Ruby Lubigan, a former fish plant worker, is now the owner of an award-winning grocery store that brings a taste of the Philippines to Canada’s Prince Edward Island.
Lubigan’s Sari-Sari Retail Store recently received an Emerging Business Award from the West Prince Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting local businesses.
The Pinay business owner arrived on the island from the Philippines over a decade ago as a temporary foreign worker looking for better opportunities abroad. She began her career at a fish processing plant in a rural province of Canada.
Lubigan, who is now a permanent resident, works full-time at a bank while also running her Sari-Sari Retail Store in Bloomfield, which takes its name from a type of convenience store common in the Philippines.
Lubigan chose to sell mostly Filipino food in her sari-sari store due to the large number of Filipinos living in her community who craved a taste of home abroad.
Many immigrants visit the store to purchase ingredients for popular Filipino dishes such as the classic Pinoy adobo, pancit bihon, and sinigang, a sour soup native to the Philippines.
Lubigan’s inspiring journey as an immigrant and fish plant worker turned business owner was featured on CBC News in May for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Despite the difficulties she faced in starting her business, the Filipina entrepreneur recalled her humble beginnings in the Philippines and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be in Canada.
When I left my country, I never thought, I never dreamed that I’m going to be here in Canada. Because my life in the Philippines is really poor. We (weren’t) able to have food for three times a day. There was a time we always ate once a day only,Ruby Lubigan