About a week ago, my uncle Raul Concepcion and his wife Menchu celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together with friends and family in their place in Antipolo. I remember that my parents also celebrated their 50th last June 15, 2007.

My father, Joecon, and Uncle Raul are twins, with basically the same good and bad habits. Both are workaholics. Both are very involved in socio-civic work through their advocacies: Raul for consumer price watch; and my father, who is the founder of NAMFREL, serves as a barangay captain. Both turn 78 on Dec. 29. Being twins, both also have the same mannerisms. They also have frequent quarrels with their respective wives. They love to collect documents and papers, and do an inventory of almost everything. Their funniest similarity is that they sometimes walk around at home in their underwear. Thank God I didn’t inherit that.

My dad and uncle also have very patient wives who bear with the argumentative Concepcion trait. With all their similarities, the most important thing is that both keep to the promise they made during marriage – to have one wife and to keep fidelity sacred.

With the temptation that comes with power and wealth, it is remarkable how my uncle and father have kept their marriage vows intact. Of course, their wives are largely to be credited, being spiritual and family oriented. With the times today, so many marriages break up due to temptation. Most OFWs also experience problems in their marriage and family because of the distance. Keeping a promise is now harder these days.

Even for us negosyantes, success is not measured only by material gains. Success should include a balanced approach. A successful marriage brings about a better family and strengthens the spiritual relationship of all. You can own every business out there, but at the expense of your marriage, family, spirituality and even your health. In the end, you leave all these material things behind when you move on to the next life.

During the night of my uncle’s anniversary celebration, I would say that many of his friends who were there share the same belief on the importance of a promise. His friends were couples like Joey and Vicky Cuisia, Jesus and Marge Tambunting, Lani and Conchitina Bernardo, Oscar and Connie Lopez, Guilly and Maria Lourdes Luchangco, Christian and Winnie Monsod, Titoy and Marilyn Pardo, Pancho and Sally Villaraza, Alex and Marixi Prieto, just to name a few. Even Johnny Litton, who loves to play the image of being single, has remained faithful to his wife Teresita Rufino for 53 years. That night, my uncle was surrounded with friends who all live up to their promise.

As we select our future leaders, we should look at those who have kept their promises sacred. How can they promise a better future for us Filipinos, if the promise made during marriage vows is broken? Congratulations to Raul and Menchu Concepcion and to the many others out there who have also kept their promise.

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We are off tomorrow to Davao to hold the last Go Negosyo Caravan for the year. The new thing in Davao is that we will be launching our NEGOSEM (Negosyo Seminar) Campaign, supported by our Angelpreneurs. We have had tremendous response coming from our Angelpreneur ad, which people found interesting. Yes, those Angelpreneurs are here to help, especially the micro and small entrepreneurs. We also received messages from a lot of people who also want to be Angelpreneurs. If qualified, we will definitely accept their support. There are just so many micro and small entreps out there who need mentoring.

In Davao, we will also be recognizing the “Most Inspiring Davaoeño Entrepreneurs”. These are the entrepreneurs of Davao who have not only excelled in business, but are good role models as well.

Eng. Remegio Salanatin’s father worked as a panday, with 10 children. He worked his way until he finished his degree in engineering. A year after graduation, he started R.G. Salanatin Construction, which is now on top of numerous projects covering commercial and industrial buildings and infrastructure.

At the age of eight, Myrna Padilla would dive for a minute or two at 10 to 15 feet, gathering shellfish and seaweed. She also worked as a domestic helper overseas for 15 years, until she had to undergo a throat and thyroid surgery in the Philippines. Myrna decided to stay home for good and she started Mynd Consulting and Management Services, which is now a major BPO company in Mindanao.

Jonathan Suy also has a story to tell. ABFI Incorporated used to be a contract breeder and hatchery, but when Jonathan realized that the partnership was not profitable anymore, he decided to run their own game. Now, their poultry business supplies chicken in all major supermarkets all over Mindanao. Aside from his poultry business, Jonathan is also engaged in a paper recycling business called Jomaray Pulp Packing Industries.

The next inspiring entrepreneur is Loreta Baroro, General Manager of the Philippine Diesel Calibration Cooperative. It started with 16 members. As the group retired from their work, they decided to start the cooperative, enduring their first six months of operation with no steady salary. After five years from its foundation, their assets reached seven million pesos as of last year.

Next is Katakus Foundation’s Executive Director, Betty More. The foundation started as a women development institute for unemployed women in the farms and households. With a financial assistance of Php 5,000 and mentorship from DEVLINK, a non-government organization producing handmade paper, the foundation focused on quality handmade paper and paper crafts.

Manuel Paul Villanueva was in college preparing to be a doctor, when he discovered his passion for business and in earning money. Manuel started putting up food businesses back in college. He enjoyed marketing, waking up early, preparing materials and goods for delivery, and in collecting profit. Today, the business he started back in college is now a reputable home-grown restaurant. Banoks (short for “barbequeng manok”) is popular for superbly marinated chicken barbeque.

A well-known Davaoeño entrepreneur, Ferdinand Marañon loves to travel, to innovate and to think. Being the President and CEO of his very own company, Ferdinand easily gets bored, especially when he’s not doing anything. Born to a family of sugar farmers, he retired from his work as a marketing manager and went into sugar farming. When a friend offered a plan to set up a trading company, he accepted it and one business led to the next. Presently, Sagrex Foods Inc. processes and exports high quality food products made from fresh Philippine native bananas.

Another inspiring entrep, Ricardo Talaboc, did not give up when the carpentry and wood shop he established was engulfed by fire. Instead of just closing, he gathered what was left from the fire and restarted his venture. Today, Ricardo’s Woodworks Kiln-Dried Products not only brings him increased profit, but also contributes to employment generation in their locality.

Last but not the least is multi-awarded orchid grower Salvacion Leuenberger. Her business is known in the whole of Davao as a business that is born out of passion and love. Before she found her true calling in growing orchids, Salvacion worked as a practicing accountant. Today, her SUL Orchid farm in Tugbok is a 12-hectare property with a whole stretch of Orchid varieties.

Congratulations to the Most Inspiring Davaoeño Entrepreneurs!

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For entrep mentors who would like to join Go Negosyo, please email us your story and your entrepreneurial journey.