By Joel T. Fagsao
In the early 70’s John Tarnate of Maba-ay Bauko, Mountain Province had it in his mind that he needed to help out in his wife’s general store business. He then made the rounds of the nearby municipalities of Tadian, Sabangan and Bauko in a beat up vehicle to sell goods. As a rolling store merchant most of his days were spent on the road-selling basic needs to the communities that his truck could reach. An industrious, driven and having the qualities of an entrepreneur, John made good in the business and was able to secure a franchise from Caltex for a small town gas station in 1982. The gas station grew from a small operation to a full service station in a new location, a kilometer away from Maba-ay proper. Lakay John was the prime mover of the family business but not without the erstwhile support of his wife, the former Ms. Marciana Ngoddo of Alab, Bontoc and Sabangan. Lakay John was committed to the needs of his customers so that eventually the business earned the admiration even of the government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry for his good business and compliance to fair trade laws. One of the issues that a family business has to contend with is giving the reigns of management to the children or any other family members. Often more than not, it can be a source of family feud. On the other hand, the patriarch of a family business could face a problem if not one of the siblings is taking interest in taking over the reigns of continuing with the business. Children of family run businesses might look into taking on other careers and eventually the business started by the parents would die a natural death-for lack of interest among the children. Lakay John is lucky to have his youngest daughter, Juran to take over the reigns of the business. Our groups, Bontoc Cliklato Photography Club, Inc., were guests of the Tarnate family in the opening of their new business, the Mountain View Café-one to complement the spanking Caltex Gas Station. Inputs from a young entrepreneurial mindset came into the fore as Juran and husband Bobby laid the groundwork for the cafe. Juran said that setting up the café was the answer to the needs of motorists stopping by for gas. While the store at the gas station served coffee, a more comfortable setting complete with a view of the mountains beyond crystallized into what is now the Mountain View Café. Earlier on, Juran did not have an inkling that she would go home after her completing her law studies in Baguio City. A stroke suffered by her old man in 2002 prompted the loving daughter to spend time with her parents. The short time became four years of managing the family business and eventually Juran made a commitment to continue running the business started by his father. In an interview with Juran, the unassuming, humble young woman said that at first, she was hesitant to help out in the business but soon she grew to love and face the challenges and develop an appreciation for the hardships her parents had to go through-starting the business from scratch. It helped that Juran’s husband, Bobby Bernardez of Sabangan, had full support for the opening of the gas station café. Bobby is an experienced canteen operator, having one in San Fernando La Union. Earlier on, Juran was also able to set up a Caltex gas station in Samoki, Bontoc. She smiled when I asked how she was able to secure a space in Bontoc. “Well, I am of Bontoc blood too, revealing that she is related to the Ngoddo, and Chumawar clan. “ Juran is on to trail blaze the family business. I saw how supportive her siblings and parents were in the grand opening of Mountain View Café. Lakay John was dotting on his grand children, mingling with the guests, Baket Marciana was ever attentive to the needs of the guests. Juran’s brother, James came all the way from Baguio with a bunch of flowers to be there for his sister and husband’s new project. The rest of the Tarnate siblings are living in the San Diego, California, Jacelyn Tarnate-Aliping, an optometrist and Engr. John Tarnate, Jr. The eldest sister Imma lives in Baguio City. Lakay John and Baket Marciana wear a smile and contentment on their faces. Contentment and joy in the fact that the youngest of the siblings, Juran is there for them and the business.