Thursday, September 2, 2021

From a Puto Vendor to a Kakanin Mogul


Who would have thought that the girl who used to sell kakanin in Calasiao, Pangasinan’s public market would be a successful entrepreneur? Her name is Erlinda Torres, the owner of Pinay Decena’s Calasiao Puto.

As the eldest child, at an early age of 12, Erlinda used to help her mother in selling kakanin in the town market during weekends to support their daily needs until she graduated from college. Hence, her determination is so notable that despite all the challenges and tasks she faced as a young adult, she was able to finish her degree in Accountancy. After graduating from college, she worked as a government employee but her paycheck was insufficient to support her younger siblings. She then decided to work abroad as a house helper for six years, thinking that it was the best decision for her family. When she decided to return home and stay for good, she was employed for 18 years at a private construction company before she realized that there would not be enough room for growth so that was when she decided to put up her own business.

She named her business after her mother “Pinay”, who belongs to the second generation of puto makers in Calasiao. Erlinda and her husband dedicated their time and effort to run their family business. It soon became a success that they began to supply famous restaurant chains and put-up stalls in malls around the metro, offering an authentic taste of their childhood favorite treats. What can outmatch the mouthwatering 100-year-old recipe of her grandmother’s puto combined with her eternal love for Pinay, her mother, from whom she named her brand.

In 2017, she participated in the Kapatid Mentor Me program, a project of the Department of Trade and Industry and Go Negosyo, which aims to provide additional skills to entrepreneurs. With KMME, Erlinda was able to promote her products and gain exposure to a wider network. An in-depth understanding of supply and value chain and business taxation was advantageous to her growing business and was two of her favorite topics. As the pandemic hits, she was genuinely concerned about her employees and tried to find ways to secure orders to compensate her workforce and keep the company afloat. Nonetheless, aside from not letting go of her employees, she gives back to the community by rewarding delivery partners with goodies as a gift for their partnership and hard work. Thus, it maintains the movement of her stocks so, it remains fresh and replenished.

After all, freshness is Pinay’s legacy, and Erlinda’s story will continue to inspire us to carry on and never give up no matter what. Blazing with determination and hope, she would always say, “hangga’t kaya i-sustain ko lang.”

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