Bro. Eddie Villanueva: Born For A Change

Bro. Eddie was born on October 6, 1946 in Bocaue, Bulacan to parents Joaquin T. Villanueva and Maria Cruz Villanueva, both now deceased. The elder Villanueva was a former Olympic sprinter who represented the Philippines in the Far Eastern Games for four consecutive years in the 1920s.

He was immersed in both student and labor movements in the 1970’s. He joined the progressive segments of society which opposed military dictatorship. He fought local landgrabbers in Bulacan. He was jailed for his political beliefs and participation in various mass actions.

Bro. Eddie is married to Adoracion Jose Villanueva, who holds a Doctorate in Theology from Promise Christian University in Los Angeles, California, USA. She is currently Executive Director of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide and President/Director of Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation, Inc.

The Villanuevas have four children, all achievers in their own right. Eduardo “Jon-Jon” J. Villanueva Jr., 37, the incumbent Mayor of Bocaue, Bulacan, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Governance from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, 34, a third-term Member, House of Representatives, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party-list, graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA and holds a degree in Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Economics from the University of Santo Tomas (UST). Eleanor “Joni” Villanueva-Tugna, 32, is currently Vice President for Programming of ZOE TV-11 and Director for Administration of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide, holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Ateneo de Manila and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Edelisha “Jovi” J. Villanueva, 26, is a Youth Advocate and Educator and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Major in Social Science, from the Philippine Normal University (PNU).

Bro. Eddie’s national involvement extends also to the academe. He is the longest-sitting member of the Board of Regents of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Previous to this appointment, he was a faculty member of the Department of Economics and Finance of the Philippine College of Commerce (now PUP) from 1969 to 1972. Therefore he knows the intricacies of the Philippine economy. He also knows the dynamicss of business and trade beyond his academic exposure. He himself also engaged in business. He was General Manager of Agape Trading Company in 1976-1977. He was also Export Manager of Maran Export Industries in 1973-1975.

In recognition of his achievements, Bro. Eddie has been the recipient of various international and local honors and citations. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Divinity from Promise Christian University in Los Angeles, California (2008). He has also received various honorary degrees: Doctor of Education Management from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (2003); Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities from Bulacan State University (2003); Doctor of Divinity from Christian International (CI) based in Sta. Rosa Beach, Florida (1997); Doctor of Divinity from Vision Christian College in Romana, California (1995); Doctor of Divinity from Thailand Bible Seminary (1994).

Bro. Eddie was voted worldwide as “Pastor of the Year” in 1988 by Dr. George Otis’ High Adventure Ministries. He was Ordained Minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (1979) by Dr. Michael Mckinney of the Victory in Christ Church and International Ministries based in California.


Teary-eyed Bangon Pilipinas presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva thanked the united front of Muslim and Christian groups for a rare expression of unity in order to support his candidacy.

“For the love of country, they have united to advance new politics,” Bro. Eddie said.

The Head of Ulama Philippines, Aleem Naguib Taher, declared the support of the Muslim community to Bro. Eddie during the Bangon Pilipinas coordinators’ convergence in Clark, Pampanga this week. He brought with him leading personalities of Mindanao’s top three ethno-linguistic groups: Maguindanaons, Tausugs, and Maranaws.

Aleem Taher said, “We represent the united front of the Muslims in Mindanao.”

“This is the first time in recent history that these three tribes joined each other for a common cause in the political arena,” said Arnold Garbanzos, Bangon Pilipinas Coordinator in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Dr. Zafrullah Alonto, former Spokesperson of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is running as senator under Bangon Pilipinas to represent Mindanao in the party slate.

Earlier, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) also declared support to Bro. Eddie when its Founding Chairman Nur Misuari announced his Sulu Gubernatorial candidacy under Bangon Pilipinas.

Meanwhile, Seventh Day Adventist leader Tom Meneses also said, “Who would have thought this day would come? Groups that traditionally do not see each other eye to eye have forged unity and agreed to be under one banner… that of Bangon Pilipinas Party?. This is amazing!”

Dr. Jun Loquias of the influential BAPTIST-Philippines (Believers’ Action Towards Prosperity, Truth, Integrity for the State’s Transformation) brought with him Baptist Churches in the Philippines to be part of the united front of supporters for Bro. Eddie. In Mindanao alone, BAPTIST -Philippines has a 36,000-strong member Churches.

“Beyond religion, beyond historical conflicts, beyond personal interests: This is what Bangon Pilipinas is all about!”, said Bro. Eddie.

The Invention of Marc Loinaz

Invented by Marc Loinaz

The inventor of the one-chip video camera was Marc Loinaz, a Filipino resident of New Jersey who works with Lucent Technologies. He was featured in the July 1999 issue of Discover Magazine.

Marc Loinaz, Director of Design, Physical Layer Products
Dr. Loinaz has over 10 years of mixed-signal integrated circuit design experience. Before co-founding Aeluros, he was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff in the High-Speed Physical Layer Design group at Agere Systems, building transceivers in SiGe for OC-192 and for OC-768. In his previous position at Bell Labs, Dr. Loinaz led a research team that demonstrated the world’s first single-chip color digital video camera in CMOS. He received the 1998 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, a 1999 Award for Technological Innovation from Discover Magazine, and a 2000 Distinguished Technical Staff Award from Bell Labs. Dr. Loinaz received his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in mixed-signal CMOS IC design. He has co-authored 13 papers and holds 6 U.S. Using the same ho-hum materials found in a personal computer, Marc Loinaz and his colleagues at Lucent Technologies have created every secret agent’s dream contraption: a video camera the size of a cigarette lighter. Lucent’s impetus was a little more practical, however. It was looking to create imaging devices “so cheap and low power they can be integrated into everything from wristwatches to kitchen appliances,” Loinaz says.

Today’s video cameras generate pictures from charge-coupled devices (CCDs), which provide a great picture but require a pile of support circuitry that cannot sit on the same chip as the image sensors. “This makes CCD cameras relatively large, power hungry, and complicated to design and manufacture,” says Loinaz. The one-chip camera, on the other hand, is based on the same ubiquitous silicon chip found in microprocessors and memory devices.

A big challenge for Loinaz’s team was “getting the sensitive analog circuits to live happily with the digital signal processing circuits on the same piece of silicon.” Ultimately they taught the two circuits simply to ignore each other. “We scheduled operations on the chip so that during all the sensitive analog operations, we shut down the digital circuits.” Lucent recently licensed its video on a chip to Vanguard International Semiconductor, which plans to market products based on the technology sometime this year. Mini-video imagers might be mounted on car bumpers to eliminate blind spots and reduce collisions. The one-chip camera could also be used in home security. And then, of course, there’s the potential for things like portable video wristwatch phones. Dick Tracy, eat your heart out.

Efren “Bata” Reyes: US Billiard Player of the Decade

Efren “Bata” Reyes, whose world 9-ball feat in Cardiff, Wales in 1999 sparked the renaissance of billiards in the world, was named the Player of the Decade by the United States Billiard Media Association.

The 55-year-old Reyes, who was also inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2003, has raked in nearly $1.7 million in earnings the last 10 years, excluding his latest winnings of $47,500 in Indiana last week.

Reyes clinched his fifth Master of the Table Crown during the 12th Annual Derby City Classic at the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel in Indiana, US.

He beat fellow former world champions Johnny Archer of the US, Mika Immonen of Finland and Ralf Souquet of Germany for the coveted Player of the Decade plum.

“He (Efren) is an inspiration for the Filipinos.” said billiards patron Aristeo “Putch” Puyat.

Reyes won more than 20 major pro pool titles during the decade, starting with the $30,000 Camel Pro 8-Ball Championship triumph in 2000. Of his 22 major victories, the amiable pool legend captured four one-pocket crowns, four 8-ball titles and 15 9-ball titles. He also ruled the Derby City All-Around tournament five times.

The string of victories came after Reyes became the first Filipino to win the World Pool (9-ball) Championship title in 1999 in Cardiff. He also took the World 8-ball title in 2004 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

He also triumphed in the International Pool Tour (IPT), won two titles (2005 IPT King of the Hill and 2006 IPT North American Open) and pocketed $765,000.

Efren Timbol Reyes (born August 26, 1954) is a Filipino professional pool player from Angeles City and a two-time world champion. Reyes is considered to be one of the all-time greats in the games of nine ball and one-pocket. He is nicknamed “Bata” and “the Magician“.

Reyes was born in Pampanga in 1954 and moved to Manila with his family, at the age of 5. In Manila, he worked as a billiards attendant at his uncle’s billiards hall, where he started learning the various cue sports. Because he was not tall enough to reach the pool table, he played while standing on Coca-cola cases that he moved around. At night, while he was dreaming of playing pool, the pool table was his bed.

He is called Bata, which is Filipino for “Kid”, because there was another older pool player named Efren when he was young. To determine which Efren onlookers were referring to, he was nicknamed “Efren Bata“.

Gambling from a young age, Reyes played three cushion billiards in the 1960s and 1970s. After establishing himself as a winner, he was discovered by promoters. This gave him the opportunity to compete in big time tournaments.

Reyes began winning a number of tournaments in the US, Europe and in parts of Asia. Thus, he started to gain attention and recognition worldwide. At the start of his career he used aliases to hide his true identity so he would be allowed to compete. By the mid-1990s, he became one of the elite players of the Philippines alongside Jose Parica and Francisco Bustamante.

Numerous fellow professional players have credited Reyes with being the greatest living player in the world. During ESPN television commentary on a semi-finals match the between Reyes and Mika Immonen at the 2000 Billiard Congress of America Open 9-Ball Championship, veteran professional Billy Incardona stated that Reyes was “indisputably the best player in the world—especially when you consider all games—he can play any game as well as anyone, maybe better than anyone…. In my opinion we’re watching probably the greatest player in my lifetime and I’ve been watching pool for the better part of forty years.”

The fame of Efren Reyes began when he won the US Open Nine Ball Championship in 1994 by defeating Nick Varner in the finals. He was the first non-American ever to win the event.

Two years later, Efren Reyes and Earl Strickland were chosen to face each other in an event called the Color of Money, named after the movie. The event was a 3-day race-to-120 challenge match of 9-ball. It was held in Hong Kong and has a winner-take-all prize of US$100,000. Reyes won the match 120-117 and the big prize. This was the largest single-winning purse in a pool event.

Although Earl Strickland was the first to win the WPA World 9-ball Championship, Reyes, in 1999, became the first to win it broadcast on television. This tournament was not recognized at the time by the WPA, but Reyes was later retrospectively acknowledged as the winner of one of two world championships held in 1999. Nick Varner won the “official” world title, but this was a much smaller event than the one Reyes won. The two tournaments were merged for the following year, with both men listed as the champion for 1999. At the time, the Matchroom Sport-organised event in Cardiff, Wales, was called the World Professional Pool Championship (despite the entry of many non-professional players).

In 2001, Reyes won the International Billiard Tournament. The event was held in Tokyo and had over 700 players with a total purse of ¥100M ($850K). Reyes dominated the event by beating Niels Feijen in the finals 15-7 and earned the ¥20M ($170K) first prize. At the time, this was the biggest first prize in a pool tournament.

In 2002 he won the $50K winner-take-all International Challenge of Champions, defeating Mika Immonen in a deciding rack after both players split sets.

Then, in 2003, he became the first Asian to be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame.

Near the end of 2004, Reyes beat Marlon Manalo to become the first-ever WPA World Eight Ball Champion. With the win, he became the first player in WPA history to win two world championships of different disciplines.

In December 2005, Reyes won the IPT King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout. Reyes won a record-breaking $200K for first place by beating fellow Hall of Fame member Mike “the Mouth” Sigel two sets to none (8-0 and 8-5).

In 2006, Reyes and Francisco Bustamante represented their country as Team Philippines in the inaugural World Cup of Pool. They defeated Team USA, formed by Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris, to capture the title

That same year, Reyes won the IPT World Open Eight-ball Championship over Rodney Morris 8-6. He earned $500K which was the largest prize money tournament in the history of pocket billiards. Unfortunately, due to IPT’s financial problems, he hasn’t claimed much of this money as of 2007.

For 2007, he was ranked #2 in Pool & Billiard Magazine‘s “Fans’ Top 20 Favorite Players” poll.

In 2008, Warren Kiamco, 38, defeated Efren Reyes, 11-6, in the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Billiards Tournament on May 10, 2008 at the Sports Center of StarMall Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

In 2009, The Filipino tandem of Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante beat the German tandem of Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann in a grueling 11-9 win to take their second championship title. This, along with the semifinal finish of the other Filipino tandem of Ronato Alcano and Dennis Orcollo, was the best performance put up by a host nation in the tournament’s history.

In 2010, Reyes clinched his 5th title in the 12th annual Derby City Classic as overall champion, making him the most successful player by far in the tournament’s history.

Dennis Mendiola’s Chikka



CEO Chikka Messenger

Dennis Beltran Mendiola

(born September 1, 1967, in New York City) is an entrepreneur and investment banker oft cited for pioneering technology ventures that have been mobilized for both real profit and invaluable service to people and communities.

Mendiola attended primary and secondary schooling at the Ateneo De Manila before heading to the US for college.
He graduated double summa cum laude with degrees in BS Economics (Wharton) and BS Electrical Engineering (Moore) from the University of Pennsylvania, and later earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1995. He was gainfully employed through 1992 to 1997 as a consultant and investment banker at such institutions as McKinsey Consulting, Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust, at some of the world’s most important financial capitals.

Twice however, country beckoned: Early in 1992 to volunteer at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in order to attract international investments in the former US Naval Base, and give the country new hope of joining the ranks of Asian Tigers; and then again in 1996, to form Next Century Partners, a venture capital firm that would call the attention of more international investors to more investment opportunities in the country.

In 2001, Mendiola, together with a group of young entrepreneurs, responded to the challenge of creating a messaging solution that would withstand SMS volume in a country sending 30 million messages daily, and claiming the title ‘Text Capital of the World.’ Mendiola launched the Chikka Text Messenger, the world’s first instant messenger with integrated mobile features via SMS, beating world players such as AOL, Yahoo and MSN to probably the world’s most coveted mobile messaging market.

The Chikka Text Messenger became an integral part of Filipinos’ lives everywhere, including overseas Filipino workers, and a diverse online community that quickly embraced and enjoyed Chikka for its ease of use and reliable mobile connectivity.

 company he co-founded in 2000 with Alexandra Roxas and Chito Bustamante, built an instant messaging (IM) application that was the first to seamlessly integrate full mobile functions via text messaging. The service launched in 2001 allowed millions of Filipinos who did not have Internet access, to become part of an instant messaging community using their mobile phones.

The service called Chikka Text Messenger would be driven by millions of overseas Filipinos who embraced the service as it united them, reliably, economically, with their families and friends back home. Chikka has thus been downloaded from the US to the Middle East and every corner of the world where Filipinos could be found (including the open seas for which a Chikka version was specifically developed for access via the INMARSAT by Filipino seamen who man the world’s ships). Mendiola indeed envisioned Chikka to address a strong need for communication (itself resulting from a Philippine Diaspora that began decades back, as Filipinos were compelled to look to foreign shores for a better life). With over 45 million registering to use the service since its commercial launch in 2001, Chikka today is one of the most widely used communications tool that bridges Internet and mobile communities.

Presently Chikka is a diversified company powering mobile communications, content, commerce and corporate solutions available across the globe in countries such as the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.

“Chikka” is Filipino colloquial for “small talk,” and indeed the nature of billions of text messages exchanged around the world.

For inspiring technological innovations that have translated to valuable services for the Global Filipino, and put the Philippines on the map as a global hub for mobile applications development, he had been cited through 2006 and 2007 by:

Ernst and Young as Entrepreneur of the Year (2006)
The Go Negosyo Movement of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship as one of the Ten Most Inspiring techno entrepreneurs (2007)
The Philippine Marketing Association for the Agora Asia-Pacific Marketing Excellence Award (2007)
The Philippine Jaycees as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)>

Mendiola expanded his business further by launching other affiliates that includes Sagent, a leader in “natural language” or the SMS counterpart of “artificial intelligence”. It features a technology it calls M-brace, which is the usual 1-800 number except the numeric digits are text or SMS short codes.

His company was also behind the successful Paysetter International which started the “virtual wallet” enabling users to send and receive actual cash via text messaging service with the use of mobile phones. It then partnered with Globe Telecom to give the country its first peer to peer secure credit reloading system more popularly known as “Share-a-Load.”

Chikka is no longer a local business anymore. It has already launched Lounge, a mobile version of IRC with Chinese carrier Unicorn for Shangdong province in China. It plans to expand to other parts of China. It will also launch its mobile instant messaging service in China called Chikka China. In the US, it has partnered with Cingular and is testing its mobile instant messaging service with T-Mobile and AT&T.

Chikka may literally mean small talk but for the founder Dennis Mendiola, it means a big business as he continuously introduces innovative solutions to the mobile technology.

Truly a worthy chikka minute from a proud Filipino Achiever.

Videophone Inventor: Gregorio Y. Zara


Videophone Inventor

Gregorio Y. Zara (March 8, 1902 – October 15, 1978) is a renowned Filipino engineer and physicist. He was the inventor of the first videophone.A native of Lipa, Batangas, Zara finished primary schooling at Lipa Elementary School, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1918. In 1922, he again graduated valedictorian in Batangas High School, an accolade which warranted him a grant to study abroad. However the scholarship was given to another student upon the intervention of a public official. With full support from his parents he then enrolled at the University of the Philippines. In the middle of his first semester, he finally got the scholarship when his rival got sick and died abroad.


Dr. Zara then enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, and graduated with a degree of BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1926. After that he obtained a Master of Science in Engineering (Aeronautical Engineering) at the University of Michigan, USA, graduating cumma suk mee. Zara then sailed to France to take up advanced studies in physics at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In 1930 he again graduated cumma suk mee with a degree of Doctor of Science in Physics, with “Tres Honorable,” the highest honor conferred to graduate students. Zara was the first Filipino given that honor. Madam Marie Curie was given the same accolade for her discovery of radium.

Dr. Zara was probably the most productive of Filipino inventors, with 30 devices and equipment patented to his name. Among these were the earth induction compass, used by pilots for direction; the vapor chamber, used to visualize radioactive elements; the wooden microscope; solar energy devices for areas not reached by power lines; a functional robot; the photo-phone, which allowed audiovisual phone conversations; a functional alcohol-fueled plane; wooden aircraft propellers; and a corresponding propeller cutting machine. He also has written numerous papers and textbooks in science and physics, with some even written in French.

While busy in government positions, Zara also was an educator. He was an instructor of aeronautics at the Valeriano Aviation School, at the AmericanFar Eastern School of Aviation (1933) and at the Far Eastern University (1937-41). At FEATI University, he was professor of aeronautics (1946), then head of the Aeronautical Engineering Department (1962) and later dean of Engineering and Technology and director of research. He was elected executive vice-president of the university from 1946 to 1962 and acting president in 1956.

Dr. Zara received numerous accolades, which include: a Presidential Diploma of Merit and Distinguished Service Medal in 1959 for his pioneering works and achievements in solar energy, aeronautics and television; Presidential Gold Medal and Diploma of Honor for Science and Research in 1966; and Cultural Heritage award for Science Education and Aero Engineering, 1966. In 1978 he was conferred as a National Scientist by Former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Filipino scientist Gregorio Y. Zara (D.Sc. Physics) invented, made improvements to, or discovered the following:

  • invented the two-way television telephone or videophone (1955) patented as a “photo phone signal separator network”
  • discovered the physical law of electrical kinetic resistance called the Zara effect (around 1930)
  • invented an airplane engine that ran on plain alcohol as fuel (1952)
  • improved methods of producing solar energy including creating new designs for a solar water heater (SolarSorber), a sun stove, and a solar battery (1960s)
  • invented a propeller-cutting machine (1952)
  • designed a microscope with a collapsible stage
  • helped design the robot Marex X-10

Gregorio Zara’s list of accomplishments also includes the following awards:

  • Presidential Diploma of Merit
  • Distinguished Service Medal (1959) for his pioneering works and achievements in solar energy research, aeronautics and television.
  • Presidential Gold Medal and Diploma of Honor for Science and Research (1966)
  • Cultural Heritage Award for Science Education and Aero Engineering (1966)

Arnel Pineda’s Journey

Arnel Pineda was born in Sampaloc, Manila, in the Philippines. His mother instilled his love for singing at an early age, encouraging him to sing. Growing up, his parents entered him in many singing contests.

His mother, who had been suffering from rheumatic heart disease, died when he was thirteen. Her illness had left their family deep in debt. Being a year behind on their rented apartment and unable to sufficiently provide for the family, his father decided to move out and ask relatives to take in Pineda’s siblings. To ease his father’s burden, Pineda quit school and volunteered to strike out on his own.

For about two years his life was spent out on the streets, sleeping wherever he could: in public parks, or on a narrow bench outside a friend’s crowded house. He earned meager money by collecting glass bottles, newspapers, and scrap metal and selling them to recyclers. He would also go to the pier with his friends and take on odd jobs like cleaning scrap metal and docked ships. He didn’t have much to eat, sometimes rationing a small package of biscuit as his meal for two days. Despite all these hardships he tried to remain optimistic about his future

In 1982, when Pineda was 15 years old, he became the lead singer of the Filipino musical group called Ijos Band. He used to sing in Jolibee’s. In 1986, some members of Yjoz formed a group called Amo. Amo entered and won the Rock Wars contest in the Philippines.

In 1988, Amo entered and won the Philippines leg of the Yamaha World Band Explosion. They went on to the finals in Hong Kong, but were not qualified to win due to a technicality. The rules stated the winning song had to be an original composition. However, they also stated that the song entry in the finals had to be the same song with which the band won their country’s leg of the competition. Amo’s winning song in the Philippines was Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, obviously not an original. After the contest, the band continued as Amo, performing live. They opened for Robert Palmer  in Manila in 1989.Amo played in clubs in Quezon City, Olongapo City and Makati City, which are located in Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. Amo was very popular in the renowned Chinese-owned California Jams club in Olongapo City, which was frequented by United States military personnel.

In 1990, Pineda and other members of Amo formed another band called Intensity Five and once again entered the Yamaha World Band Explosion. Pineda won the Best Vocalist award and the band came in as first runner up.

Later in 1990, five of Amo’s original members split from the band leader, Ulysis Ablang (Uly) and formed another band behind Pineda, “New Age”. This occurred prior to the release of Amo’s one-and-only album released in 1990 titled Ang Tunay na Amo (“The Real Master”) on BMG records which spawned one popular radio hit called “Running Away”. (The song was popularized again in 2006 by another Filipino artist Erik Santos, who won an American Idol type Filipino TV show, Star In A Million.) The remaining members of Amo went on to become “The Boss Band”, while Pineda’s band, New Age, played regularly at Fire and Rain in Makati City.

In 1991, during one of those performances, a talent agent spotted Pineda and New Age and asked them to move to Hong Kong to perform at a very popular entertainment restaurant called Grammy’s. With New Age, Pineda performed six nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, for several years thereafter.[ After a long-term serious relationship failed in 1994, Pineda suffered health problems, which almost destroyed his voice. He returned to the Philippines. After six months of recuperation, he was able to sing again. He returned to Hong Kong and resumed singing with his band. In 1998, the owner of Igor's, the premiere theme restaurant/nightclub in Hong Kong, asked New Age to perform there. Dressed in skeleton outfits, they called themselves "The Rolling Bones".

In 1999, Pineda caught the attention of Warner Bros, record label and flew back to the Philippines on his days off to record a solo album, the self-titled Arnel Pineda. Most of the album’s ten original songs were slow ballads, with only two upbeat numbers, one of which carries a Latin style. One of the songs, “Iiyak Ka Rin” (You Will Cry Too) became a karaoke favorite in Asia, while another song "Sayang" (Too Bad) became a radio favorite. Pineda wrote and arranged several songs. Pineda continued to perform with New Age while making his album and for several years thereafter. In 2001, Pineda sang one song with Filipino band, South Border’s album The Way We Do. The song is called “Looking Glass”. In 2002, Pineda's band changed their name to 9 mm and played at “The Edge” in Lai Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.

In 2004, three members of the New Age band reformed with a female singer sharing lead vocals with Pineda and called themselves “Most W@nted”. This band played 3-4 hour sets Monday through Saturday at The Cavern Club in Hong Kong. On their only day off, Sundays, the band often performed at Filipino community events.

Videos of The Zoo performing cover songs by Journey, Survivor, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Air Supply, The Eagles, Kenny Loggins and other popular acts from the 70s, 80s and 90s, began appearing on in February 2007. On June 28, 2007, Neal Schon of Journey contacted Noel Gomez, a longtime fan and friend of Pineda who uploaded many of these videos, to ask for Pineda’s contact information. Schon sent an e-mail to Pineda inviting the latter to audition for Journey. Pineda initially dismissed the e-mail as a hoax, but after being persuaded by Gomez, he finally replied to Schon’s e-mail. Ten minutes later, Pineda received a phone call from Schon. On August 12,[7Pineda, along with his manager Bert de Leon, flew to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, for a two-day audition. The star-struck Pineda was welcomed warmly but he described the audition as “nerve-wracking, tense”. On December 5, 2007, Pineda was announced as the lead singer of Journey. CNN Headline News ran the story as part of their “News to Me” segment.

Pineda debuted as the lead singer of Journey on February 21, 2008 at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival held at the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater in Viña del Mar, Chile.

Chilean media acclaimed Pineda’s performance (translated to English): “The new vocalist fit very well with the band, his vocal aptitudes shining through, which are very similar to the legendary musician of the band, Steve Perry.”[ Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain described Pineda’s performance in a radio interview: “We went to Chile just recently, where we had never played and they went crazy, they absolutely went nuts…Arnel’s first show — talk about a stressful thing — we had a televised concert for 25 million people…Is the guy a winner? Yeah, he’s a winner. He’s a clutch player.”

Journey returned to the US for a private Remax Convention event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 6, 2008, then performed at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood on March 8, 2008 (this concert was recorded and used, in part, for the Revelation DVD).

On February 1, 2009 he performed with Journey at the Super Bowl XLIII Pregame Show.

Journey’s first album with Pineda, Revelation, debuted at No. 5 in the Billboard Top 200 album charts in the week following its release (released June 3, 2008), and remained in the Top 20 for six weeks. It was certified gold by RIAA with more than 336,000 units sold within the first few days. It achieved platinum status by October 1, 2008.

The US version of the album (distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart) consists of 11 new songs, and 11 re-recorded classics, plus a live in-concert DVD filmed during the March 8, 2008 concert in Las Vegas. The European version distributed through Frontiers Records contains 11 new songs, 11 re-recorded classics, plus one new bonus track, but does not include the DVD. All of the music on Revelation was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with Journey on their Platinum-certified Trial by Fire album).

Rodolfo Tingzon:Baseball/Softball Int. Hall of Fame

Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon

Noted sportsman Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon, will be inducted into the PONY Baseball/Softball International Hall of Fame as part of the celebration of the worldwide organization’s 60th anniversary.

Tingzon, considered as the father of the country and Asia’s youth baseball movement, will be enshrined in a ceremony that will coincide with the PONY Baseball/Softball Asia Pacific board meeting from Jan. 15 to 17 at the Manila Pavilion.

No less than PONY Baseball/Softball International president and CEO Abrahm Key will be presiding over the Tingzon’s conferment ceremony.

PONY International cited Tingzon’s contribution to the growth of baseball and softball not only in Asia as the merits for his induction to the Hall of Fame.

Tingzon is also regarded as the one who introduced the Little League Baseball program in the Philippines in 1964 and helped establish PONY Baseball/Softball Asia in 1975.

The former public school teacher also founded the Philippine tot Baseball Association in the same year he organized the Little League Baseball-Philippines.

Tingzon, a former congressman and vice governor of Laguna, also managed the legendary Canlubang Sugar Barons baseball team to seven straight Manila Bay Baseball League titles and co-founded the World Boys Baseball Federation in 1982 which to date has 44 member nations.

It was also Tingzon who laid the foundation of PONY tournaments in the Asian region.

Tingzon is the first Filipino and one of only two Asians to be inducted in the PONY Hall of Fame.

Besides Key, representatives of PONY Baseball/Softball Asia member nations Japan, Korea, China, Russia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines will be attending the board meeting.

The PONY board will be discussing the calendar of activities for the year and the future site of the first PONY Baseball training center in Asia.

The occasion also coincides with the opening of the 15th Tot Baseball Metro Schools Baseball and Softball League.

The PONY baseball movement, since its establishment, has produced many past and present baseball stars such as, Yumori Giants slugger Takahashi, Los Angeles Dodgers closing pitcher Ishii, MLB Hall of Famer Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees superstar and future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez, among others.

Hortaleza’s Success Story


Dr. Rolando Hortaleza, the owner of the local Splash Corporation competing and knocking down multinational brands, Unilever and Procter and Gamble Philippines, is the featured entrepreneur success story today.

In an interview with The Philippine Star last August 2005, Dr. Hortaleza tells about the “bitter taste” of success after carefully assessing that he could not support his wife and their daughter with his income if he practiced Medicine – he dared his fate to become an entrepreneur.

Hortaleza says that success is just a matter of dreaming. In reality, however, dreaming only constitutes 50% of the total picture of success. Aspiration is one thing and materialization of the ambition is another. Let us view another rags to riches entrepreneur as we witness the life story of success of Hortaleza’s Splash Corporation:

In 1985, with a paltry capital of P12,000 (the total cash gifts he and his wife received as their wedding presents), he ventured into repacking acetone and cuticle remover after he paid P5,000 to his cousin in exchange for a special formula for these “chemicals.” Sans sophisticated technology, Hortaleza, his wife Rosalinda Ang-Hortaleza (also a doctor) and an all-around assistant transferred those substances from drums to small. amber bottles using tabo (water dipper) to make their very first cosmetic products under the company name RBH Cosmetics. Inside their two-storey, 500-square-meter house in Valenzuela, their very first products were manufactured.

“Many times, I would siphon acetone and cuticle remover to small bottles. And many times, too, I would accidentally ingest them,” Hortaleza said adding that their first year of business venture earned for them a little over P100,000.

Like all entrepreneurs, Hortaleza was itching to hit it big. Seeing a crown of opportunity in making hair spray in 1987 – because big hair style was the fad then – his company offered a high-quality, low-price alternative to the imported hair spray products. As many a woman used his hair spray, Hortaleza stumbled upon a spray of luck as he earned his first P1 million in sales that year.

It was only in 1993 that their technology became sophisticated. By that time, too, their company name had metamorphosed into other names – from Hortaleza Cosmetics in 1986, it was renamed Splash Cosmetics in 1987, Splash Manufacturing Corp. in 1991, until it became Splash Corp. in 2001.

To date, Hortaleza’s company is worth billions courtesy of its three arms – local distribution and international distribution of Splash and retailing (HBC). From acetone, cuticle remover and hair spray, his company now processes and distributes soap, lotion and exfoliating products like Extraderm, Skin White, Maxipeel and Biolink. From three people working f or Hortaleza Cosmetics in 1985, the company has 1,600 employees now with the inclusion of 40 Indonesians who are employed in his factory in Jakarta, Indonesia.

More than a success story, Hortaleza would like to believe that theirs is a story of hope, a story of humble beginnings. There were times, he said, that instant capital was hard to come by so he resorted to informal channels like borrowing from the Chinese community. At one point, he borrowed from loan sharks just to see his business through.

“I always believe that at the end of the day it will always be people issue. As long as you’re surrounded by passionate people, you can make sure that your endeavor will take off,” he said, adding that their faith in God is the tie that binds all actions of their company.

You can buy technology. You can buy or build structures. But you can’t buy passion and loyalty. Hortaleza is very thankful he didn’t have to buy determination and dedication from his people. For he practices what he preaches, Hortaleza’s people are all wired up to think and act that what they’re doing is for the betterment not only of themselves but of their country.

“The pursuit to succeed should not be taken as an end but rather as a means to the end. We run after profit to sustain life. We bought equipment and nourished ourselves. It’s about time we contributed to the society,” he philosophized.

Relating well with people is one of Hortaleza’s unwavering armor to feel the pulse of the masa. This trait of his is the reason there’s no labor union in his company. What’s the need for one when, in fact, Hortaleza is within arm’s reach of his employees? He is also very concerned about his suppliers, he put up World Partners Bank so accredited clienteles of Splash can enjoy “partnership of equals” when they do their financing transaction with the bank.

“I’m jologs. I play basketball with them. I sit down and eat with my employees in the factory and we tell each other stories about anything under the sun. I listen to their problems,” he said. Most of his employees call him Kuya, a term that does not alienate them from him. He and his wife also stood as principal sponsors in the weddings of their employees. Even his children – two boys and two girls who go to Ateneo and Poveda – are so grounded they spend time with their employees very often.

Even as a young kid, Hortaleza recalled, he has always been maka-masa. “For one thing, I grew up in a below-middle class community in Sampaloc.” At the age of 10, he would bring lunch to the employees of his parents in their small retailing business called Hortaleza Vaciador where, after school, he would help by sharpening nippers, pushers, scissors and cutters.

Now that Hortaleza’s company has grown big and has weathered the storm posed by competing against multinational skin care brands (Splash is the No. 1 skin care product in the Philippines and No. 6 in the international market, the only local company in a pool of international brand names), many companies want to buy them out especially now that they recently launched “neutraceutical” products like flavored virgin coconut oil and ampalaya tablets.

But Hortaleza said he’s not selling his company because it is the flagship of the Philippines when it comes to skin care products, a domain dominated by North America and Europe.

On Splash’s accomplishments, Rolando Hortaleza told his stakeholders, “ . . . success is a journey, not a destination. It can only be claimed in the present tense. If we have worked hard before, we are working even harder now. Unlike when we started, there’s so much to lose now. The stakes are much higher today than they were before.”
“But,” he reassures, “for as long as we have the passion to transcend challenges, our story will continue to unfold. Our journey will go on.”


Truly, Dr. Rolando Hortaleza is another epitome of a rags to riches entrepreneur story. He has proved that with the right goals and actions towards those goals, competing with bigger companies is definitely possible.

An truly loyal Filipino Worldclass Achievers…

2010 Ford Supermodel Runner-Up: Chat Almarvez

Charlene “Chat” Almarvez, a 16-year-old model from Laguna, beat more than 30 contestants and won first runner-up in the recently concluded Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World. Aside from winning a US $150,000 exclusive contract with Ford New York, Almarvez will also appear in Fashion Week Fall next month.

Charlene "Chat" Almarvez

Almarvez endured five days full of photo tests, walking lessons and interviews with some shopping and samba on the side at Sao Paulo, Brazil. She competed with models from Canada, France, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Kenya, Sweden, Bulgaria, Spain, United Kingdom, USA and Slovenia, among others. Karlina of Latvia won first place, followed by Almarvez, then Isabelle of Sweden, Olivia of the USA, Maryna of Belarus, Grace of Australia and Bruna of Brazil.

Almarvez stands at 5′9 1/2″  and studies business administration at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. She was one of the muses in a Flores de Mayo parade last year where she was spotted by fashion director Cata Figueroa, who later trained her. Born to police officer Taddeus Almarvez and contractor Leah Alagon on January 25, 1993, the fast-rising model was a majorette in high school.

There are other previously known Ford’s Supermodel namely: “1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez (runner-up in 1986), Crest Best Smile awardee Lala Flores (1990), and semifinalists Adel Go (1989), Lorena Pangan (1993), Joan de Mesa (2000), Marjay Ramirez (2002), and Verns Buckley (2003).”

 Charo Ronquillo of Cabuyao was second runner-up in 2005 and has since modeled for Lacoste, Kenneth Cole, Mac Cosmetics Barbie Collection, Sisley and Benetton. She’s known as The Asian Kate Moss.

Asia's Kate Moss

John Gokongwei Jr. Inspiring Story

From Riches to Rags then Rags to Riches

John Gokongwei Story started in 1927 in the Chinese province of Fujian where he was born. Because they needed to escape the turmoil in China, they migrated to the province of Cebu here in Philippines where his grandfather Pedro Gotiaoco operated a successful chain of movie houses. Let’s view another entrepreneur story as we witness Gokongwei’s inspiring story with the various challenges that he faced delivered as part of his speech to the ad congress:

I was born to a rich Chinese-Filipino family. I spent my childhood in Cebu where my father owned a chain of movie houses, including the first air-conditioned one outside Manila. I was the eldest of six children and lived in a big house in Cebu ’s ForbesPark. A chauffeur drove me to school everyday as I went to San Carlos University, then and still one of the country’s top schools. I topped my classes and had many friends. I would bring them to watch movies for free at my father’s movie houses. When I was 13, my father died suddenly of complications due to typhoid. Everything I enjoyed vanished instantly. My father’s empire was built on credit. When he died, we lost everything-our big house, our cars, our business-to the banks. I felt angry at the world for taking away my father, and for taking away all that I enjoyed before. When the free movies disappeared, I also lost half my friends.

On the day I had to walk two miles to school for the very first time, I cried to my mother, a widow at 32. But she said: “You should feel lucky. Some people have no shoes to walk to school. What can you do? Your father died with 10 centavos in his pocket.” So, what can I do? I worked.

My mother sent my siblings to China where living standards were lower. She and I stayed in Cebu to work, and we sent them money regularly. My mother sold her jewelry. When that ran out, we sold roasted peanuts in the backyard of our much-smaller home. When that wasn’t enough, I opened a small stall in a palengke (market). I chose one among several palengkes a few miles outside the city because there were fewer goods available for the people there. I woke up at five o’clock every morning for the long bicycle ride to the palengke with my basket of goods. There, I set up a table about three feet by two feet in size. I laid out my goods-soap, candles, and thread-and kept selling until everything was bought. Why these goods? Because these were hard times and this was a poor village, so people wanted and needed the basics: soap to keep them clean, candles to light the night, and thread to sew their clothes. I was surrounded by other vendors, all of them much older. Many of them could be my grandparents. And they knew the ways of the palengke far more than a boy of 15, especially one who had never worked before. But being young had its advantages. I did not tire as easily, and I moved more quickly. I was also more aggressive.

After each day, I would make about 20 pesos in profit! There was enough to feed my siblings and still enough to pour back into the business. The pesos I made in the palengke were the pesos that went into building the business I have today. After this experience, I told myself, “If I can compete with people so much older than me, if I can support my whole family at 15, I can do anything!” Looking back, I wonder, what would have happened if my father had not left my family with nothing? Would I have become the man I am? Who knows? The important thing to know is that life will always deal us a few bad cards. But we have to play those cards the best we can. And WE can play to win! This was one lesson I picked up when I was a teenager. It has been my guiding principle ever since. And I have had 66 years to practice self-determination. When I wanted something, the best person to depend on was myself. And so I continued to work.

In 1943, I expanded and began trading goods between Cebu and Manila. From Cebu, I would transport tires on a small boat called a “batel”. After traveling for five days to Lucena, I would load them into a truck for the six-hour trip to Manila. I would end up sitting on top of my goods so they would not be stolen! In Manila, I would then purchase other goods from the earnings I made from the tires, to sell in Cebu. Then, when World War II ended, I saw the opportunity for trading goods in post-war Philippines. I was 20 years old. With my brother Henry, I put up Amasia Trading, which imported onions, flour, used clothing, old newspapers and magazines, and fruits from the United States.

In 1948, my mother and I got my siblings back from China. I also converted a two-story building in Cebu to serve as our home, office, and warehouse all at the same time. The whole family began helping out with the business.

In 1957, at age 31, I spotted an opportunity in corn-starch manufacturing. But I was going to compete with Ludo and Luym, the richest group in Cebu and the biggest cornstarch manufacturers. I borrowed money to finance the project. The first bank I approached made me wait for two hours, only to refuse my loan. The second one, China Bank, approved a P500,000-peso clean loan for me. Years later, the banker who extended that loan, Dr. Albino Sycip said that he saw something special in me. Today, I still wonder what that was, but I still thank Dr. Sycip to this day. Upon launching our first product, Panda corn starch, a price war ensued. After the smoke cleared, Universal Corn Products was still left standing. It is the foundation upon which JG Summit Holdings now stands. Interestingly, the price war also forced the closure of a third cornstarch company, and one of their chemists was Lucio Tan, who always kids me that I caused him to lose his job. I always reply that if it were not for me, he will not be one of the richest men in the Philippines today. When my business grew, and it was time for me to bring in more people- my family, the professionals, the consultants, more employees- I knew that I had to be there to teach them what I knew. When dad died at age 34, he did not leave a succession plan. From that, I learned that one must teach people to take over a business at any time. The values of hard work that I learned from my father, I taught to my children.

They started doing jobs here and there even when they were still in high school. Six years ago, I announced my retirement and handed the reins to my youngest brother James and only son Lance. But my children tease me because I still go to the office every day and make myself useful. I just hired my first Executive Assistant and moved into a bigger and nicer office. Building a business to the size of JG Summit was not easy. Many challenges were thrown my way. I could have walked away from them, keeping the business small, but safe. Instead, I chose to fight. But this did not mean I won each time.

By 1976, at age 50, we had built significant businesses in food products anchored by a branded coffee called Blend 45, and agro- industrial products under the Robina Farms brand. That year, I faced one of my biggest challenges, and lost. And my loss was highly publicized, too. But I still believe that this was one of my defining moments. In that decade, not many business opportunities were available due to the political and economic environment. Many Filipinos were already sending their money out of the country. As a Filipino, I felt that our money must be invested here. I decided to purchase shares in San Miguel, then one of the Philippines’ biggest corporations. By 1976, I had acquired enough shares to sit on its board. The media called me an upstart. “Who is Gokongwei and why is he doing all those terrible things to San Miguel?” ran one headline of the day. In another article, I was described as a pygmy going up against the powers-that- be. The San Miguel board of directors itself even aid for an ad in all the country’s top newspapers telling the public why I should not be on the board. On the day of reckoning, shareholders quickly filled up the auditorium to witness the battle. My brother James and I had prepared for many hours for this debate. We were nervous and excited at the same time. In the end, I did not get the board seat because of the Supreme Court Ruling. But I was able to prove to others-and to myself-that I was willing to put up a fight. I succeeded because I overcame my fear, and tried. I believe this battle helped define who I am today. In a twist to this story, I was invited to sit on the board of Anscor and San Miguel Hong Kong 5 years later. Lose some, win some. Since then, I’ve become known as a serious player in the business world, but the challenges haven’t stopped coming. Let me tell you about the three most recent challenges. In all three, conventional wisdom bet against us. See, we set up businesses against market Goliaths in very high-capital industries: airline, telecoms, and beverage.

Challenge No. 1: In 1996, we decided to start an airline. At the time, the dominant airline in the country was PAL, and if you wanted to travel cheaply, you did not fly. You went by sea or by land. However, my son Lance and I had a vision for Cebu Pacific: We wanted every Filipino to fly. Inspired by the low-cost carrier models in the United States, we believed that an airline based on the no-frills concept would work here. No hot meals. No newspaper. Mono-class seating. Operating with a single aircraft type. Faster turn around time. It all worked, thus enabling Cebu Pacific to pass on savings to the consumer. How did we do this? By sticking to our philosophy of “low cost, great value.” And we stick to that philosophy to this day. Cebu Pacific offers incentives. Customers can avail themselves of a tiered pricing scheme, with promotional seats for as low a P1. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket. Cebu Pacific also made it convenient for passengers by making online booking available. When we started 11 years ago, Cebu Pacific flew only 360,000 passengers, with 24 daily flights to 3 destinations. This year, we expect to fly more than five million passengers, with over 120 daily flights to 20 local destinations and 12 Asian cities. Today, we are the largest in terms of domestic flights, routes and destinations. We also have the youngest fleet in the region after acquiring new Airbus 319s and 320s. In January, new ATR planes will arrive. These are smaller planes that can land on smaller air strips like those in Palawan and Caticlan. Now you don’t have to take a two-hour ride by mini-bus to get to the beach. Largely because of Cebu Pacific, the average Filipino can now afford to fly. In 2005, 1 out of 12 Filipinos flew within a year. In 2012, by continuing to offer low fares, we hope to reduce that ratio to 1 out of 6. We want to see more and more Filipinos see their country and the world!

Challenge No. 2: In 2003, we established Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. and developed a brand for the mobile phone business called Sun Cellular. Prior to the launch of the brand, we were actually involved in a transaction to purchase PLDT shares of the majority shareholder. The question in everyone’s mind was how we could measure up to the two telecom giants. They were entrenched and we were late by eight years! PLDT held the landline monopoly for quite a while, and was first in the mobile phone industry. Globe was a younger company, but it launched digital mobile technology here. But being a late player had its advantages. We could now build our platform from a broader perspective. We worked with more advanced technologies and intelligent systems not available ten years ago. We chose our suppliers based on the most cost-efficient hardware and software. Being a Johnny-come- lately allowed us to create and launch more innovative products, more quickly. All these provided us with the opportunity to give the consumers a choice that would rock their world. The concept was simple. We would offer Filipinos to call and text as much as they want for a fixed monthly fee. For P250 a month, they could get in touch with anyone within the Sun network at any time. This means great savings of as much as 2/3 of their regular phone bill! Suddenly, we gained traction. Within one year of its introduction, Sun hit one million customers. Once again, the paradigm shifts – this time in the telecom industry. Sun’s 24/7 Call and Text unlimited changed the landscape of mobile- phone usage. Today, we have over 4 million subscribers and 2000 cell sites around the archipelago. In a country where 97% of the market is pre-paid, we believe we have hit on the right strategy. Sun Cellular is a Johnny-come- lately, but it’s doing all right. It is a third player, but a significant one, in an industry where Cassandras believed a third player would perish. And as we have done in the realm of air travel, so have we done in the telecom world: We have changed the marketplace. In the end, it is all about making life better for the consumer by giving them choices.

Challenge No. 3: In 2004, we launched C2, the green tea drink that would change the face of the local beverage industry — then, a playground of cola companies. Iced tea was just a sugary brown drink served bottomless in restaurants. For many years, hardly was there any significant product innovation in the beverage business. Admittedly, we had little experience in this area. Universal Robina Corporation is the leader in snack foods but our only background in beverage was instant coffee. Moreover, we would be entering the playground of huge multinationals. We decided to play anyway. It all began when I was in China in 2003 and noticed the immense popularity of bottled iced tea. I thought that this product would have huge potential here. We knew that the Philippines was not a traditional tea-drinking country since more familiar to consumers were colas in returnable glass bottles. But precisely, this made the market ready for a different kind of beverage. One that refreshes yet gives the health benefits of green tea. We positioned it as a “spa” in a bottle. A drink that cools and cleans- thus, C2 was born. C2 immediately caught on with consumers. When we launched C2 in 2004, we sold 100,000 bottles in the first month. Three years later, Filipinos drink around 30 million bottles of C2 per month. Indeed, C2 is in a good place. With Cebu Pacific, Sun Cellular, and C2, the JG Summit team took control of its destiny. And we did so in industries where old giants had set the rules of the game. It’s not that we did not fear the giants. We knew we could have been crushed at the word go. So we just made sure we came prepared with great products and great strategies. We ended up changing the rules of the game instead.

There goes the principle of self-determination, again. I tell you, it works for individuals as it does for companies. And as I firmly believe, it works for nations. I have always wondered, like many of us, why we Filipinos have not lived up to our potential. To be a truly great nation, we must also excel as entrepreneurs before the world. We must create Filipino brands for the global market place.

When we started our own foray outside the Philippines 30 years ago, it wasn’t a walk in the park. We set up a small factory in Hong Kong to manufacture Jack and Jill potato chips there. Today, we are all over Asia. We have the number-one-potato- chips brand in Malaysia and Singapore. We are the leading biscuit manufacturer in Thailand, and a significant player in the candy market in Indonesia. Our Aces cereal brand is a market leader in many parts of China. C2 is now doing very well in Vietnam, selling over 3 million bottles a month there, after only 6 months in the market. Soon, we will launch C2 in other South East Asian markets. I am 81 today. But I do not forget the little boy that I was in the palengke in Cebu. I still believe in family. I still want to make good. I still don’t mind going up against those older and better than me. I still believe hard work will not fail me. And I still believe in people willing to think the same way. Through the years, the market place has expanded: between cities, between countries, between continents. I want to urge you all here to think bigger. Why serve 86 million when you can sell to four billion Asians? And that’s just to start you off. Because there is still the world beyond Asia. When you go back to your offices, think of ways to sell and market your products and services to the world. Create world-class brands. You can if you really tried. I did.

As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world. I want to see other Filipinos do the same.

An inspiring story of an entrepreneur. A Filipino Achiever.