Mr. and Mrs. Abundio “Bobong” and Maria Amparo “Bec-Bec” Lee are the proud owners of Cagba Agro Trading based in Masbate City. They personally wrote the article below.
In year 1997, we got married in simple rites in Masbate City. Our union is blessed with five (5) children, namely, Hannah Louise (12), Christian Carlo (11), Mariah Shamantha (8), Patrisha (5) and Katrina (4).
L-R: Shamantha, Bobong, Hanna Louise, Katrina, Christian Paulo, Bec-Bec and Patricia
To raise our family, we had decided to engage into the businesses of rice milling, palay buying and copra trading. However, we had limited capital to start with the said businesses. Hence, we mustered enough courage to borrow money from our relatives, without any collateral that is tangible, but only a bare promise that we’re going to pay them back as soon as our means permit. Looking back, we amusingly realized that we engaged our relatives in the so-called “payable-when-able” arrangement. However, we wholeheartedly kept our promise to them.
We conscientiously worked together in our business thinking that we have to give our children a comfortable life and pay our relatives the borrowed money. With a modest amount of extra money, we ventured into wholesale trading of commodity goods such as rice, corn, sugar, salt etc. Though our trading business was doing well, which enabled us to pay our obligations with our relatives; we felt that we can still do more than that so as to secure our children a brighter future.
In year 2005, we closely examined our principal businesses of rice milling, palay buying and copra trading, which are both agriculture-based. It was then that we had realized that we should venture into something that is closely-related to such businesses. Hence, we had decided to venture into the distribution of fertilizers considering that farming is the main livelihood in our province of Masbate and, thus, we thought, high demand of fertilizer shall definitely translate to bigger profits.
We painstakingly reviewed the different companies selling fertilizers, including Atlas Fertilizer Corporation (“AFC”), until we had finally decided to partner with AFC as its distributor in Masbate because we had known that it is the Philippines’ oldest and one of the country’s largest manufacturers of chemical fertilizer.
The initial meeting with Mr. Raymund Ilustre, AFC President, already gave us a glimpse on the way he treats the company’s distributors. The warmth and interest that he showed us started to make us feel that we made the right choice.
As time went by, we had seen for ourselves that the fertilizer business is indeed profitable in our province. We were able to realize a considerable amount of profit, which allowed us to venture into a bigger business. In year 2010, we purchased a cargo vessel from Japan that shall be available for hire in carrying cargoes within the Philippine archipelago. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we can afford to buy a vessel of such kind or venture into that business. However, this was made possible when our partnership with AFC in the fertilizer business delivered more than what we had expected.
We can now say that our children are living a comfortable life. The things that we had not experienced when we were still young due to limited financial resources could already be enjoyed by our kids. We also plan to send them to the best schools in the country because we know that their education is one of our greatest investments.
Aside from the profit that we had realized and the comfortable life that we now enjoy, we gained an extended family from AFC and its distributors. AFC sees to it that we are present during distributors’ gatherings whether here or abroad. Our presence in the said gatherings further strengthened the bond that we have with AFC and also with our fellow distributors. They became personal friends who even offer advices regarding family life, especially about the upbringing of our children.
But, amongst all the things that we had enjoyed brought about by the success of our fertilizer business, we also derived incomparable joy from helping others, especially the farmers, who are our other partners in this business. We helped them by giving them all the necessary information on how to maximize their production using the products of AFC. The fertilizer that suits their soil is prescribed to them so as to attain such maximized production, which, in turn, translates to higher income. Thus, it allows them to provide for their basic needs, especially, the educational needs of their children.
Our partnership with AFC is indeed a blessing to our family and also to the farmers who are the end-users of our products!