Mon. Apr 12th, 2021

Retired OFW Couple Succeeds as Entrepreneurs

Everyone wants a better future for their families. This is why some of our Kabayans choose to work overseas. But, there is another possibility other than working overseas to be successful.

A couple in Dubai, who used to be Filipino overseas workers are now entrepreneurs. They are Josef and Lilian Marquez, the proud proprietors of Caffé Nativo in Tagaytay.

Josef and Lilian met each other at a big event in Dubai and little did they know, it was the beginning of their life together.

After a couple of months, they opted to relocate together, talked about starting their own business. They were inspired to see several Filipinos running their small shops in Karama, a famous shopping area in Dubai.

At the time, Lilian was 8 months pregnant and worked as a manager-in-training, while Josef worked as a supervisor. It was a struggle for them, and then in 2015 they finally decided to return to the Philippines with their modest savings.

They had a lot of plans, but it wasn’t one of them to set up their own café. They both planned to continue their studies at the Adventist University of the Philippines and ended up taking on business management.

It was Josef’s mom who recommended that they set up a café and told them she was ready to help them out financially. They’ve been baristas in Dubai for many years, and besides both liked the idea, and soon both began to look for suppliers and the ideal spot for their café.

They named it “Caffé Nativo”, seeing as they claimed that Philippine coffee could keep pace with the best in the world.

They also continued their business studies, despite deciding to start a business. 

Due to limited funds, they were unable to hire professionals for the design and construction of the café. So they were improvising. Both of them, including the parents of Josef, helped design the look of the place and chose the equipment that will be used. It wasn’t easy to think of a good design with limited budgets, but they managed to do it.

At first, they served coffee only, cakes and pastries. But later on, customers began to ask other kinds of foods. So they decided to add to their menu pasta, sandwiches, soups, Frappes, Specialty Coffee and Hot drinks.

The same with other businesses, they encountered difficulties during the first year of their business, but they persevere. Now, Caffe Nativo is looking into opening their business for franchise.

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