Sunday, July 24, 2005

Anvil Exchange with Chit Juan

Passion for Coffee.. Success Secrets of Figaro Cafe chain
Anvil Exchange Forum with Ms. Pacita "Chit" Juan, founder and CEO of Figaro coffeeshop chain.
Cafe Carrera, PGA Cars
201 EDSA, Mandaluyong

July 28, 2005, Thursday 7:30pm

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I watched as Noli De Cashtro was being interviewed by Ted Failon on ABS-CBN last night. In all serious pomposity and with delusions of grandeur, Mr. Magandang Gabi Bayad said he is ready to assume the position (of president). He said he has been ready since day one. So may we draw from that statement that he has been looking forward to GMA's eventual downfall? He assures us that this isn't the case of course. But his drool was showing.

Monday, July 18, 2005

PGMA inducts 2005 Anvil Business Club officers

Malacañang - July 6, 2005
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inducted on July 5 Tuesday night the 2005 officers of the Anvil Business Club (ABC), an influential and dynamic organization of young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs and professionals at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang Palace.
Inducted were George Siy, chairman; Wilson Lee Flores, president; Roy Chua, executive vice president; Kenneth Hung, corporate secretary; Daniel Ching, assistant corporate secretary; Jeffrey Cobankiat, treasurer; Alvin Uy and William Villanueva, sergeants-at-arms; and directors Michael Chenglay, Wilfred Co, Bernard Go, Ronald Alan Ko, Jeffrey Ng, Eduardo Cobankiat, Charlton Ng, and Robert Marie Sy.
Special awards were handed by President Arroyo, George Siy and Wilson Lee Flores to seven outstanding officers Roy Chua for the new and popular 2005 program on sports development and physical fitness campaign, Kenneth Hung for international relations and a major China trip project in Fujian province, William Villanueva for the successful IT project, Jeffrey Cobankiat for outstanding financial management in 2005, Bernard Go for generous support of 2 international student math olympiads in Bohol but using the name of Anvil, Jeffrey Ng for outstanding leadership as Anvil co-founder and for hosting the memorable 2005 Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, and Ronald Alan Ko for overseeing the dynamism of the Anvil Exchange Forum this 2005.
Among those present were the Singaporean Ambassador and her diplomats, former Press Secretary Ricardo "Dong" Puno of ABS-CBN News, Tarlac 2nd District Rep. Jesli Lapus, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) former president Ambassador Donald Dee, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) chairman emeritus Miguel Varela, the Presidents and officers of various chambers like the British Chamber of Commerce, the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, and many other dignitaries.
Established in 1991, ABC promotes entrepreneurial courage, professional excellence, leadership, Confucian values, and civic consciousness.
ABC officers and members include top leaders of associations or business chambers in various industries such as garments, real estate, supermarkets, electrical, steel, manufacturing, food, and banking, among others.
Among Anvil Business Club's advocacies are the increase in the salaries of government personnel, modernization of the educational system, upholding the sanctity of contracts, use of benchmarks for monitoring public projects, tourism promotion, long-term lease for foreign investors, lower cost of electricity and energy development, and programs to support local production.

Lessons on presidential survival (and how I almost got impeached as Anvil president)

While the rest of the Philippines was entranced by the suspenseful high-stakes political warfare over President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s resignation or non-resignation last July 8 and 9, I almost had my own taste of impeachment or near resignation as president too. Whew!
I was this year elected by amnesia – not in absentia like President-elect Emilio Aguinaldo in the revolutionary era and hotly contested by Andres Bonifacio – by young business scions of the prestigious Anvil Business Club. Why election in amnesia? They must have forgotten that I’m just an ordinary small-time real estate entrepreneur, not like them who are mostly junior taipans of major industries who comprise majority of the vast Anvil membership. Oh well, I guess I have the luck and the charms of a Joseph Estrada or a Noli de Castro when it came to elections.
Success Is Best Revenge
How did the impeachment threat come about? It was only in jest, because I arranged for my former Ateneo economics professor and now embattled President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be our inducting officer in a formal dinner reception held at the Rizal Hall of historic Malacañang Palace on July 5 amid the raging political turmoil. When I informed our 17-member board of directors – the talented members can comprise any revolutionary junta and would work wonders on the Philippine economy – there was literally an uproar similar to our fiery congress debates. Unlike the Makati Business Club (MBC), which seems to have been neatly split between the "Resign GMA" officers and its vocal pro-GMA bloc led by the Aboitiz/Yuchengco crowd, the Anvil board has 17 officers but often 18 different opinions on politics. If only the rest of the country knew how so hotly divided also is our business community. But the problem was so basic – the Anvil officers were so upset at me they jokingly threatened me with Erap-style impeachment, because July 5 was a Tuesday and our organization’s weekly badmintonTuesday sessions were considered sacrosanct. No kidding.
My survival advice to President GMA is to be always decisive but respect peers by asking their opinions and sincerely seeking their consensus. But the best leadership antidote to mutiny or grumblings? Boldness and performance. Be bold in your policies and projects, and silence all the rumor-mongering skeptics and the ever-present critics with solid performance.
Look at your Georgetown University schoolmate ex-President Bill Clinton. He was humiliated in the international media and the US Congress with the Lewinsky scandal, had to publicly apologize and was almost impeached, but he survived because he presided over a robust US economy. The best revenge on your foes is not sedition cases or political retribution, but your success. In politics, business or other aspects of life, success is the best revenge!
President GMA should cultivate the loyalty and enthusiasm of her officials by motivating them to work hard, by being honest to them and by properly acknowledging their contributions. Kick out the sycophants and useless PR guys in your cabinet, but give importance to your really talented key officials with substantive duties. Maybe ex-Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima just needed a pat in the back from GMA or be shown public approval, and he might not have turned a rebel.
During the Anvil reception at Malacañang, I almost quarreled with a high protocol officer when he rebuffed my repeated requests that President GMA personally hand our awards for seven outstanding Anvil Business Club officers. Due to my sheer intractable stubbornness, the protocol officer miraculously agreed and I was able to have President GMA help me honor seven outstanding Anvil officers before the crowd. An effective leader cannot be a Superman or Wonder Woman or Lone Ranger doing everything by himself only. We need help from loyal, motivated and able officials.
Puncture Oversized Egos And Laugh More
On the night of July 9, when the whole nation was reeling from the "Resign GMA" calls of her 10 ex-officials and ex-President Cory Aquino, and waiting in suspense whether the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines would do likewise, I was in a five-star hotel coffeeshop in Shanghai with a group of top business leaders trading stories on, what else, but Philippine politics. I and Anvil past chairman David Chua of Cathay Pacific Steel Corp. were the only young ones in that group of "young once" tycoons, when suddenly I got a text from our Anvil chairman George Siy. It said our board of directors was then meeting and had just voted to issue a public statement calling for resignation. The text added that Anvil past chairman Mike Tan of Asia Brewery was in the meeting too. Was Anvil going the way of MBC, FINEX and Management Association of the Philippines? Incredible! When I showed the text to Dave Chua, this young taipan got red in the face and almost jumped up from his seat in surprise. I, the neutral guy, and him, the pro-GMA guy, were both flustered. He called up Mike Tan, who replied saying sorry the pro-resignation guys had won by only just one vote because I was absent and in Shanghai. When Dave complained and said I would register my vote via cell phone, Mike laughed and said that I couldn’t vote, because the resolution wasn’t for GMA to resign, but for me to resign as Anvil president. Of course, the text was a joke all along.
After their all-night furious and passionate arguments that would shame our politicians, Anvil Business Club officers took a non-political stand that our organization that would support only the duly constituted government, that the constitutional process must be respected and allowed to immediately resolve all these political controversies detrimental to economic stability, that we are strongly for charter change that will usher in sweeping political, economic and other reforms.
Another unsolicited survival advice for President GMA, to leaders in business and other people, is to have a healthy sense of humor. Laugh a little more, laugh at your worst enemies, try to find the humor in stressful situations no matter how seemingly hopeless and bleak. Above all, don’t lose the ability to humbly laugh at ourselves.
Leaders and ordinary people alike need to puncture their hot air balloons of conceit and cut down their oversized egos. Don’t be arrogant, or be wrongly perceived as arrogant. Humility is not only healthy for our soul and our common sense, it is one effective way to disarm and possibly even win over critics and foes. Don’t always take yourself too seriously.
Life is so short and we need positive energy – not bitterness, rancor, vengeance and self-destructive hatred – to move forward. The horrible and seemingly hopeless problems we struggle with today might just be nothing but temporary storms that will soon pass. Impeach or not to impeach, resign or not to resign, no matter what happens or who we are in life – presidents, leaders or ordinary citizens – always think positive and never ever lose your good humor!
BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET By Wilson Lee Flores The Philippine STAR 07/18/2005

Junior tycoons show Arroyo clout

This column by the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, July 8, 2005 reflects the character of Anvil Business Club (ABC)---democratically apolitical in public, courteous to duly constituted authorities, business-like, not frivolous, elegant, classy, prestigious...The column noted that there were no useless long-winded speeches and no cultural shows, the discussions at the Anvil dinner reception were strictly on high-level economic issues---not on the political circus now plaguing Philippine society...Congrats to Anvil Business Club (ABC) officers and to all members! Cocktales by Victor Agustin
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo found herself in celestial kingdom Tuesday night, dining with sons and daughters of Chinese-Filipino tycoons who kept their pro-Panfilo Lacson, pro-Joseph Estrada, pro-Fernando Poe sentiments in check to pay their respects to the country's beleaguered Chief Executive.
The occasion was the induction of the officers of the Anvil Club, the junior version of the Binondo-based Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, led by textile scion George Siy and columnist Wilson Lee Flores, Ms Arroyo's student in the Ateneo de Manila University.
Despite the short notice, the Anvil Club was able to round up a respectable number of guests, including Singapore Ambassador Lim Kheng Hua, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, Reps. Jesli Lapus and Miles Roces, Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion (a La Sallite who was squirming in his seat over the anti-Arroyo La Salle ads), Ambassador Joey Antonio and Harvard-bound Joel Cadiz, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
The President herself hardly gave any hint of personal turmoil as she worked the audience, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries. Dinner itself was mercifully quick and devoid of speeches and cultural shows.
The President arrived at 7 p.m., and by 8 p.m. she was gone. According to after-dinner accounts, economics, not the political circus, dominated the presidential table talk.
Although the President had left, the Anvil Club members lingered on for another hour, prompting insurance tycoon Peter Coyiuto, who first stepped inside the Palace during the tumultuous 1980s, to remark how relaxed the atmosphere was compared with the Ferdinand Marcos years.
We will stop here, before we stray into politics, hand wringing and self-flagellation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Anvil Induction reception at Malacañang Palace, 7 Outstanding Officers honored

A total of 155 Anvil Business Club (ABC) officers, members and guests attended the momentous Induction of 2005-2006 officers on July 5, 2005 Tuesday at the resplendent Rizal Hall of the historic Malacañang Palace with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the Inducting Officer and Guest of Honor. The whole affair was arranged by President Wilson Lee Flores, to reflect the amazing dynamism and prestige of this non-political business organization. It was an unprecedented Anvil celebration hosted by the President in these tumultuous times, especially since the mass media reported that the President had a few days before cancelled her attendance even just at an awarding ceremony of most outstnding policemen by the Jaycees and Metrobank Foundation.
The seven (7) officers who were awarded special plaques of appreciation for their outstanding contributions to the success and fast growth of Anvil Business Club in the first half of 2005 were---(in alphabetical order) Bernard Go, Jeffrey Cobankiat, Jeffrey Ng, Kenneth Hung, Ronald Alan Ko, Roy Chua and William Villanueva. President Gloria M. Arroyo, Chairman George Siy and President Wilson Lee Flores presented the awards at the start of the whole affair.
Among past officers---with their spouses --- who graced the affair included Past Chairmen Michael Tan, David Chua, Michael Chenglay, Wilfred Co, Steven Cua, Peter Mangasing (who invited VIP guests like Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce laders) and Past President Jeffrey Ng. Also present were officers VP Daniel Ching, VP Alvin Uy, Directors Eduardo Cobankiat and Bobby Sy. Several young and dynamic entreprenurs signed up for membership and paid their annual dues that same night, as part of our aggressive membership drive this year 2005.
Among the VIP guests in attendance included Her Excellency Singaporean Ambassador Lim Kheng Hua, House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee Chairman Cong. Jesli Lapus, Manila Cong. Miles Roces, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Chairman Emeritus Miguel Varela, PCCI President Ambassador Donald Dee, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National President Atty. Joel Cadiz,Phil-China Business Council Chairman Amb. Joey Antonio, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion of RFM Group of Companies, World Lee Association Chairman/Filipino-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce President Dr. James G. Dy, Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation President Tan She Ling, Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines President Luis Chiang Lin and Vice-President Frankie Yang, British Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Michael Wootton, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) Tax Committee Chairman Peter Coliangco, Manila Chinatown Charity Foundation President Robert Go, Aurelio Periquet Foundation Chairman Anna Periquet, First Guarantee Life Assurance Co., Inc. President/Wharton-University of Pennsylvania Past President Peter G. Coyiuto, Philippine Jaycees Past National President Felix Ang, Atty. Dong Puno of ABS-CBN News and Philippine Star, columnist Vic Agustin of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Singapore Embassy First Secretary Raymond Chow, and many others.
The dinner was catered by La Tasca, with cocktails first, then formal sit-down dinner at the Rizal Hall. Majority of theAnvil membrs and guests wore dark suits, the receiving halls, stairs and Rizal Hall were decorated with fragrant fresh flowers, and the place grounds leading to the palace were brightly lit like Christmas and the fountains were alivewith beautiful watersand lights. The deliciousdinner served were---Pumpkin Bisque with a hint of curry, Mushroom Cannelloni, Agachonas Adobadas on Bihon Nests, Pandan Rice, Grilled Zucchini and Parmesan Tomato, Assorted Greens and Arugula with parmesan slivers, grapes and fresh orange served with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, plus fish entree. Delightful desserts served were Apple Strudel, then Coffee or Tea. The Anvil members and guests arrived promptly before 6:30PM despite the slight drizzle of rains, and the dinner reception ended at 9:30PM.
Since it was a non-political event, purely a relaxing social affair and a celebration of Anvil Business Club, there were no speeches, no open forum, just good foods, good conversations, great friendships, easy-going fun and an unforgettable experience for all.
Thank you very much to the support and cooperation of all Anvil officers and members for making ours a great and dynamic organization!