All posts by CN Llige

CN Llige has worked in several sectors including travel, animation, IT and investments. With a deep passion for people, art and business, CN is constantly in the look out for more awesome ways to live life.

Eat Your Way to Health: Angiogenesis and Diet

Angiogenesis Body (www.angio.org)

In a remarkable presentation by Dr. William Li on TED Talks, Dr. Li discusses a ground-breaking research on a radically new approach to treatment of some of the most dreaded human conditions including cancer. This approach involves angiogenesis.

What is Angiogenesis?

Angiogenesis is the body’s process of growing blood vessels. Blood vessels deliver blood rich in nutrients and oxygen all throughout the body.  These vessels adapt to the environment where they form to complement the structures of the organs they support.

Most of the blood vessels were created while growing in the womb. Adults do not normally grow blood vessels except in special cases like:

  • monthly menstrual cycle when uterine lining is formed
  • during pregnancy when the placenta is formed connecting the mother and the baby
  • when wounds heal

When the is body is healthy, the body can turn angiogenesis on and off to perform these normal body functions.  When the body is not healthy, angiogenesis is thrown out of balance and the body might not be able to produce the blood vessels for normal blood flow or it may not be able to stop the growth of blood vessels, producing abnormal blood flow to certain tissues.

A Medical Revolution

A new cutting-edge research links an imbalance in angiogenesis to over 70  diseases including some of the most dreaded ones, like stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Though these diseases appear to be very different in terms of the organ functions they affect and in the symptoms they exhibit, their underlying causes can all be linked to either over-stimulated or inhibited angiogenesis. Never before have the treatment of these illnesses been approached from a standpoint of angiogenesis.

The inability of the body to stimulate angiogenesis results in a lack of blood vessels that in turn result in the reduced blood flow to certain areas of the body. Among the diseases that are caused by insufficient angiogenesis are:

  • Chronic Wounds
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Stroke
  • Neuropathies
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Hair loss
  • Erectile Dysfunction

In other cases the body is unable to shut down angiogenesis or the body is flooded with angiogenic factors that stimulate the blood vessels to continue growing past the normal levels causing abnormal growth in tissues. The diseases that are caused by excessive angiogenesis are:

  • Cancer
  • Blinding Diseases
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Endometriosis
  • AIDS-Kaposi Sarcoma
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Malaria
  • Rosacea

Although Dr. Li, cited a number of diseases caused by angiogenesis, he focused on the treatment of two of the most serious and pervasive conditions, cancer and obesity. His angiogenic approach to treating these 2 conditions produced such glaringly  successful results, giving hope for the usual bleak prognosis especially in the case of cancer.

Angiogenesis and Cancer

The body naturally produces cancer cells. Autopsies of healthy people who died in a car accidents show that 40% of women ages 40-50 have microscopic cancer cells in their breasts and 50% of men in their 50’s and 60’s have microscopic cancer cells in their prostate. And by the time we reach our 70’s, 100% of us will have microscopic cancer cells in our thyroid.

Not all of these cells will develop into full-blown cancer. Without a blood supply, these cells cannot grow larger than 0.5mm³ (roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen).  What determines whether these cancer cells will progress into a debilitating disease is if they form a blood supply. Angiogenesis is characteristic of every form of cancer that have progressed into disease. Without angiogenesis cancer cells remain harmless but with angiogenesis, these cells can turn into deadly tumors very rapidly.

As these cells mutate, they release angiogenic factors that stimulate vessel growth. Besides feeding the tumor with oxygen and nutrients, these blood vessels also allow the cancer cells to break off and be transported through the blood stream to other parts of the body (metastasis). When the body loses its natural ability to inhibit abnormal angiogenesis, tumors are able to flourish. Most tumors are diagnosed after angiogenesis has been turned on and left uninhibited for some time, allowing the tumor to grow and manifest as a disease.

Like cancer cells, fat cells also require a blood supply in order for it to grow. As more blood vessels grow within the fat tissue the more rapidly fat tissues grow. As in cancer, when the body lacks the natural ability to inhibit abnormal growth of blood vessels, fat tissues grow very fast leading to obesity. Angiogenesis also lies at the heart of obesity.

Angiogenesis as the Focus of Treatment

Dr. Li’s basic premise is, if angiogenesis is what causes the disease to progress, then you can stop the disease by blocking angiogenesis. This treatment is called Antiangiogenic Therapy.

Current cancer  treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery focus on removing or destroying the tumor itself. These treatment will in most cases lead to the destruction of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Radiation and chemotherapy are highly toxic and may even be carcinogenic (known to cause cancer).

Antiangiogenic therapy focuses on inhibiting the growth of blood vessels to stop the blood from flowing to the tumor, thus starving the cancer. Since the blood vessels that feed the tumor, are weak and poorly constructed, they are quite vulnerable to this form of treatment. Since only the blood vessels are targeted, no healthy tissues are destroyed and the cancerous tissue simply shrinks and dies from the lack of oxygen and nutrients.  Patients enjoy a better quality of life, both during and after the treatment.

Dr. Li presented remarkable success cases using this treatment in both humans and animals for a broad spectrum of cancer types. Since 2004, more and more angiogenic drugs have been introduced into the market (see table below) as treatment for cancer. Equally effective was the use of antiangiogenic agents to control obesity. Dr. Li’s lab tests with mice showed that antiangiogenic therapy also worked very well in normalizing the weight of obese mice. He also discovered that although the therapy caused the obese mice to lose weight, it could not cause these mice to lose more weight beyond the normal weight of mice.

U. S. FDA Approved Antiangiogenic Drugs

Year Drug Treatment Target  (URL)
2004 Avastin Colon, lung , breast, brain, kidney  (https://www.drugs.com/avastin.html)
2004 Erbitux Colon, head and neck  (https://www.drugs.com/erbitux.html)
2004 Tarceva Lung, pancreatic  (https://www.drugs.com/tarceva.html)
2005 Endostar Lung  (https://cancertherapychina.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=34)
2005 Nexavar Kidney, liver  (https://www.drugs.com/nexavar.html)
2005 Revlimid Multiple myeloma  (https://www.drugs.com/revlimid.html)
2006 Sutent GIST, kidney  (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/sutent.html)
2006 Thalomid Multiple myeloma  (https://www.drugs.com/thalomid.html)
2006 Torisel Kidney  (https://www.drugs.com/torisel.html)
2009 Afinitor Kidney  (https://www.drugs.com/afinitor.html)
2009 Votrient Kidney  (https://www.drugs.com/votrient.html)
2009 Palladia Mast cell tumors (canine)  (https://www.drugs.com/international/toceranib.html)

Lifestyle and Cancer

Although the survival rate for early stage cancers improved dramatically with the introduction of antiangiogenic drugs, medicine is still losing the battle with later stage cancers.  When the disease has advanced, treatment becomes difficult or impossible.  So Dr. Li started looking at the factors that contributed to cancer to find out how to prevent the disease from progressing beyond repair.

Cancer and Lifestyle

Of all the cancer causing factors, only 5-10% can be attributed to genes. 90-95% is due to environment. If we breakdown environmental factors 4-6% can be attributed to alcohol consumption, 10-20% to obesity, 15-20% to infections, 25-30% to tobacco consumption and 30-35% of the cases were pointing to diet.

So if diet was one of the largest contributors to cancer, then it deserved to be studied more intensively. The current focus was on what foods to remove from the diet. Dr.  Li wanted to know what could be added to the diet to reduce the incidence or recurrence of cancer.  Particularly he wanted to find out if we can eat to starve cancer. He tested ordinary food to see if doses attainable with a regular diet, could inhibit angiogenesis. He found out that it could.

Angiogenesis and Diet

Dr. Li’s  tests revealed that certain foods had powerful antiangiogenic properties.  He tested the effectiveness of cancer drugs, ordinary drugs and dietary factors in inhibiting abnormal growth of blood vessels in the lab. Remarkably, Dr. Li found out that there were food that were more effective than some drugs (both for common and cancer therapies). The graph from his presentation shows how these antiangiogenic agents stack up vis-a-vis each other.

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances (From Dr. Li’s Presentation slide)

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances

Below is a more detailed list of items included in the graph, showing the generic names, the brand names (italicized) and a link to their description:

  1. Irinotecan – Camptosar (Cancer Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/Camptosar.html)
  2. Simvastatin – Zocor (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/Zocor.html)
  3. Celecoxib – Celebrex (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/Celecoxib.html)
  4. Diclofenac – Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/Diclofenac.html)
  5. Soy Extract – None (Dietary Factor)
  6. Paclitaxel-Onxol, Taxol  (Cancer Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/paclitaxel.html)
  7. Tamoxifen – (Soltamox)  (Cancer Drug)  (https://www.drugs.com/tamoxifen.html)
  8. Artichoke – None (Dietary Factor) 
  9. Doxycycline – Adoxa, Adoxa CK, Adoxa TT, Alodox, Avidoxy, Doryx, Monodox, Oracea, Oraxyl, Periostat, Vibramycin, Vibramycin Calcium, VibramycinMonohydrate, Vibra-Tabs, Doxy-D, Vibramycin Hyclate, Doxy Lemmon, Doxy-Caps, Morgidox, Morgidox 1x100mg, Morgidox 2x100mg, Ocudox Convenience Kit (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/doxycycline.html)
  10. Parsley – None (Dietary Factor)
  11. Berries – None (Dietary Factor) 
  12. Soy – None (Dietary Factor)
  13. Garlic – None (Dietary Factor)
  14. Red Grapes – None (Dietary Factor) 
  15. Brassica – None (Dietary Factor) (https://www.botany.com/brassica.html)
  16. Citrus 1 – None (Dietary Factor)
  17. Citrus 2 – None (Dietary Factor)
  18. Dexamethasone – aycadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, DexPak 10 Day Taperpak, DexPak 13 DayTaperpak, DexPak 6 DayTaperpak, Dexpak Jr. Taperpak, Zema Pak 10-Day, Zema Pak 13-Day, Zema Pak 6-Day  (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/dexamethasone.html)
  19. Pravastatin – Pravachol  (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/pravastatin.html)
  20. Lavender – None (Dietary Factor)
  21. Green tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  22. Glucosamine – None (Dietary Factor)
  23. Tumeric – None (Dietary Factor)
  24. Tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  25. Lenalidomide – Revlimid (Cancer Drug)  (https://www.drugs.com/mtm/lenalidomide.html)
  26. Captopril – Capoten  (Common Drug) (https://www.drugs.com/captopril.html)
  27. VItamin E – None (Dietary Factor)

Introduction of these food into the diet could actually prevent cancer in people who have no cancer and deter the growth of tumors in those who have already developed the disease. Several extensive epidemiological studies already show this to be true, as in the study of effects of tomatoes in the diet of 79,000 men. Tomatoes contain lycopene which is an antiangiogenic agent. The findings are as follows:

Tomatoes and Prostate Cancer

And of all those gentlemen who did develop cancer, the tomato-eating group showed significantly smaller tumors and less vessel abnormalities.

Tomatoes and tumor size

List of Cancer-Fighting Food (Antiangiogenic)

Other food that have antiangiogenic properties were also mentioned (listed below) arranged in the order of efficacy. To get a more comprehensive list of antiangiogenic food, visit the Eat to Defeat Cancer website at https://www.eattodefeat.org/.

  1. Soy Extract
  2. Artichoke
  3. Parsley
  4. Strawberries
  5. Blackberries
  6. Raspberries
  7. Blueberries
  8. Soybeans
  9. Garlic
  10. Red Grapes
  11. Red Wine
  12. Bokchoy
  13. Kale
  14. Broccoli
  15. Brussels Sprouts
  16. Cabbage
  17. Cauliflower
  18. Mustard
  19. Turnip
  20. Oranges
  21. Grapefruit
  22. Lemons
  23. Apples
  24. Pineapple
  25. Cherries
  26. Lavender
  27. Green Tea
  28. Glucosamine
  29. Tumeric
  30. Ginseng
  31. Maitake Mushrooms
  32. Licorice
  33. Nutmeg
  34. Pumpkin
  35. Sea Cucumber
  36. Tuna
  37. Tomato
  38. Olive Oil
  39. Grape seed oil
  40. Dark Chocolate

Please note that the benefits of a healthy diet cannot be attained with a few healthy meals for a short period of time. Health attained from diet is a result of habitually eating nutritious food preferably combined with other healthy habits like exercise, getting enough rest, managing stress and maintaining nurturing relationships.

For more information on clinical trials for Antiangiogenic Therapies for cancers and other diseases, visit the Angiogenesis Foundation website at https://www.angio.org. Below is the full video of Dr. William Li’s TED Talk.

Disclaimer:  The author is not endorsing the treatments discussed herein as a replacement for  professional medical advice. The information presented here are intended to showcase the development  of new therapies in the field. The suggested diet under normal circumstances should not pose any serious threats to health and would generally provide positive benefits, however if you are under treatment or medication please discuss with your health professional, any drastic changes you intend to make in your diet.

Dr. William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? (TED Talk Video)

The Unbreakable Marriage

loving hearts

The Perspective

Before I say anything else, I would like to state for the record that I speak of marriage as an observer and not as a participant. I have never been married although I have observed many marriages at various distances.  I have seen enough to know that I most probably could not stay in one but I leave room for the remote possibility that maybe there is someone who could make me want to stay for keeps.

You should also know that I live in one of the few if not the only country that has never legalized divorce. So when you marry here, the only thing that can break that marriage is the death of one or both the spouses. There is one other painfully slow and cruel option, that is to have your marriage annulled.

The difference between a divorce and an annulment is that, a divorce recognizes that a marriage existed but was terminated by the choice of one or both spouses, the annulment does not recognize that the marriage existed from the start. Our laws state that either the marriage exists and the couple must continue to abide by it or the marriage will be annulled, or declared that it never existed from the beginning because it was entered into based on a faulty premise. Those are the only choices. Marriage in the Philippines is genuinely unbreakable.

The Problem

People change. People lie. They get bored, distracted, tempted, exasperated or overwhelmed. They get nasty, lazy, irresponsible, impatient, intolerant, unfaithful and sometimes abusive. In short people are people. If they were always fun and loving there wouldn’t be much of a problem. So imagine (although most of the married folk won’t have to) having no other option but to put up with all of that for the rest of your life. To meet other people who are so much nicer, but be barred from having a relationship with them. I get it.  It’s hard to be married, and so I understand why people want to know that if it gets too hard, there is a way out.

The Point

Marriage is unbreakable because that is how it was built.  That is the way it needs to be. Deep inside, we all really want a marriage to be that way.  Imagine if marriage could be given a time limit, and someone were to offer you full commitment for 5 years or 10 years or even 50 years but no more than that. Or if someone would offer you a marriage until one of you wants to get out.  Would you take that offer at all? Or would you hold out for something more permanent? Something that would last for the rest of your life?  Marriage is the ultimate commitment that is why it needs to be unbreakable.

The only reason anyone should get married is because they have decided to commit their life to this one person to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from that day forward until death do you part. Now that can be a profoundly moving gesture of true love, that could drive anyone to tears. But this should never be taken lightly, especially in this country, because if you consent to this commitment nothing but death can break it.

Clearly marriage is not for everyone. Some people will never go there. Some people will make it then break it. 50% of couples who marry will end up separated. Some couples will stay married but let the marriage break them. This last case is the saddest of all, because marriage was never meant to destroy people.

Marriage was intended to pair a person off with a loving partner for life, so he can have someone to share blessings and burdens with. Marriage allows someone to raise a family with and to spend a lifetime with, to grow old with. When you come to think of it, marriage is a beautiful thing. It is something you commit to with full knowledge and intention to give yourself completely while having the faith that your partner will do the same. Troubles are shared and blessings are doubled. If this is what happens in a marriage, life can be bliss. Isn’t this what everyone aspires for?

The Proposition

If you are still single, before you take that leap, ask yourself are you committed to this relationship for life? If you can say yes without a doubt. Then ask yourself, are you absolutely convinced that your partner is equally committed? The first is a question of your commitment to this relationship, a decision that you will stick with it whatever the challenge.  The second is a question of faith in your partner’s commitment. Marriages break up when people give up.

If either of you can’t say with certainty that you will work out all your problems in marriage whatever they might be (and I mean whatever they might be), then don’t get married, because you have no idea what life is going to throw at you. At some point it’s going to get tough and the only thing that will get you past it is your commitment to stick with your partner until you work through the problem.

If you are currently in a marriage that isn’t going so well, consider this. When you married your partner, you knew that after you signed that document, only death can separate you two and still at that point in your life, you were brave enough to say, “I do.” So do it already. Don’t point a finger at your spouse. Remember,  you made that commitment too. So get with the program and own up to your part of the partnership. Decide to work it out. Don’t let the marriage fall apart and even worse, don’t let yourself and your family fall apart.

So I say, let marriages stay unbreakable. A marriage shouldn’t be made weak to accommodate the half-hearted and the fickle-minded. It should be made strong to match the whole-hearted commitments that must be brought into the marriage.  A “marriage” cannot be called a marriage until after a lifetime has been lived. I’m all for it because a good marriage, is a sanctuary for couples to love and share and grow. And it is the ideal place to nurture children and teach them about healthy relationships.

To all couples who are committed to a mutually fulfilling marriage and to all single people who are aspiring for the same, I wish you a life of love, bliss and plenty. Today is your day.

Happy Valentines Day to All!!!

Fran & Marlo Cowan, after 62 years of marriage, still play the piano in sync.

Business 101: Meet Yaya Ne

Who is Yaya Ne?

Yaya and me
Yaya and I (1966)

Yaya Ne (short for Nelly) was a woman who at the age of 18, came to work for our family as a stay in Yaya, before my eldest brother was born in the early 1960’s.  She still lives with our family to this day.

Any Filipino would need no further explanation about yayas, but for the benefit of non-Filipinos, let me explain what a yaya is. A Yaya is the rough equivalent of a nanny.  They are hired to watch and care for the children. Yayas are indispensable when both parents are working and there is no other adult family member to provide care for the children while parents are at work. Both my parents worked full-time, hence we had a yaya, Yaya Ne, or simply Yaya.  Now why would any of this matter if I was going to talk about business basics, anyway? Well because Yaya is a successful business owner.

A Short Bio

Yaya was born in Tinatayan, Capiz as Nelly Hijastro in December 1942, about a year into the Philippine war with Japan.  She was the youngest of 7 children, 2 boys and 5 girls. She graduated from the 6th grade with honors,  after which she had to drop out of school for lack of funds. At a very early age her left hand was injured when she accidentally burned it in a boiling pot of water. Home remedy left the hand permanently disfigured.

Yaya helped out with the farm work which was her family’s main source of livelihood. She recalls memories of her father, after working the rice fields, would take off to peddle goods in the neighboring towns, determined to make ends meet.  Then her father died when she was seven. Life was hard, she tells me, sometimes it got very hard. She said there were times after a typhoon, there would be so little to eat and no one could help them out because everyone would all be in the same situation.  She wanted to go to school, but her mother, a widow left with 7 kids could hardly feed her brood let alone put 7 children to school. School was a luxury that Yaya would have to give up.   And the only hope she knew of ever escaping this kind of poverty was to find a job in Manila.  She longed for a better life nothing more.  Yaya was girl with a very simple dream.

In 1961, her friend from the same town wrote her to say that an employer was looking for a yaya. She jumped at the chance. She borrowed money for boat-fare and came to Manila with her elder sister. At 17 years old, she started working with her first employer where she stayed for only a few months. Then she came to work with our family. She can’t help but weep as she recalls her feelings when she finally left her home for good, to claim a better life. Although this is not what most people would aspire for these days, it was all she could ever hope for.

Her life took a rapid turn for the better.  She was trained to care for a newly born infant by a midwife.  She took this task to heart.  And for the first time she was guaranteed adequate food and a steady source of income. Not having to worry about food anymore, she spent her money on her own clothes, something she never had before. Then she started collecting household wares and used clothing to send home. She seemed to have made it her mission to remove her family from the state of poverty she grew up with. She became a bit of a folk hero back home, because she was always sending relatives stuff and lending them money to get by. She also religiously put aside money as savings which she never touched. Later this little fortune she set aside would allow her to buy property, build her house and start her business.

All throughout her life after she started working for us, she never left our family except for short vacations. She was, in fact, considered family. And in a sweet assuming way she treated us as her children; scolding, disciplining, guiding, teaching, feeding, bathing, soothing, caring and loving with a dedication of a parent. With both our parents holding full-time jobs, Yaya filled in for the much-needed and appreciated attention.  She never married.  She never seemed to aspire for marriage. It seems that she had found her calling in her work, which she did with extreme diligence and a flawless work ethic.

Why Yaya started a business

Probably like anyone else who thinks about starting a business, Yaya thought a little more money could be a really good thing. The owner of the property her family had lived on  offered to sell her the property on installment. She had been paying a small sum diligently for a while by then and the added income could allow her to pay it up faster.  Or it could have been just a stroke of insight. She had saved up some money and wanted to do something with it. At this point, if you ask her she won’t really give you any reason other than that she just wanted to try it out. And it turns out, it really was a good idea.

How Yaya Started her Business

A tiny customer
A tiny customer

Yaya asked my parents if she could start selling little things, like candy, biscuits and cigarettes.  She said she could finish her work, which was at that time to cook and clean the house.  My parents agreed to have her try it out.  From that seed business, it grew to a whole full-blown store within about a year. My Mom was not too crazy about the expansion, but the rest of the family was in consensus that we should allow it anyway with some conditions of course. She converted the back part of our house into a hole-in-the-wall store where she sells practically everything her customers might need (except for liquor which my Mom is adamant against).

The Basic Lesson in Business

  1. Find a business you can run.  Yaya knew everything she needed to know to run a backyard store. A store is a fairly simple business if you run it the simple way she did. She needed a place, she had one, the back area of our house.  She needed her stocks which can be bought at any grocery.  She had the capital. Yaya was pretty sure she had the customers.  And finally, she made the time to get this all up and running. She started small and grew it incrementally.
  2. Build your capital to start a business.  In Yaya’s case, she was a compulsive saver. So over time she had accumulated more than enough capital to start a micro business. Your income, however small, is a perfect wealth (or capital) building tool. If you follow a disciplined habit of saving a portion of any income you receive from any source (not less than 10%), you will be able to build your wealth. The critical thing here is, it has to be a habit. Put away your savings first, before you spend for anything else. Then do not use your savings for anything other than investments.
  3. Use your money to grow your money.  Although, there are countless ways to grow your money through various investment vehicles, Yaya followed a very simple formula. Buy goods at a lower price and sell them at a higher price.  This is the principle at the heart of any merchandising business. It doesn’t matter at what price you buy your merchandise, if you can sell it at a price higher than the price you bought it, you will make money. Think about it, candies bought in large packs would cost about P0.25 to P0.50 each. If she can sell them for P1 each individually, you will get back 2 to 3 times what you spent.  For every P1 you spend, you earn back P2 to P4 or 100%-300% profit. It doesn’t seem like much at that scale, but if project that peso to say, P1,000, it means you can get back P2,000 to P4,000 from the sale of candies alone. That’s up to P3,000 additional money you didn’t have before. You can scale this amount up or down as you please.  It is that simple.
  4. Harness the power of compounding. Let’s use a different product this time.  You can get a dealers price for cola at P4.33 per bottle (or P104 for a case of 24) and you can sell it at P8 each (or P192 per case).  That is an 85% margin.  These are actual current figures. So if you buy 10 cases of cola worth P1,040 and sell all 240 bottles at P8 each, you would get back a total of P1,920 (plus P48 not yet spent). If you reinvest that entire amount on the same item and sell it at  the P8 selling price, you can now buy 18 cases at P1,872 and sell them again still at P8 each. Then you will now have P3,504 (P3,456+P48).  As you keep repeating the cycle your money grows very rapidly. Please see the table below.
Cycle Quantity  Cost  Revenue  Cash Margin
Case Bottles  Cost/ Case  Cost/ Bottle  Total Cost  Rev/ Case  Rev/ Bottle  Total Revenues
1st 10 240  104.00    4.33     1,040.00   192.00    8.00     1,920.00 85%
2nd 18 432  104.00    4.33     1,872.00   192.00    8.00     3,456.00   48.00 85%
3rd 33 792  104.00    4.33     3,432.00   192.00    8.00     6,384.00   24.00 86%
4th 61 1,464  104.00    4.33     6,344.00   192.00    8.00   11,736.00   40.00 85%
5th 112 2,688  104.00    4.33   11,648.00   192.00    8.00   21,544.00   88.00 85%
6th 207 4,968  104.00    4.33   21,528.00   192.00    8.00   39,832.00   16.00 85%
7th 383 9,192  104.00    4.33   39,832.00   192.00    8.00   73,552.00         – 85%

As you can see by the 7th cycle, what started as P1,040 is now worth P73,552.00.  That is a total net profit of P72,512.  And theoretically, you could continue to increase this number indefinitely, for as long as you can continue to sell the product within its lifespan and you have enough space to store your stock.  Your money can keep growing at this rate. This is a very simplified model of the business.  It was presented in this sanitized manner only to illustrate the earning potential of the system.  You will need to tweak the system a bit to accommodate your special set of circumstances.

The calculations  presented will be true only under the following assumptions

Just to clarify the conditions that need to be present for you to realize the same profits, I have listed down the assumptions necessary to achieve the indicated earnings, as well as the possible real-life situations that might occur to invalidate the assumptions and how these situations might affect the level of earnings.

  1. One cycle starts when you buy your first batch of products and ends when you sell all the products from that batch. In a real world scenario though, you would buy your 2nd batch of products before your 1st batch runs out. So your actual  2nd batch might not be as large as the figure in the table and the earnings from your business will not look so neat.
  2. You only sell one variant of a single product. The example shows a single product to make the illustration easier to understand. But it rarely ever happens that a merchandising business will only carry one product in a single variant. Often times a business will carry numerous products in a several variants.  Margins may differ from product to product and from variant to variant depending on several factors like competitor pricing, customer demand, other value added services like credit and delivery which might drive up your cost. If you carry other products and/ or variants your average margin across all products may be higher or lower than 85%.
  3. You continue to buy the product at the same price all throughout the 7 cycles.  Most dealers will give you a better price as you increase the size of your order. So if your cost per product goes down, provided you sell at the same price, your revenue will be bigger that those shown. On the other hand, suppliers may also increase their prices for one reason or another. When they do, if you can pass on the increase to your customers, you can continue to earn at the same profits but your costs will have to be adjusted higher and your capital might afford a smaller inventory.
  4. You continue to sell at the same price all throughout the 7 cycles. As your income/ inventory grows, you might decide to drop your price, to sell your inventory faster. If you do decide to drop your price per item your revenue will be smaller per cycle. But if you can complete a cycle faster, you can realize your profits sooner and your actual earning might be larger over a given period of time.
  5. You plow back all your profits into the business.  The quickest way to expand your business/ money is to keep plowing back all your earnings into your business until you reach your target level of income. This is not realistic for some people who will need to draw some money from the business. If you withdraw a portion of your profits, your business will grow slower, but it will still grow. If you withdraw all your profits your income will stay fixed at the same level.  If you start drawing from your capital you business will shrink or disappear altogether.
  6. You will be providing your own labor. If you will be the one to personally run the business your profits will be the compensation for your labor. If you have to hire someone to handle the work of ordering, selling and any other work you might want to pass on, you will need to add an expense item which is the cost of hiring this person. This will mean less revenues and likewise a slower growth especially at the early stages of the business. It is not advisable to hire anyone until you reach a certain level of inventory or revenue. When revenues/ inventories are high enough, it can easily sustain the cost of having employees.  Take note, labor cost will eat into your profits so they need to be factored in when computing for margins.
  7. Pilferage, breakage and spoilage rate is 0%.  This is a fact of business that will always occur.  You will need to protect your stocks from pilfering (theft in unnoticeable amounts), breaking and spoiling. When your stock (or cash) is stolen, lost, broken or spoiled, you can no longer earn income from them, and that will mean lost inventory and profit. This factor will lower your income, so you will need to keep it at the barest minimum.
  8. This is simple merchandising, buy and sell products as is and all in cash transactions. Over time you might want to venture into adding value to your service like selling the drinks cold, extending credit to cash strapped customers or delivering but these will all have an added cost or risk which will drive your cost higher. You will want to consider adding them to your service at some point because it does attract additional customers and again you will have to factor in their costs when computing for your margins.  But anything that increases sales is generally a good thing.

To Sum it all Up

Yaya and the Next Generation
Yaya and the Next Generation

Yaya is still living with us to this day and she is still running her store with the help of her niece who also currently lives in our home.  She owns an 800 sq m lot with a concrete 2-story house which she had built many years ago in her home town.  Her nephew is taking care of that property.  She helped several of her nieces and nephews thru school. One of them was her full scholar thru a 5-year engineering course.  Yaya is a philanthropist at heart, who could never turn down someone in need.

She is semi-retired as our Yaya, but she still cooks and does some light cleaning on her own insistence.  On a really good day after watching an episode of the local Junior Master Chef TV show, she would surprise us with one of her special concoctions, a real treat.  She also has her regular staples that no restaurant cooking can ever match, like her Sinigang and her fried chicken, a favorite of guests who are familiar with her cooking.  She’ll be turning 70 this year.  All in all, I would say she is pretty successful, wouldn’t you?

In closing, I would like to point out, that here is a woman who barely finished her 6th grade and yet she managed to pull herself out of near starvation, helped her many relatives acquire an education which she never got herself, bought her home lot and built her house.  With sheer discipline, perseverance, patience and good old common sense, she changed her life and the lives of many others for the better.

So trust me when I say, there is no excuse for failure or a bad life.  It may start out that way or get that way at some point but trust that you will have everything you need to change it.  There is no hole so deep that you can’t climb out of it. Blaming your parents, your spouse, your children, your government, your boss, your employees or anyone else you can think of, will do nothing for you.  You take stock of what you have and what you know right now and start from there. When you make a mistake (and you will make them for sure), make it a point to learn from them or the lessons will be wasted on you.

Know what it is that you want and focus on that. Do not ever focus on things you fear or on the things you don’t want, otherwise you will spend your life fighting or running away.  Help others whenever you can, with whatever you can, and learn to enjoy giving freely.  Making the money is easy, it really is. What you do with that money is ultimately what defines the quality of your life.

Yaya the Business Woman
Yaya the Business Woman