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A restaurateur’s journey from Batangas to Paris

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Pauline Plata-Bondad receives her Influential Filipina award in Paris.

From selling light snacks during school breaks to owning a chain of restaurants, a businesswoman from Batangas City added to her string of achievements an award as one of the Influential Filipina Women in the World during the 16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit held in Paris, France, recently.

Pauline Plata-Bondad, chief executive officer of Silver Peak Group of Companies, received the “Behind The Scenes” award as a Filipina “who may not have the big title or corner office, but is a driving force behind the success of a social cause or life issue, a community organization’s project or initiative… and someone who has gone beyond the call of duty to devote time, energy and resources to advocate for those who need a voice, or support the organization she represents or works for.”

Getting to the top is never easy and the work never stops, the 38-year-old Bondad said.

“My guiding principle is it does not matter how many times a person falls. What matters most is the number of times a person rises up from where he falls,” said Bondad, who owns a combined 17 franchise branches of Shakey’s, Hungry Hippo (as sole franchisee), Ineng’s Special BBQ and Butch Restaurant and Seafood Grill, her first big business venture that specializes in banana leaf-wrapped rice and viand (binalot sa dahon).

Three more branches will open next year.

Bondad first entered into a franchise deal with Shakey’s Philippines in 2011. Since then, she has racked up multiple Shakey’s Cup of Excellence and Franchisee of the Year awards.

Her food business started while still a student at St. Bridget College Batangas.

“I sold Mexican snacks like nachos,” Bondad said.

But the businesswoman in her became restless during non-school days so she came up with her binalot sa dahon specialty that became a hit and led to the opening of the Butch restaurant, one of the most popular restaurants in Batangas City despite the presence of more established brands.

Every year, the Filipina Women’s Network convenes a worldwide search for Filipinas whose work leaves a lasting Filipino global imprint through their work in communities, organizations and in their professional and industry sectors.

This year’s edition was held at The Westin Paris – Vendôme with the theme “Be Magnificent. Amplifying Filipina Women Voices.”

Bondad was certainly more than qualified for inclusion after hurdling one challenge after another to eventually reach her current status.

Pauline Plata-Bondad (left) presides over a company meeting.

With the help of her parents Nick and Arlene Plata, whom she credits for her business acumen, and husband August, Bondad funds programs that help children with special needs, hemodialysis patients and inmates at the Batangas Provincial Jail.

“I earn and made a good life for my family, especially my only son, Yñigo. At the same time, I employ people, and am able to help various causes and organization,” said Bondad. “I think more than the material rewards, it’s being able to help out that makes my company a success.”

“I hope I am able to inspire more business leaders, especially women, to make a difference in society and pour in help where it is most needed.”

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