The balancers



(Third part)
In Celebration of Women’s Month, we pay tribute to women who balance work and home life.

Sharon Tan Chua
Sharon has three growing boys and makes sure they eat well and study well. She personally attends to study time with her youngsters and having been a pre-school teacher makes this job a breeze for her.

But she also manages a license of ECHOstore in Centris Walk Quezon City and brings her kids to the store to watch them while she attends to customers. This is why she and her husband Toppee suggested a Kiddie Corner in this branch—especially when their kids were much younger two years ago when they started the business. I remember approving the idea because it was so right for parents to be able to eat and shop in peace while the toddlers played on safe soft mats in a corner with books and toys.

Sharon is a serious businesswoman who trained for almost two months as she wanted to make sure she knew all the rules in setting up an organic and health food store. First of all, she had to deal with her two elder sons’ conditions of dyslexia and ADHD. She found out that shifting them to an organic diet, removing sugared drinks and letting them eat vegetables spelled the difference. So she wanted a store where mothers can share what she found out about the relationship of diets and children’s conditions.

This year, her store will turn three and her kids have grown to be healthy young boys, helping their mom test recipes and new menu items at the café. She is an example of a mother who founded a business because she wanted to feed her children well. And she told me that she wanted a store where mothers like her could shop with confidence, that all products have been mother-tested or vetted.

Rowena Juan-Matti
Rowie is the consummate mother who rears her two teenage daughters but could easily be mistaken as their older sister. She makes sure her daughters get to attend school while also engaging in sports or theater. And while they also do stuff together like cook and bake at home. But other than her mommy chores, Rowie manages Galileo Enrichment, an after school program which tutors English and Singapore Math while teaching schoolchildren how to be disciplined in doing their school work.

She also manages the family-run Sacred Heart Schools in Malabon and Makati, taking over from her mother Charito who founded it in 1967. Though she is born under a fire sign and should do well running a restaurant, Rowie only does her cooking at home whipping up a mean Spaghetti Bolognese or a Lasagna and her grandma’s heirloom Sans Rival recipe.

She knows how to party, too. She is involved in many fundraisers, the ladies association of San Lorenzo Village, The Phil-Japan Ladies Association and of late has been co-writing books on Mama Mary and also on the late Father James Reuter. She is an example of grace under pressure as she juggles many responsibilities thrown her way.

But inspite of her busy schedule she can do zumba classes, pilates and go to church daily, too. She must be on something . . . and I think it is coffee and prayers.

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Chit Juan is the Founder and President of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle located in Serendra , Podium,Centris, Davao City, Makati and Cebu .She is the President of Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. She often speaks to corporates, academe and entrepreneurs about her advocacies: Social Enterprise, Women Empowerment and Coffee. You can reach her at or find her on Twitter@Chitjuan, Instagram: CHITJUAN or Linked In: Pacita Juan.


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