Press Releases
Fishball vendor traverses bumpy roads to triumph


Sunrise illuminates a dreary home full of life struggles, the anxiety could possibly intensify as the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic is hard that devastated the life of humanity.  However, all men dream of a happy life in this mortal estate and on the other side of the veil.

Mang Ricky Apaccag, 46 years old, a husband and a father of two hails in Zone 02, San Mariano, Isabela, and a fishball vendor is lucky to be one of the recipients of DOLE’s Nego-Kart project on fishball vending. This project has slowly improved his daily income.

This is just a dream for him. His rolling fishball vending journey started as conductor for the public utility vehicle, however, 10 years ago he lost his job due to economic downturns that affected the company he worked for. In his quest for a good living, he found his way into fishball vending through a friend. However, for the five long years to wrestle with the rigors of life, satisfaction and abundance have not favored him.  

For him, seeing his family complete and happy is a satisfying sight for him. But his dreams of giving them the best life made him more inspired to all the more persevere.

Mang Ricky is a well-known fishball vendor in town not only to toddlers, passersby, vendors, drivers, professionals, and students, but also to the local chief executives, and all the employees in the municipal hall.

He felt hopeless due to the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic. He couldn’t get to drive his fishball cart to sell street foods outside as he always does for a living. No more people hanging around, no more students coming out of school, no more tired and famished employees rushing towards him just by the aroma of his fish balls and no more hearing the sound of children yelling: “Pisboooolll. Pisboool”.

It has always been a struggle for him to allocate his small and stagnant earnings for his family’s growing needs yet the pandemic made it more difficult, even impossible. The fear of not being able to send his youngest son to school caused him to worry.

Just like a sudden jolt, hope sprang into his heart when he received a call from the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), informing him as one of the recipients of the Isabela Recovery Initiatives to Support Enterprises (I-RISE) in 2020, he won second place in the search for best performing I-Rise beneficiary, spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Isabela. The cash prize and financial assistance received were used to expand the fishball project that was granted to him by the DOLE in 2018. When it rains it pours so to speak, his blessings are overflowing as DOLE through the provincial government of Isabela has recently awarded him P30K worth of additional raw materials for his fishball and Talipapa projects.

The financial assistance he received from the provincial government and additional raw materials from DOLE were not just mere assistance but a tool that helped him and his family rise back.

Meanwhile, through the combined profit from their new business and from the selling of fishballs, they were able to have their house renovated. They no longer worry about how to sustain their daily needs amidst the pandemic. Moreover, the additional cost of his younger son’s school expenses is no longer a problem. In fact, Mang Ricky now earns 700.00 to P1,500.00 net profit per day in selling fish balls in town.

These are just some of the many blessings that came and continuously poured into their family’s life through the DOLE Starter Kit program and the I-RISE financial support to augment existing capital for the fish ball and vegetable vending. He was grateful for having been blessed with such kindness and generosity not only from the DOLE, but from the provincial government of Isabela and the municipal government of San Mariano. ###

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