Archive for November, 2008

Our Chance to Stand Out

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Over the weekend, I arrived from a quick trip from San Francisco. As mentioned in my previous column, I have seen their situation in America.

First, the worst is yet to come. On 2009, a lot of Americans and possibly even Filipino-Americans will lose their jobs. This will affect us, as the remittances to our country will still somehow slow down because they also have to conserve for their own needs. While BPOs and call centers will continue to relocate in the Philippines because of our low cost structure, weaker peso and a much stronger dollar, many of these companies may go bankrupt and close down.

Second, consumer spending will go on a standstill, as it already has. In 2009, the situation will be much worse, as Americans are looking at this crisis with no savings in their pocket, high credit card dues and debt mortgages. On the other hand, the Japanese are back in their state of recession that started 15 years ago. Prior to their recession, they started with a much higher savings rate, which is close to 10%. It became quite low due to the 15-year bear market. Americans have no room to move. The worse thing is that most of the retirees have their 401K, losing almost half of their value. The end-result is that the Americans have no savings, with maxed out credit cards. Housing values are down, and even retirement funds are down. They are even facing the possibility of no jobs or no salary increase for so many years. This means, countries that export a lot to America will be greatly affected. Alternative markets must be looked into for those exporting.

With this, we expect interest rates all over the world to continue to go down in order to prevent a deep recession, or even a depression. We could see America at zero percent by the first quarter of next year. As for the Philippines, we will maintain the rates to prevent the peso from deteriorating and maybe reduce the rates once the dollar starts to weaken. We can probably see America printing a lot of dollars to save the financial community. Just two days ago, they have partially bailed out Citibank. Now, they also printed $800 billion to save the consumer credit.

This is not the end. I believe a huge stimulus package that may come close to one trillion dollars maybe presented during the inauguration of President Obama. There will be billions to save the car industry. In the end, America is still lucky because the world’s currency is the dollar. They don’t have reserves, but their reserves are somehow “limitless”. They just need more printing machines to print dollars. However, we know that this approach will have a long term consequence, such as an inflationary environment and the dollar losing so much of its value. We could see gold rising to levels never seen before, as the amount of dollars printed do not match the amount of gold of the Americans. All these can happen towards the end of 2009, after the dust settles.

For how long will this crisis last? No one really knows. The general feeling is that things will improve towards end of 2009 or 2010. Refinancing dollar obligations during the period of 2009 will be challenging, especially for local companies in the Philippines. I do not want to scare a lot of entrepreneurs out there, but this is a time when we should be careful. Maybe we should even wait how things turn out in the first six months of 2009 before making any major moves. Try to deleverage and move towards more long term loans, rather than short term. Let’s all hope that people who are trying to convince PGMA to stay beyond 2010 will drop that stupid idea. At a time like this, when the world’s greatest financial crisis is at hand, it is not a time to fool around with our democracy.

While I have been in favor for a review of the constitution in my past columns, which I entitled 2010.2016, I basically called for a review after 2010 and a proper implementation only in 2016 for political changes in government structure. I know PGMA will not stay on. The president has also been a great supporter in the works of Go Negosyo, together with Sec. Cerge Remonde.

Thailand is also presently facing their problems. The protesters’ riots are causing panic and creating a negative result for their country’s tourism. In fact, hundreds of protesters recently stormed through the Bangkok International airport, as they are seeking to overthrow their country’s prime minister. This can be seen as an opportunity for neighboring countries. Tourists might opt to go to other countries instead, like the Philippines.

This is the time when we should push for growth as a nation and take advantage of the problems of the world. Let us find opportunities that will bring more negosyos and create more jobs. We need to be in the radar screen of investors. Despite the recessionary environment in the world, the Philippines still stands out. This is our chance. Yes, the Filipino Can!

Sharpening the Batangue

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Sharpening the Batangueño business edge

In the next leg of its Go Negosyo Caravan, the Philippine Center of Entrepreneurship (PCE) recently stopped over at the Batangas Provincial Auditorium in the Provincial Capitol of Batangas City.

As part of PCE’s goal of strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos, the Go Negosyo Caravan gave many Batangueños a taste of what it was like to think as a cutting edge entrepreneur.

In the one-day affair, starting entrepreneurs from Batangas were given a chance to learn the secrets of the trade—from how to effectively start up their own business, the best methods of sustaining growth, to how to make sure that business runs as smoothly as possible. This was made possible by gathering the most successful of Batangas’ businessmen and personalities from the growing pool of Go Negosyo entrepreneurs.

In attendance were Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and Congressman Nicanor Briones, who also assisted in the awarding of winners for contests, like the essay-writing, logo-making and KoopQuiz Contest, and the Best Performing Cooperatives.

Batangueño entrepreneurs were also recognized and awarded as Batangas’ most inspiring entrepreneurs, which include: Francis S. Ganzon of Bangko Kabayan; Juan C. Katigbak of Milk Joy Corporation; Francis C. Laurel of YKK Philippines, Inc.; Peter P. Laurel of the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas; Corazon T. Mendoza of CTM Knitting, Inc.; Jose H. Mercado of Merlo Agricultural Corporation; Vicente C. Montenegro Jr. of Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc.; Arcadio L. Perez of Alps the Bus, Inc.; Eckard Rempe of The Farm; Pedro E. Roxas of Roxaco Land Corporation; and Mayolo A. Tolentino of Maycar Foods, Inc.

Also recognized as the most inspiring Batangueño microentrepreneurs including: Emmanuel A. Afable of Paper & Arts, Inc.; Julius L. Braza of Big A MPC; Tita J. Burgos of Tita’s Delight Bibingka and Pastries; Marichu L. Carstensen of Doc’s Candles; Gerardo F. Caubalejo of Carretonan MPC; and Alexander C. Ilagan of Xandro’s Food Processing.

A special award was also conferred to Diana Limjoco-Pollard for the creation and sustainability of the website www.batangasnow.com, which serves as an online portal for any information about and related to Batangas.

Among the activities held were a forum entitled: "Go Negosyo, Sagot sa Kahirapan: Ang Bagong Pananaw," and lectures such as: "Pano Mag-isip ang Negosyanteng Bigtime?"; "Paano Ba Humanap ng Magandang Negosyo at Palakihin ito?"; "Paano Ba Makakatulong ang Teknolohiya sa Negosyo"; and "Saan Makakakuha ng Puhunan Para sa Pagpapalaki ng Negosyo."

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Turning Pessimism into an Opportunity

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I have been in the states for the past week, and I have seen the slow down of their pace here.

While property prices, especially in the bay area of San Francisco, have not fallen off the cliff; sales of homes have definitely been on a standstill. This is not because of the lack of buyers who are looking for bargains. This is basically brought about by the absence of credit. Now foreigners cannot borrow from local banks, unlike in the past years. Bank funds have also been limited as their previous practice of monetizing bundled securities and paper assets have obviously stopped by now. Stores that I used to visit, like Circuit City, are closing. Mervyns and so many retail shops are also starting to close. The Apple Stores are one of those that seem to still have a lot of people.

For those who think that America is at the tail-end of its problems, they are wrong. Even with Obama as the new US President and even with greater hope, America has to realize that this will take time. If they will be rescuing every company or industry out there, then the cleansing process for companies to bring down their cost structure will never happen.

With the three big car makers facing huge challenges mainly brought about by car financing offers that vanished, the great debate is whether to save them or not. I personally think that they should not be saved, so these companies can either come out stronger or not exist anymore. But, entrepreneurs will also come out to buy these assets and brands. They will recreate a new business model for American cars.

Unfortunately, America is composed of small and medium enterprises and many of these negosyos will be hit with a tight credit market. Unfortunately, there is no other way for corporate America to come out of this stronger if the companies do not reinvent themselves to the right size and bring down their cost structures. More and more jobs will go to Asia thru outsourcing, because American wage rates are relatively less competitive.

Citibank in America has already announced that 50 thousand jobs will be cut. This is part of building stronger companies in the future. Labor rates will have to come down. This is what happens when over time labor demands become too excessive, rendering companies uncompetitive. Eventually the country becomes uncompetitive.

Even worse, the American dollar has become stronger, since it is the world’s currency of trade. Until now as people unwind their investments, they have no other alternative but to leave them in US dollars, which is even making America less competitive. The Japanese car companies continue to do well in America, beating the American car manufacturers. They have developed hybrid cars and also have a low cost structure.

Moving forward, the possibility of a depression is getting higher. But, maybe it will not be as severe as the 1929 depression, since central banks and governments of the world are playing a very proactive role.

For the Philippines, I have to say that we still are insulated to some extent, as local consumer spending is still good. As long as people are still employed, whether here or as OFWs, we can expect a softened impact of the global turbulence on our economy. Admittedly, the influx of BPOs, no matter what critics say, still provides hundreds of thousands of employment and purchasing power even to college students who want to go part time, and I am sure this has helped in bringing down the jobless rate to 7.4%, from 7.8% last year.

Our real estate is still relatively cheap, compared to what is out there in other Asian countries. Bank lending has always been very strict since the Asian crisis. Many people can avoid borrowing to buy a house and pay in cash. The requirement of a higher down payment has always been there as a discipline in order to avoid being too leveraged.

As long as America is unable to realize the importance of allowing industries to correct themselves, the emerging markets of China, India, and the Philippines will continue to benefit. While I am quite pessimistic about America in the coming months, I am more optimistic about Asia. This may be the time when Asia can come out of this world financial crisis much stronger. This is also not to say that China and the rest of Asia will not feel the economic slowdown, but our country has the right cost structure to compete.

In our country, we should continue to find ways to bring down the cost of doing business. Make laborers realize that what happened to America because of high wages has caused their country to be less competitive. Let us push for the lowering of interest rates to spur growth and lending. At a time like this, more than monetary actions, we should encourage government pump priming of the economy and allow for a bigger budget deficit. We need to spur government spending on basic infrastructures like roads, airports, and seaports that will improve the logistics for negosyos to transport goods. This will also allow more tourists to visit the Philippines. The multiplier effect is greater at this point. There should be sustained assistance to specific and targeted poorest of the poor sectors and more financial support to micro and SMEs. As government spends, it helps in pushing the Philippine Inc. to grow. See what the Chinese have done with their 500 billion dollar stimulus package. We should have our own mini version, but of course properly funded and done well. I have recently landed in the new Iloilo airport and even the new partly opened airport then was already world class standard. We should have more of these kinds of projects in key priority areas.

In the end, our take on these challenging times is to always keep up the high entrepreneurial spirit, and continuously search for pockets of opportunities that crop up amidst the crisis. Entreps are used to challenges but we must be reminded of the need for non-stop learning and cleansing process. Search for innovations that will excite the market. There will be no let up on cost reduction efforts if we are all to survive and even grow bigger.

JCI ENTREP SUMMIT

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

November 28, 2008 1:00pm to 8:00 pm, Sofitel Philippine Plaza

jcientrepsummit.gif
 

Junior Chamber International Manila, Asia’s Premier Leadership Development organization brings to us their culmination project for their Business Development directorate.  The Summit aims to congregate young entrepreneurs and energetic minds who have creative ideas, and inject them with the business acumen that is needed to transcend the trying challenges of the current world crisis. 

 

The Summit aims also to dispel fears about going into business, or staying in business – there is nothing more worthwhile right now to pursue than the Entrepreneurial dream of attaining success and breaking the bonds of financial insecurity.

The seminar-cum-exposition will feature 7 of the top business minds in our country today, each of them to deliver strong points on their respective disciplines and to energize the SME business owners like you.

 

FEATURED SPEAKERS: 

FRANCIS KONG is the renowned motivational speaker and columnist offering sound business advice with sound Christian virtues.  His blog site receives tons of fan mail from raving fans all over the country.  Topic:  "DEVELOPING AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET"

 

JOHNLU KOA is the brilliant professor-turned-entrepreneur who founded The French Baker and proved that Pinoys can say "oui!" and buy baguettes.  A recipient of various business awards, he will share his expertise in creating something huge from a small idea.  Topic:  "HOW TO TURN GOOD IDEAS INTO PROFIT"

 

TOBY CLAUDIO is the proud owner of the country’s largest sporting goods store that bears his name.  As a testament to his great marketing skills, he was conferred the title of Young Market Master during YMMA’s 3rd search for the country’s top marketers.  His role in the company as Vice President has allowed him to explore the intricacies of branding and its effectivities in the Philippine setting.  Topic:  "THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING"

 

JOSIAH GO is  the marketing wunderkind of his era – the guru who made us understand what Blue Ocean meant, even to the small companies who have never even imagined the limitless possibilities of creating a niche market.  The reverent leader of Mansmith & Fielders and TOYM awardee, he brings us further into his business expertise as he helps us derive strategy for the challenging markets we deal in as SMEs.  The author of many best selling marketing books, hear it live from the master himself!   Topic:  "RE-INVENTING YOUR INDUSTRY LOGIC VIA MARKET DRIVING STRATEGY."

 

DONALD LIM is as young as anyone can get in this business.  At a tender age of (below 30?) he has successfully uplifted the businesses of Burger King, Philippine Daily Inquirer and now sits at the helm of Yehey.com as CEO.  With a lot more years to come, this brand stalwart is ready to face challenges by utilizing the power of internet and mobile connectivity.  He will show us some of the "magic" tricks of  his industry and give us insight into how we can develop our own internet and mobile promotional campaign for our growing businesses.  Topic:  "TRENDS IN INTERNET AND MOBILE MARKETING"

 

SAMMIE LIM, the recognized father of Franchising in the Philippines, lends his expertise to us in our summit to enumerate the various opportunities abounding our country in the current crisis.  Though the economies of Asia may be in turmoil, tourism will be the key to our country’s business salvation.  Topic:  "FRANCHISING AND BEYOND"

 

CECILIO K. PEDRO may not be a household name, but his toothpaste brand, Hapee, is the David in the arena of Fast Moving Consumer Goods.  A devout Christian and philanthropist, let us hear from the First Filipino brand musketeer who made it to the big leagues using his tools for  and "The Filipino can!" attitude.  One of the pillars of Philippine business and industry, Mr. Pedro will grace the event and give us his story of success first-hand, to embolden the participants with his take on life and business.  Topic:  "PROUDLY PINOY: THE HAPEE STORY"

 

Take advantage of the EARLY BIRD OFFER until  November 20!

 

 

 

What You Will Get from the Summit

 

The Summit offers the following opportunities:

 

1.       The first JCI Entrep Summit is priced at an affordable PHP 3,500 per head net.

2.       It comes with 2 meals, free flowing coffee or tea, and a load of information.

3.       The seminar kit is also free upon registration, which is loaded with goodies courtesy of the sponsors of the Summit.

4.       Registering in the Summit allows you to access in the future to the official website and downloads of selected presentations after the event for future reference

5.       A chance to mingle with 500 fellow entrepreneurs who represent various industries and disciplines

6.       An exposition featuring products and services that will cater to the needs of the Entrepreneur

7.       7 of the country’s best minds play "mentor" to all your business problems for a day

 

THE PURPOSE

Beyond Profits

JCI MANILA is a NON-PROFIT organization.  As such, all proceeds from events that generate profit will be donated to projects that need financial support.

 

The proceeds of JCI ENTREP SUMMIT will be used to further the projects of JCI MANILA in the fields of Community Development, Youth Training and Leadership  and Disaster Relief.  Notable projects this 2008 include:

·         Dualtech Scholarship Fund

·         Palit Ilaw : Manila City Hall

·         Search for Heroes of Patrol 117

·         Best Business Plan Search

·         Handog Lingap

·         White Cross Read-to-a-Child

For more information visit: www.jcimanila.org


Ticket prices: PhP 3,500
Corporate rate: Buy 5 get 1 free
Student discountL 20%

For tickets or more details, call the Manila Jaycees Clubhouse tel. 525-6792 or 0922-8360435 or call Ticketnet 911-5555.

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Usapang GoNegosyo @ The Grand International Charity and Celebrity Bazaar

Monday, November 17th, 2008

USAPANG GONEGOSYO @ THE GRAND INTERNATIONAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY AND CELEBRITY BAZAAR

Join na kayo sa aming Usapang GoNegosyo Forum ngayong November 22, 2008 (Saturday) 5:00-6:00 PM sa World Trade Center Hall – A.

Hindi lang kayo nakabili ng pang-regalo ngayong Pasko, maaari pa kayong makakakuha ng M.B.A. (Magandang Business Advice) mula sa ating mga GoNegosyo mentors! Sasamahan tayo nila Ms. Tintin Bersola-Babao, Ms. Abbygale Arenas-de Leon at Ms. Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan*!

Tara na at matutong magnegosyo!

FREE ADMISSION!

Usapang GoNegosyo Program

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Gandang Kalikasan product launch

Monday, November 17th, 2008

GoNegosyo invites you to one of the most exciting launches in the Philippines this year!
 

Gandang Kalikasan Inc. is launching the world’s first 100% organic range of affordable personal care products!

Organic products are usually highly luxurious items, available only to the privileged few. But Gandang Kalikasan Inc. is now able to bring them to market at affordable prices, which creates a fantastic first-time opportunity for budding entrepreneurs, especially those who love the Philippines! 100% organic, 100% Philippine ingredients, 100% no harmful chemicals… and at a price almost everyone can afford! Finally a business opportunity that is world-class and one in which you know that everything you do is helping the country we love to rise!
 
Gandang Kalikasan Inc. was started by Anna Meloto-Wilk and Camille Meloto, both daughters of Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto. Anna is also the wife of British multi-millionaire and Gawad Kalinga advocate Dylan Wilk.
 Launch program
Whether you are a large retailer, small business or just looking to generate extra income on the side, you will not want to miss the launch of Gandang Kalikasan’s range on November 26th at 6:30pm at the Blue Leaf, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City (click here to view program).

Please send your reply to eenameloto@gmail.com together with your full name, address and cell phone number. But hurry! Only 50 places are available – the first 50 to email will be granted an invitation.
 
Guest speakers include:
Mayor Freddie Tinga – Mayor of Taguig
Joey Concepcion – Founder, GoNegosyo
John Concepcion – President, Selecta Ice Cream
Tony Meloto – Founder, Gawad Kalinga
Tintin Bersola-Babao – TV star and environmental advocate
Anna-Meloto-Wilk – President, Gandang Kalikasan Inc.
Dylan Wilk – Vice President, Gandang Kalikasan Inc.

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Ate V Goes Go Negosyo in Batangas

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

As we all predicted, Obama won the USA election because Americans have been severely hurt by this great financial crisis and they are clamoring for a change.

While the world is now suffering as well, the problem stems from the greed of many banks as they have created financial structures that bloated their income on paper. The sad part is how this situation is handled. The same banks that have created this problem are being saved, since not saving them would be more catastrophic.

Obama has swept America and the world as the leader of hope. His victory, as the first black American president, is historical. Other people put meaning in the number 44 (as Obama will be inducted as the 44th President of the US). Those numbers are also interpreted as the number eight (8) when added or as some Chinese believe that double four (4) would be double death… And we hope not.

The biggest asset that Obama brings is hope and change. His “Yes We Can” slogan exemplifies the spirit that American people need today. The huge problem cannot be solved if many Americans would be pessimistic about their future. We talk of faith, and sometimes in a situation like this, you need a leader who brings about greater faith. Who is not to say that America will not suffer from the mistakes of the past? But, an attitude of ‘yes we can succeed’ is what the world needs today.

Closer to home, Go Negosyo spreads the ‘yes the Filipino can’ attitude – a change in mindset into being entrepreneurial, as the key to anyone’s success.

We just had the Go Negosyo Batangas with Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. Gov Vi is an example of what we want to instill in the Filipinos. Ate V, as many call her, is an award-winning actress who knew nothing before about running a town. Now, with an instinct of an entrepreneur, she leads the development of a progressive province.

Last Friday, Nov. 7, the Go Negosyo Caravan sa Batangas was successfully held in their Provincial Auditorium. About two thousand people from Batangas attended this event. The audience was largely composed of cooperatives, micro to small entreps, and the local government officers and members headed by Gov. Vi and Vice Gov. Mark Leviste.

I traveled to Batangas by helicopter, together with Vicky Belo, Karen Davila and PMS Secretary Cerge Remonde, since we also all had to be back in Manila by 1pm. As we approached Batangas, a heavy downpour of rain forced us to make an emergency landing. My co-passengers thought we have reached our destination. As I noticed, I told them that we landed in a cemetery. Luckily, I was able to get our welcome party to our location and pick us up, after asking a grave digger where we were. As we say, rain-or-shine, advocacy continues.

After our adventure, we started on time and Gov. V arrived as scheduled. During her welcome remarks, I have to admit – she knew the essence of what it truly takes to help micro and small entrepreneurs. She pushes for the success of more cooperatives, many of which started as credit cooperatives that also help the micro and small entreps. She mounts relevant support programs that help the micro and small entreps. We believe in what she adopts as an approach, as she reiterates the importance of government’s partnerships with various private sector groups like Go Negosyo to support the MSME sector. But, the success of this approach relies on the perseverance, resourcefulness and innovativeness of each one.

It was very clear to me that in order to create a negosyo revolution, local government must really champion the cause of Go Negosyo. National government must also give support by providing a framework on the mindset, marketing, the how-to and the technical training, and financing that must be cascaded at all levels of society. The OTOP (One Town One Product) is one specific project that should be championed by the local government. Support must also be handed to the micro and small entreps, through the MFIs and rural banks and by encouraging the formation of cooperatives. Business technology incubators must be enhanced. Schools must also start teaching and bring out a greater awareness in negosyo. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who may not have even finished high school, but have developed a skill that is unique to their province. There are many people out there who can be inspired and empowered.

In most of the provinces we visited, the local governments have supported negosyo. I believe that in the last year of PGMA, she can leave this legacy behind. Despite the financial crisis facing the world, our solution to is to start a negosyo revolution.

A Call for Change

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

By the time this column comes out, it is highly probable that the first American-black president would have been elected – Barack Obama. He would also be one of the youngest since John F. Kennedy. His campaign slogan is “change”.

America would have voted for McCain, but a lot of people are quite disappointed on how President Bush had brought America to a state of financial despair. Millions of Americans have lost the values of their home, and their retirement funds now at a huge risk with the collapse of the stock market – many of which have the 401 K invested in. The worst part is having America inculcate a credit-oriented society, encouraging Americans to spend even on income that still has to be earned. This has placed many Americans in great financial despair.

Barack Obama brings confidence. This is very important if the American economy is to turn around. Without great amount of optimism, there is no way that the situation will improve. Democrats have done better in running an economy. President Bill Clinton did a great job turning in a budget surplus during his term. It is true that what America needs today is change, specifically in its old ways of spending beyond its means.

Closer to home, Go Negosyo kicks off with Batangas this Friday. Gov. Vilma Santos will be welcoming our team which includes Sec. Cerge Remonde, Vicki Belo, Gaita Fores, and Karen Davila. Just like many Filipinos, we look up to the Governor as a successful actress-turned government official, who has proven her critics wrong. She can indeed lead and manage a province like Batangas.

Go Negosyo has also started to partner with local government, which is a key component in encouraging negosyos in their respective areas. We need to cascade the Go Negosyo framework to the grassroots and local governments, who have like-minded objectives of developing entrepreneurship and dynamic livelihood in their areas. They would be in the best position to execute and sustain the Negosyo program at all levels. For instance, they are also key in ensuring a fast system of approving business permits and licenses, as they are key as well in linking many of the micro and small entrepreneurs with micro finance and rural bankers. More importantly, the key to local government success is creating a negosyo climate. This is the only way more jobs can be created.

My goal is to work closer with enterprising men and women in the local government and let them champion the cause of negosyo, with the national government providing support to their needs. They can provide assistance with networking, mentorship from the private sector, financing, technical support, design and packaging assistance. Hopefully the newly organized MSME council, which I am part of, will move in this direction, developing tourism and agri-business in different areas.

Similar to America, Barack’s call for change is what we need. Go Negosyo calls for change as well. Let us call for people to take control of their life and do something for a positive change. Change will only happen if more people will want it. Local leaders have to be the model of change. They must inspire more people and provide them confidence that they can do it.

I can still remember when I was a young boy. I failed grade three in La Salle. My parents were not happy, but they did not punish me. Instead, they encouraged me to do better. It was the embarrassment of failure that pushed me.

In a similar sense, there are local citizens of a region who struggle to barely meet their needs. Their local leaders should provide them with the encouragement and confidence. With these, we will see more change.

For instance, religious leaders give hope and confidence to their followers and supporters. Gawad Kalinga does the same. They all give hope. The change that America will have to go thru under the first black president will have to happen our own way in the Philippines.

Barack’s slogan of “Yes We Can” is similar to our “Yes the Filipino Can!” battle cry. What made him reach this level of success in life is his capability to inspire people that they can do it. As America faces its greatest challenge in history, we Filipinos also face a different challenge – the reduction of poverty in our country. Let us prove that YES WE CAN and YES THE FILIPINO CAN!


* * * * *


In our Go Negosyo sa Batangas, we will be giving recognition to the local heroes who took control of their lives through their negosyo. Our congratulations to our Most Inspiring Batangueño Entrepreneurs, as they have worked hard for their success:

Small-Medium-Large Category

* Francis Ganzon of Bangko Kabayan continues the rural bank’s 50 years of service.
* Juan Katigbak leads the Milk Joy Corporation, with his vision to provide nutritious milk and a stable source of income for Filipinos.
* Francis Laurel continues YKK Philippines Inc.’s 70-year of setting new industry standards in product quality.
* Peter Laurel continues to adopt the educational philosophy and guiding principles of Dr. Jose P. Laurel in the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas.
* Corazon Mendoza gains recognition globally through CTM Knitting, Inc. for more than 18 years.
* Jose Mercado established the Merlo Agricultural Corporation, which is now at the forefront of the Batangas’ industry.
* Vicente Montenegro Jr. leads the Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc. with his innovative management skills.
* Arcadio Perez commits to high quality and world class customer service through his company – Alps The Bus, Inc.
* Pedro Roxas leads the Roxaco Land Corporation, which is a prime mover and developer of high potential regions in the country.
* Mayolo Tolentino established the Maycar Foods, Inc. – a leader in high-quality and affordable processed meat products.

Special Award

* Diana Limjoco-Pollard of Digital Web Group is an online entrepreneur who creates websites out of skill, talent and hard work.

Micro Category

* Emmanuel Afable started Paper & Arts, Inc. with his family, creating innovative and environment-friendly paper products from recycled materials.
* Julius Braza chairs the Big A Multi Purpose Cooperative and leads his community in manufacturing and selling tamarind products.
* Tita Burgos has successfully established Tita’s Delight Bibingka and Pastries through dedication and hard work.
* Marichu Carstensen continues to develop her business, Doc’s Candles’s, through her passion for product development.
* Gerardo Caubalejo also serves as a leader in Carretonan Multi Purpose Cooperative, as they continuously upgrade their products through skills development trainings.
* Alexander Ilagan is also successful in Xandro’s Food Processing, which creates innovative Philippine agricultural food products.


Go Negosyo sa Batangas Caravan will be on November 07, 2008 at the Batangas Provincial Auditorium. Go Negosyo mentors and entrepreneurs like Rommel Juan, Dean Pax Lapid, Ping Sotto, Illac Diaz will also be there to share their stories and business advice.