Rodelia was only 17 when she married Arsenio Mateo. Their livelihood then was weaving tikiw (ti-KYOO), a sharp grasslike weed found in swampy areas, which was used by a liquor company for their packaging needs. As working with tikiw caused abrasions on their hands and arms, Rodelia’s mother advised the couple to discontinue this livelihood which earned them only Php 60.00 per day. Rodelia then tried to work in a factory while her husband drove a passenger’s jeepney. Still it was hard to make both ends meet. With the meager salary in the factory and an irregular income in driving, the couple decided to acquire a loan from a moneylender. With the loan, they bought and sold fish in the nearby Siniloan market in Laguna.
Rodelia began her own fish raising business at the same time a trading business, while her husband drove his tricycle as a public transport service. When Rodelia joined ASHI in 1996, the initial Php 2,000 loan as well as the subsequent loans helped the Mateo family expand and maintain their businesses in fishing, buying-and-selling, and acquiring an additional passenger tricycle. Having put up several fish cages, Rodelia went into dealership, delivering the fish to her vendor customers in the market and in other municipalities. To cut costs, the tricycles initially doubled up as delivery as well as passenger vehicles.
The present market value of these enterprises is estimated to be Php 585,000.00. Their assets include 30 fish cages, 5 fish traps, 2 passenger vehicles, a van, and a fiberglass boat. Annual sales and receipts are registered at about Php 910,560.00. Rodelia believes that her success in business could be intended not only for herself but for the community as well, as she sees the opportunity to provide income for vendors who sell her fish on consignment basis. She attributes success to opportunities of obtaining sufficient capital, as well as skillful planning in running several enterprises at the same time.
Through the educational loan from ASHI and Rodelia’s thriving business, their eldest child was able to finish an engineering course and is now employed. They have one more child to send to college. Rodelia was elected this year as secretary to the Fisherfolks Association in their barangay and is an active member of their community’s Women’s Club.