Yes, I Love My Country

Over the past weeks, the La Salle-Ateneo matches have been one of the most thrill-seeking series to watch. Witnessing the games and even that of La Salle and UE for the championship was both an exhilarating and inspiring experience. The amount of school loyalty, and to some extent fanaticism with a few fans on how they cheer for their school can almost always give goose bumps. During the game, you can see all the students wearing the jersey or the colors of the schools and heartily singing their alma mater’s anthem. If we can have the same intense pride and love that we have with our schools to that of our country, imagine the impact this will have building a truly nationalist spirit.

A week ago, my father Joecon received the Pinnacle Award from the Philippine Tatler, a society magazine. During his speech, he mentioned “love of country” as one of the reasons why he started NAMFREL during the dark years of the dictatorship. We could have migrated to Canada like my cousins, but he risked his life and that of his family for the love of country. He finally thanked my mother for her patience with him. It is now love of wife as his priority. The other awardees like Vicky Garchitorena and Tony Meloto all had something similar to say.

The week before, my aunt Lina Santiago had her book launch “Araneta, a Love Affair with God and Country”. It is a well written book by my aunt who talks how my grandfather, Salvador Araneta, served as Secretary of Agriculture during the Magsaysay government and how he fought for democracy from a distance while in exile in Vancouver.

While the ZTE drama was unfolding and the nation stopped for awhile, we noticed how the people immediately got back to work and their businesses. I guess people are now getting tired and have gotten used to all this noise. We are still now seeing the stock market and the Philippine Peso at an all time high, which are good benchmarks of optimism relative to other countries. I believe we are getting there– towards the building of a real nationalistic spirit that is needed to bring about an economic revolution. The momentum hopefully should push it to greater heights. All of this starts from selfless love of country. Go Negosyo, Go Philippines.

If we could only unite and rally behind our country with the same intensity as we do for our alma mater, this country will never stop its growth momentum. If we could only focus on the economy at all times, creating a mindset of optimism and an entrepreneurial attitude, searching and seizing opportunities, we can all expect a progressive country, an entrepreneurial country that will be dominated by more creative and innovative micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

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Go Negosyo Pampanga was another successful entrepreneurship event last Monday at the Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando. About seven thousand people attended the event composed mostly of college and 4th year high school students, microentrepreneurs being assisted by MFI’s and the rural banks. PGMA, a Go Negosyo advocate, arrived exactly at 10am. I must say our President does not follow “Filipino time” as she is always on time for every appointment. This is an amazing discipline that even I am not able to do always. As she was introducing the guests, both Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and Vice-Governor Yeng Guiao had the loudest applause. The Governor, who is also a priest, is a very humble person, who I noticed was wearing sandals. He clearly had the admiration of the people.

In my talk, I cited the President’s hard work and competent leadership as the reasons why we are seeing our economic gains reflected in the appreciation of the stock market and the Philippine Peso. She looked tired from all her trips but was still smiling. She cited the 11 Cabalen entreps as being role models to the kapampangans. On the other hand, she cited Go Negoyo for bringing hope to the different regions. The Philippine Star has also been a great partner in projecting our inspiring entrepreneurs as the new stars.

We also had a very productive afternoon forum in Pampanga with Go Negosyo advocates such as Richie Cuna of AFFI/Fiorgelato, Johnlu Koa of French Baker, Victor Tan of Bobson Jeans and Dean Pax Lapid of the Entrepreneurs School of Asia. We also had a “How To Go Negosyo” entrep learning session presented by ABS-CBN Bayan Foundation which was facilitated by Professor Luis Cruz of AIM. The afternoon sessions were specifically tailored for microentrepreneurs and how we can guide them in managing their personal wealth.

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We are non-stop in spreading the advocacy as we will have our next Go Negosyo Caravan in just a week’s time on October 19 at the Atrium in Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City. The Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by their President Elpie Paras has been very supportive in organizing this event as we are also part of their Oro Best 2007 – Business Entreprises, Services and Trade Exposition. As with our Go Negosyo sa Pampanga, we are also going to award the most inspiring entrepreneurs from Northern Mindanao and conduct how-to go negosyo seminars this time to be organized by the Entrepreneurs School of Asia. Once again, admission is free so we hope you can join us once again for Go Negosyo sa Cagayan de Oro on October 19.