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Living One’s Passion Amid a Crisis

SMDC gives this resident an opportunity to live her passion amid the pandemic.

The weekend is usually the best excuse for everyone to get up later from the bed, but not for 35-year-old Jenny Maranan. Her Saturdays start as early as 3:30 a.m. as she has to begin preparing breakfast ‘silog’ (fried rice and egg) meals that she sells at The Good Guys Weekend Market at the outdoor function room of SMDC Trees Residences in Fairview, Quezon City. 

Living One’s Passion Amid a Crisis

Jenny is among the resident-entrepreneurs in the community who are given the opportunity to sell goods in the weekend market, where other residents can buy essentials for the week—rice, meat products, vegetables, poultry supply, fruits, and even pastries and dessert. For Jenny, the weekend market not just provides income opportunities but also paves the way for her to follow her passion—cooking. 

Hailing from a family that finds pleasure in cooking, Jenny developed her culinary skills through her father, who was a chef at the Jai Alai Building and other restaurants. “My father made sure that I and my five siblings learned how to cook dinakdakan and other Filipino cuisines,” she recalls. “That was why I took up Hotel and Restaurant Management in college.”

Opportunity during pandemic 

After earning her degree, Maranan worked at a couple of fastfood-restaurants before landing a front-desk job at an international hotel in Makati City. She had been working as a secretary in a clinic in St. Luke’s Medical Center in BGC for 8 years when she got married and relocated to Singapore in 2018. 

Life in Singapore as a full-time housewife was fun. She focused on activities that made her happy and productive. “Cooking was an outlet whenever I missed home. Special dishes brought back memories of my younger years with my family. We had feasts on our table every day,” she recounts. 

Jenny and her husband went on a vacation tour (Taiwan and Manila) in early 2020 and were forced to stay in Manila longer when the lockdown was declared in March. Her husband immediately went back to Singapore when flights resumed, but she decided to stay in their Trees Residences unit until the medical crisis was over. 

Living One’s Passion Amid a Crisis

Shortly after, The Good Guys Weekend Market was set up at Trees Residences, which opened its doors to residents who wanted to set up shop at the market as homepreneurs. Jenny was among the first batch of entrepreneurs who signed up for The Good Guys Weekend Market in June. 

Enjoying the business journey 

“I am happy because I get to do what I love doing the most and I’ve been busy daily,” she says. “Aside from the weekend market, I also cook lutong-bahay dishes during weekdays. My loyal customers order meals via Messenger group chat. I get satisfaction knowing they love my dishes. Last month, I was overwhelmed to get numerous catering orders for the holidays, which made me really ecstatic. My passion has turned into a lucrative business!”

Jenny now enjoys more time with her parents and siblings especially when they have get-togethers during special occasions. Although she misses her husband, she is thankful that they can catch up online daily. They have yet to decide if she will return to Singapore after the pandemic, but for now, Jenny is enjoying every milestone in her entrepreneurial journey. 

Giving back 

Aside from keeping her startup food business, Jenny is also a volunteer-marshal who helps keep the weekend market in her community orderly. “This is one way I give back to SMDC for opening this opportunity for entrepreneurs like us—for free. At the same time, I am happy to serve my fellow residents who have been asking the organizers to extend the weekend market hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” she said.

Topics: Jenny Maranan , Jai Alai Building , Trees Residences , The Good Guys Weekend Market

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