Pharmacist Processing Work Papers for US Changes Her Mind, Invests in a Pharmacy in PH

When Leah Clara Maquiraya Yabis graduated with a BS degree Pharmacy degree from the University of Santo Tomas and passed her Pharmacy Licensure Examination, she thought she had her life mapped out.

Working on the US Dream

She worked as a pharmacist at St. Paul Hospital in Tuguegarao City for 6 months, then studied Master in Public Health at Cagayan State University while working as part-time instructor for St. Paul University Philippines. A brilliant, hardworking instructor, she quickly because the program coordinator for the SPUP College of Pharmacy.

But like many Pinoys, she dreamed of working in the US. That US dream led to Leah spending a year in the US to get her Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Certificate. Afterwards, she went back to the Philippines to process her work papers for the US.

Finding a Family in Generika

Photo credit: Inquirer Business

While waiting for her papers, Leah found a job with Engr. Ben C. Monteiro, assisting him in opening his first Generika Drugstore. She would help him with two more.

But though she was really set on leaving for the US, she would later change her mind – and everyone was surprised, including herself!

I was all set on working in the US, but being exposed to Generika changed my view. When I was helping Sir Ben set up his own Generika Drugstores, I saw that pharmacy was not just another job or a way of earning money. With it, I could really make a difference and help other people,” Leah admitted.

With a ‘friendly loan’ from her boss, money from wedding gifts, her savings, her husband’s savings, and proceeds from a property the family sold in Tuguegarao, Leah opened her first Generika franchise in Talipapa, Novaliches in April 2012.

Photo credit: Inquirer Business

She had not looked back since then. She became part of the Ayala network of 277,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Later, she was able to grow her business so much that she would expand to several branches.

Within just 4 years, Leah was able to open a total of five Generika stores. From the first one in Talipapa, she opened four more in North Fairview, Krus na Ligas, Bagbag, and Pulilan.

Her life now is so different from the one she had planned 10 years ago, but Leah admits she’s enjoying it now with her husband and two children.

What is Generika?

Generika Drugstore was established in 2003 to offer affordable medicines to the low-income families. Just 5 years later, the drugstore began to offer franchising, with franchise options available for as low as Php1 million.

Joy Adalia
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