Former cruise ship worker sets out to build his own coffee business in Iloilo

Reymund Titong

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Former cruise ship worker sets out to build his own coffee business in Iloilo

PARAMADE COFFEE. Paul Ramon Derla pours a native coffee into a cup at the Paramade Kiosk in Barotac Nuevo town in Iloilo.

Photo courtesy of Paul Ramon Derla

'Even though I know it is difficult, I will continue to grind for this ultimate goal. I believe that success cannot be achieved overnight, and I will continue to stick to it,' Paul Ramon Derla says of raising his coffee shop business

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Driven by goals and aspirations, many young individuals are starting businesses in order to succeed on their own terms. Entrepreneurship has been a popular choice for those who refuse to be confined by traditional career paths.

For 26-year-old Paul Ramon M. Derla, all the education and work he’s done prepared him for the challenges that might come his way. He used to work as a front desk officer of a hotel in Iloilo, a casual government employee, and a human resource associate at a logistics company, among others. 

Derla earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Iloilo State College of Fisheries-Dumangas Campus in 2019, which honed his skills in hospitality and business. 

After working in a logistics company, he tried his luck by applying to join a cruise ship, and it didn’t take long for him to get an assignment. In March of 2022, he was able to embark on a journey with one of the biggest cruise ships in the world – the Costa Deliziosa, a cruise ship under Carnival Cruise Line.  

He told Rappler on Sunday, March 17, that his time working on a cruise ship for seven months was a pivotal experience, allowing him to learn more about himself and what he wanted to do. 

“Embarking on my cruise ship journey was a game changer because it is where I gained clarity on what things I wanted to pursue in life,” he said.

CRUISING. Paul Ramon Derla stands by at the buffet area of a restaurant on a cruise ship as it goes to European countries. Photo courtesy of Paul Ramon Derla.
The cruise ship shift

“Working on the cruise ship as a junior waiter is a hefty obligation, especially with its demanding work schedules,” he said.

When Derla was cruising around Europe, he got to visit various countries, like Italy and Greece, which aided him in discovering more about himself by challenging his potential. 

“The time when I used to visit Italy and Greece, I tried their coffee and it was the first time I was deeply in love with their taste, which is beyond compare,” he said. 

Paul added, “From that day forward, I usually explore coffee shops every time our ships dock from one country to another to learn more about the taste of coffee.”

If you’re a coffee lover, you might want to take a leaf out of Paul’s book. He said he started consuming coffee in his early 20s, but his taste improved after trying different coffee blends from different countries. 

After his contract, Derla has returned to the Philippines, along with his taste buds which inspired him to start a small coffee business. However, luck was not on his side at the time, as he had been unsuccessful in his attempt.

Following this, he applied to become a restaurant manager in Iloilo City. Derla got the job, but it was a factor behind why he got away from his plan of establishing his own business. 

“The main reason I applied to become a manager was because I want to learn fresh business frameworks from successful people, where I can develop my skills and also could help me with my plan of starting my business,” he told Rappler. 

Derla said he had a great time running the restaurant, mingling with his colleagues who came from different walks of life, and it allowed him to build networks and connections. 


After 9 months of being a manager, Derla realized that he had been focused on being an employee rather than realizing his goal. By December of 2023, he decided to get back on track and resigned from his job, using his resources and experience towards his ultimate goal of having a coffee business. 

Derla said that one thing that pushed him to realize his goal was because of his parents, who served as his inspirations as he wanted to give them a better way of life. 

Derla never had to think twice about his decision to leave his job, and at that time, he had already a definite plan. 

“I really wanted to own a business even though I was still an employee, and with all the experiences I got from different companies, I wanted to apply them now with my business,’ he said.

Derla said that if it is hard to be an employee, it is much harder to run a business, especially with limited resources.

In January 2024, Derla successfully launched his coffee business in Barotac Nuevo town in Iloilo province, using the name “Paramade,” which is a shortening of his full name. 

“Even though I know that is difficult, I will continue to grind for this ultimate goal. I believe that success cannot be achieved overnight, and I will continue to stick to it,” he said. 

Derla described the journey from employee to entrepreneur as a roller coaster ride, bouncing between jobs for four years before focusing on his goal. 

“All things considered, transitioning from one job to the next – which involved establishing relationships with coworkers in addition to the hefty load of actual work – was truly a hurdle for me. Despite everything, it all made me more adaptable and able to deal with new situations, including establishing a connection with customers,” he said.

“The challenges I experienced will serve as my compass as I start my small business because starting a business is like building a relationship with a colleague – a strong rapport and connection is needed,” he added.

Derla said that currently, his business is doing great and once everything gets better, he plans to branch out to other towns in the province. 

Meanwhile, he advised fellow youth his age that if they really wanted to pursue their dreams and aspirations in life, they should remain focused, be keen on details, and keep on adapting to new trends. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!