MANILA, Philippines- Corazon D. Ong, the woman behind CDO-Foodsphere that carries popular brands like CDO, Bibbo, Holiday, San Marino, Highlands, and Danes, started her food company out of boredom.
After quitting her career as a dietitian, Ong focused on being a full-time mom and soon found herself preparing delicious “baon” for her family in order to combat boredom. Little did she know that her little hobby would help her start a kitchen-based mom-and-pop enterprise.
“It was really like a ‘mom and pop’ business before. I was in the kitchen cooking, buying the ingredients, and doing all the mixing myself,” Ong recounted.
Her first product was an innovation- siopao with a longanisa filling.
Eventually, Ong got tired of making siopao dough and focused on creating tocino, a popular CDO product.
Her husband who was teacher at the Ateneo began helping Ong in her small business. But an unfortunate accident in 1977 that cut his hand prompted them to invest in a manufacturing equipment.
Eventually, the couple was able to come up with a variety of products. The support of their family, friends as well as their neighbors helped the Ongs grow their business little by little.
Ong said: “I never dreamt of having a business as big as this. It’s because of luck, divine providence, and passion for what I do. I love my work.”
While they encountered several bumps in their journey to success such as capitalization and sourcing of good quality ingredients and materials, the Ongs were able to overcome such challenges.
With CDO’s success, the food company generated employment and livelihood for the community. Furthermore, the company gives back to the community through a foundation that provides the nutritional needs of poor children.
Currently, Ong is semi-retired and has tasked her children to continue making the family business flourish. Still, she hopes to come up with food products that are affordable for Filipinos.
So what exactly is Ong’s secret to success?
“Love your work. Enjoy what you are doing. Focus on your project and be involved – be hands on. Have perseverance and dedication,” Ong revealed.