Category Archives: Profiles

Flying High With Limuel Hayag Vilela

Limuel Hayag Vilela

We recognize that many people outside of the startup world break boundaries every day so we wanted to share a story of a guy who has broken many boundaries in order to get to the place he is currently at in life.

We first met Limuel at the ASC Fashion Show through a mutual friend of ours, Carmelo Soberano. We wanted a chance to interview him because he was very driven and he wasn’t afraid to ask for what he wants. Those are always traits we admire as we can’t be timid about pursuing our goals. Like it has been said, the answer is always no if we don’t ask!

Meet Limuel

Limuel started off in humble beginnings in Quezon Province in the Philippines. He worked his way up from growing up in a poor family to a flight attendant and to an up-and-coming model. He currently resides in Canada and does runway shows in New York City. Here is a snippet of his interview:

Note: His interview was in Taglish (Tagalog + English) so the following contains translation from Tagalog to English.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I’m from Quezon province. I worked as a manager at a fast food restaurant and then I moved to the UK. I was a restaurant supervisor there, but unfortunately, I didn’t get permanent residency so I needed to go back to the Philippines. When I went back, I told myself I wanted to go to a country that has  easier immigration laws. I stayed in the Philippines for around 2 years. I worked at ABS-CBN (one of the Philippines’ largest television network) and I pushed myself to the point where my career was going really well. Then, after that, I ended up moving to Canada.”

Good stuff. How was your childhood growing up in the Philippines?

I grew up separated from my siblings and my parents. So, the struggle of being separated from your loved ones, it’s hard as a kid, right? Especially when you’re as young as 7 so you want to dream something big, but you don’t have much support from the people closest to you. I never thought that it was a hindrance nor did I catch hard feelings. From there, from elementary to high school to the university, I became very driven. My life started in a challenging way so I grew up very passionate about my goals and the things I want in life.”

So, now you’re a flight attendant and an up-and-coming model. How did you get from there to here?”

“I worked hard. At that time, I was getting bullied, also. People were saying I was too skinny and weak, ugly, corpse-like. I wasn’t physically fit. I wasn’t interesting. I told myself that I’ll build myself physically to the point that no one can judge me based on my physical attributes anymore.. that no one can drag me down. Being successful for me is not just having a good career. You have to be physically fit also because your body is a platform for you to have a good career.

In the Philippines, there’s high discrimination, right? I experienced it. If you’re dark, if you’re skinny, if you’re short, if you’re too old, you get discriminated against.  It’s the culture. But I asked myself, can I change? Do I have an opportunity to change this kind of culture? I know I might not be able to change the people in the community itself, but for myself, can I change? I got challenged. The things that I can control, the things I can change within myself, I’ll do it.”

Would you say that was your lowest point?

“I think so, yeah, the discrimination. Looking back now, I can’t believe I went through that. People judging me. I was always rejected. The way I looked. If you’re attractive, you’re good but if your looks don’t fit their expectations, you’re done. So I came to a point where I just said I’d do it. Work hard, go to the gym, eat properly. After that, I built myself, I said ‘wow, my body looks good, I actually look good.’ Then one designer said why don’t I try to audition. She said I had height and I wasn’t the typical ‘Filipino size.’

I decided to do it because I wanted to prove something to myself. Not only because of what other people were saying but for myself. I’ll start with myself and then I’ll show them. Ill show that impossible is really nothing. So I became a model and then I represented the province when I competed in Boracay.”

Out of curiosity, have you heard from the people who used to belittle you?

“I just want them to realize that there are things that you shouldn’t judge. Unexpected things can happen because as long as we’re alive, we all have an opportunity to change. They just laugh and they say ‘oh my God, this is the person we used to bully. Look at him now.’ They get embarrassed sometimes so they stay quiet. I’m not the vengeful type but I think my silence is a killer. I think I inspire them. ”

Love it! How did you stay committed to your goals?

“When I competed in Boracay, I didn’t win. I got really sad because I was representing my province and I lost. After that loss, I asked myself what I was lacking. I wanted to win because I wanted to prove myself to people. My dedication to bettering myself physically helped me stay committed. Even my dad used to say you eat the gym for breakfast. I never smoked, I just drank occasionally, I had no vices. My only vice was metal, pumping iron.”

What’s the one advice you would give to someone aspiring to become successful?

“Never be afraid of change. There are people that, when faced with a bit of change, they’re scared, but me, no. There were times that I did get angry at my circumstances or that I was too aware of what I was lacking that others had, but I realized what if I didn’t experience those challenges? What if I had an abundant childhood? Would I enjoy my success right now as much? Would I truly value what I’m receiving now? It’s part of my life journey. I learned how to adjust quickly.”

Wrap Up

There you have it! Hope you guys received as much inspiration from Limuel as we did. Check out this highlight reel!


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Babata: Organic and Natural Care Products

babata logo

As a startup, we are always interested in meeting fellow entrepreneurs. Their stories, struggles, successes, failures take us on a different journey each time. From tech companies to entrepreneurs heading non-profits, there’s always a lesson to be learned from each one we have met thus far. Their passion and dedication to their craft continues to inspire us (as well as our readers) and we know that their impact is slowly changing the world for the better. One such entrepreneur is Percival Cunanan from Babata New York, one of the producers of one of the best organic and natural care products currently out in the market.

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Midnight Market: Jersey City’s First “Foodie Nightlife” Experience

midnight market

As the next Midnight Market rolls back around, we’re getting super excited and rallying more of our friends and family to experience the event. If you haven’t been to one, go! The first time we went was in February and we loved it so much that we invited a few of our friends to come with us to the next one in March. They did and they had an amazing time as well! The next event is on April 14th and it’s dessert-themed. (Teaser: You might see Alice in Wonderland or Willy Wonka.) We’ve invited more of our friends and family and we can’t wait to see what they have in store!

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Ward eSports: A Community Platform for eSports Fans

Ward eSports

These days, mostly everyone is on some sort of social community platform. Let’s take Facebook for example. According  to the World Economic Forum, Facebook would be bigger than China if it was a country. To put that into perspective, China’s population in 2016 was 1,382,323,332 (Source: worldometers.info).

There are also platforms where we can find events near us like meetup.com or  eventbrite.com. Why, then, do gamers and fans of eSports have trouble finding events geared towards their community? It’s because there isn’t a platform out there yet that is known enough to the gaming community that can bring like-minded gamers and fans together.

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House of Gains: “Healthy and Hearty Power Bowls” By a Power Couple

house of gains
PC: Miguel Saez

One of our goals here at Breaking Boundaries is to feature businesses or people who are challenging their limits. We want to put the spotlight on those who are so passionate and driven about what they do that they start creating positive ripple effects in their community. I first heard about Brenda, one of the founders of House of Gains in Jersey City, from a mutual friend on Facebook. She posted a status about Brenda’s accomplishments and I immediately thought she would be a great example to BB’s community.

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Collab with CSV at ASC Fashion Week, Season 2

asc fashion week
PC: korendezvous

ASC Fashion Week

The ASC Fashion Week is produced by Kiran Khan and Amith Singh Chauhan from ASC Productions. We were there a couple of weeks back with Carmelo Soberano Visuals who was actually our first client that we unexpectedly got through this blog. He asked us to work with him again to cover the show and we agreed. We thought it would be a nice experience since neither Koren nor I have been to a fashion show before. Plus, we like working with Carmelo! Really cool guy!

Quick Update

So, to make a long story short, we got featured on his blog! We just wanted to share that excitement with all of you. You can check out the article here.

And, this is the 3-minute highlight reel that Koren made from the show:

Hope you guys enjoyed it! We usually cover entrepreneurship events so if you’d like to see more of those, please subscribe! Catch you guys soon!

The Best Advice A Multi-Millionaire Claims He Has Received

advice
Downtown Jersey City. (PC: korendezvous)

Being of Filipino descent, I’m used to hearing about the glorification of formal schooling. It’s almost as if your worth is decided on the premise of whether or not you graduated from college. Take it a step further: your major is of no value unless it’s in medicine (read: doctor), law, or engineering. Their advice usually falls along the line of “Do well in school so you’ll have a great life.” This means a degree 100% equals a great life. I beg to differ.

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Startup Demo Night Experience and Lessons

startup
Building 78 at Kearny Point. (PC: korendezvous)

As some of you might be aware, I started Breaking Boundaries to help empower and inspire people to go after their passion(s). I get motivated when I meet people who are set on finding success and work really hard to turn their dreams into reality even when the odds are stacked against them. I haven’t been to a startup event in a long time, but I figured I should start regularly attending some to meet industry disrupters and share their stories with you. Awesome thing is, I have been finding opportunities to network with go-getters that I have overlooked in the past. I guess it’s true when they say you attract what you are ready for.

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Word-of-Mouth: The Most Valuable Form of Marketing

word-of-mouth
PC: Carmelo Soberano

I learned a lot from Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference. He spoke about how epidemics of demand happen and the types of people who can trigger it. Malcolm claims that there are 3 types of people who start epidemics: the Connectors, the Mavens, and the Salesmen. For this article, we’re going to focus on the Mavens–the people who start word-of-mouth epidemics.

Before we go further, let’s define what word-of-mouth is. According to businessdictionary.com, it is an oral or written recommendation by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service and is considered to be the most effective form of promotion.

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