All throughout the health crisis brought about by COVID-19, we’ve heard stories of how people are working together to help everyone—frontliners, workers, students—affected by this crisis. These stories prove that the Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit is still very much alive and that anyone with a good heart and good intentions can help.
While resilience in times of crisis should not be romanticized, it’s a breather to hear positive stories once in a while, especially since there’s a lot that’s been happening in the past few months. One of these feel-good stories is about the Binthau Bakeshop in Binangonan, Rizal, which bakes and distributes bread to the needy in their town. (Read: ‘No-knead bread’ is all the rage these days—and we fully get why!)
If you ask us, Binthau’s story definitely lines up with one of Pope Francis’ advocacies—helping the poor. Which is why, My Pope got in touch with the owner to get to know him and their bakeshop better.
Jose Carpio Doton, or “Jose” to his family and friends, is a Pangasinense who moved to Manila at the young age of 9 to work for a good future. He started out as a helper at a sewing factory, then eventually became a driver for a shop in Greenhills. That was also where he met a woman of Chinese descent who would soon become his wife.
Jose and his wife were blessed with a daughter whom they raised on their own. He worked as a taxi driver while she tutored their daughter at home. To support his growing family, Jose thought of starting his own carinderia, as he was undoubtedly good at cooking—a skill he learned from his aunt who also had her own carinderia. (Read: Husband and wife create Viber bot for your food delivery needs)
For some time, the husband-and-wife tandem worked day and night as cook, accountant, server, and parent to their daughter. Soon after, they were blessed with another child—a son this time—and Jose had to once again think of ways to support his growing family. That was when he delved into a ready-to-wear (RTW) business at a weekend tiangge somewhere in Quezon City.
“Imagine, na-maintain namin ang carinderia Lunes [hanggang] Biyernes at tianggean tuwing Sabado hanggang Linggo!” Jose shares. (Read: The secret behind Papemelroti’s success)
Fruit of Hard Work
When Jose earned enough for capital, he and his wide started yet another business. This time, they opened a store that sells eggs—regular egg, salted egg, quail egg, and even balut and penoy.
Handling several businesses on top of being parents to two children proved to be too exhausting for the couple. It even got to a point where Jose’s wife suffered a miscarriage because of the work they had to put in. Because of this, the couple eventually closed down their carinderia and started to question themselves if working multiple jobs at once is the right thing to do. “Ayaw lang namin danasin nila [mga anak] ang aming dinanas,” Jose explains. (Read: We asked grandparents: How do you attain genuine happiness?)
That was when Jose took notice of a bakery in Binangonan, Rizal, that had lots of customers day and night. Upon learning that the said bakery was about to close down due to internal problems, Jose stepped in to ask its owners if he could take over the business. And much to his surprise, they agreed! “Sa isip ni misis, sayang naman [kasi] walang tinapayan sa San Juan Agora,” Jose shares.
Business was great and they even closed their egg store to focus more on the bakery. However, problems arose when their supplier started delivering incomplete orders to their store. “Hindi pantay ang delivery, lagi sa aming may kulang,” Jose says. (Read: These life lessons will help you welcome change with a positive attitude)
To make do with the situation, the couple thought of opening their own bakery which was to be called “Binthau”—a Chinese word that translates to ‘bread store’.
The following months have proven to be kind to Jose and his family. The name “Binthau Bakeshop” has slowly become known in Binangonan, Rizal, and Jose was more than grateful for the blessings they’ve been receiving. (Read: 2 Simple Ways to Remain Grateful Despite the Chaos)
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Jose and his wife began making bread for those in need. He says it’s his own little way of giving back for the continuous success of their bakeshop. “Ang hirap po mabuhay lalo na sa panahon ngayon…may kanya-kanyang daing na dinadanas,” Jose says of their initiative. “Kung ang pandesal [na] dalawang piso, hirap na ang taong bumili, paano pa kaya ang face mask na inaabot ng 25-40 pesos?”
The couple’s feeding initiative eventually reached more people as they also started to provide bread to frontliners like nurses, doctors, and soldiers. Jose says that it’s a small effort that gives a huge sense of fulfillment. “Kaunting tulong na ang sukli sa iyo ay Walang katapusang pasasalamat at mga ngiting di mo matatawaran,” he says.
Jose says their family doesn’t expect anything in return, “ginagawa ko ito bilang sukli sa binigay sa akin ng ating Panginoon.” He hopes that in the future, his children would follow in their footsteps and help those in need, especially in times like this. (Read: Prayers to Help Those Who Are Suffering)