Rising from Adversity: The Culinary Success of Diwata

Deo Jarito Balbuena, better known as Diwata, shares an inspiring journey behind his success with his famous food business, Diwata Pares Overload.

Early Life and Struggles

“Sa amin kasi, mahirap talaga ang buhay sa probinsya… Samar ako [nakatira dati] eh. Ang hanap buhay kasi doon, mga farmers…,” recounted Diwata, reflecting on his difficult childhood in the province of Samar. Growing up in a farming community, life was hard, and opportunities were limited. At the age of 17, he moved to Metro Manila, hoping to find a better life. However, the reality was harsh, and Diwata found himself hopping from one menial job to another, working as a fruit vendor, a helper, and a construction worker.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought another wave of hardship when Diwata lost his job in construction. Homeless and desperate, he lived under a bridge and began selling cigarettes, coffee, soft drinks, and other goods to survive.

Turning Point

During this challenging period, Diwata’s late friend, Mama Randy, gave him crucial advice that changed his path. “Sabi niya ‘mas madali ang pera kung dadagdagan natin ng pagkain yan. Mas malakas yung kita mo doon, mas malaki,’” Diwata shared. Mama Randy also taught him how to cook, leading Diwata to add food items to his merchandise. This pivot to selling food proved to be a game-changer.

Rise to Fame of Diwata’s Pares Overload

Diwata’s culinary skills, combined with his vibrant personality, quickly garnered a loyal customer base. He set up a mini stall in Pasay City, serving bowls of pares—braised beef brisket cubes with unlimited rice and soup. The mouthwatering dish, priced at just P100, became an instant hit. His fame grew rapidly, and soon, people from all over the country, and even from abroad, were coming to taste his food.

here’s one of the many vidos available that showcase the fandom created by Diwata

“Ang plano ko talaga yumaman. Kaya i-e-expand ko yung Diwata Pares Overload ko sa Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao para hindi na sila pumila,” Diwata revealed his ambitious plans for nationwide expansion. His dream is to bring his popular dish to more people, eliminating the need for long-distance travel just to savor his pares.

Challenges and Triumphs

Despite his success, Diwata faced legal troubles. On a Thursday morning, he was apprehended by authorities at his stall due to an outstanding 2018 case for slight physical injuries. However, after posting a P3,000 bail, he was released and quickly returned to his beloved stall.

“Dati kasi sidestreet lang ako. Illegal vendor ako. Wala kaming upa at walang permit. Kapag may clearing tumatakbo kami. Nakaka-stress,” Diwata recounted his past struggles with street vending and the constant threat of being shut down by authorities.

Looking Forward

From a street vendor running from the authorities to a celebrated culinary entrepreneur, Diwata’s journey is a testament to resilience and the power of dreams. His success story has not only inspired many but has also made a significant impact on the local street food scene.

Now a social media sensation, Diwata continues to charm his patrons with his delightful personality and delectable pares. Hundreds of customers line up daily to enjoy his meals, which have become a symbol of perseverance and success against all odds. As he looks forward to expanding his business across the Philippines, Diwata remains committed to his roots, serving food that brings joy and satisfaction to many.

With his unwavering determination and entrepreneurial spirit, Diwata is poised to make Diwata Pares Overload a household name nationwide, fulfilling his dream of a prosperous and impactful life.


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