By: Myrrh Caithlin L. Gutierrez
#LOOK: Laudable Ounces of Kindness is an article series which features extraordinary efforts in this time of pandemic from DOST-assisted micro, small, and medium enterprises and people’s organizations in CALABARZON
Baking is Binthau Bakeshop’s bread and butter. This is also how they extended their help to feed the frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also hard for them to shop for raw materials at a given time, to deliver to their regular customers, and to earn their usual sales- but these did not hinder them from feeding the hungry.
Affected by the crisis brought upon by the pandemic, Jose Carpio Doton, owner of Binthau Bakeshop and a DOST SETUP beneficiary from Binangonan, Rizal, thought of how much more can these problems affect the poor when even him, a self-employed business owner, finds it so hard to endure.“Bilang Pilipino na malakas ang loob at may pananampalataya sa Panginoon, laban lang, kaya natin yan.” [As a strong-willed Filipino who has faith in the Lord, we can do it. Let us fight together.] This is what he keeps on saying as he distributes food to the hungry people, to the soldiers enduring the scorching heat of the sun, and to the nurses risking their lives to save others.
The pandemic meant a lot of loss for Binthau Bakeshop. Orders decreased. A lot of places where they supply bread were locked down. They are running out of raw materials and buying these also takes a lot of hard work. No one was prepared for this kind of business loss. However, Binthau Bakeshop did not think of their losses. In these hard times, they did not choose to earn profit even though they have the means to do so. Instead, they chose to feed the needy with the bread that they baked. They also purchased PPEs and distributed them to the frontliners. When the people wanted bread, Binthau Bakery sold bread. But when the people needed bread, Binthau Bakery gave away bread. In times like these, it’s not always business for them.
Below the Breadline
Mr. and Mrs. Doton show their baked products.
Like any other business, Binthau bakeshop started from humble beginnings. Jose, who was then a 9 year old kid from the province of Pangasinan, braved his way to Manila to look for jobs. At his young age, he started to work as a helper in a small tailor shop. His job included sweeping the floor, cleaning the surroundings, watering the plants, carrying messages for other people, and doing other leg works for the tailor shop. He grew up doing all these things every day. Life was tough for Jose but he did not let himself stay below the breadline. He persisted to learn how to drive. He then became a driver whose task is to deliver the tailored clothes to Greenhills in which he had the chance to have commission. Aside from this chance, Jose also encountered this once in a lifetime chance of meeting the love of his life. He grabbed both chances and married the lady of his dreams- a Chinese national who was willing to leave everything behind her just to be with Jose.
Love: The greatest thing since sliced bread
Their parents were against their marriage but they never considered it as half-baked. They faced life together. Jose became a taxi driver and his wife became a tutor. They also opened a small canteen as Jose’s passion is really in the kitchen. As their family grow, the couple worked double time- working all day and night, struggling to make both ends meet. When their canteen business started to become stable, his wife decided to resign from her job to focus on their business. She served the customers well and became his husband’s secretary and collector. Meanwhile, Jose juggled his tasks as a father, a taxi driver, a cook, and a delivery man. Aside from their buzzing busy life during weekdays, the couple also peddled clothes in weekend bazaars. They bring their two children with them everywhere.
After hustling for years, they were able to save a small amount to rent a place in which they sell different kinds of eggs. However, this business was established at the expense of giving up their canteen business as their bodies already suffered from tiredness. One afternoon as they were contemplating on how they worked hard so their children won’t have to go through what they experienced, they noticed the bakery in front of them with customers piling up. However, the bakery encountered internal problems which almost led them to close. Since there is no other bakeshop in the area, the couple then asked if they can manage the store. They stopped their egg business and focused on the bakeshop. Later on, they decided to bake their own bread. They sought help from their uncle who was willing enough to teach them, lend them oven, and even let his baker stay with them to make bread for them. They named their bakery “Binthau” which means “bread store” in Chinese. Through time, they gain more and more customers. Their business continued to grow like a bread with yeast until they decided to just focus on supplying bread to other bakeries.
Icing on the Cake: DOST’s Intervention
Semi-Automatic Dough Divider/Rounder
Being a supplier, the demand for bread grew. Binthau Bakeshop needed to produce more bread at a specific time. They tried to ask for assistance from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and to their surprise, DOST provided them with machineries and equipment through SETUP that would help them increase their production. This intervention helped Binthau Bakeshop flourish more in their business.
Casting Bread Upon Waters
Jose Carpio Doton knew how it felt when the bread falls on the buttered side. His tough life experiences kneaded him into someone with a soft heart for the needy. Whenever he sees someone in need, his first move is to share a bread. Countless times, Binthau Bakeshop supplied bread for the flooded people in Ormoc, for the evacuees during the Taal eruption, for the several outreach programs conducted by DOST, and this time, to the people and frontliners in need.
This is the story of how Binthau Bakeshop kneaded towards success. This is the story of how they kneaded for the needy.