AT PEACE WITH HER BIZ
Since high school, Pauline “Lop” Ponciano had always been bothered by many things. She felt she was bad in math because her grades were barely passing. She was also afraid of taking accounting because she knew it involved a lot of math. Those suggested that she would have a difficult time if she were to take up a business course in college. Well, as the saying goes, something happened along the way. Lop, ironically found herself ending up in an entrepreneurship course.
To help fulfill the requirement of her course she initially had studied the feasibility of setting up a study place that would cater to students who needed computers and the internet but didn’t want to study at a typical internet cafe. Her subsequent classes required the development of a business plan together with more concrete and specific plans for implementation.
It was looking like a great plan, but then as fate would have it, something happened again along the way. She ended up shifting her plans “since my mom thought of utilizing the idle family-owned lot in Camiling, Tarlac and implement some plans dad had in the past. I saw an opportunity for me to ‘hitch’ with the family’s plans and provide a path of finishing college right away.” Her plan to finish school quickly seemed to be very close to fulfillment.
But yes, you guessed it, some more things happened along the way. “Lo and behold, the other people who were helping in the project started departing one by one, my dad, my uncle; my aunt had other things to attend to, my mom moved to the U.S and left it all to me.”
At that stage of her prospective business, she unearthed a Pandora’s box of problems. “The papers were delayed, the construction time which was projected to be 3 months, doubled. Even when park was finally done, we found out later on that the design of the 3,089 square meter memorial park was a bit flawed.” She also had difficulty getting certain licenses and key documents for the memorial park to operate. But a fighter that she is, she was ready to use her network to get her papers completed.
Her ability to focus on details and her acquired business sense and skill also helped her get through. Although impediments from various government regulations seem to make her stumble, she found that her passion for seeing this family heritage through made her continue.
Luckily for her, the support given by her network of friends and loved ones made her continue. Indeed, circumstances have a way of fixing themselves. Despite initial marketing and operations problems, she eventually resolved them all in time for marketing the memorial park during the peak season of All Saint’s and All Souls’ Days.
Soon after that, Lop began priding herself for making her business finally go through the complete product offering cycle. Pedro at Paulo memorial park had its first burial in April, 2009. That gave a totally new meaning to the notion that there is life after…
At this stage in her life, despite all the difficulties and setbacks, not only is she proud of her family heritage but she is also at peace with that biz that she has worked hard at and seen to its fruition.
Lop finished her high school at St. Pedro Poveda College and graduated from the Entrepreneurs School of Asia in June 2009 with a degree in entrepreneurship. She is now looking to start another memorial park in the north and is seeking possible joint-venture partners who have idle land.
UPDATE [as of November 2015]:
After starting out in the memorial park industry, Lop decided to go in the completely ‘opposite’ direction, in a manner of speaking, by getting into the wellness industry. She has adopted a new mission in life: to improve the lives of others (not only the afterlife of her previous target market).
To that end, Lop took further studies at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and has also founded Terra Nutra Herbals, which sells herbal products and “is a fusion of nationalism, earth-friendliness and healthfulness” (from their Facebook page).