Former College Dropout, Now a Successful Lechon Belly Business Owner

The inspiring story of Kel Pascual proves that anyone can be an entrepreneur, regardless of educational attainment. Despite being a college dropout, Kel has built a successful lechon belly business, Manilachon.

lechon belly
Image by Manilachon via Facebook

Kel recalled how he began his business, Manilachon. While there are many lechon belly out there, Manilachon is known for their Porchetta style lechon belly. From the crispy skin to the tasty meat, they have many customers who can attest they are one of the best lechon bellies in town.

Chef-Entrepreneur at heart

Even at a young age, Kel always wanted to be a chef-entrepreneur. While many nine year olds were playing, he would bake goodies and sell them to his classmates. Following his dreams, he went to a culinary school. However, it was cut short when his father lost his job. Kel saw how they could no longer afford his tuition fees and decided to find work instead.

“At first, nagself- pity ako. Naawa ako sa sarili ko. Naiinggit ako sa mga ka-batchmates ko kasi nakikita kong nagiinternship na sila. Ako naisip ko, anong sunod sa akin?” Kel recalled on ABS-CBN’s My Puhunan.

Kel soon found himself as a call center agent and a financial advisor. But his heart continued to call him back to the kitchen. With his P4,000 capital, Kel started selling cooked viands and lechon belly at bazaars. Back then, he was glad to see his capital grow up to P9,000.

Starting lechon belly business

Since he didn’t have an oven, Kel had to ask his cousin who owns a bakery if he could rent one. The entrepreneur looked back at one of the best business advice he received.

He shared, “The key to success is to look for one product and be good at it.”

manilachon lechon belly
Image by Manilachon via Facebook

For two years, he worked hard at improving at creating the best lechon belly recipe. Research was Kel’s best strategy as he tried many popular lechon around town. He said, “Gusto ko malaman bakit kino-consider ng mga tao na best yun. Kumukuha ako ng pointers dito at doon.”

Kel knew his recipe was a hit when he noticed that his stall would never be empty and customers flocked even on lean hours. When he hit his first P30,000 in a day selling lechon belly, he knew he was ready to go big.

Even with no diploma and only his determination and love for food, Kel was able to open his huge lechon business, Manilachon. In Metro Manila, it has three branches already. Kel’s business success story proves how important research is at making the best product to sell.

Sally Mae
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