The rags-to-riches story of Cristhel Gardoce Bulabon serves as an inspiration that poverty is not a hindrance to one’s dreams. She rose from being a “labandera” or laundrywoman to becoming a millionaire.
Cristhel grew up in hard work and poverty. At the young age of seven, she was already working and caring for her siblings. Their parents left them in the care of her uncle in Bacolod City. But instead of taking care of them, Cristhel and her siblings were maltreated. Before they would be given food, Cristhel had to do difficult chores like getting pails of water from a deep well. Despite her hard work, she and her siblings still weren’t given enough food to eat.
Driven by her love for her siblings, Cristhel decided to work for their neighbor washing dishes and tending to a sari-sari store so she could earn. Because their uncle continued to treat them harshly, Cristhel decided to leave with her siblings. Living in a small kubo, the young girl took on jobs. She sold kakanin on the streets, scavenged in dumpsites, and took in laundry jobs.
Cristhel admitted that she got married early because she wanted to escape poverty. It was a terrible decision because she became a battered wife. “Naisip ko, ganito ba talaga ang kapalaran ko at pinanganak akong walang asenso sa buhay?” Cristel shared on ABS-CBN’s Rated Korina.
Things got worse for Cristhel and her children she decided to leave her abusive husband. Things started turning around for her when she met a man who gave her a job as a telephone operator in a company.
Cristhel hoped for more so she worked abroad to save. Upon returning to the Philippines, she ventured into several businesses. She opened a computer shop and a carinderia.
Working on her passion, Cristhel opened a diving shop and learned to become a deep sea diver. Cristhel was already building her dream as she continued to work on her businesses. She franchised several food carts.
Now, Cristhel is an owner of a big ‘dampa’ restaurant in Antipolo City. She also has 12 food carts and a bar and resto.
From earning P50 for doing laundry, Cristhel now earns over P500,000 a month. She lives in a huge house with four cars.
Cristhel shared that hard work and determination helped her overcome poverty. She said, “Walang taong maghihirap, sa taong masikap.”
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