The inspiring story of ‘Fish’

Oftentimes, we hear people say they can no longer pursue their studies because their time and energy are eaten up by family responsibilities.

However, the life of entrepreneur Lenie Badaguas aka “Fish”, proves otherwise.

Lenie Badaguas - mother, entrepreneur and student

“Having a family should not hinder people from fulfilling their dream of finishing their education,” said Lenie, 32, owner of MIB Recycled Products and a resident of Oton, Iloilo. She and her husband Andrew make hospital scrubs, curtains, seat covers, bed sheets, uniforms, bags and purses, among others.

Lenie narrated that she was not able to attend formal elementary education. “But thanks to the Alternative Learning System at the Iloilo National High School, I received ample education in 2010 and became eligible for high school,” she said.

She graduated from the Oton National High School in April 2014 and she is now a sophomore student taking up BS Fashion Design and Merchandising at the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology.

The fish-shaped keychains that started it all

Dressed in her uniform and onboard her motorcycle, she goes to school as early as 7:30 a.m. during weekdays. When her morning class ends at 11:30 a.m., she goes around the hospitals and other clients to deliver their orders. Then, she returns to school for her 2 p.m. class. Evenings find Lenie and her husband working with their sewing machines.

Lenie said that their children are very independent and helpful.  “While my husband and I are working, our children McAllen and Iverson wash the dishes and do the laundry,” she said.

Hospital scrubs made by MIB Recycled Products
“This is proof that having a family should not hinder people from their desire to finish school. My children never hindered my dreams. Besides, by finishing my education, I believe that I can help my family more and others, too.”

She happily shared that son McAllen was her schoolmate in high school. “He even went up the stage with me during graduation day. Our schoolmates were surprised to know that he’s my son,” she revealed.

Pouch made by MIB Recycled Products

The road to success started with an accident in 2002. Although Lenie refuses to elaborate, she said that financial needs and the feeling of helplessness forced her and Andrew to be creative.  They made fish-shaped key chains out of dextrose tubes and regulators they collected from hospitals. Then, they collected medicine vials and turned them into money bottles.

They make seat covers, too
People helped them sell these products not only in Iloilo but also in other places such as Boracay, Manila, Italy, Hongkong, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Afterwards, they ventured into making hospital scrubs.  Their earnings are spent for the family’ education.

It was from selling keychains that Lennie earned her nickname “Fish”. Whenever she visits the hospitals, their personnel would call her “Fish.”

“At first I didn’t like it, but it later on grew on me. Now, we even use ‘Fish’ as a brand name for our knapsack,” she said.

“I also found meaning in being ‘Fish’. For me F means faith in God, I means inspiration to my family, S means strong to fight the trials, and H means humble,” she concluded.

You may contact MIB Recycled Products through Lenie’s Facebook page. Click on this link: Fish Fishionista./By Marie Katherine Villalon

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