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How a ‘one woman show’ turned into a successful real estate firm

As financial crisis fades into the rearview mirror, many entrepreneurs may be encouraged to get back into the real estate game.

In many regions across the country, real estate prices are on the rise, and while the real estate game is cyclical in nature, achieving success depends upon a number of factors.

First, you must understand the basic fundamentals of real estate, then know your market and anticipate what other investors and homebuyers seek.

However, Michelle Louise Abueva, founder of MLAbueva Real Estate Ventures has something else in mind.


According to Abueva, she had everything planned out right after college.

She had taken up a nursing couse at Velez College, but she had always known that she would be a doctor to serve others.

But since high school days at Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus, she had already realized what her end-goal in life would be — it is to build communities.

“I knew I wanted it because I want to serve, and being a doctor is a noble profession,” she said.

After finishing her degree, she was able to practice at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City and relocated there.

Though she was practicing what she loved, her heart was not content.

“I was concerned because I knew that it was not something I see myself doing for the rest of my life,” Abueva said.

“I was 22, and I was already having my early quarter-life crisis,” she added.

The confusion made the young go-getter to travel back to Cebu and start something else.

No Regrets

“While I was waiting for the response from the job that I applied for, I enrolled in real estate service because I wanted to know the situation of the real estate industry in the Philippines,” she said.

“This was also in line with my end-goal which is to help build communities. I just see so much potential in our country and our people,” she added.

Although this was out of her playing field, her growing interest in the real estate industry brought her passion to new heights.

“The day that I was scheduled to report for duty was also the day of my Real Estate Brokers Licensure Exam. That was when I hit a crossroads in my life, and I had to make one final and crucial decision,” she said.

She turned down the job offer and pursued what her heart desired.

“No regrets,” said Abueva as she look back to where it all started.

Her bubbly personality, paired with her desire to serve got her to where she is now, owning one of the growing real estate firms in Cebu.

“I’ve learned a couple of things along the way: (1) trust the process and embrace the art of becoming, (2) always be mindful, define your ‘ikigai’ and know your ‘why’ (for it’s what would keep you going), (3) practice the 5G’s: grit, growth mindset, gratitude, genuineness and graciousness, (4) ideas are nothing without execution, (5) take note of Branson’s keys to happiness and success that boils down to family, friends, fun, purposeful work and money – in that order, (6) know that no one is you and that is your power, and last but not the least, (7) have faith in the Almighty.


Owning a growing real estate firm was not something she expected.

In fact when she first registered the firm to the Department of Trade and Industry, Abueva said she did not see this in hindsight; that a once one woman firm would eventually grow into something that it is now.

From a one-woman show, the company now has around 20 actively involved real estate brokers and salespersons.

“But I made it to a point that eventually I had to grow the firm,” she added.

Her firm caters real estate services such as realty and brokerage, lease and property management with a wide array of listing from real estate development projects, privately-owned properties to foreclosed properties.

Her firm is also accredited by all major real estate developers and handles accounts across the country.


While others would be willing to fall in line to outshine its competition, Abueva said she does not consider fellow real estate service practitioners as competition.

“This industry may be a very jealous and competitive industry, but we always think of it as a friendly competition. We’d even collaborate with our fellow real estate service practitioners outside our firm,” she said, noting that collaboration is a key element towards a successful business.

And while they collaborate, Abueva also encourages its team to innovate and ride with the tides of time.

“Here I always make it to a point that our real estate brokers and salespersons are celebrated and feel welcomed, there is no bad blood, just good camaraderie and teamwork,” Abueva said.

“As long as we are working towards our mission of helping everyone find their place in the Philippines, helping our team make their mark, having an impact on the society and maintaining good relationships with our clients, then I think we can go through those lengths, “ she said.

Looking back

Now, as they celebrated their fifth anniversary in the business last May 12, Abueva looks back to where it all started and thanked a few people who helped her, in one way or another towards success.

“I owe my success personally to my family – my father, Celoy, my mother, Joy, and my brothers – Louie and Mac-Mac, my friends who keep me rooted to the ground, colleagues, industry partners, most valuable clients and ultimately to God, because if it were not for these entities, we would not be here today,” she said.

“Success is a very subjective thing. We have different definitions of success. Success for me is being able to do what I love and bring value to the lives of others, and make my family and friends happy. As a firm, success is being able to live our mission, having an impact on our team members and the rest of the community, and helping our clients make an informed decision,” Abueva said.

And while she recalled her happy moments, Abueva never forgets how her constant struggle towards finding meaning shaped her future.

“The journey was never easy. I can vividly recall one of my early meetings in one of the economic zones in the metro. I felt so incompetent that I cried as I headed out the building, doubting my decisions in life. Nikalit pajud ug uwan. Basa kaayo ko ato. But little did I know, it turned out to be one of my biggest and most meaningful deals to date. Sometimes, the lowest points in our lives are our defining moments.”

The experiences she went through taught her to be more humble and appreciate the little things that come into life.

Now as MLAbueva Real Estate Ventures is on its fifth year in the real estate service business, Abueva remains headstrong with her end-goal which is to serve and build communities.

After all, what better way to call it a success when you fill the pieces of your own puzzle while helping everyone find their place in the world./dbs

TAGS: estate, firm, game, How, ONE, real, show, successful, turned, woman
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