Andrew is now the owner of Salu-Salo Restaurant in Canberra, Australia, which has been serving Filipino food for nearly two years.
Former street vendor turned janitor who is now a successful restaurant owner in Australia has realized his dream. Meet John Andrew Dangca, an Australian business entrepreneur who runs a Filipino restaurant in Canberra. But, before becoming a corporate success, he worked as a street seller and a cleaner for many years. Eat Bulaga”Bawal !’s Judgmental” segment. He told us about his success.
He reflected on his poor beginnings in the Philippines as a child. Their family’s life wasn’t simple, and he had to work to help make ends meet. He was already selling street dishes with a “kariton” at a young age. “Bata po talaga kami noon, e. He remembered, “Parang nag-start po kami, nagtitinda po kami sa streets [ng] street meals, may kariton po kami.” When a cousin helped Andrew fly to Australia as a working student, things started to look up for him. He was 19 years old at the time and worked as a janitor in several locations throughout Australia.
“Nag-umpisa po ako dito as international student po, far back in 2013,” Andrew explained. Yung eldest sister nung father ko, kinuha ako ng tita ko. ‘Tapos, I am a working student.’ I’m working as a cleaner. Andrew worked as a janitor in malls, health care facilities, business offices, and other sites that required his services. Working as a janitor and other blue-collar occupations in a foreign country wasn’t easy, but Andrew was motivated by his family. He had high goals for himself and his family, and it was these goals that kept him going through difficult times. “Naisip ko iyon na sobrang hirap,” says the narrator. May time na nag-get-to-the-point na nawalan na ako ng pag-asa. Pero siyempre po, inisip ko po yung family ko, kung paano ko po sila mabubuhay noon. Kasi wala na nga po kaming tatay,” Andrew shared.
Andrew held on to his hopes of a better life for his family as he worked hard and took on several more jobs. He said, “Nung time na lalo na po pag holiday, doon pa talaga nag-strive po ako, na kahit wala pa pong tulog… Sa train station na po ako natutulog noon, sa bus. Tuluy-tuloy po talaga ako nung work ko noon.” Despite having relatives in Australia, Andrew didn’t rely on them and made it on his own. His dream started becoming a reality when in 2019, he was able to petition and bring his family from the Philippines to Australia. “Thankful po ako na nakuha po ako ng relatives ko dito, pero siyempre, hindi naman po habang buhay magre-rely ako sa kanila, kasi meron din po silang sinusuportahan na family sa province po namin, ” he explained. “Kaya nag-strive po ako, nag-self-supporting po ako sa pag-aaral ko, para po paunti-unti, nakuha ko yung brother ko, yung ate ko, then sunod po yung mother ko naman,” Andrew said.
He revealed, “Ina-ask ko po yung customers po namin na kung gusto po nilang magpa-deliver or ako po pupunta mismo, kahit malayo po, pupuntahan ko basta po may sales.” Andrew’s journey shows that even in the face of adversity, perseverance and hard effort may bring success. “Talagang pinaghirapan ko po. Nag-strive po ako para makuha ko po ito kung anuman yung sitwasyon ko ngayon,” he said.