Kuya Chito found his luck in a Japanese snack food, called Takuyaki business. He has 22 branches all over the Philippines and continues to expand.

Hooked on drugs, financially broke, and left by his wife, Edgino Bogayong II attempted to commit suicide thrice.

That was eight years ago.

Today, Bogayong, also known as Kuya Chito, is a successful businessmen here because of friends and the challenge of proving to his family and in-laws that he could stand up.

Kuya Chito found his luck in a Japanese snack food, called Takuyaki business. He has 22 branches all over the country and continues to expand.

Takuyaki is a Japanese delicacy made up of squid and vegetables and comes in the form of bite-size balls.

Kuya Chito recalls that during the lowest stage in his life, his in-laws would say he could not bring up a family.

His daughters were told not to see him because he had no space for them to sleep.

Kuya Chito was an irregular fourth year mechanical engineering student at the University of Mindanao in Davao City when he met and married Junith Rosales, with whom he has two children—Elaiza, 20 and Ejay, 14.

While a student, Kuya Chito knew he was not born to be an engineer. All he wanted to do was to set up his own business.

But with an empty pocket, a troubled marriage and a craving for drugs, his dream seemed impossible.

Then manna came in the form of a P40,000-start-up fund from four of his best friends—Edward Sevilla, an engineer at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Armand Elechicon, district supervisor of Wyeth Philippines; Larry San Juan, now based in London; and Rogel del Rosario, supervisor of the Davao Union Cement—who gave P10,000 each.

"They helped me because they could not accept seeing me down. They are among my priceless possessions in life," he says.

Kuya Chito used the money to put up a Takuyaki business. He then devoted his time and energy running his small business.

Experimenting on Takuyaki, aided by the love for cooking that he acquired from his mother, Kuya Chito finally came up with his own formula. He only needed a stall so he could start selling.

While working as supervisor of Anchor Driving Range, a golf course owned by a scion of a fishing tycoon here, he met Domingo Teng, owner of Kimball Plaza mall.

Teng offered him a space at the ground floor of the mall. It became the first outlet of Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki.

Only Chito, his mother and one helper manned the store.

After about two years, Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki branched out to Fitmart. A year later, he opened a new branch inside the Gaisano Mall. In the same year, he opened a fourth outlet in KCC mall.

The snack eventually captured the taste and preference of the locals.

The way his business was making headway gave Chito back his lost self-esteem and enthusiasm.

A lot of prayers later, he got back his family.

Now, Kuya Chito says his life is complete.

Today, his wife and children help him run the business.

He admits that his reconciliation with his wife contributed much to the success of his business. "I am happy we are together again. No amount of success can compensate a couple’s failure in a home."

Kuya Chito says he was also thankful to Avel Manansala, his friend and adviser, for keeping up with him during the bad times.

Today, Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki has branches in Koronadal City, Iloilo, Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro. This month, more branches are opening in Bacolod City and Metro Manila area.

Most of these branches are managed by franchisees. The family manages only seven outlets.

Franchised dealers enter into a five-year lease contract with Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki. Franchise fee is P90,000 for every outlet and the owner gets 5 percent of the gross sales of the franchise holders.

Under the contract, Kuya Chito serves as exclusive supplier of the ingredients, equipment and other personal materials like cups and tissue paper.

In Cagayan de Oro, he reveals his franchised dealer earns a net income of P300,000 monthly from six outlets.

Asked about the factors which enabled him to succeed, he says: "Quality product, quality service and patience."

With the success of Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki, he ventured into other businesses.

In 2002, his wife put up "Kakanin Atbp." serving native delicacies. Chito says his wife had already recovered the amount she invested.

Recently, he also opened "Hobby Shop," which sells high-end air soft gaming equipment.

"My new business is doing well so far. It’s like hitting two birds with just one stone. While enjoying, I’m earning," he says.