Believe it. It’s happening.

April 16th, 2009

Last December, I had my seven wishes. My fifth wish was for the Philippines. I wished for God to grant our nation with a blessing that will uplift the level of poverty in this country and create a prosperous negosyo climate. That wish was also for our fellow Filipinos, who continue to be prophets of doom for our country and government. In the beginning of the year, I also had my Ten Reasons why we should be happy in 2009. I wrote that the world will avoid a depression.

At that time, the world seemed like it was about to end with so much misery. Today, looking at how things have progressed, the stock markets are also up with quite a strong rally. While I do not believe that the market has changed from a bear to a bull market, I agree with many that what we see is a bear market rally. Singapore has reported a GDP number of negative 11%, which is quite huge. The rest of Asia, which is dependent on the American consumer to spend, will definitely feel the slowdown. Because of the very aggressive governments of the world with their stimulus packages and America using its printing machine to print dollars and save banks from bankruptcies, I am confident that the world will definitely avoid a depression. However, the chance of a prolonged recession is quite high, which can last for so many years. My view is similar to what we have witnessed in Japan over the past 15 years. America will follow the same pattern. This is a better-than-depression scenario.

On the other hand, countries that are dependent on a business model of consumer spending in America will have to rethink their strategy. Most Americans are fully leveraged. The values of homes have disappeared. Many are forced to save more, for the fear of losing their job. Many of those depending on their 401k retirement plan have already lost half of its value. We cannot expect America’s consumer spending to be the same as it was. Those who have built their country with factories to supply America will face serious issues.

In a way, it has been a blessing that the Philippine business model is different. We provide service, either through migration of Filipinos who work as OFWs, through Filipinos in America who have decided to live there or through Filipino expats who work as managers and executives, especially in other Asian countries. It is easy to stop buying computers, appliances, cars, furniture, or toys, but it is hard to let go of people who run hotels and companies, attend to the rooms, work in restaurants, and take care of the sick and the elderly. It is hard to let go of people who work in the ships that travel treacherous seas, or people who work in homes or construct buildings.

Why be ashamed that we are a country of servants? The Hong Kong columnist who tried to take a potshot at the Filipinos should be rewarded. Eventually, our business model will be the source of envy of the other nations. Service is something that one cannot just simply get into. First, he must speak enough good English. Second, he must love to provide service and enjoy doing what he does. Third, he must love his family, for him to continually remit his salary back home and send their children to school. Lastly, he must be hungry to see his children and family rise from poverty.

Service is not just learned in school. It is something that is part of the value system and old Pinoy tradition that has been passed on. One of our weaknesses is slightly on the English-speaking factor. But, I am glad to see that almost all the schools I visited to give an inspirational talk insists on English as their primary medium of communication within the school grounds. Filipino educators realize the importance of English in our business model. It does not mean that if you speak English, you love your country less. It is time we change this way of thinking.

People who keep on complaining and discouraging are people who do not love this country. While the world continues to feel the effects of the financial tsunami that cannot be removed overnight, the Philippines finally has the chance. Those betting that there will be no elections should actually short the stock market and short the peso, as we will devalue to 100 pesos. Those who believe otherwise should start gradually buying into the Philippine stock market, investing in a business related to tourism.

I am amazed at the amount of money Boracay Shangri-La spent. I estimate that it might have been way over two billion pesos. If these foreigners will place this big a bet, we Filipinos should think. We have great tourism destinations, and PGMA and her team are building the airports and roads. Manny Pangilinan and his team are correct in partnering with the government in building roads. While we may not have that kind of capital, we can start our small tourism businesses by putting up a bed and breakfast, modern souvenir shops, needed tourism transportation systems and the like.

I was in Bora over the holy week, and it was just crazy. Maybe it was a mistake for me and my family to look for some quiet time there. Of course, my teenage children had a blast. But, yes – we will still have more Bora destinations. Bantayan Island, Coron, Busuanga, Siquijor, and Bohol, among others have so much potential. Camarines Sur, Donsol, and the Bicol Triangle are also becoming tourist destinations, with Gov. Lray Villafuerte’s efforts of promoting extreme sports. Whale and firefly watching are also unique in the Philippines. Legaspi also has Mayon Volcano. There is also Cebu and its nearby islands. Mindanao is the sleeping giant. Soon, we will replace Thailand in terms of tourists. With the new planes of PAL and Cebu Air, destinations here in the Philippines are more accessible and safer for travel. We are definitely on the go. For PGMA to go diving with friends at her age of 62, she must find something down there that gives her peace.

Believe me, our treasure is our people and our country. Realize it soon, and you might make your first million.


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“Dear Mr Concepcion,

Wow you are God’s gift for so many, touching many lives from your articles, inspiring many wannabe entrepeneurs, I just wanna thank God for having people like you – rich but God fearing, contrary from the one of the Bible verse that it is very hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Now, I understand wealth and spiritually can come together in everyone’s life, and I believe that very first God’s plan for us His creation.

May God bless you and your family gives you peace and wisdom to inspire more people.

Sincerely yours,

Jake Mendoza

“Hi Joey.Thanks for being sincere in helping the country move forward.Inspite of the global crisis,you give the Filipino people hope,and a positive attitude towards life..Keep it up!! God bless!” seb chua

“I really believe that you are championing such a great cause with Go Negosyo and hope that more Filipinos are as passionate about teaching financial intelligence and boosting moral as you are.” Joanna, Cuppy Puppy Cupcakes 🙂