Chasing Dreams

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Paul Jhone Dominic G. Ebon has always dreamt of putting up his own restaurant business someday. An out-of-school youth, with no knowledge in business, Paul thought he was aiming for the impossible.

Paul, 25, is the eldest son of Alvin Ebon and Vidala Ebon who are farmers in Calinan, Baguio District, Davao City. He grew in their 1.5-hectare lot that is planted with assorted vegetables and fruits trees.

He sought for means to turn his dream into reality. When he was invited by the Davao City Agriculture Office to join the 4-H Club, he was more than fascinated. He knew then that this would open great things for him in agriculture. True to his expectations, Paul was able to participate in various capacity building trainings conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). “ATI helped a lot in boosting my self-confidence and encouraged me to do more. I started to like agriculture, it has become exciting and fulfilling for me. I applied the different agricultural technologies I learned to our farm and it helped boost our family’s income,” Paul related.

Not long after he joined the organization, he was elected as president of the 4-H Eagle Squad Club in their district. Notwithstanding the difficulties in handling teenagers, he continued to recruit and organize the out-of-school youth in his barangay.

“I was actively participating in training programs and applied my knowledge in our farm to showcase my learnings. It was then that the Department of Agriculture (DA) and ATI noticed my hard work and I was lucky that my project proposal on native chicken production for our 4-H Club was approved,” said Paul. The ATI granted the 4-H Eagle Squad Club with P100,000.00 funding assistance for their poultry production livelihood project. The amount is payable in three years from the date it was granted. The club members put up a poultry at the farm of the Ebon’s where they raise native chicken for marketing. This livelihood project also gives employment opportunity to 4-H members while they take turns in managing the poultry venture.

In 2015, Paul passed the exam for the Young Filipino Farmers Training Program in Japan (YFFTPJ). The YFFTPJ is an exchange program with the Ministry of Japan where qualified 4-H leaders are sent to Japan for 11 months to learn agricultural production techniques, management and distribution systems in Japanese farmers’ houses. Upon returning, they are expected to impart their new knowledge, skills, and lessons learned to their respective communities in their regions.

After the program, Paul proposed for a meat processing project as value-adding for their existing backyard piggery business. Paul received P50,000.00 post-training assistance as start-up capital to apply the technologies he learned in Japan. The money was used to purchase meat processing equipment and materials to start his business. He utilized their pig fatteners to produce tocino, embutido chorizo, and other meat products which he sells to his neighbors and friends. He also sells fresh pork and lechon (roasted pig).

Aside from this, Paul also developed his personality and leadership skills. He was invited by ATI to become a Senpai or a big brother who teaches basic Nihongo to other YTFFPJ trainees. He also became a host brother for a local exchange program where young farmers from other localities stayed in his farm for one week to learn various agricultural technologies. He was likewise invited as resource speaker on different topics on agricultural technology and leadership skills. “I was able to transfer the knowledge acquired in Japan,” Paul added.
“Though I was not able to finish my course in BS Hotel and Restaurant Management, I am happy that my meat processing business now is still in line with my childhood dream. My dream of owning a restaurant is within reach. I know in the end this will lead me to where I really wanted to be and what I really wanted to do,” Paul happily confided.

“This is all because I didn’t give up in dreaming. I did not give up despite the setbacks. I worked for my dreams, always armed with positivity and enthusiasm which helped me walk through all hurdles that came my way. Above all, I am a happy person, believing God knows what’s in my heart and He will guide me all the way.” Paul ended.