FCM One-on-One presents:
Mr JayTee Balmores, owner of JEEPNEY JayTee, the most popular and successful Filipino food truck in Alberta!
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FCM met with the very inspirational JayTee Balmores to know the person behind the magic of ”JEEPNEY JayTee”. JT regularly showcases different Filipino delicacy in Global TV, CityTV, and Diner Television. He recently gave an inspirational speech at FCT – Filipino Champions Talk in Edmonton.
For part one of our interview, we focused on who JayTee is, the people who influenced his life, and the personal struggles he encountered before becoming a very successful entrepreneur.
FCM: It’s easy to just focus on the success you have now, but tell us about your younger years.
JT: I was very active in sports specifically volleyball and swimming, and I loved to dance. I was pretty good at it. I was popular in high school because of my personality. In academics, I was an average student, in top 20% of the class. I excelled in Science, History, English and I always looked forward in Home Economics every day.
On November 14, 2008, I arrive in Canada. I was a contract worker as a nurse. I was hired by the Alberta Health Services under the Internationally Educated Nurse program. I started as an LPN – Licensed Practical Nurse and worked for six years. While working as an LPN, I got a position as a field supervisor with a home care company.
At that time I worked three jobs.
FCM: You’re very hard working.
JT: On October 30, 2012, I lost everything in the Philippines. Our house got burned. I didn’t plan to purchase anything in the Philippines, but I had to provide for my family back there since we lost it all. So I just worked and worked. I had two or three hours of sleep.
FCM: That must have been hard.
JT: When I heard about our house, I paused for a bit, and then I called all the managers I knew and told them I’m willing to take extra work. From the night I found out that our place got burned, I had to worked three jobs for 47 days straight, no day off so I can get the down payment we need for a new place for my cousin and brother. I had to provide for them.
FCM: That’s amazing. Three jobs for 47 days so you can provide for your family.
JT: I had to act. Crying about it would not have helped. Thinking about it now, I don’t know how I did it. My thought was to work for what was needed. I worked to saved up for the stove or the table. I thought of specific items we needed and worked for it. After 47 days, I had enough money for a down payment plus my small savings for a condominium.
FCM: That’s very kind of you to do all that.
JT: I experienced generosity first hand. I had wonderful grandparents that gave us the best of the best in the world. They showed us the value of education. All they wanted us to do was to study, and they took care of the rest. They gave their all to their grandchildren. They didn’t even have expensive jewelry even though they’ve been in the United States for so so long. They lived a very simple life. They always tell their friends that their diamonds are their grandchildren in the Philippines
FCM: That’s beautiful thing to say.
JT: Instead of eating in fine dining restaurants, my grandparents would save it for their grandkids’ tuition. Hard work is what I learned from my grandparents. My Lolo (granddad) took all the hard jobs. The biggest influence for me is my Lolo. My mom and Lola (grandma) told me stories about him. He is a God fearing person. He forgives right away even they people took advantage of him.
FCM: Your grandparents were a big influence on you.
JT: Yes, I work hard because I learned about their work ethic from my family when they talk about them. They lived in Hawaii, and I lived in the Philippines. There was no direct interaction with them, but the daily phone calls built the strong bond and love. Where ever they are right now, I hope they are proud of what I have become.
FCM: Any struggles you faced growing up?
JT: My main struggle was my identity. When I was a kid, I had this constant feeling that I needed the approval of everybody. I get all the attention that I need, but I had this intense fear of rejection. I was also bullied when I was young. During high school, I was bullied by somebody in my community back in the Philippines. Physically and verbally. That was my struggle. Until today I still remember. Because of that, I had this constant fear of not being approved. But I turned my fear into motivation. When the individuals that bullied me played volleyball, I made sure I played better. Unknowingly I turned others’ bullying of me into motivation. I wanted to be better than those who bullied me. Everything they did, I did better.
FCM: That’s very inspirational. You’ve gone through a lot and still came out as a very positive person.
JT: Yes. When I was working three jobs, it was hard, but I didn’t pay attention to the hardship because I was motivated. I knew I had a good goal. I didn’t focus on the hardship. I never complained. Complaining is a waste of energy. Nothing happens when you complain. Just do your work and finish the job.