Mrs. Myrna Fernandez Susano was born and raised in the rice cake business. At the age of ten, she started selling rice cakes with her mother in Olongapo City.
In 1972, Myrna got married and had eight (8) children. With her knowledge and skill in making rice cakes, she was able to start her own rice cake business. She peddled house to house and sold them in bamboo trays. The business became her family’s main source of living, helping them defray their everyday expenses and even funding her children’s education.
In 2017, Myrna was able to lease a small space at the Castillejos Public Market and registered it as Myrna Susano Rice Cake Store. During that time, her gross sales amounted to an average of P3,000 daily, giving her a profit of P500.
In 2020, her family was not spared from the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her husband was laid off as a construction worker and she was unable to sell due to the shortage of raw materials. Each day, Myrna agonizes about her business rising again.
With a flicker of hope, Myrna tried to bounce back into the business. She was able to sell her rice cakes again with the help and support of her children. This time she sells at the public market on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays where she earns ₱500 - ₱600 per selling day.
On May 18, 2022, Myrna was fortunate to be selected as a beneficiary of the DTI-Zambales Livelihood Seeding Program - Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay. She received raw materials for rice cake making which helped her increase her production from two (2) bamboo trays to four (4) bamboo trays of kakanin with average daily sales of P5,000.
For over 50 years, Myrna is known as a veteran rice maker in Castillejos, Zambales. At the age of 70, even when her children have their own families, she continues to make rice cakes while she can. “Masaya ako at sa edad ko na ito nakakagawa pa ako ng kakanin at gagawa ako habang ako ay nabubuhay” – Myrna said.
By: Jhoana Rosalyn Pona / NC Castillejos