Anton Marcial is one of many independent events organizers who have found ways to beat the doldrums caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on business.
An events host, planner, and organizer, Anton lost all his bookings when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in March this year.
The 34-year-old breadwinner has been emceeing events since 2000. He started adding events planning and coordination to his services in 2017.
The last event he organized was on March 15, 2020.
Forced to inactivity by the lockdown, he brainstormed like crazy until he hit upon the idea of offering various food treats online.
He related to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "On March 29, I decided to take the risk.
"I started selling my own version of lumpiang shanghai rolls after completing the requirements of our local government for delivering goods to customers."
PEP.ph spoke with Anton via Facebook Messenger on June 18, 2020,
He said, "Good news because my uncooked shanghai rolls are upgraded to bilao size and still running up to now...
GOING PLACES AS MALL PARTNER
Anton has been updating his Facebook account with photos and videos of himself doing the deliveries himself.
He continued, "I also started my 'pasabuy' service wherein I personally purchase goods for customers in S&R Lipa City and deliver them straight to their homes.
"It was a fulfilling but challenging experience because we had to cross seven checkpoints from our place going to Lipa City."
His posts caught the attention of SM City Lemery in Batangas, which decided to make Anton an official delivery partner during the ECQ.
This development led Anton to launch his own company, WestBat Delivery Services.
Anton recalled to PEP.ph, "On the evening of April 28, I received a call from SM Center Lemery offering me a new opportunity—to be one of their partner riders.
"I'm so active in social media through my live videos and photo uploads kaya napansin nila ang mga ginagawa kong 'pasabuy.'
"However, sinabi rin sa akin ng Marketing Officer ni SM City Lemery na they needed a legit agency.
"So, I decided to establish my own delivery services company with five riders.
"We now have a kiosk called 'Center Concierge' located on the ground floor of the mall."
Anton formally opened WestBat Delivery Services on May 20 after obtaining business permits and completing the documents required by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
He added, "Wala pong funds na kinailangan to start WestBat Delivery Services.
"Pero processing of legal documents, inabot ng PHP12,000 to PHP15,000 for DTI, BIR and business permits, etc."
Anton said it's been smooth saiing for his delivery business since its start.
He told PEP.ph, "I was SM's official host since 2017 kaya di ako nahirapan makipag-partner sa kanila.
"Marami na po ako kilala sa mga staff, especially key persons. Kaya naging madali po ang aming transaction.
"Napakababait at maunawain nila sa akin especially sa mga requests ko.
"I also used my connections in furnishing government-required documents.
"I am so blessed that I'm surrounded with good people who have helped me process them.
"I hired a bookkeeper to facilitate all of these po."
Anton says, "With regard to getting riders, nag-post ako sa Facebook and I created a group chat for those who are interested to join WestBat.
"However, since we are not yet ready for expansion to a larger group, nag-commit muna ako sa five riders lang."
funding his business
Since Anton and his partner riders have their own vehicles to use at work, he only spent money on processing his government requirements.
As for his riders' wages, he revealed, "Wala silang fixed salary.
"Kumikita sila based on how many trips they make within a day, plus the service and delivery charges based on the customer's location.
"Our standard rate for the first three kilometers is PHP100, then additional rates will apply for the succeeding kilometers."
Still, starting his own business at the worst possible time has made him money-wise.
He said, "Malayo na ako sa dati kong personalidad na balewala lang.
"Ngayon, since mahirap kumita ng pera kung walang events, walang income at lalong walang savings.
"Nakasanayan ko na mag-ipon at mag-invest sa ngayon hindi tulad ng dati na balewala lang ."
ANTON's aDVICE: Be creative, never quit, trust in god
WestBat Delivery Services is also the official courier of "more than five business establishments" apart from SM Center Lemery.
Anton now has his hands full managing the business, selling food online, and serenading customers who book his "harana birthday package."
Anton shared, "Dapat maging mapaglaro ang inyong mga utak. Be creative.
"Hindi mo alam na iyong mga bagay na ayaw mo dati o akala mo ay hindi mo kayang gawin ay magagawa mo pala ng hindi inaasahan.
"Next, maging matatag. Hindi dapat sumusuko agad kung sakaling mag-fail ka sa una mong plano, ikalawa o ikatlo.
"Mas maraming options, mas maraming opportunity at lalong mas maraming possible income."
"Magdasal ka and sincerely talk to God. Surrender everything and let Him come before you.
"Hindi natin alam na iyong plano pala Niya sa atin ay iyong bagay na hindi natin plinano sa buhay natin at doon tayo magsasucceed.
"Never quit. Never say 'no.' Just continue what you think is the right thing to do and God will continue to lavish His blessings upon you."