MARIE GRACE QUINTERO CRISTOBAL is not your usual millennial although she is very much techie-savvy, harnessing the power of the worldwide web to its full potential to reach out to more Filipinos across the archipelago and share the good news of healthy living.
“I connect with facebook users who need to understand more how water can actually help them improve their lives and their health,” Grace began.
Of course, she is referring to none other than ALKAVIVA. “It’s our baby, my husband Louie and I. The birth pains of establishing ALKAVIVA water refilling station, the struggles, including the hungry years, and finally reaping the rewards for our patience, relentless hard work, even sleepless nights are all part of our life journey as a family.” Grace credits the blessings to the success they are enjoying right now to the Creator. “He blessed the work of our hands as we committed all – ALL that we planned to do to make the business grow.”
Grace’s indefatigable spirit, buoyed by her husband’s unwavering support even during the times they were hardest hit by a convoluted business environ, spurred them to continue and persevere even more. A self-starter who has lots of creative ideas up her sleeve to boost sales of their one year old water refilling business way back in 2011, Grace asserts she had no previous background in sales. “It was sheer determination, guts, and of course, I also believe what we have to offer our customers is something that has better value.”
After their first breakthrough, Grace smiled, reminiscing, “There’s no turning back.”
Grace considers one vital formula to their business success. “I consider myself an employee too. I can empathize that we all have different issues and concerns at home, but when you go to work, despite those personal problems, throw out the baggage of negative emotions and keep an open mind. Focus on the work at hand, and for sure, you will be more productive. This is an important value I never tire of sharing to our employees: “The path to success if paved with positive thinking”.”
The charming Aiko Melendez and Anna Marin look-alike Marie Grace is married to John Louie Cristobal and they have two lovely daughters named Arkisha Emanuelle, who recently turned one and Beatrice Gabrielle, who is 10. Both Grace and Louie are licensed engineers, having graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). The millennial couple, at the prime of their youth are undoubtedly successful entrepreneurs.
Throwback on the years past.
Weathering the seemingly insurmountable adversities back then, Grace recalled her frequent hospital confinements, treatments and medications that almost rendered her inactive and unproductive at work, then as an engineer in a broadband company. “Our savings was depleted, I was out of work. Then the surprising news came. I was pregnant!
What a miracle! Inspite of all the medications I took, God blessed us with our second child. It was a precious bundle of blessing which my husband and I welcomed, embraced and thanked the Lord over and over.”
Setbacks and hurdles arched the way to God’s blessings and favor.
Grace was diagnosed in 2007 with cardiomyopathy. “I had enlargement of the heart.” Unfortunately, her medical condition had weakened her heart as well. “For six years I took medication specifically to counter thrombosis. Throughout my pregnancy, another challenge arose. I developed gestational diabetes. I am thankful that my family were all out in their support. I praise God for all His miraculous provision throughout the duration of my illness because He did not allow me to undergo surgery.”
In her recollection of the painful tests, treatment, injections, procedures, Grace somewhat winced, reliving the sad experience.
Twenty years ago, the looming scarcity of potable drinking water was not even considered to cause a huge problem. “Abuse, neglect, indifference, it caused the degradation and decline of water services, even polluting the natural water sources that we have, “ she continued. “Grime, sediments, toxic waste from floods have seeped through leaked pipes contaminating what used to be clean, safe, hygienic and unadulterated water, making it unfit and no longer safe to drink especially by children. Water-borne diseases became rampant.”
Truth be told, water is life. Grace revealed that “What ALKAVIVA aims to achieve by sharing the good news to fellow kababayans especially in the far-flung provinces is the distinct advantage that this opportunity provides: clean, safe, pure and healthy drinking water, right in their very homes.”
How is this possible? “ALKAVIVA’s core services span the gamut of water treatment, water refilling station installation, bottling and waste water management. We are not into franchising nor in the networking business. What we offer and can provide our clients, whom we call our business partners, is the opportunity to share an awesome product - with a guarantee – via the business they established: purified, mineral or alkaline water refilling station to the residents in their surrounding area, in their place, in the community where they reside and operate the business.”
“As their business flourishes, the wellbeing of their customers also improves,” Grace confirmed, adding that it doesn’t matter if there are many players in the water refilling business. “The country’s population is so big that clean and safe to drink water is a necessity for survival and for nutrition, too.”
ALKAVIVA’s spate of clients have sprung to over 3,000 in just a few years. Grace admits that it’s mainly because they don’t cut corners. “Every inquiry is met with loads of information that can be understood quickly. When the interest becomes serious, the customer is enjoined to attend our training and product orientation before they sign the contract and pay their downpayment.
We always tell the client what to expect, how to troubleshoot, how to keep their water refilling station well maintained.” Customer empowerment is the best term to describe what the top honcho of ALKAVIVA has initiated. And it adds up to the brand’s credibility and equity.
ALKAVIVA is FDA approved and certified. Grace affirms that there is more to ALKAVIVA than just a name. “It epitomizes a lot of things. Good health for one. It also refers to the company’s integrity, a guarantee of freshness without compromising quality.”
ALKAVIVA is the couple’s legacy – to their children, their employees, their business partners and the stakeholders, the communities as well. As the look of contentment radiate in Grace’s smile and in her countenance, her devoted husband, the force behind the successful operations of ALKAVIVA, spanning Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is not about to rest on their laurels. He is determined more than ever to elevate ALKAVIVA in the minds of the consumers – as the preferred brand for their water supply requirements, be it mineral, purified or alkaline.
According to Grace, “it is our earnest desire and intention to help clients, especially the masa from different parts of the country, and those in the provinces, to avail of the opportunity to improve their lot in life, and also their health. That is why we want to expand our reach in areas that have no decent nor potable water supply.”
Both Grace and her better half Louie aspire for ALKAVIVA to be the brand of choice, trusted, respected. “What we endeavor to achieve is that when it comes to uncompromising quality, service and integrity, ALKAVIVA is the top choice.”
Armed with an optimistic outlook in life and in business, ALKAVIVA is anchored on the couple’s professional integrity in their business conduct, fused with uncompromising standards in products and services offered, and their fair treatment of their employees. When one walks his/her talk, the dream aimed for may be attained sooner than soon.
Grace concluded with an irrefutable realization. “Indeed, water is life. Ang Tubig ay Buhay, at ang Tubig din ang nagbigay ng magandang Buhay para sa amin.”