Pride of Mindanao

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    Eduardo Azores’ restaurant in Koronadal City, Mindanao has gained popularity for serving a favorite southern delicacy: Pastil.

    The restaurant, Ali-Ali Pastil, serves over 40 varieties of the dish, including laing and seafood. Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos in the city patiently wait in line for a taste of Ali-Ali’s delicious and affordable pastil.

    Ali-Ali Pastil patrons of all ages appreciate that the restaurant serves affordable, delicious, clean, and genuinely halal food.

    Azores started his business in 2013 with only three kilos of meat and rice. Realizing the potential of the business, he introduced more varieties (most pastil places offer only two or three flavors), with the help of Rizal Micro Bank that provided an increase in capital.
    Azores’ decision paid off. Not only did the restaurant grow but he was also able to open a 24-hour convenience store, a catering business, and will soon open a lodging inn.

    For his hard work, commitment, and entrepreneurial spirit, Azores was named national winner of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA). Other awardees were: Lea Mancera, Regional Awardee for Luzon; Merly Domingo, Regional Awardee for Visayas; and Lucrecia Neri, Regional Awardee for Mindanao. Romualdo Blanco, Jr. received the Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year title. Special Award for Agri Micro-business wasgiven to Rolando Pega and Rosanna Sinapilo; and Caroline Jamias was the recipient of the Special Award for Preservation of Traditions.

    In accepting his award, Azores said his experiences made him stronger and wiser. “We should not be swayed by our emotions and greed – that’s the most important lesson I learned when my wife died. Use your brains and logic when making important decisions.

    Save more than you spend; you don’t need to look rich for anybody. You do not have to brag about your success; it will speak volumes when it changes other people’s lives for the better.”

    This year’s CMA National Selection Committee was co-chaired by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin E.Diokno and Citi Philippines CEO Aftab N.Ahmed.

    Members were Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, president and CEO, RFM Corporation; Teresita T. Sy-Coson, vice chair, SM Investments Corporation; Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez; Imelda M. Nicolas, president, Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran; Marixi Rufino-Prieto, former chair, Philippine Daily Inquirer; Dr. Michael L. Tan, chancellor, University of the Philippines Diliman (Quezon City); and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president, Ayala Corporation.