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  • Kiana Abiva

From Struggle to Success: Girlie Obias' Journey to Motherhood

As Mother's Day approaches, it's time to reflect on the incredible strength, resilience, and love that mothers around the world embody each day. Among these remarkable women is Girlie Obias, whose story is a testament to the power of determination, faith, and the boundless love of a mother.

Girlie Obias hails from Sulucan, Angat, Bulacan, Philippines, where she grew up in a large family with seven sisters and two brothers. Born into poverty, Girlie faced numerous challenges from a young age. She experienced the harsh realities of living with an empty stomach, trekking long distances to school due to financial constraints, and even working odd jobs selling fried peanuts in the public market and washing dishes to support her family and education. Despite these hardships, Girlie found solace in her family and her faith in God.

Central to Girlie's upbringing were her parents, Gina and Gerardo Obias. Her mother, Gina, was a resilient figure who served as a community mother leader for the local government unit’s 4P's program (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), a human development measure providing grants to the poorest families. Girlie saw how her mother juggled multiple jobs, from serving the community to working as a cook, cleaner, and occasional laundrywoman. Girlie's father, Gerardo, worked as a truck driver until his failing eyesight forced him to retire early. Despite their own struggles, Girlie's parents instilled in her the values of hard work, perseverance, and the love and sacrifice for the sake of the family.

These early experiences shaped Girlie's aspirations and fueled her determination to succeed. Despite the odds stacked against her, Girlie refused to be defined by her circumstances. She seized every opportunity that came her way, driven by her parents' example of resilience and sacrifice.

Girlie's journey took a significant turn when she applied and became a scholar at SEED Philippines (School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development) in Bulacan, where she pursued her passion for cooking and entrepreneurship. Inspired by the principles of social entrepreneurship, Girlie honed her skills and was awarded a scholarship to the renowned culinary school, the Paul Bocuse Institute, in France. Upon returning to the Philippines, she landed a job as a chef at one of the country's famous restaurants, Bizu Patisserie.

However, Girlie's path to success faced a new challenge when the pandemic hit, forcing the restaurant to cease operations. Fortunately, she was offered the opportunity to continue her passion for cooking at BayanAnihan, developing products from potatoes grown in Benguet, Philippines. During the peak of her research and development, Girlie became pregnant at the age of 25. Balancing the demands of motherhood with her burgeoning career was no easy feat, yet Girlie approached it with the same determination and resilience that defined her journey thus far. With the support of her partner, Marlon Parale, BayanAnihan, and the Gawad Kalinga community, Girlie managed to excel as both a mother and a professional. Marlon was also hired as Production Assistant which helped the family’s income and having the production area of BayanAnihan located just minutes away from their home, they are able to find quality time between work and family.

As Girlie's career flourished, she found herself leading the production team at BayanAnihan Corporation, overseeing the production of potato chips as part of her researched products from potatoes. Her dedication to her work, coupled with her commitment to supporting local farmers and impoverished families, was key to the success of acquiring the supply contract for Potato Corner, Philippines’ leading franchise for fried potatoes.

Despite facing numerous challenges along the way, including her son, Marco's health struggles and the pressures of balancing work and motherhood, Girlie remained steadfast in her resolve. Her story serves as an inspiration to other young mothers facing similar obstacles, reminding them that with faith, determination, and unwavering support, anything is possible.

As we celebrate Mother's Day this year, let us honor remarkable women like Girlie Obias, whose love, sacrifice, and resilience know no bounds. Let us celebrate their remarkable strength and dedication to their families and communities. And let us strive to emulate their example of love, courage, and perseverance in all aspects of our lives.

This Mother's Day, GK USA pays tribute to the journey of Girlie Obias and all mothers who embody the spirit of resilience, determination, and endless love.

Happy Mother's Day to all the incredible mothers out there!

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