Abyan Munding Robles: SILAK was key in making my life independent, stronger and successful
“I have learned to be independent and I appreciated the value of survival with Abyans in SILAK when I was enrolled as a Marine Biology student at University of the Philippines in Diliman,” fondly recalled Raymundo Robles, the owner of Breakthrough Restaurant, Iloilo’s byname when it comes to fresh seafood dining.
Raymundo or warmly endeared as “Munding” among close friends, classmates, and Abyans in the SILAK Brotherhood and SILAB Sisterhood, described his membership to the Ilonggo fraternal organization as inspired by his elder brother Steve who is also a SILAK.
Munding was a second year college student at UP Visayas when he joined SILAK. “We were referred to as the ‘bunggit urot” group (or like a ‘sweeping victory’ in Hiligaynon) because it was the biggest batch to have entered SILAK and who formed Batch 1975-B,” Munding laughingly shared.
SILAK allowed me to be independent and to exercise self-discipline
Now 63 years old, the youngest in the family of three boys by Donato Robles and Trinidad Esperancilla of Oton, Iloilo, Munding described himself as a happy-go-lucky and carefree person about education. Yet it was his father who underscored the value of education for him to succeed in life.
“I honored my father by completing my studies,” stressed Munding, “but our student life in Diliman then was defined by difficulty and discomfort because finance support was insufficient for us to live an independent life away from home.”
The Yakal Dorm became the home of many SILAK brothers and they all learned to be independent and mutually supportive with each other whether in terms of academics or in their personal lives.
“Our brotherhood and sisterhood became our support system in order to survive student life, in particular, and of a life away from family, in general. We lived each day on a tight budget and our allowances were intended for a purpose. So, we learned how to share, to be content, and to enjoy what little that we have,” reminisced Munding.
Munding’s existence was shaped by episodes of shared experiences. His fraternal life with SILAK became interlocked with personal and professional life and it became an integral part of his development as a person.
“My life together with Abyans in SILAK allowed me to become a stronger person. I have learned to discipline myself by balancing my extra-curricular engagements with my studies in order to graduate; to manage my limited finances by prioritizing the essentials in life; to care for others; to value relationships; and to appreciate co-dependency and camaraderie,” he underscored.
“The kind of strength that we have created together continued to resonate among us until today and it made life worth celebrating each time,” Munding intoned.
Apply what you learned from SILAK on your professional and personal life
Munding also associated SILAK’s contribution in sharpening his professional career and business enterprises – qualities that he consciously passed on to his children and on his workers so that they too will become better persons and citizens.
SILAK reinforced the good work standards and ethics that he developed from his involvement in his elder brother Gideon’s Capiz shell business and later on as a research assistant at the Southeast Asian Fisheries and Development Center (SEAFDEC).
“Honestly, operating Breakthrough Restaurant was not really part of my interest and expertise. My wife Daday, however, has her eyes on it considering her background in Hotel and Restaurant Administration,” he pointed out.
The 34 years old award-winning Breakthrough Restaurant started as a small resto at the Lopez Arcade in Jaro in November 1986. Six years after or in January 1992, Breakthrough in Villa Arevalo was opened and it became an established landmark and a preferred dining place by both the locals and visitors to Iloilo City.
The Breakthrough brand has expanded with Ponsyon at Plazuela de Iloilo, Dapli at Valeria Street at the city proper and also a branch inside SM City Iloilo. Munding likewise pursued other passion projects like fish culture, planting vegetables, and farming.
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According to Munding, “our workers and associates are aware that Breakthrough has reached this point because of continuous innovation, hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to business. Hence, I always remind our people to imbibe punctuality, exercise initiative, and uphold the highest quality in customer service like it is their second nature.
As your Abyan Munding, “I’m hoping that our young generation in SILAK Brotherhood and SILAB Sisterhood will learn valuable lessons from us, be inspired by the virtues that we have embraced, and to pursue their passion with courage and dedication.”