Benito Fajilan has been working as a bartender in Highlands Inn at Carmel Valley, California for 13 years. He has three jobs and sleeps four hours a day. Benito lives with his in-laws together with one of his children who is handicapped, while his wife and the rest of his kids are back in Ilocos.

While having a couple of drinks with my wife, I got the chance to ask him a couple of questions. Like many other Filipinos that I had the chance to meet in different places, Benito works hard for a better future for his family, especially for his children.

Like Benito, some Filipinos who work abroad send their children back home to the Philippines. The value of respect for elders and family is far greater in the Philippines. The upbringing of children in an American environment can be pretty challenging.

Benito continues to sacrifice working three jobs just to assure his family of a comfortable life. He now owns a house in Ilocos and another in Carmel Valley.

In last week’s column, I have asked parents from the Go Negosyo community to share their dreams for their children. In this school opening season, it seems to be a relevant topic that is close to the hearts of many of our Go Negosyo advocates, especially those who are very passionate parents.

Let me continue to share with you other stories of entrepreneurs and their dreams for their children.

VICKY BELO (BELO Medical Group)

I truly believe that we were put here on earth for a purpose. So, I’ve always told my children to try many things until they discover the one thing that they love to do–something that gives them fulfillment and enjoyment, so that work never feels like work. Lucky for me both my children have found that.

Quark, my eldest son, has always been in love with movies and music even at the age of eleven. Ateneo also prepared him well for the creative part of movie making. After having directed 4 full-length movies, Quark is finally three-fourths through making his own indie film “Rakenrol”. After watching some of the shorts, I can tell that it will certainly win awards in festivals around the world, like his other movie “Keka”. Quark’s other businesses are still related to entertainment. He‘s part owner of Blow-Up Babies, where children and adults can pose in movie settings without a movie cinematographer to take their pictures. He also co-owns Mag:Net Café Bonifacio High Street, a bar and restaurant recently featured in Time magazine as one of the hottest places in Manila, where a person can jam with a live band in “Rockeoke”.

I had always hoped that my daughter Cristalle would become a doctor so she could take over the Belo Medical Group. However, I could see that this was not her purpose. Cristalle decided to take business and combined it with all the resources she had at her disposal. “Kusturera” was a tailoring shop that did mostly alterations. Besides the sound business plan, Cristalle decided to add some pizzazz by going to ABS CBN to ask some of my endorsers to say good words about her “shop”. I think that clinched their first prize. After graduating with a business management degree, Cristalle joined the Jesuit volunteer program and was sent to Bukidnon to teach kindergarten. Living on a 3,000.00-peso a month allowance used to pay for food, shelter and clothing; Cristalle quickly learned the value of money. I remember how it broke my heart when she called one day and said, “Mommy I’m so hungry! I haven’t eaten all day because I‘m saving my fifty peso daily allowance for chicken joy at Jollibee.” She refused any offers for me to send money. She never even touched the emergency fund I insisted she have. That experience was a turning point that prepared her for her own business. Cristalle fulfilled another life long dream of mine, which was to have my own skincare line with price points that anyone could afford. Exactly one year ago Belo Essentials was born, a venture which has become very successful not only in terms of ROI but also in bringing Belo to the people. They too, like their movie and singing idols, were touched by Belo

While schools are important in teaching children the tools they need to succeed in business, I think family influence is more important. I know that the “fire for entrepreneurship” was instilled in me by my parents at a very early age. I would suggest that the schools do more case studies like they do at Harvard. It would make things a lot more real and relevant. My biggest wish though is that our schools teach our children at all levels to be fully proficient in English. They need to communicate effectively in this international business language both verbal and written.

PATRICK GO (CEO, Paramount Life and General Insurance Corp.)

Whatever our children do, it should be something that they are passionate and interested about whether in business, education, media or arts. They should strive to be useful citizens in whichever community they choose to serve in.

FRANCISCO “PAX” LAPID (Dean, Entrepreneurs School of Asia)

Dean Pax would like to share the letter he wrote for his son during his high school graduation. Here is a part of an inspiring letter from a father to his son: 

I am writing this letter to you both as your father and also as Dean of ESA. It is my hope that the insights here will give you inspiration & challenge to what you will tackle as you get into college.

As a teacher or Dean, I always tell students that coming into college and prospering the next four years is one of the critical milestones in one’s young adult life. College life could either make or break what happens to your professional career. The next four years in college will give you three things:

Learning – some say it is knowledge acquired through books and lectures. I believe that these, together with right understanding and relevant application, will give you a more meaningful learning experience that you can carry into your professional life. Respect your teachers and find mentors that can help you refine your current skills/talents.

Discipline – although you have already acquired your study habits from high school, college will further enhance this hopefully. College will expose you to young ladies; you are mature enough and there is nothing wrong with having a girlfriend, as long as she is an inspiration not a frustration. College diversity with all its activities will either enhance or distract you. It is up to you to manage your time and prioritize what is most important – to graduate foremost & be well rounded as well with organization/sports/friends.

Leadership – some of my friends have sent their children to USA or UK for college. I personally believe that money is better spent for a post graduate or masters degree. College builds your network that you can connect in the future, especially if you plan to prosper a career or business here in the Philippines. In college, you will be tested on how you select your friends and your study groups. The challenge is for you to blend and work with people you have not known, to be able to influence them with the right priorities/deliverables and most importantly being able to gain their respect.

As a father (like any loving parent) – my wish for you is to grow up to be a responsible and productive member of society. I want you to be as successful as I am or even to be better than I am. I am sorry for forcing my aspirations to you earlier on. As we walked through Malcolm Hall at UP last August to take your UPCAT – I realized that you are not me and that you have your own individuality. I fell into the same trap as what your Lolas did to me (Lola Julia wanted me to be a priest while Lola Nena (my mom) wanted me to be an air force pilot). Now I know better – I want you to be good at what you really want (Hotel & Restaurant Management at UST or LaSalle, then a chef and eventually your own restaurant business). As your loving father, I will always be around to give advice and support your aspirations. My guidance may not be a panacea to your troubles but at least I will be there in your times of need. Live your life to the best of your God given abilities. Time is on your side – make use of it well. Work hard first then play hard also (all within moral & legal limits). Most importantly, pray daily for guidance and protection – God knows what is best; you just have to be patient and enduring.

We thank our advocacy partners who shared their inspiring stories.