Be a Filipino Hero

Pacman’s victory over Cotto definitely gave pride to a lot of Filipinos all over the world. It makes the world more aware of the competitiveness of Pinoys.

We have close to 1.5 million Overseas Filipino Workers in different countries. They work in cruise ships, commercial vessels, construction sites and in all sorts of jobs. Filipinos are also known to be the best nurses, teachers, and service providers. Pacquiao’s victory makes every Filipino proud. This is what every OFW needs, as they stand up to their coworkers and employers. We, Filipinos, deserve a sense of respect that we need, as we are oftentimes viewed as the poor man of Asia, hounded by so many cycles of suffering and misery.

A week after Pacman’s victory, we discover another Filipino hero. Efren Peñaflorida is a teacher and a social worker here in the Philippines. He has just been recognized as the “CNN Hero of the Year” for 2009 because of his advocacy of educating street children and out-of-school youth through his “kareton classrooms”. He gives an alternative to gang membership through education. He was able to lead a group called the Dynamic Teen Company, with 10,000 members. They have taught basic reading and writing to 1,500 children living in the streets and squatters area. Efren, and his team, has been doing this for 12 years now.

Born to a poor family, Efren experienced living in a barong-barong near a city dumpsite. He took the challenge to overcome poverty, realizing the importance of basic education and the advantage of just being able to read. He used his resources and the best of his abilities to reach 1,500 kids. It is truly amazing.

We can also witness true heroism from social entrepreneurs. While trying to make their business profitable to sustain its very existence, they are also creating opportunities for others to have a better life. One example is Gemma Bulos, a 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Awardee. She is the Founding Director of A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) in the Philippines. Her business provides services such as training on simple water technologies to empower communities in addressing their needs of freshwater. ASDSW has also started water projects in different places in the country to provide clean, safe water to Filipinos. Another good story of a social entrep is that of Mary Grace Arboleda-Young, the President of Cordillera Coffee Company. Her business benefits the native farmers from her home region in Kalinga. She also promotes other aspects of the Cordillera Culture. The mission of the business is to establish fair trade with native coffee farmers and protect them from exploitation. They buy from farmers a fair or above-market price.

In the past four years, Go Negosyo has been citing a lot of micro and small entrepreneurs. They are heroes as well.

Our micro and small entrepreneurs in the country are struggling not only because of limited capital, but also because of the lack of mentorship. Many of them do not have good education. And, we all know that the resources in public schools will not measure up to those in the private schools. We believe the great equalizer is education and information. These can be obtained in internet, but many of them cannot afford a computer or an internet subscription. Many of the people who support these micro and small entrepreneurs also need the right training to help them improve their mentorship. Our micro and small entrepreneurs and OFWs are all Filipino heroes. All of them are fighting poverty to have a better life for their family, and eventually their community.

In a week, we will be launching our “Angelprenuer” program. Similar to Efren’s advocacy of education, we have focused Go Negosyo towards entrepreneurship education. Empowering the less privileged and microentrepreneurs with the needed concepts and tools to become more smart and innovative. More importantly, it is also very clear that having the right attitude in life makes the BIG difference. You see this in Manny Pacquiao, Willie Revillame and Efren Peñaflorida. They all came from poverty. They could have gone the wrong way. But, they love this country. They love the Filipino people. We can see their love and dedication to what they do. This is why we have Francis Kong, Anthony Pangilinan, Ping Sotto, Henry Tenedero, Joy Abaquin, together with franchise guru Butz Bartolome, and many more entreps as part of Go Negosyo Angelpreneurs. They will teach the micro and small entreps out there the right mindset and what it takes to succeed.

Our sessions on “How To Go Negosyo” and how to become good entrepreneurs will be handled by our entrep gurus Andy Ferreria, Danny Antonio, Jay Bernardo, Dean Pax Lapid. Other mentors helping on entrepreneurship sessions are Binalot’s Rommel Juan, Joel Santos, George Saguinsin, Jorge Wienekie, Paulo Tibig, Reuel Virtucio, Luis Cruz and Mon Lopez.

Learning to read, write, and how to do simple math is important, just like in learning to manage money. Topax Colayco, SB Corp’s Benel Lagua, Tess Dimaculangan, Randell Tiongson are our leading mentors on financial literacy. The product development and marketing gurus Josiah Go, Ardy Roberto, Johnlu Koa, Mylene Abiva, George Soriano, Maoi Arroyo, Illac Diaz, Nonoy Espeleta, Jorge Soriano are among the Angelpreneurs who will provide help on product and marketing strategies. Providing mentorship, linkages and support from critical government units are Usec Merly Cruz and Usec Lina Amata.

These people and others who are still to become Angelprenuers (or mentors to others) are the future Filipino heroes. “Creating wealth for others” is their slogan, giving others the chance to beat poverty. Attending these Negosems does not give the complete assurance of beating poverty, but it will definitely give Filipinos a better chance to succeed. Rather than keep complaining about our government, it is time for people to start being heroes in their own small way. The more heroes we have, the more chances we have to make this nation into a nation to be proud of.

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