Eye of the Storm

Last Friday, we decided to spend our long weekend in our place in Punta Fuego, Batangas. We have a place right at the tip of punta, which gives us a commanding view of the ocean and the ships that pass by. Batangas has always been our second home since childhood. Now, the place is a lot different, with so many developers putting up township communities.

Harish Heranan and his wife Sharmela invited some friends to their beautiful home that was also facing the China Sea. Harish was one of the first franchisers (and now with the most number) of Jollibee and Chowking Franchise. I was telling them that the storm may head for Subic, but it could also change its course and hit us. That scenario could be pretty scary, as we had no protection.

Sanjiv Vohra and his wife Minna were first timers to this part of town. They were amazed with the beauty of Batangas. Sanjiv’s Citibank has an annual search for microentrepreneurs. They give cash prizes to the winners for their working capital. Likewise, Citi is a big supporter of Go Negosyo’s entrepreneurship development activities.

No one had the inkling of what was about to happen the following early morning. I remember that it was at around four in the morning. I woke up with the whole house shaking. We have a glass house at the very tip of the community, facing the China Sea.

I got a text that the typhoon was definitely headed for Tagaytay and will exit through Nasugbu, Batangas, which was right where we were. Luckily, the typhoon was downgraded to a storm, but still with winds of 100kph. As the eye of the storm passed, we thought it was over until the last one hour. There were definitely super winds of about 100kph with waves at 15 to 20 ft. I had to move my family to a room with no glass. For a moment, I thought our windows would give way. We survived it and so did our neighbors. Thanks to a good window system. It was truly a memorable vacation, which basically reminds us to never take Mother Nature for granted.

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Tomorrow, Go Negosyo goes to Bataan.

Bataan, a province known for the Death March, is now going to march for an economic revolution – a Negosyo March. The Garcia Clan is enthusiastic to see Bataan progress rapidly. The Garcia’s, led by Gov. Tet, Congressman Abet and Mayor Joet of Balanga City, know that a vibrant negosyo climate and having Bataeños with enterprising mindset, are key to achieving the dreams of their constituents, leading to poverty reduction and economic progress.

There is a need to help mold the mindset of the youth and microentreps into being more enterprising and creative. The current micro and small entrepreneurs are the ones who need most of the coaching and mentoring.

Local government leaders realize that they are the best enablers and that they can work on improving the lives of people, together with the private sector like the Bataan Chamber under the leadership of V-Cargo President Paulo Tibig. He is very active in working with government enablers in pushing for an entrepreneurial climate in their province.

They also have a very active Provincial Cooperative Development Office Head Azucena Sugatain and DTI Provincial Director Yay Lasam, who are part of the organizing committee for the Go Negosyo Bataan.

The Bataeños are fortunate to have no less than PGMA to personally award the Most Inspiring Bataeño Entrepreneurs and Microentrepreneurs. Congratulations to our awardees. All of them have stories of success to share.

Celso Valdecañas, for example, used to shine the shoes of older men and sell ice drop and newspaper in their barrio. He had to fend for himself at very young age. Now, at 70 years old, he enjoys the success of his five companies, one of which is the VL Construction. Miguel Mateo, another inspiring entrep, worked as a construction worker when he was 18. He did not go to college because they had no money. Because of his optimism, hard work and passion for furniture-making, he now owns his own McDo Furniture Shop.

One of the awardees started with a capital of three thousand pesos. Her name is Armanda Battad and she started a buy and sell business of dried fish. She is an example of a micro entrep who was able to move up and grow her Amanda’s Marine Products because of assistance from the different agencies like BFAR and DOST.

Another awardee, Consul Eduardo De Guzman, is one of the biggest names in Bataan. But, he also started small, with five people in a one-room office. From a single room, his business has grown into De Guzman Group of Companies that operate superior logistics services nationwide.

Elvira Tamayo also started small with a fishing boat and two piglets. From there, she moved on to her bagoong business. Her multiple negosyos, like the Elvira’s Poultry Farm, made it possible for her family to have their own house and provide the best for their children.

Second generation entrepreneurs also have their success stories to share. It is not always easy for entreps who inherit a business from their parents. The challenge is for them to keep it alive or grow it to the next level.

For example, Lorna Belen inherited a hardware store from her mother. She expanded the store’s operations and transformed the old hardware into the Bataan Commercial Enterprise. Like Lorna, Elizabeth Lim-Sioson also inherited the family business – a bakery and grocery. The bakery was already known for a quality line of bakery products. But, it was Elizabeth who expanded the Elizabeth Bakery and Grocery into the Elizabeth Group of Stores.

Another big name is Oscar Banzon. He is one of the highly-regarded entrepreneurs in Bataan. He owns ABESCO Construction & Development Corp., Crown Royale Hotel and Resort Corp. and Magnoliaone Development Corp., which have been part of the progress of Bataan.

These stories are only some of those to be told and recognized at the Go Negosyo Caravan sa Bataan on November 6, 2009 at the Bataan People’s Center. It will start with a Negosyo March from Balanga City plaza to the People’s Center venue at 8am, with the programme proper starting at 9am. As always, the forums and seminars will be FREE of charge to all Bataeños with the will to succeed.

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Who would be your choice for President and Vice President? Who do you think will be good in creating a vibrant negosyo climate for the country? Please email me your choice and state why. Also include your name and contact information. We will be posting your views.