Foodie In The Spotlight: Joe Vargas
Meeting PR people, other bloggers, and even business owners has been a normal occurrence to me now. Before I was shy to ask questions and strike up a conversation because... I'm "just a writer", but through the years I realized that this is my greatest power 'cause I know how to tell a story and I can tell it the way I want to. So, today I'm a giving you a glimpse of Joe Vargas' story as the first-time food stall owner. I think his story is important--especially to us younger people who love daydreaming about having our own business some day. (Me included.) Without further ado, here's his story.
From PBB Contestant to Actor
Joe Vargas, if you're not familiar with him yet, started out in PBB. Yes, as in, the show where people are kept inside a house, living life without contact from the outside world, and following orders from an anonymous male voice through the speaker. To state the obvious, he was the chubby, dark-skinned teenager in the group. Although this doesn't really matter to me, it matters to a lot of people in the industry. When he came out of the PBB house he lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of muscle, and build his career from his new-found confidence in his body. He scored projects here in there and dabbled in the online fashion business with another business partner to add to expand his means.
Business of Fashion
The launch of his clothing line was where we first met. I worked for a local online magazine back then and they wanted to be featured. I, along with a few other people from the press and young actors (which were also his friends), attended the event and got to know each other casually through awkward conversations and salutations. I wrote the article and published it but I never got the X deal items. Our business relationship actually went further to becoming more than just a media partner. We had a project in mind and a collaboration in mind. To be fair, it wasn't his fault. There were lapses in production and with his partner... having too many businesses happening all at once. When this happened I started questioning the legitimacy of it all. Looking back, it was legitimate, it just wasn't working out.
Rising From Failure
Needless to say, the business did not push through and there were a lot of people left hanging, including me. Here I was, investing my time and effort for nothing. But I accepted it as a part of running a business and just stopped talking to Joe's partner altogether. I guess that's also one of the many risks you have to take as a writer/blogger. Working with other businesses needs trust. You have to know if it's a story worth telling and if they can pull off their end of the bargain without compromising anything. During this time I moved on and accepted that the other projects we planned were a no-go. And So did Joe. Aside from answering a lot of questions about his clothing line (he was the face of the brand, after all), he was also focusing on his career as an actor. He cut ties with his partner and started a new chapter with food.
Love Stories and Longanissa
Fast forward to this year, I get a message from Joe asking if we can talk and meet. Being the side-hustler that I was, I said yes. I think it was time to clear the air. My boyfriend and I met him at a coffice and seated beside him was a charming young lady, Bianca Anga. This was the day I learned about their story. Joe and Bianca are both a couple and business partners. He explained to us (since my boyfriend was also part of our "failed" projects before) about how and why his clothing line didn't push through-- but that's all okay now, because he has a new business in the food industry.
Joe's Day & Night Longga sparked from a random idea they both had during one of their dates. Since Bianca's family was always making longganisa at home, why not make profit out of it? And just like that, they made it happen. Of course, they had to gather capital, fixed their branding, and choose a space. They landed on Buendia Food By The Court. A food park literally beside a basketball court thriving with residents, employees and students. It was a good location and the market was good.
The food was good too. I mean, how can you not love Longganisa? Their "longsilog" rice meals are different because you can have it in 3 variants: Salisbury steak, Teriyaki, Mediterrian. And you can also it in sisig style, or stuffed and fried into balls, or as a panini, or eaten with crunchy noodles. Their take on Longanissa was different. It took you to different places with their sauces and presentation but at the same time, it's local--it's homemade longganisa! I couldn't be happier that Joe's venture has finally caught up! (Hooray! Another point for #TeamMillennial LOL.)
I couldn't be happier that Joe's venture has finally caught up! Hooray! Another point for #TeamMillennial .
Keeping Up with The Momentum
Now that everything has fallen into place with Joe and Bianca's business, it's time to be brave and own the concept. Now, they have a second branch in Ortigas' StrEATery and will be adding new items on their menu. People are excited and foodies like me are hungry for more.
I guess the lesson that I wanted to tell here is that failure is part of success. It's by hitting rock bottom that we get our grit and will to survive. Another thing is that if you have an idea and you feel strongly about it, own it and make it happen. No one else will do it for you, so might as well bust your ass and keep on pushing!
Buendia Food By The Court, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Bautista and Finlandia Streets, Makati