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Help us open a 100% plant-based carinderia in Los Baños.

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Goal $1,500

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the flag image of country PEREIRA, EFREN JR

MushAwaited started as a night market bazaar concept back in 2018. Back then, what the founder wanted was to find a unique food concept to open in bazaars and in doing so also support and sourced locally harvested crops or raw materials. 

At the time, a local Christian church-based community in Bay, Laguna started oyster mushroom farming and was in need of support bringing their produce to market. With the desire to help that community and to build something for himself, the founder started to research and try out and cook different oyster mushroom recipes in his family kitchen. From making crispy mushroom chips (chicharon), mushroom sisig, mushroom Tapa, mushroom longganisa (sausages), mushroom burger patty, and into anything and everything that can use oyster mushrooms as the star ingredient. His immediate family and friends as first food tasters to his newfound passion. Tastebuds approved, he opened his first stall at a night market bazaar in Calamba, Laguna. Later on moving to another night market bazaar at Southwoods, Biñan.

The first two bazaar ventures didn't quite fly the way he expected but provided very important lessons and learnings. He had to pause his dream and went back to his other passion, NGO fundraising. 

Fast forward November 2019, there came an opportunity to join a Christmas bazaar happening inside the campus, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). He revisited his "MushAwaited" concept, opened shop, and offered home-cooked meals with oyster mushrooms as main ingredient. Mushroom tofu sisig, mushroom bicol express, mushroom binagoongan, and more. Usually 3 different viands being offered on a daily basis at the bazaar. The Los Baños community loved the novelty and that is where everything else started to fall into place. 

Come January 2020, MushAwaited joined Batong Malake Sunday Market. Wanting to expand offerings to Metro Manila, started joining bazaars in the metro, too. Joined a few night market payday bazaars inside BPO companies near Mall of Asia (MOA), Pasay. Everywhere, everyone loved the oyster mushroom dishes. February 2020, had a one day special stunt at UPLB Saturday Bazaar and continuedly participated at Batong Malake Sunday Market. From time to time, he would post online meals and fresh oyster mushrooms available for order and delivery. March 2020, had an opportunity to set up a small MushAwaited restaurant shop (partnered with a friend) in Muntinlupa. Just before soft opening, pandemic happened. Strict community lockdown restrictions halted and ended the dream before it even started. 

As people stayed-at-home and business were told to shutdown, there were no more bazaars or markets to join and set up shop. Having no bazaars/market to set up business, he explored into food delivery. Digging back to 10 years of reading and dreaming, he revisited the subscription business model he always wanted to start but haven't. To test his idea on meal plan subscription, to see if there is a substantial market to such offering, and if he can pull it though (back then alone by himself, and with some help from his mom in the kitchen); he started looking and working out for opportunities. 

The lockdown and community quarantine left many students stranded in dorms and apartments in and around UPLB. Donations and food drives started popping on Facebook. With the desire to help and to test his business idea, he pledge to provide 25 students pay-as-you-are-able/free plant-based lunch and dinner packs every day until the community quarantine was lifted. About 27 students signed up. 

Alongside, he also offered the same set of meals for paid subscription within the Los Baños community. This is to help sustain the rest of the free meals for the students. The goal was also to check capacity and how many subscribers can he accommodate on a weekly basis. On average, we had 40-50 subscribers weekly from both the paid and the pay-as-you-are-able groups.

The pay-as-you-are-able initiative lasted for 12weeks (3 months). MushAwaited continued offering the paid subscriptions afterwards, now running for more than a year (64 months as of this writing). With a team of 4 people; cooking and delivering plant-based meals 5x a week. 

Bazaars in 2021 had been on and off as the government imposes different quarantine classifications, however, as classifications have loosened, MushAwaited is a regular at Batong Malake Sunday Market. At the market, we offered mushroom tofu sisig, mushroom isaw, mushroom tapa skewers, mushroom wraps, among others. 

Moving forward, it is a dream to open a brick-and-mortar store. A 100% plant-based carinderia within the UPLB/Los Baños community. We've got quite a following and we are confident that the local community will be there to support us in realizing our dream. 

We found a 27sqm store along F.O. Santos Street, Umali Subdivision with an open area for alfresco dining. We are raising fund for the deposit, renovations, and initial seed capital for the daily operations. 

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