Babae, Yaman Ka ng Bayan

Tonight, we will be launching our third book, the GO NEGOSYO 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. Most of the 55 featured women have confirmed their presence in the launch. This is the first book ever done on women entrepreneurs, which will be launched in National Bookstore Rockwell.

When I planned for the concept of this book, I did not think that we would be launching it a few days before the National Women’s Month. I didn’t even think that it would coincide with the women entrepreneurship summit that we have organized on March 2. This summit will be the biggest women entrepreneurship event to be organized in the Philippines for the year.

Many of these things were not planned. I would even say that maybe it had divine intervention. It took us close to one year to get this book done, from the concept to the actual printing. This time, I asked People Asia Magazine Editor Joanne Ramirez to help me make sure that the writers will all be able to capture the emotional stories. She made sure it was well written. Joanne is a good friend and batch mate of my wife. She is also one of Philippine Star’s prized columnists.

People ask me. Why make a book on women this time? In the book, you will see my picture, carrying my youngest child. For those who will wonder why I had her in the picture, let me share with you a part of what I wrote in my introduction.

“I dedicate this book to my daughter, Isabella, who is now 18 months old. She represents the generation of young children, who look forward to a country that will eventually find a solution to poverty. The young kids deserve a better Philippines. They deserve a country that sees less poverty and less corruption. They deserve a Philippines with a citizenry that is tremendously enterprising.”

Our heroes who will fight poverty are the entrepreneurs. For every single entrepreneur who starts a business, jobs are created. I do hope that Isabella would, one day, be inspired by one of the stories written in this book. From the story of Elibel Bautista, who is a microentrepreneur, to the story of Nanay Coring of National Bookstore, who is still full of optimism and zest for life even at 80 plus. I hope for Isabella to join the ranks of enterprising women heroes in their fight against poverty.”

The stories are not only about top entrepreneurs. It has a complete balance. One would wonder how Zenaida Tantoco continued to build on what her mother started and how she brought Rustan’s to greater heights. This shows that people who work for their family businesses must possess the same, if not surpass the level of passion, attitude, and skills to take on their family business and bring it to the next level. On a different page, the story of Michelle Santiago of Ineng’s Special BBQ, Merle Alferez of MSA, and the rest of the 55 had humble beginnings. Michelle started as a flea market vendor of fish and barbeque, while Merle worked as a tricycle driver at the age of 14. We also have the story of a Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year awardee Elibel Bautista, who runs a crab fattening business in Zamboanga.

The first book on 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the country, known as the green book (because of the color of its cover), has been a best seller. The second book which is on 50 celebrity entrepreneurs has also brought up the awareness on our book projects and on our overall entrepreneurship advocacy. Different from the first two books, we now have a red book that resembles women empowerment. This book is all about the power of hope. As brother mike has his white panyo, Go Negosyo has this book, which gives inspiration and strengthens the spirit of hope and optimism. These are the essential traits and attitudes in order to be successful. Then from the inspirational part, follows the unselfish sharing of learnings from each of the women entrepreneurs that can truly make the Filipinas really empowered.

On March 2 at the World Trade Center, we will award three women, who I call the “Mother of all Mother Entrepreneurs”. They are the highly respected women who have built a business on education, and who have chosen to live a more meaningful life. They are the women who are dedicated to educating society and giving each one the chance for a better life. SOCORRO RAMOS, or Nanay Coring, will be turning 86 on September. She is the founder of National Bookstore, who has dedicated her life or the past six decades in the service of her customers from all ages and walks of life. DR. HELENA BENITEZ, at 90 years old, is also the founder of the Philippine Women’s University – a school with a vision of a continuing leadership in women’s education to develop transformative leadership to meet national and global challenges. MADAM EULALIA RAZON BAYLON is a 101 year-old founder of Immaculate Conception College. It is sad that she will not be able to join the awarding because she can no longer travel from Bicol. They are the three women entrepreneurs who will be honored. They represent the ideals of what we hope our Filipina women would have.

March 2 is not just an event that may give you the chance to be the next multimillionaire or insure your success in life. We will just plant the seed, but it is up to you to make that seed grow. It is how you are able to nurture that seed into a plant to bear fruits. It is up to you to muster the desire to move up in life and control your destiny through action and a YES attitude.

Thank you to all the women who are part of this book, and to the women who have been featured in all other Go Negosyo books.

* Pinky Tobiano of Qualibet Testing Services Corp.
* Myrna Yao of Richwell Trading Corp.
* Diana Lynn Agustin & Corazon Bitong of Bayo
* Irene Martel-Francisco of Philippine Tatler
* Grace Glory Go of Philippine Star
* Cathy Brillantes-Turvill of Nurture Spa
* Jaqui Boncan, Michelle Soliven, Christine Dayrit & Yvonne Romualdez of Miladay Jewels
* Corazon Dayro-Ong of CDO Foodsphere, Inc.
* Merle Alferez of MSA Academic Advancement Institute
* Marlane Villareal of Buena Mano Crafts Inc.
* Yolanda Pajaro of Via Venetto
* Grace Gupana of Abs Bitter Herbs
* Alice Tesoro Guerrero of Tesoro’s
* Mylene Abiva of Felta Multi Media Inc.
* Yolanda Ong of Campaigns and Grey
* Jennilyn Antonio of EHJE Peanut Butter,
* Olivia Yanson of Yanson Group of Companies
* Gisela Concepcion of Biomart Asia Inc.
* Yoling Sevilla of The Leather Collection, Inc.
* Amina Aranaz Alunan of Aranaz Bags
* Carla Limcaoco of Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc.
* Annabella Santos-Wisniewski of Discovery Suites
* Good Shepherd Sisters
* Michelle Ascence of Zen Zest
* Vivian Sarabia of Sarabia Optical
* Mary Joy Abaquin of The Multiple Intelligence International School
* Socorro Alejandro & Patsy Alejandro-Paterno of Papemelroti
* Michelle Santiago of Ineng’s Special BBQ
* Wilen Ma of Masuki Corporation
* Dimples Balaguer La O’ of Nothing But Water
* Julita Urbina of Café Laguna
* Cong. Cynthia Villar of C&P
* Joji Ilagan-Bian of TumbleTots
* Elena Lim of Solid Group Inc.
* Consuelo Valencia-Farochilen of Farochilen Group of Companies
* Ruth Callanta of Center for Community Transformation Group of Ministries
* Michelle Reyes & Celine Lebron of Michelle’s Homemade Putong Ube and Creative Learning Pre-School
* Teresita Ngan Tian of Lots’ A Pizza
* Florisa Estandia-Mariano of F Salon and Body Spa
* Evelyn Lao Yap of Benby’s
* Elizabeth Lee of Universal Motors Corporation
* Donna Jiao of XC Manufacturing and Trading Enterprise
* Maricel Evangelista of Princes Joy Palochina
* Zenaida Tantoco of Rustan’s Commercial Corp.
* Anna Marie Periquet of Anna Marie Home Collections
* Diana Limjoco of Digital Web Group
* Jeannie Goulbourn of The Global Vital Source
* Alejandra Clemente of Rajah Group of Companies
* Milagros Yee & Clarita Go of Goldilocks
* Gladys Reyes of KSA Magic
* Gina Alexander of Gina Alexander, Inc.
* Gov. Vilma Santos
* Florence Ko of Furnitalia
* Elibel Bautista *crab fattening business
* Anna Meloto-Wilk of Gandang Kalikasan