Like many other skilled immigrants, he did survival jobs like dishwashing and warehouse work. He moved on to house renovation estimating and sales, and later, estimator in a structural steel company. He formed his own contracting construction company which he still runs today.
Mercado was one of the earliest mentors in the Bamboo Network, a mentoring program for skilled immigrants at the Multicultural Helping House Society in the early 2000's.
He saw the opportunity of bringing together a group of Filipino Canadian construction-related professionals, tradesmen, and entrepreneurs to mentor Filipino skilled immigrants in construction related fields. Along with a group of like-minded Filipinos, he founded Filipino Canadian Construction Society (FCCS), a non-profit organization, which to this day is mentoring many Filipinos in the construction industry in Metro Vancouver.
"I am passionate about helping other people because it gives me a sense of fulfillment," says Mercado, who comes from a family all doing nonprofit work in the Philippines.
About retirement, Mercado says, "I honestly never thought it would be this good, exciting and enjoyable.I am now spending lots of time with family, in my church, mentoring newly arrived immigrants and other community volunteering".
Mercado’s typical day is waking up late, long breakfasts with wife Gloria, checking the garden, cleaning the house, walking around the neighborhood, working on Facebook, emails, and the 'to do list'.
Retirement plans include travelling with his kids in the Philippines to visit relatives and continue volunteer work in his home town Minalin, Pampanga where he just started an FCCS fundraising program to fund 10 scholarships.
Mercado's advice for an enjoyable and meaningful retirement: Be active in your community, enjoy what you have now, and thank the Lord for every breath we take.
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