Roy Villegas seems to have made it big in life. He is now the proud owner of two very successful restaurants in Calamba, Laguna. Bulalo sa Banga serves some of the best Filipino dishes in town, and Uncle Roy’s Bistro has delighted many a tourist with its heavenly, filling burgers.
Think Roy Villegas is lucky to get this successful in life? Well, think again.
See, you’d be surprised to know his humble beginnings. This guy was actually a street child at the young age of 6. He would get hungry for days on end, and would often just sleep his begging tummy off.
Even more surprising is how he was actually born to a rather affluent family. He even grew up with three household helpers! It all just went downhill when his parents separated. One by one, he lost the things that made life comfortable for him.
Then, at six years old, unable to get the attention and care he needed from his mother, he left home.
That is when he experienced all sorts of hardships in life. He would make a bed out of parked tricycles and jeepneys at night, and would trade bottles in the day to scrape enough to get him some food.
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Roy Villegas says, he will never forget how he got rewarded with a bulalo meal after preventing some kids from stealing from a billiards house.
“Talagang gutom na gutom ako. Pag alok na pag alok niya sa’kin, ayon kumain ko. Hindi ko makakalimutan ‘yong bulalo.”
Indeed, Roy has held bulalo close to his heart since that day, and even made it the specialty in his first restaurant.
The person who gave him an order of bulalo as a reward was just one of Roy’s many “guardian angels.” A teacher who took delight in him treated Roy as her own, and paid for his education. As a student, Roy worked hard to excel both in academics and in athletics.
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His determination soon paid off, and he was able to represent his university in prestigious competitions like the UAAP Basketball tournament.
Shortly after graduating, he started a small burger cart business, with no more than PHP 5,000 for start up capital. His big break came when members of the band Parokya ni Edgar happened to buy from his humble cart, and spread the word that he made really good burgers.
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“Don’t be hesitant, no doubt ka dapat sa lahat ng haharapin mo. Pag naisip mo, find a way kasi malay mo ‘yong naisip mong idea na ‘yon could make a difference,” Roy shares.