As we age

Growing up, we look forward to our birthdays. We count down the number of nights of sleep until the most awaited day. We look forward to opening our gifts. We are so eager to get older quickly and start enjoying the perks of a teenage life.

My three-year old daughter considers herself as an “ager” (this is how she actually says it) and not a baby. She also acts like one, with her own make-up kit, high heels and assorted bags. Of course, she idolizes her mother and sisters. You can only imagine how much of a live doll they make of her.

But, as we get older, we want to delay our aging process. We don’t even want to celebrate our birthdays. We want to remain forever young, which is impossible. As I look back, one can say that time really moves so fast. Sometimes, we feel that there is not much time to do everything we want to accomplish in life.

We live in a material world that gauges our success according to material wealth and power. It gives us a false sense of real success. We get frustrated when we are unable to attain our goals and desires in life. Sometimes, we wish that our negosyo should be bigger and not realize that we may actually have achieved success in terms of the more important things in life like great relationships with family and friends, spiritual maturity, good health and the privilege of giving back to our community. We end up risking many things that can lead to failure.

The desire to be the best and to succeed is fine. But, it should be balanced with our attention and commitment to family, health and our spiritual needs. The moment we lose touch with reality, then, we lose our life. We end up working for earthly possessions, which can be taken from us anytime anyway and which do not matter as we move to the next life. These realizations become more real as we grow older.

Entrepreneurs who attain great success are challenged with these issues. They become greater as they realize their purpose in life and that their success should be used to help others. There are many out there who still do not realize this.

As a way of giving back, we are fortunate to have started Go Negosyo. In my younger years, I had never thought that I would be pursuing activities with social objectives in the way my father Joecon and Tito Ronnie have been passionate about their respective advocacies in NAMFREL and Consumer Price Watch. I guess it goes with maturity as one seeks for real purpose in life. In my case, Go Negosyo allowed me to use my own experience and knowledge in business to help empower others to achieve their dreams. In the process, I have come to meet many entrepreneurs who share the same vision and who have started to be more actively involved in our cause. Charity is not just giving money to our church. It is giving oneself to people and making time to show compassion and wanting to help people move up. In the process, Go Negosyo entrepreneurs function as a “big brother” to micro and small entrepreneurs.

I am glad that at this point in my life, I am blessed to have five great children who are God-fearing and have great love and respect for their parents. Of course, I am also blessed to have a super wife, who provides the balance that is needed in my life.

I am glad that I have been blessed to meet more than 600 entrepreneurs in the past five years, who are all part of the Go Negosyo advocacy; to work with entrepreneurs like Nanay Coring, Helena Benitez, Julie Gandionco and Esther Vibal, who are still full of life in their 80s and 90s; to meet and help Jennilyn Antonio of Ehje’s Peanut Butter, Persons With Disabilities (PWD) entrepreneurs like Marx Melencio and Tony Llanes, Rene Stuart Del Rosario of Sukang Pinakurat, among other micro, small and OTOP entreps; to see the success of a young entrepreneur whom we awarded two years ago – Edgar “Injap” Sia of Mang Inasal; to be blessed with Angelpreneurs like Francis Kong, Pax Lapid, Ping Sotto, Henry Tenedero, Ardy Roberto and many more; to see our corporate partners come out with their own entrepreneurship programs and continue to support the advocacy, such as PLDT SME Nation, Citibank, BPI Family Bank Ka-Negosyo, Insular Life, Nokia, RFM, Condura, among many others; to continue to see the support of government partners like DTI, DA, NLDC, Landbank, all of which consider us as natural partners since we have similar missions of helping micro and small entrepreneurs, and of course PGMA who believes in our cause and allowed us to be of more service to the Filipinos.

Millions of Filipinos remain to be below the poverty line. My birthday wish is, with the help of our many successful entrepreneurs, Angelpreneurs and partners, Go Negosyo continues to bring hope and inspiration to more people, helping them overcome poverty and giving all of us a truly blessed nation where all will have a decent life.

As we also celebrate our 27th anniversary, I would like to congratulate my wife Marissa for looking forever young in the cover of Philippine Tatler this June, despite giving birth at the age of 46 to our youngest daughter Isabelle. She is indeed a great copilot of our family.