GINATILAN, Cebu—Almost everybody was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Jay “Bonjing” Oracoy.
But the 32-year-old from this southwestern town of Cebu, like many, managed to cope by staying focused on his goal.
“Dasig lang gyud ta, hilabi na karon nga panahon sa pandemic. Bahala’g ginagmay nga ginansya, basta magkugi lang gyod. Kugi ug diskarte ang paagi aron mabuhi,” he said.
(Take courage especially in times of pandemic. Even if the profit is little, just work hard. Working hard and being strategic are the ways to survive.)
Working hard is what Oracoy did to survive. He is known as one who makes some of the town’s delicacy such as tinumpi, kinugay, sinakol, and pinintos.
As a young boy, he managed to cook some of the local delicacies and personally sell them at school.
”12 years old ko, elementary days, kahibalo na ko magluto ug magtinda nako sa eskwelahan. Nanginabuhi na ko at such young age,” he said.
(When I was 12 years old, during the elementary days, I already knew how to cook and sell them at school. I started making a living at a young age.)
His mother, who has been his inspiration, is the one who taught him how to make some of Ginatilan’s delicacies.
“Nasunod nako sa akong katigulangan, especially sa akong pinalanggang inahan nga nataliwan na,” he shared.
(I got it from my elders, especially from my beloved mother, who has already passed away.)
But this is not just the only thing Oracoy did to survive during the pandemic. Aside from being a businessman, Oracoy also did some extra work as a massage therapist and assistant cook.
But during the lockdown last year, he had to take a break from his job. Luckily, his business selling delicacies helped him earn money despite the pandemic.
He personally delivered his handmade product to his buyers.
For him, a business like this does not only give hime income, but also helps preserve the culture and tradition in the town.