ako agad kasi walang masyadong kailangan na requirements. Sobrang tuwa ko po nang ma-approve ang aking loan,” she shared.

Proceeds from her Bayanihan CARES loan were used to augment her capital and increase her inventory.

Unti-unti nakaka- angat na po kami, hindi na tulad ng dati na halos wala ng maitinda at wala na ring kinikita. Ayaw kong magpatalo. Tuloy lang ang laban,” she added.