A lot of us have a secret dream. It’s where we see ourselves 10 years down the line, and what we fantasize about as we go through the daily grind of our 9 to 5 jobs. For some, it can be photography; others, fashion styling or designing; and for some, it can be as simple as sharing stories about experiences you are passionate about, such as food and travelling.
Vhalerie Lee is no stranger to this situation. Having a stable career in product development and management in the top media company in the Philippines, she could have been content with the status quo. Instead, Vhal took a big leap of faith in 2013 and founded Candid Cuisine, a food and travel blog, “to immortalize gastronomic adventures and travel experiences, hoping these can be helpful for foodies and travelers.” Banking on a mobile search-centric approach — which makes perfect sense given foodies and travelers are always on the go — Candid Cuisine now tops results on Google and other search engines, some 3 years after its launch.
To those looking to go beyond their desk jobs, it sounds cliche but first and foremost, do something that you enjoy.
Not only did blog writing prove to be an effective way of sharing her stories to a national, even global, audience, it opened other doors for Vhal. Today, she is also a writing contributor for international sites such as Travelog, Tech-in-Asia, and Mashable. Whenever she’s not busy with product management or writing, Vhal also enjoys producing travel videos on Youtube, uploading mouthwatering food and scenic travel pics on Instagram, and posting food on Snapchat (snapchat@candidcuisine).
Given her busy schedule, we were lucky enough to catch Vhal on one of her more chill days to ask her 3 finance-related questions. She was gracious enough to give us tips on how to start following one’s passion, as well as the best food trip one can have for below P100.
How were you able to get the funds to start Candid Cuisine?
I have a 9-to-5 day job, it wasn’t hard to produce funds to jumpstart Candid Cuisine, and upfront costs consisted of domain and hosting fees only. The challenge was producing content about food and travel and sustaining it for the long term because writing about food and travel isn’t exactly cheap! But I started small, reviewing modest restaurants that produced a substantial traffic, so it paid off after the first year.
Aside from being the brainchild behind Candid Cuisine, you also have a steady I.T. career. What’s your advise to those who want to follow their passion on top of their 9-to-5 jobs?
To those looking to go beyond their desk jobs, it sounds cliche but first and foremost, do something that you enjoy. Build up on those hobbies and always be on the lookout how you can capitalize it. You’d be surprised at the opportunities that open up once you start seeing those hobbies as ways to earn money on the side.
What’s the best meal you’ve had under P100?
I love Stir Fry Noodles at Eat Fresh Hong Kong Street Food at Banawe! They cost only P60 and the portion size is huge. I usually eat this with their curry balls or egg waffles.
In following your dreams, the biggest step is always the first. We hope stories like that of Vhal’s and Candid Cuisine’s will serve to inspire you to take it, whatever your passion may be.
Need money to fund that passion?
Our loan concierges at Loansolutions.ph can help you find loans at the best rates. Loansolutions.ph acts as a hub for the country’s top banks and private financing companies. The 3-Step Loan Application Form enables you to check which loans you may be eligible for. Meanwhile, the loan concierges help you with the whole loan process, from application to loan releasing. Take that first step that brings you closer to your dream.