Cristina Decena is a self-made woman who is currently the president of the CBC Group of Companies. Among its subsidiaries are the Muebles De Cristina, CBC Foundation, C. Castillo Realty & Dev’t. Corp., Signatures By Cristina, Cherdan Lending & Investment Corp., AVP Productions, CBC Meatshop, and the Phil. Asian Lending Group, Inc. However, she made her money building and selling real estate, for which she has been recognized with the October 2011 Most Outstanding Businesswoman in the Field of Financing and Real Estate Gawad Amerika Awards and the October 2014 Most Outstanding Businesswoman in Realty and Entrepreneurship Gawad Amerika Awards.
Cristina Decena Story
Her tale is the classic rags-to-riches one, which Filipinos love to fictionalize in movies and telenovelas. However, these works of fiction do not even scratch the surface of the hardships and tribulations that Ms. Castillo had to go through to get to where she is now.
She is the product of a broken marriage, raised in the mean streets of Tondo. She learned very early in life that she needed to be self-sustaining in order to help her mother through financial struggles. She swore that she would one day build a house for her hardworking mother. An ironic twist of fate, as it turns out later when she builds her fortune in real estate. It was not an easy journey for the hardheaded businesswoman she was even at the tender age of seven years old.
Ms. Castillo let loose her entrepreneurial spirit at that age, selling Chocnut to her classmates and hoarding the profits. She used some of the money for their daily needs, but she always kept some back. By the time she was in college, she was selling food and clothes.
She still managed to get good grades despite her side businesses, graduating cum laude from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Economics. She did not waste any time. She used what money she had and sunk it into real estate, where she made her first million. She was not afraid to learn the business from literally the ground up, working with manual laborers as easily as with architects and engineers. She studied the business with the diligence she had applied to her studies, and she learned well.
Nothing could stop this practical and shrewd entrepreneur from major financial and business success. Unfortunately, it came at a price. Because her own family life was unhappy, Ms. Castillo strove to have a complete and happy family unit. She believed that when she became Mrs. Decena and had five children that she had finally achieved her biggest dream. However, the marriage failed even as her businesses flourished.
- I appreciate and admire all of Cristina Decena’s projects. I have been a witness to many of these projects. And many of these projects have been worthy of coverage and many of these stories have actually come out on my ABS-CBN Channel 2 program, Rated K.
Unfazed, she kept trying to find her happily ever after, but it was as elusive as the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. Several relationships later, she went back to being Cristina Castillo and continued with her humanitarian work despite threats on her life, legal troubles, and the inevitable public scrutiny. She received several awards during the most tumultuous time of her life:
There are testaments to her native resilience and toughness, which had carried her through her difficult life to financial success. She has weathered many storms and emerged smiling and confident, ready to take on anything that life may yet throw at her.