An Island’s Gift

Posted on May 12, 2023

By: Harlene Joy F. Reyes

As beautiful as the island of Boracay is, so are the many beautiful stories that bloomed here. Its natural beauty attracted many tourists from around the globe, which opened doors of opportunities to many entrepreneurs and generated employment for Filipinos. The island of Boracay itself has been a gift to the locals.

Almie Mondoy, a native of Kalibo, Aklan, embraced this gift. Almie’s family moved to Boracay because of her father’s business in the island three decades ago. They fell in love with the beauty and people of Boracay. Soon after finishing school, their family established the island’s first talipapa restaurant serving fresh seafood.

Unfortunately, their restaurant burnt down, forcing them to close its doors. “Despite the setbacks, life must go on. In time, everything will be fine,” Almie stated.

Almie’s mother began creating necklaces and bracelets out of seashells as her hobby, which she later turned into a business. It became aesthetically attractive among tourists, so they grabbed the opportunity to earn from it.

Soon, Almie made her accessories and started a business. In 2007, she took a loan from CARD Bank to sustain her business production. It also allows her to rent a space for her souvenir shop. The microfinance-oriented rural bank financially assists her in supporting the growth of her business.

In 2018, the island was shut down to the public for six months for its rehabilitation program. Since Boracay is highly dependent on its tourists, businesses and livelihoods were hardly affected. “There were no tourists at that time. The temporary closure was challenging since it affected our business operations,” said Almie. “I know things will work out better if we maintain a positive outlook.”

Boracay was later reopened to the public, allowing them to continue their businesses. The island came back to normal. So was their way of living.

Then the pandemic came that tested her faith and character. Almie’s souvenir shop was one of the enterprises forced to close due to the lockdown. “Those were difficult times; we didn’t know where to get money for our daily needs,” she said. “But I keep telling myself that everything will be just fine.”

When things were tough, Almie saw CARD’s helping hands. She said that CARD Bank provided them with assistance throughout the lockdown. “When we didn’t know what to do, CARD Bank never left us,” she stated.

Everything gradually returned to normal, and Almie restarted her business operation. CARD Bank helped her to stand again on her feet.  “No matter what happens, our business will survive with CARD Bank on our side,” she says.

The economic recovery has given the island a new vigor. Almie now earns PHP 10,000 daily and uses it to expand her business.

Almie also earns money from her guest house and ukay-ukay store in Romblon. “I can now say that I can thrive in adversities. I am ready to conquer life’s challenges,” Almie concluded.