It is 2007 and Cecilia finds herself meeting the Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in Malacañang Palace. She is being awarded by Citibank Philippines and Citi Foundation in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. the 2007 Micro Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Inspiring Story Category). It wasn’t so long ago that poverty and crises plagued her family, threatening her inner faith, her marriage and her family’s future. Early in her marriage, Cecilia was a retailer of balut (duck eggs) purchasing stock wholesale from a city close to two hours away from her own. She started purchasing from her supplier 60 eggs that became 150 eggs which tuned to 1,000. After attending a Project Dungganon training seminar in 1999, Cecilia decided to take out a PhP3,000 loan and purchased an even larger quantity of balut from her supplier. As she worked to steadily grow her business, a family crisis shook their family to its core affecting the family and her business so hard she resorted to selling her home appliances and clothes to survive. Not one to be defeated, she overcame the crux with the help of her husband, Jesus “Judy” Salarda. They worked tirelessly to recover and so they did. Using money saved from a piggery business they started, Cecilia purchased her first incubator for her balut business. She reinvested in her balut business and started selling salted eggs, salted peanuts and coated peanuts from her 7th loan with Dungganon. Soon after, she started a shake business, contract growing for Peking duck, and constructed a balut and salted egg factory. With determination, Cecilia has become one of the largest balut and salted egg wholesalers in her province, employing over 20 people and continues to keep her eyes open for the next business opportunity that comes her way.

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