Thursday, June 26, 2014


The Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) held its 7th Business Exchange Forum with real estate legend Francisco H. Licuanan III who gave deep insights about the Philippine Real Estate business from his perspective as a professional and respected industry veteran.

Speaking to a jam-packed audience, Mr. Licuanan dispelled fears of an impending real estate bubble, citing the country's current political stability and strong economic fundamentals, fueled by increasing numbers of overseas Filipinos whose remittances – conservatively estimated at USD22 billion annually – has transformed the nation's treasury into a current account-surplus, proving to be remarkably resilient to global economic cycles.

Against this backdrop, he also accounted for the strong structure of the Philippine Real Estate market whereby eight of the nation's major condominium developers are not highly leveraged and have healthy financial ratios. Finally, he noted that the current high demand is fueled by the relative attractiveness of real estate, as compared to other investment alternatives (e.g. stocks, money markets, offshore investments). He advised the audience not to engage in speculative purchases, but rather, invest in long-term acquisitions with the aim in view of contributing to the transformation from a slow and barren landscape into a progressive and lively panorama of progress.

Mr. Licuanan is a highly esteemed leader in promoting sustainable infrastructure through urban development. He served as Senior Vice President for Ayala Corporation for nine years before becoming Ayala Land’s President and CEO for 16 years. After his retirement from Ayala Land in 2004, he formed Geo-Estate Development Corporation. He was appointed by the late President Corazon Aquino to Chair the Board of Administrators of Broadcast City, which supervised the operations of Channels 2, 9 and 13 and their associated TV and radio networks from 1986 to 1987. From 2004-2005, upon retirement from Ayala Land, he was appointed Adviser to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for Subic-Clark Area Development and concurrent Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). Mr. Licuanan graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University. He then went on to become Assistant Brand Manager for Procter & Gamble before going to Harvard Business School to obtain his Masters in Business Administration.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Greatly honored to have spent Independence Day by representing the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) on the occasion of the Rotary Club of Manila's 95th Founding Anniversary and Inaugural Ceremony of its Board of Directors and Officers, led by President Frank A. Evaristo, who extended a personal invitation to yours truly.

Amid lavish ceremonies and surrounded by a distinguished roster that clutters the whole business and political firmament of the country, the occasion provided an opportunity to reflect how far the Rotary Club of Manila has come in providing innumerable and noteworthy projects to our community. In its 95-year history, it has pioneered various projects covering the whole spectrum of the four avenues of Rotary service. In his inaugural address, President Frank has committed to continue this unblemished legacy of service, endeavoring to be that tiny spark that would "Light Up Rotary" and revolutionize "Service Above Self" under his leadership.

A civic icon, diplomatic confidant, former Wall Street banker, newspaper columnist and entrepreneur, RCM President Frank Evaristo is no stranger to humanitarian causes. Apart from being the Number One man in RCM, his key role in volunteer organizations included serving as President of the Rotary Club of Raja Sulayman (1998-1999), National President of JCI Philippines (1980), President of JCI Senate Manila (1984-1985), and President of the Alay Lakad Foundation, Inc. (2004-present), among many others.

I first met Tito Frank when we were both gym-mates at the Quezon City Sports Club; I was fresh out of college then. But it was during our active years with the JCI Senate that I personally knew him to be a sincere and passionate advocate of altruism. His ascension to the RCM Presidency was a dream come true for him, as it symbolizes the apex of his career as a dedicated humanitarian.

The Rotary Club of Manila (RCM) – chartered on June 1, 1919 – is the first Rotary Club established in Asia and is the biggest in the Philippines, with more than 200 active regulars. Being the premier service club of its kind in Asia, it has had an outstanding record of leadership in service to the community. RCM has undoubtedly carved its niche as an icon of voluntary service among all the other Rotary Clubs in the Philippines today.

Congratulations, President Frank and to your newly-inducted set of officers! May you continue to be a shining embodiment of genuine Rotarian service, taking part in transforming our society into the great nation we all aspire for

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The officers of the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) were delightfully treated an exclusive, private dinner with Mr. Jose Isidro "Lito" N. Chamacho, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Credit Suisse Asia-Pacific, as he discussed the implications of the impending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
In his soft-spoken, yet firm demeanor, Mr. Camacho clearly explained the nuances of the AEC, beginning with a short history of the ASEAN, and concluded with the circumstances which led to the formation of the AEC concept in 2007. He cited the four "pillars" that would characterize the said Community:
(a) A single market and production base;
(b) A highly competitive economic region;
(c) A region of equitable economic development; and,
(d) A region fully integrated into the global economy.

For the leaders of the ASEAN, the establishment of the AEC would be the realization of a vision to create a highly competitive single market that promotes equitable economic development for its members and integration with the global community. He talked about the proliferation of various Free-Trade Agreements among member-countries which could make the very concept of ASEAN irrelevant, as one of the reasons for accelerating the AEC deadline by five years and expediting the ASEAN economic integration. The rise of China and India as economic superpowers has also shifted the global market focus to Asia, thereby creating the concept "Asian Consumer" as the world's newest market attraction, as compared to being just a source of cheap goods and services.
Drawing from his impressive background as former Cabinet Secretary and business leader in the private sector, Mr. Camacho adroitly answered many of the most pressing questions in the minds of the young entrepreneurs in the audience, assuaging their misgivings about issues concerning cutthroat competition, price wars, and economic displacement concomitant with the impending open trade. He, nevertheless, urged them to be more competitive by investing more in the country to stem the realization that many local enterprises have no competitive advantages to speak of in the free trade arena.
Thanks to business leaders like Mr. Lito Camacho who has just enlightened us on the consequences of the imminent economic integration next year, the young members of the Anvil Business Club hope to embark on various measures that need to be undertaken to shore up our respective enterprises in preparation for the vigorous competition as well as the tremendous opportunities that AEC will foster.
A graduate of Don Bosco in Makati, Mr. Lito Camacho completed BS Mathematics (cum laude) at De La Salle University and earned his Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) with finance concentration at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the government, he was the managing director and chief country officer of Deutsche Bank AG, and previously managing director and head of South Asia Investment Banking for Bankers Trust Company (managing the investment banking business for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India). He served in the Cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo briefly as Energy Secretary, before becoming the Secretary of Finance in 2001 until he resigned from government service in 2003. Concurrent with his position in Credit Suisse, Mr. Camacho is also the Chairman of the Board of Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.
The private dinner was hosted by Credit Suisse Asia-Pacific officials, led by Johnny Escaler, Managing Director for Investment Banking Credit Suisse Group (Philippines); Albert K.B. Ma, Managing Director of Private Banking Division and Team Leader for the Philippines Market at Credit Suisse Group (Hong Kong); Kelly Ho, Vice-President Credit Suisse Group (Hong Kong) and Mary Jeanne Cu-Lee, Vice-President Credit Suisse Group (Hong Kong).