Archive for August, 2008

Did Ninoy die for nothing?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

August 21, 2008 marked the 25th death anniversary of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. After so many years, it still brings back a lot of memories, having spent most of my teenage years during the martial law days.

Many people don’t know that our family never applied for Canadian residency during those times. While my cousins on both sides of the family left the country, we were left here. We had to deal with a very dangerous environment, since my father was a strong advocate for democracy. My grandfather, Salvador Araneta, was in Canada like many others in exile for fear that they would be sent to jail.

When martial law was declared, my father, who was a con-con delegate, was also one of those who were imprisoned. I remember hiding in my uncle’s house in Batangas and some family friends’ house in the village. One night, our house was surrounded by military men. My mother woke us up and told us that my dad was going to be detained in Camp Crame. On the day that we were allowed to speak to my dad through a wall with a screen, I remember writing a letter and saying bad things about Marcos, being a very young child at that time. Because of that, I was questioned by the military. I didn’t know they would be reading those letters. I was only about 14 years old at that time.

Sundays at Camp Crame was different. It was hot. We stayed in a gym, where there were only electric fans. With my dad in Crame were other political detainees like Max Soliven, Bren Guiao and Sonny Alvarez. I remember people playing badminton. After a while the guards were nicer. When my dad had to visit my lolo who was in the hospital, he had to get special permission from Enrile at that time. My grandparents did not know that he was in jail until much later.

These were the beginnings that I guess motivated my father to fight for justice and see the Philippine democracy succeed. My father started NAMFREL when most people gave up hope. He lit the first candle of hope. Organizing NAMFREL at that time was challenging, having people like Christian and Winnie Monsod, Raul Roco, Ting Jaime, Jaime Ferrer, Ching Escaler, Teresa Nieva and others who were all independent-minded Filipinos and strong in character. My father was able to bring together the best in NAMFREL. From there, so many candles of hope were lit.

NAMFREL was crucial during 1984 elections. Being my father’s sidekick, I was with him even in my teens. I remember going through different barangays with our bodyguards and still being chased by goons.

Filipinos who wanted to be part of change joined NAMFREL and risked their own lives to fight for democracy. At that time, my father’s banner color even during the concon days was already yellow. His eyeglasses matched that of Ninoy Aquino’s big black glasses, which by the way is now back in fashion.

My father’s best interview was that of TV host Ronnie Nathanielz, who was with a Marcos-run station. That interview strengthened NAMFREL’s cause. Later, we saw history unfold. The poll watchers walked out of PICC when they were being asked to adjust the election results. NAMFREL started what was going to be known as the people power revolution. The candle that was lit continued until the Edsa revolution.

Ninoy’s decision to come home was part of his destiny. He knew that something was going to happen once he came back, but he also knew that he had to come back. When his son, Noynoy Aquino, mentioned that since his father’s death, nothing had changed, I felt I had to write this column.

Many things have changed for the better. First we have a democracy, and we have a very much active Congress, both Senate and the House. People can speak out what they want to say. We see investigations happening left and right. Our press is also free. One cannot compare it during those days when we had only government stations. We have a young but working democracy,

People like Ninoy and Joecon taught us the need to give hope and take control of our destiny. They did not lose hope. They lit that candle that gave courage to millions of Filipinos to go and watch the ballots, and eventually, to march for freedom. One is not just entitled to luck; one has to work for it.

Seeing political and economic progress takes generations and lifetimes. While poverty and corruption still exists, we see more people taking action towards improvement. The OFW workers, who leave the Philippines and sacrifice for their families, are taking control of their future. Call center agents, who work at night and sacrifice lifestyle change, also take control of their future. Somehow, in our small way, Go Negosyo is all about continuing what great men and women have started. It is continuing to light the candle of hope.

Economic progress will happen to those who want it and work for it. It is a matter of attitude. It does not necessarily mean one has to have a negosyo to be prosperous. Its is the entrepreneurial attitude that sees opportunities in every crisis, solutions to problems, and those working hard for something and taking better control of their future. Those people who sacrifice living abroad are not waiting for luck. They are creating luck because they work for it. I definitely have to say Ninoy’s death was not a waste. He, for many, is our modern day hero. As my father would say, “it is better to light the candle than curse the darkness”. Let there be more modern day heroes who will bring the correct attitude that will finally bring prosperity to this nation. Success will not be dependent on the next president in 2010, but it will be dependent on more and more Filipinos who are willing to do something about their future.

Are we ready to change?

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Sometime early this year, February and March, we featured in this column the topic of “Pagbabago 2010.2016”. It is basically a call to our legislators to start the discussion on the need to review the form of government and other economic constitutional provisions. It was a proposal to elevate the awareness and knowledge of our people on what are the different forms of government and what might work best for our country and people. Will it be federalism, parliamentary, the current presidential system, or would it be other forms and modifications thereof?

Perhaps it is more important to start the discussions and debates so we get to better understand the systems and which system will actually work for us. We emphasized that in these discussions, bigger steps will be taken after 2010. That was the proposal when I met some Senators. By 2010, the new President and Congress will see through the review and the molding of the new system that will be fully implemented by 2016. This process hopes to address three main concerns by many sectors: that there will be no changes before 2010 on the rules and the term of the current Presidency; that the new set of leaders and Congress will have a mandate from the people on 2010, whether to form a constituent assembly or have a constitutional convention; and that the elected President in 2010, and members of both houses of Congress will have a full term to complete that will lead a transition, if at all, into a new form of government by 2016. Thus, encouraging greater discussions and debate now will be healthy and if done in phases, the transition would be more realistic and less controversial.

There are pros and cons in doing a constituent assembly or constitutional convention. There may be realities whereby a con-assembly is better than a new constitutional convention. I see that the new congress for 2010 would form itself into an assembly that would work on the constitutional changes both economic and political.

I am not supporting any view, but what I am totally against is a change prior to 2010. In fact, I have asked the help of Presidential Management Staff Secretary Cerge Remonde in considering the idea that it will be good for PGMA to support Pagbabago 2010.2016. This time, with an upcoming Presidential election, each candidate will explain his or her vision of the Philippines Inc. and views on the fitting form of government and the needed constitutional changes.

If the ‘Pimentel Bill’ on Federalism would be the choice, it might just require some time to know what role the national government would play. There might also be more cities that will lobby for a federal state, and I believe that greater decentralization of powers to the regions and local government would be good to create a more enterprising culture. The regions under good leaders will be able to push for a quicker development and will be able to attune to the region’s inherent strengths. One also has to balance this with national priorities.

These things take time. Upon our survey, we found out that Filipinos do not see the benefit of a change in political system if it will be the same people in power. They may be right. The system is only as good as the people who run it, but we need to start somewhere. A better system can still be instrumental in achieving our progress with more effective controls and balance in power.

What is crucial now, with the recession spreading towards Europe and Asia, is that we do not lose the momentum that has been gained. It is important for our Negosyos to have a relatively stable and progressive climate. I do hope PGMA will support ‘Pagbabago 2010.2016’. This will finally give reassurance that she will finish her term in 2010 and see to it that the political and economic reforms are done through a constitutional review.

All these steps can be taken in 2010, but the debates and discussion can start now. Let the debates begin but the institution to review the charter will start only in 2010 and the full implementation will be in 2016.

Breakout Session of the Young Entrepreneurs Group Asia Pacific (YEGAP)

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Breakout Session of the Young Entrepreneurs Group Asia Pacific (YEGAP)

14:00-15:30, October 22, 2008, Manila Hotel, Manila, Philippines

All entrepreneurs are invited to join the Breakout Session of the Young Entrepreneurs Group of Asia Pacific ( YEGAP ) which will be hosted in Manila on October 22 during the 22nd Conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry .  Get to network and meet entrepreneurs from chambers of commerce and industries from the Asia-Pacific rim (Japan, Taipei, Korea, India, Bangladesh, Hongkong, Singapore, Indonesia, among others).

The conference runs from October 22-23, 2008 and will be held at the Manila Hotel. With the theme “Enhancing the Global Economic Role of the Asia-Pacific Region,” it hopes to take a look at the current macroeconomic challenges in the region, the continuing risks faced by the Asian business community, and the strategies that businessmen may adopt to take advantage of the emerging opportunities by leveraging on the strength of the region’s economies.

Tentative Agenda

14:00 – 14:05 Opening Remarks by the Session Chairman, Ms. Anna Marie Periquet, YEGAP Chairperson

14:05 – 14:15 Self-Introduction of Participants

14:15 – 14:45 Presentation on the State of Youth Entrepreneurship in the  Philippines and Sharing of Experiences in Other Asian Countries

  Invited Speakers: 

   – Honorable Jose Ma. Concepcion, Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship and Founding Trustee, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship

   – Mr. Fred Uytengsu, President and CEO, Alaska Milk Corporation

   – Mr. Dennis L. Cunanan, National President, Junior Chamber International-Manila

14:45 – 15:15 Consideration of Future YEGAP Activities

  1. YEGAP Newsletter
  2. 2nd Asia-Pacific Young Entrepreneur Awards
  3. Creation of Sub-Committees
  4. Membership Expansion and Networking
  5. Creation of YEG-Chapter in Each CACCI Member Country

15:15 – 15:20 Other Matters

15:20 – 15:25 Date and Venue of Next Meeting 

15:25 -15:30  Session Chairman’s Concluding Remarks/Adjournment

Fee: Php 500.00 for interested participants who wish to attend the YEGAP Breakout Session only

Click here to view the program for the 22nd CACCI Conference.

For more information, visit the PCCI website .


Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila Opening

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila Opening

September 22, 2008
5th Level, The Learning Center, Walter Mart Makati.  

Anna Marie Periquet, chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs Group of Asia-Pacific ( YEG-AP ); and the chairman of the Philippines Council of Women Entrepreneurs for Asia-Pacific has been keeping a secret for a year now.  Today, it is no longer a secret. 

Not known to many, this multi-faceted business, government and civic leader takes time off from her busy schedule by indulging in her number one passion – dance.  

Anna is a DanceSport athlete, and a Philippine and International DanceSport Champion in the Latin American Dance Discipline. Together with one of the Philippine’s top Latin competitors, dance partner Larry Iguidez, Jr., they have been consistently receiving accolades from various local and international competitions in the past year. 

Bringing pride to the Philippines, Larry and Anna recently bagged the Gold Medal for Latin 3-Dance and Silver Medal for 4-Dance in the 2008 International Millennium Open to the World Competition held in Singapore last April 28, 2008.  They bested dance sport athletes from Europe, Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific.  Upon their return to the Philippines, they performed an honor dance for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and His Eminence Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.

Larry and Anna were champion for 2F Latin in the 2008 DanceSport Council of the Philippines (DSCPI ) First  Ranking and Competition; champion for 2F Latin in the 2007 DSCPI Nationals; champion for 2F Latin in the 2007 Invitational Sapphire Ball; and  Silver Medalist for the 2F Latin Event in the 2007 International DanceSport Federation Open to the World Competition.

Anna began formal training in Latin Discipline under World and Philippine DanceSport champion Edna Ledesma in October 2006, and World DanceSport champions Paul Harris from UK, and Luca Fani from Italy.  Paul Harris is best known as the choreographer of the Harry Potter films.

At the age of 3, Anna began formal classical ballet training under Totoy Oteyza and Inday Gaston Mañosa of Harirarya Dance Company.  She performed in various ballet productions of the Company and became a member of the corps de ballet at the age of 14.  She also took classical ballet workshops with the San Francisco Ballet School and with the American Ballet Academy in Geneva, Switzerland.

True to her advocacy on entrepreneurship, this former Lead Advocate of Go Negosyo is turning her passion for dance and dancesport by establishing her latest business venture, Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila this coming September 22, 2008 at the 5th Level, The Learning Center, Walter Mart Makati.  

“Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila will not only develop dancers but will highlight the importance of dance to one’s health and wellness,” Anna narrates.

“We make classes available to suit all levels, all ages. We will also be regularly hosting master classes and workshops in various dance disciplines with guest foreign dance masters, coaches and international champions. The accurate instruction of our classes is our major priority. Thus, our roster of teachers is skilfully trained, competent, and accredited with their respective dance, fitness and sports national and international organizations,” Anna adds.

Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila offers a wide array of dance and fitness classes such as Aero-bix; Beginners Ballroom (Latin American and Modern Standard DanceSport Disciplines, Argentine Tango, Tango); Body Works (Stretching and General Conditioning); Cardio Hip-hop; Cheer Dance; Classical Ballet for children (classes apply the training of The Royal Academy of Dancing of London, or RAD syllabus, under the tutelage of RAD-Registered ballet teachers); Kiddie Jazz; Latin Aero; Luigi Jazz; New Wave Hip-Hop; Retro Groove Aero; Social Dance (Salsa, Bachata, Regge, Swing); Theatre Courses (based on the principles of the Stanislavski’s System for dance routines); and Yoga (Dynamic Flow, Hatha Yoga).

Kessel Dance & Fitness Manila also offers services such as studio hire, open floor for dance practice, casting and audition workshops, private dance lessons, corporate in-house dance and fitness programs, and dance choreography for productions.

After extensive dancesport trainings and practices in the morning, Anna runs off to her office and transforms herself into the business suit clad entrepreneur the private sector has come to know.  Concurrently, she is president of Anna Marie Home Collection (Philippines), Inc., owner of brand name Anna Marie Home; and  president of the Aurelio Periquet Jr. Foundation. She is a member of the boards of Insurance of the Philippine Islands Co., Inc., Metro Cebu Public Savings Bank, and Lupel Marketing Corporation (makers of UNI Writing Instruments). 

Anna was appointed by former President Fidel V. Ramos as Youth Sector Representative in the 10th Congress of the House of Representatives. She is the author of Republic Act 8525, or the “Adopt-a-School Act of 1998” which seeks to provide for access to quality education. 

Following her stint in Congress, she was appointed by former President Joseph Estrada as Private Sector Representative to the Board of Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation (SBGFC) in 1998.  She was re-appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001, where she currently holds the position.  Most recently, Anna was selected to be a Private Sector Member for Performing Arts ( Dance ) under the Presidential Task Force for Education and Tourism.

A recipient of several awards and citations from various organizations, Anna was recently cited in the coffee table book “When She Takes The Lead: Women Who Have Shaped Philippine Society” in 2008; awarded the Award of Distinguished Women in Service in 2007; and was cited as the "100 Most Successful Women in the Philippines" in celebration of the Women’s Centennial Year in 2006. 

Pirouetting from the boardroom to the ballroom, Anna takes a bow.


Developing a Millionaire’s Mindset

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Developing a Millionaire’s Mindset

September 16, 2008 (Tuesday) 1:30-5:30PM

Multi-millionaires share many common characteristics and follow many similar principles. This seminar will teach you what attitudes and
mindset you need to develop to become financially prosperous. And just as important, you will learn how to use your wealth for a higher

Featuring two of the country’s most inspiring and engaging speakers:

Francis J. Kong, who, after finding business success as an entrepreneur, has become the country’s most highly sought-after
motivational speaker. Today, he has a multimedia presence as a best-selling author, broadcaster, radio host, and publisher.

Chinkee Tan, a former TV personality turned entrepreneur, found financial success in sales and helped over 35 people become
millionaires. Now, he is a lifestyle trainer and author of "Till Debt Do Us Part," teaching thousands of people about financial stewardship
and personal success.

Get more details about the seminar here. Register now and get started on the road to financial freedom!

Pay P1,000 only (save 60% off the regular rate)!

September 30, 2008

WHERE: Carlos P. Romulo  Theater, RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City

PRICE: Super saver rate (up to Aug. 31): P1,000
Early bird rate (up to Sept. 15): P1,500
Regular rate: P2,500

Seminar fee includes freebies and yummy snacks!

For registration and more information, contact:
LearningCurve, Inc. | UG5 Megaplaza Bldg. ADB Ave. Ortigas Center,
Pasig City | 6874748


The Eagles that Fly

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

In the past columns I have stated that the price of oil and commodities will drop, and all of these are cyclical. Likewise, they have a correlation to the strength of the dollar.

This week we have seen oil dropping now to USD113 levels from a high of USD146, and commodities have come down a lot. I go back to PGMA’s speech in the SONA and the rationale why we should not adjust the vat on oil. High gasoline prices due to high crude oil price will force a lifestyle change that will reduce demand for oil products, while the situation leads to greater investments in alternative fuels. This will even push for the implementation of more efficient mass transport systems that will entice people not to use their cars to save gas and instead use the mass transport systems. The LRT extensions and Northrail projects will cut down travel time and cost to the provinces north of Manila.

The whole world adjusts to high prices by changing how they commute, either through the use of smaller cars or through mass transport. Likewise, a slowing world demand for oil can easily trigger a reaction in oil futures market, thus we see a quick reduction in oil price levels.

This leads to my last week’s column entitled “Why ducks quack and eagles fly”. This story is not mine, but was passed on to me through email. We received so much positive feedback on this column, which is quite encouraging. Hopefully, more and more Filipinos will see that those who succeed in life are those who don’t keep complaining about life, about issues with government, but those who do something about their own lives. It is all about taking control of one’s destiny and how one can really be the best in what he does as this winning attitude does lead to something great.

Last Friday – 08/08/08, I received an invitation to attend Vicki Belo’s masquerade event. It was her 18th anniversary. Vicki is a very supportive Go Negosyo advocate, who has been an inspiration to a lot of ‘would-be’ entrepreneurs. But, I had to beg off attending her event as I could not see myself wearing a masquerade costume. I will never hear the end of it from family and friends. But I congratulated Vicki for all her remarkable successes. I was told that the Friday’s event was also successful and not surprisingly star-studded with all the ‘who’s who’ in showbiz. We salute Vicki as she shares her achievements with other people, as she inspires and motivates a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs. She also launched the Ike and Nena Belo Foundation, named after her parents. Her foundation aims to help people with cleft palettes, burn victims, and other patients who truly need her help.

Meantime, the Gawad Kalinga event last Friday was also a huge success, where thousands of supporters attended the affair at the NBC tent. It was a gathering to launch “The Best for the Least” project. Tony Meloto and I have been working together in helping each other’s advocacy to move to greater heights, as we share the vision that Filipinos should not lose hope on a bright future for this country.

Tony and Mayor Freddie Tinga launched the GK Designer Village, where in the best architects were commissioned to do impressive designs for GK housing projects. Truly the “best for the least”, it was a great idea. Finally, we now see a mayor championing this cause. While Taguig has benefited from the boom of commercial residences and office condominiums, Freddie is making sure Taguig becomes a first class city with modern equipment for security. They have installed infrared cameras located all over the city. A public school that caters to the brightest kids of Taguig was also located in Mckinley Hills.

Likewise, Gov. Lray Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, a Go Negosyo trustee, is equally dynamic and a leader with a good vision as he put up the most number of GK villages in his home province Camarines Sur. A GK bed and breakfast is his latest project. Lray and his wife started a business called Lara’s Gifts and Decors, which is a big exporter of handicrafts and the like.

During Freddie’s speech, he talked about pagbabago ng pag-isisip – having a positive outlook and taking control of one’s destiny. These are the same principles why I started Go Negosyo with fellow entrepreneurs. The duck and eagle story basically shows that we need more eagles in this country. We need more people who see solutions to problems and find opportunities in crisis. I am a La Sallite, but somehow I see the relevance of keeping our school away from politics and issues. While I love my school – La Salle, where I studied from grade school to college, I do not agree that the new set of brothers should be seen in events which are political in nature. We need a country of eagles who will fly.

Go Negosyo, Gawad Kalinga and enterprising local government officials who want to see a better negosyo climate and housing for the poor in there area is what will bring a Pagbabago. As my father, Joecon, also advocated years ago, we should have an ‘isip-agila‘.

We have received overwhelming response from readers of last week’s column. Here are some of their comments:

“Halu.Tnx 4 sharing a gr8 story re ducks and eagle. M sure Filipinos öne day cn hav dat perspectiv by ur cnsistent advocacy then we cn make our country gr8! mor power!”

“Thank u so much 4 d article. Dis was d sermon of Bishop Mercado 2 wks ago. I hope d opposions n d leftist read ur column again thank u”

“I have read ur column today bout ducks and eagles and i am so hapy and very much inspired continue sharing this and soon ther wil be mor wally in this world. Like me and u. Godbless! Keep going and keep on inspiring people! Jon”

“ur artcle 2day s truly inspiring n tru. wish mre filipinos cud b lyk eagles! … i alwys luk 4wrd 2 readng ur artcl evryday. kudos! – ceny”

“Thank you sir Joey for sharing “While ducks quack and eagles fly” column of yours today. It is a positive outlook and eagle soaring up high a very encouraging story worthy of emulation! Sir JOEY your entrepreneurial skills and success of your endeavors as entrepreneur is a good example that inspire people to Go Negosyo plus other successful individual featured and not yet featured in your very nice column in the STAR. Before during my elementary days in school “Work is the core of the curriculum” that was in the 70’s i supposed now “Negosyo” must be the core of the curriculum in schools! Salamat po! I always follow your column and i am already inspired and made mine ginagmay(a little bit) lang muna.”

“Sir Im real estate agent ur colum makes m realize not 2 b like a duck but b an eagle dat fly tnx now Im flying HIGH”

“Hi Mr Concepcion. Dis is chickie locsin of KPMG. Ur col 2day ws truly inspirng. U r doing more good than u know!”

“Great column today! I agree that people should look at the problems as great opportunities… Having to look at the country w glasses half full should always be the case. The ducks and the eagles story is very simple and easy to remembr therefore easy to share. Have a great day! Thanks for inspiring me today! –rochee”

“Thanks for the wonderful story.” -Bryan Villaroman

* * * * *

As we continue to spread positive entrepreneurial attitude, we completed our third Teen Negosyo event, with the Department of Education. Its Center for Education and Co-Curricular Affairs Director Joey Pelaez and his team, again, tirelessly gathered the youth from all over the Philippines. About 1,500 high school students and educators filled the Teachers Camp in Baguio City from July 26 to 30, to take advantage of the good program and expo we have prepared with our partners.

We thank the Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Trade Training Center, The Master’s Lighthouse Foundation, Entrepreneurs School of Asia, our Go Negosyo advocates who unselfishly shared their expertise: Dean Francisco Lapid, Ping Sotto, Palou Abustan, Chris Tan, Arlene Onte, Dennis Balajadia, Paulo Tibig, Michelle Asence, Eric Papa, Narda Capuyan, Alvin Tan, Lloyd Luna, Ray Gapuz, Crystalle Henares, Pocholo Gonzales and Pia Gutierrez. Thanks to DepEd Undersecretary Ramon Bacani, Atty. Buboy Sotto, DTI – PTTC’s Beth Manuel and Joey Urmeneta, DTI-CAR Division Chief Remy Magno, and Anthony Pangilinan.

One of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, Richardson Navor, an Accountancy – Magna Cum Laude fresh graduate from the University of the East, shared his inspirational story. We also recognized Most Inspiring CAR Entrepreneurs with sustainable Negosyos despite their extreme challenges earlier in life. Awardees were endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry CAR Director Carmelita Usman, Department of Agriculture USec Doy Salacup, Baguio-Benguet Community Credit Cooperative, and Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation.

While ducks quack and eagles fly

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Last week’s column, entitled “Superwoman at the SONA”, ended with an introduction of a story that is being passed around through email. It is entitled “Why do ducks quack and eagles fly?” Due to the column’s length, we were not able to place it.

The previous column talked about why VAT on oil should not be scrapped or even reduced, while it may be a populist thing especially for those running in the next presidential election. Even as the elimination of the vat does give temporary relief, it does not give solution to the real picture. We now see other countries removing subsidies on gasoline and other oil related products. Once the world consumes less, prices will drop. Oil prices were mainly driven by the speculative market. Now that the market noticed a global change in lifestyle that reduced consumption due to its surging prices, we expect market players to eventually unwind their long positions on oil as they will anticipate prices to drop. The market is always forward looking.

I have been saying that oil and other commodities are going to drop. So far, it has breached the 120 level and heading down towards the 100 maybe by this year or next year. We hope that the windwall gain on VAT on oil will flow towards the development of more mass transport systems, maybe giving more incentives to conversion to more efficient and environmentally friendly engines or fuels for taxis, jeepneys, and buses.

I know a lot of people have their own concerns with this current administration. But if one were to look at problems in a different way, they will see opportunities that arise from these problems. Sometimes these are not even our problems. Instead, we become overly concerned about the country’s problems that it then affects our total outlook in life and even in our negosyo. The old saying goes, if there is “blood in the streets”, that is the best time to buy assets from stocks to real estate”.

Let me share with you the story, which has something to do with Go Negosyo’s advocacy on having the right mindset and attitude to succeed in life.

Why do ducks quack and eagles fly?

Years ago, my friend, Harvey Mackay, told me a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point. He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed my friend a laminated card and said: “I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.”  Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: “To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.”

This blew Harvey away, especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.” My friend said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.”  Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”  Handing him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card. “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.”

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

“Tell me, Wally,” my amazed friend asked the driver, “have you always served customers like this?”

Wally smiled into the rearview mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day. He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.'”

“That hit me right between the eyes,” said Wally. “Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.”

“I take it that has paid off for you,” Harvey said. “It sure has,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.”

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I’ve probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice… He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

No one can make you serve customers well. You make the choice. That’s because great service is a choice.

I hope that this story will serve as a motivation, not only for our Go Negosyo advocates, but also for people to look at things differently and make a choice to succeed in spite of everyday problems in life.

PGMA Launches Proud Harvest

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Go Negosyo introduces vegetable-based noodles

IN A BID to minimize spoilage of vegetables and provide additional
livelihood and income opportunities to farmers, Go Negosyo and the
Benguet State University collaborated to develop a vegetable-based
canton noodles and make them commercially available.

Yesterday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched canton noodles
made from vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste. The
launching was held at the Dagonoy Public Market in San Andres, Manila.

The President, in her Monday’s State of the Nation Address, extolled Go
Negosyo for partnering with government programs to “unleash the
entrepreneurial spirit” and provide mentorship to aspiring
entrepreneurs. The President reiterated her message and likewise
expressed gratitude to all those who worked behind the success of Proud