We all had our masked faces (with eyes still smiling) and TikTok sways captured by cameras over the last few months while this coronavirus pandemic locked us away from the physical world.
We, Filipinos, are still resilient.
Your neighbor got furloughed from work and started reselling products online. Your dad couldn’t operate the family business but still managed to do carpooling within the metro. Your mom willingly risked her health for public service. Your teacher turned out to be your food delivery service provider with his motorcycle. Your graduation did not push through. Aw, sad.
We all had almost the same horrendous, rather life-changing, pandemic stories to tell. Others though couldn’t wait for the next generation to hear, just like this simple yet inspiring story I am about to feature.
Meet JOHN FELIX SAN JUAN, a.k.a. Kuya Joni, our featured young chef and entrepreneur. If you’re around Angono or Taytay, Rizal, then you might have heard about CHEF JONI’S TAPA-TARAP — that ready-to-cook marinated pork and beef tapa. Yes, you’re right. Kuya Joni is your chef and delivery guy at the same time. He has his innovative secret recipe that transforms a regular meat into an extraordinarily palatable tapa, something perfect for fried rice at any meal of the day.
Launched on Fathers’ Day, Chef Joni’s Tapa-tarap salutes all hardworking fathers out there for all sacrifices for their family. As a young father and husband himself, Kuya Joni believes that there’s always a reason to wake up each day, fry some tapa, and eat breakfast together with the whole family. Everybody needs and deserves a good breakfast (with tapa-tarap) for a whole new day of overcoming all challenges and reaping the fruits of hard labor. This pandemic is just another challenge. This too shall pass.
Currently, Chef Joni’s Tapa-tarap accepts preorders via their Facebook page and delivers free of charge within Angono, Taytay, and Cainta in Rizal. Apart from the original beef and pork tapa recipes, they have also started offering hot ‘n spicy flavored tapas, and their versions of TapKaLog, TapSiLog, and TapBalog. All tapas are offered at very affordable prices. For instance, a kilo of ready-to-cook marinated hot ‘n spicy beef tapa can be availed at PHP470. Wow!
Behind this startup business lies a strong-willed and enterprising millennial. Kuya Joni was a high school dropout. His dream was simple – to work in a cruise ship. He has been holding onto this dream until now (but a little delay because of the pandemic). He didn’t experience marching up on stage for his high school diploma, but he completed an equivalent program through the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
That dream got even more realistic when he enrolled at STI College Ortigas-Cainta for a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BSHRM). On the backdrop of his academic pursuit and acceptance of the big responsibility as the College Student Council President, a few would know that he would also help sustain his family being a part-time tricycle driver and with all other side hustles. He made it all just as he promised himself. He finished his degree right at the dawn of this pandemic.
If you still feel sad about not marching up on stage on your graduation day, then think about Kuya Joni who also once expected he would have that once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Life indeed is unpredictable. Blessings come in disguise even during the most difficult times like this pandemic, but for a father like Kuya Joni, life continues while providing everything for the future of his kids. Mami Chicklet is always on the side. Together, with their Chef Joni’s Tapa-tarap, the couple continues to inspire others to innovate products and start their own business as well.
Make your first tapa-tarap order now! Visit their Facebook page Chef Joni’s Tapa-tarap.