INDEPENDENT restaurant operators in Davao City have been facing an unprecedented crisis since the lockdown of the city in March 2020.
Cash strapped and definitely not expecting any government aid, independent restaurants are struggling and fighting for the lives of their businesses despite facing the uncertainty of the end of the Covid virus epidemic.
It was in August of 2019 when Rogelio “Budoy” Cañales, a former Marco Polo Davao waiter cum bartender, inaugurated his bar business called “Mixed Temptation.”
Not too long after its inauguration, the ever hardworking Budoy became busy with his business specially focusing on his in-demand Mixed Temptation Mobile Bar which then catered nonstop to special events being held in the then vibrant city.
Eagerly working hard to achieve success, Budoy also renovated his house while adding some rooms to accommodate boarders for the extra income needed to support his growing family.
Budoy’s Mixed Temptation, located along Ponciano Street fronting the Capitan Tomas Elementary School, easily caught the attention of bibulous
people. Budoy, after all, served as a bartender at Marco Polo Davao’s Pool Bar as well as in the Eagles Bar. “It was in February of 2018 when I resigned from Marco Polo Davao as I wanted to start my own business.
The booming popularity of the mobile bar became so tempting that I was determined to have my own as a feasible source of income for my growing family,” reasoned Budoy. Budoy studied and attended seminars and workshops to master the art of bartending.
Budoy’s Mixed Temptation also offers its clients Cantonese cuisine. It is no surprise at all since Budoy also experienced working at Marco Polo Davao’s Lotus Court which was then known as the best Cantonese restaurant in Davao City before it closed its doors.
“Through this passion and love for my kind of work, I can now do a lot of things from what I thought were impossible to realize before. As I’ve gained the experience and knowledge on bartending, I’ve started to share the skills I’ve earned through my struggling years of hard work with students, casuals, newbies, and young bartenders who have the passion to become competent in this line of work.
And I also give them hope and inspiration as I strongly believe that if you follow your passion and dream, everything will happen at the right time,” I remembered Budoy telling me, and I admiringly agreed then with him. “The government imposed lockdown in March 2020, owing to the Covid epidemic caught me by surprise. Then followed the government restrictions including the alcohol ban which was such a nightmare for me.
To make business worse was the 7:00 p.m. curfew. Lucky for me I still have my restaurant to make do with take-out and home delivery. Opening my restaurant demands a fervent love for the business, but I am not sure if that is enough to ensure the survival of Mixed Temptation.
The restaurant is just staying afloat at this time. Like the other struggling restaurants still operating, we have to deal with the new government regulations about social distancing, on-premise seating capacity, and a safe work environment.
I am often wondering when the threat of this Covid epidemic will be behind us. The significant economic damage wrought by the Covid epidemic is something I never expected to happen when I started my business which I truly work hard for,” lamented Budoy adding, “I am so grateful that my previous clients at the Lotus Court and people I met along the way haven’t stopped patronizing Mixed Temptation.
I pray that I will survive all these challenges coming my way as I am not only supporting my family, but also my employees some of whom are friends who were once working for Marco Polo Davao before the hotel stopped its operations.”
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