Coleen Emily and Frank Salinas of Hilongos Branch, Sogod District, were married in the Cebu Philippines Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2013. They both found a job in Cebu, but their combined salary was not enough to meet the high cost of living in the city.
Amid their hardships, the couple promised each other that they would always pay their tithing and fast offerings. They learned to adjust their budget for food consumption and transportation. With their regular attendance to temple sessions, they were able to find comfort and strength to continue.
Coleen’s mother learned about their situation in Cebu City, so she told the couple to come home to their province. Coleen and Frank wanted to discuss possible options to earn without leaving their place again. Back in Hilongos, Leyte, they both agreed to wait a while for business opportunities. They believed and trusted that God would set everything in order.
In the later part of 2013, Coleen’s mother was offered to buy a second-hand stainless baking oven. She bought it because she trusted that the couple could make cakes. After all, Frank has baking experience, and Coleen was a graduate of Food Preparation and Service Technology. The couple started baking and selling cakes during the holiday season that year. At first, they struggled running their small business due to lack of practice and shortage of financial capital to buy tools, equipment, and ingredients.
To generate more income, Frank decided to work during the Cebu temple maintenance Shutdown. He worked for two weeks in January and July 2014. When he returned to Hilongos, he was hired to do work in a machine shop while his wife continued accepting cake orders. Due to the increasing demand for their cakes, Frank finally decided to quit his job and focus on their business. After a few months of setting aside money for their business needs, they slowly acquired the tools & equipment they needed. They were both satisfied with their increasing profit and savings.
To compete with the market, they attended a series of hands-on baking classes and workshops at a baking school in Ormoc City. Through the new techniques they learned, they gained the satisfaction and loyalty of their customers. The Starting and Growing My Business Self-Reliance class and the ACE workshops helped them manage and market their products. Today, Frank and Coleen have six people working for them with two more on-call during their peak seasons.
During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, cake orders were slow, but they are still blessed because they have retained their old customers. As they look back to their humble beginnings, they realized that being self-reliant indeed requires effort, ability, and commitment. They are happier now because they no longer have to leave their province, and because of that, they can serve in the district and give some people a source of income. Coleen is serving as the Young Women President of Hilongos branch while Frank is serving as the Branch Clerk. ◼︎