Filipina fish plant worker now award-winning sari-sari store owner in Canada

Ruby Lubigan Canada sari-sari store
Sari-sari store owner Ruby Lubigan helps bring a taste of the Philippines to homesick Filipinos living in rural Prince Edward Island in Canada. Photo from Thinh Nguyen/CBC.

Filipina entrepreneur Ruby Lubigan, a former fish plant worker, is now the owner of an award-winning grocery store that brings a taste of the Philippines to Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Lubigan’s business called the Sari-Sari Retail Store recently won an Emerging Business Award from the West Prince Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting businesses in the region.

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The Pinay business owner came to the Island from the Philippines more than a decade ago as a temporary foreign worker seeking better opportunities abroad. She first worked at a fish plant located in a rural province in Canada.

Now a permanent resident, Lubigan currently works full-time at a bank while running her Sari-Sari Retail Store business in Bloomfield which gets its name from a type of convenience store commonly found in the Philippines.

Lubigan chose to sell mostly Filipino food products in her sari-sari store due to the large presence of fellow Filipinos living there in her community who craved a taste of home abroad.

Many immigrants come to the store to buy ingredients for popular Filipino food dishes like the classic Pinoy adobo dish, pancit bihon, and sinigang, a sour soup native to the Philippines.

Lubigan’s inspiring journey as an immigrant and fish plant worker turned business owner was spotlighted by CBC News in May for the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The Filipina entrepreneur recalled her humble beginnings in the Philippines and expressed gratitude for the chance to be in Canada, despite the challenges that she encountered in starting her business.

“When I left my country, I never thought, I never dreamed that I’m going to be here in Canada. Because my life in the Philippines is really poor. We (weren’t) able to have food for three times a day. There was a time we always ate once a day only,” Ruby Lubigan told CBC News reporter Thinh Nguyen in an article published on May 17, 2022.

CHECK OUT more inspiring businesses like Hey Pretty Aesthetics by young Filipino businesswoman Anne Barretto and the Pinoy sorbetes business of Filipino-Belgian couple Kamille and Jelle Bories in Belgium.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Filipina entrepreneur Ruby Lubigan for bringing a taste of the Philippines to homesick Filipinos living in Prince Edward Island in Canada.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.