Saturday, August 30, 2014


The Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) had the extremely rare privilege of having had not just one, but the entire Gotianun family, as its guests-of-honor and speakers during the Club's 10th monthly Business Exchange Forum for the year at the family-owned The Palms Country Club in Muntinlupa City. The standing-room only gathering saw almost 300 people – arguably the biggest attendance-to-date for the year – enjoying an exquisite three-course plated dinner meal, courtesy of the Gotianuns; while listening to the exciting plans and programs laid out by Ms. Josephine Gotianun-Yap, President and Chief Executive Officer of Filinvest Development Corp. and the family's flagship business, Filinvest Land Inc. She is joined by her brother, Mr. Jonathan Gotianun, Chairman of the East-West Banking Corporation. The two high-achieving siblings were backed by an entire contingent of their conglomerate's key officers who represented industries ranging from real estate development, hotel-and-resorts management, sugar manufacturing and banking. But the highlight of the evening was no less than the esteemed presence of the family patriarch, the country's affable real estate Taipan himself, Mr. Andrew Gotianun Sr., who regaled the audience with his personal reflections on life and how to succeed in business. The normally low-key octogenarian tycoon, who usually declines speaking engagements, obliged the Anvil Business Club's invitation, as he dished advice after invaluable advice on a wide range of topics, from "how to grow a business," to "what to look for in a perfect mate" – often peppering it with witty one-liners and self-deprecating humor.
Some of the biggest names in real estate and construction industry, such as the inimitable Architect Albert S. Yu and Megawide Construction Corporation's Engr. Michael Ching Cosiquien, lent much gravitas to this very rare occasion. The event also saw another milestone for the Anvil Business Club, as it inducted an unprecedented number of new members – Fifty-Five (55) in all – to the organization's growing roster of members. It was the biggest mass induction of members done in any one session... a clear manifestation of the Club's increasing prominence among the business circles.
A very successful author once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” This wise dictum cannot be more gloriously manifested than the kind of lives exemplified by the Gotianun family. Despite being born under the tutelage of one of the country’s most successful real estate leaders in the industry, the second-generation leaders were reared under an atmosphere of exacting frugality, simplicity, faith, hard work and discipline.
As the evening's theme, “Forging New Paths in Real Estate and Banking” aptly suggests, the Gotianun siblings have not only made their parents extremely proud of what they have done; but made all of us in the Chinese-Filipino community beam with pride as well. Who could not be – when they aptly epitomize the kind of entrepreneurs we long to be: leaders who find success through constant curiosity and having the courage to pursue new things beyond their comfort zones. Running a business built on a foundation of unimpeachable integrity, impeccable work ethics and an eye for fairness. And most of all, an enterprise which created a lasting legacy of generosity.

Kudos to Anvil's Vice-President for Programs Alvin Teng and Programs Chairman Jeanne Kao for your Yeoman efforts in ensuring the great success of this evening's event! It was beyond expectations!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Anvil Business Club President Mr. Reginald Yu  lead an intrepid seven-man delegation from the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) in official turnover ceremonies of a new school building to the students and faculty members of the Salvacion Elementary School in Tacloban, Leyte. Missing a key workday after a long weekend, and braving incessant rains, heavy flooding – not to mention the horrendously notorious Metro Manila traffic jam that Tuesday morning (To even make it to the NAIA Terminal 3 by a breadth of a second before the plane doors closed was, by every measure, a miraculous Act of Divine Intervention... Thank God for on-line check-in!), the team was determined to make good on our promise to the academy's students and officials of personally gracing the inauguration of its newly-renovated school's computer lab building which the Club donated – come hell or high water (well, I guess it was more of the latter).

Much to our pleasant surprise, the school – led by its effervescent principal, Ms. Mary Ann Nalda – left no stone unturned in extending its grandest welcome to the Anvil delegates as hundreds of cheering students – all 461 of them – lined up in two parallel rows with their teachers to warmly receive us with songs and dances upon our arrival. After a hearty buffet lunch, we were treated to a specially-prepared program that made our eyes well up with tears and our hearts swell with pride; because despite the short and modest ceremonies done under a makeshift stage, it was an affair rendered with much heartfelt love and genuine appreciation. No less than Tacloban City's much-beloved Vice-Mayor (and our personal friend) Hon. Jerry T. Yaokasin and DepEd Region VIII's Assistant Superintendent Dr. Carmela R. Tamayo made the event more meaningful with their esteemed presence. 

Together with the entire school community, we officiated the unveiling of a permanent marker, turned over the key to the classroom, administered the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and formally signed a Deed of Donation on behalf of the Club. When we visited Tacloban on January 22 of this year – more than 2 months since the tragedy struck – our hearts broke when we saw the City as if the typhoon only happened yesterday. 

We still saw thousands of survivors continuing to endure unimaginable suffering: hunger, thirst, makeshift shelters, little if any medical care, and a desperate, weeks-long wait for aid to arrive. And while the typhoon victims struggled to survive for the first weeks; we in the Anvil Business Club also struggled to come to terms with this disaster. Our organization decided to make a case for the future of our nation: And that is our youth.Because if there is one thing that we need to preserve in order to be progressive, it is education. 
Knowledge is power, and power fuels progress. We, in Anvil recognize this, and we have invested our time, talent and treasure in rebuilding hope through education. One school building at a time… beginning with Salvacion Elementary School. Indeed, just as there was new-found enthusiasm for life that comes from having just escaped death, we, in Anvil, now desire to instill a new-found hope that will come from having seen great despair. And judging by the glistening smiles of the students of Salvacion Elementary School, our efforts were not in vain.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Greatly honored to represent the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) during a special thanksgiving dinner in honor of fellow Anvil Club member Frances Cham (詹媚媚), the winner of the Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant Southeast Asia 2014 (中華小姐環球大賽東南亞賽區) during its grand coronation night last August 3 held at the Grand Ballroom of Palace of the Golden Horses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she was rewarded with the crown and prizes worth RM100,183.00 (Php1,371,442.00). Feted by the most prominent Chinese-Filipino business organizations and family associations in the community, the 26-year old interior designer, talk show host, and marketing executive was heaped raise after praise from various officials who took turns expressing their congratulations and admiration for this statuesque beauty. For her part, Frances talked about her rich experiences during her two-week stay in Malaysia, and offered a testimony when she overcame a sprained ankle within days of the pageant – in a classic case of drawing Divine strength through adversity – to win the contest among a tough field of eighteen (18) other finalists, including her two runners-up, Miss Malaysia Eugene Ooi (1st) and Miss Indonesia Irma Janita (2nd).

The Thanksgiving Party also saw her co-contestant, the towering and elegant angel, Jade Dy, similarly honored for representing the country's Tsinoy community in the said beauty contest. Frances' family, friends, church mates, as well as her legion of supporters arrived in full force that evening to express their unwavering love and encouragement for the lovely beauty queen. Frances also took home the Miss Beautiful Smile subsidiary title which comes with a RM1,000.00 (Php13,689.00) cash prize, trophy and sash.
She will represent the region at the Miss Chinese Cosmos International World Finals 2014, organized by Phoenix Satellite Television Company Limited, in October of this year.

The party was hosted by Frances' ChinatownTV co-hosts, Bea Tan Siman and Norman Ong. Congratulations and Godspeed, Frances! In you carry our nation's hopes and dreams of bagging the first-ever World crown for the Philippines in this contest!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Gustatory adventurers from the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) pampered their palettes with genuine French cuisine at Le Jardin, one of the newly-opened fine dining delights at the W Building in The Fort, Bonifacio Global Center.

Le Jardin's young, charming and beaut
eous French Brand Manager, Claire Tinel, lent a warm welcome to the café's first-time patrons, signalling an auspicious evening ahead.

Indeed, the homespun setting at the eatery's penthouse in one of the snazziest towers at The Fort is a long way from the spotlit, beech-wood minimalism of chic contemporary dining. Le Jardin's handful of tables are scattered between a tropical garden (complete with garden ambiance and an industrial high ceiling look designed by Randall Lao of daLAOa) and an intimate dining room lined with wine racks and family snapshots provided the perfect setting for what was to be a unique dining experience — but that's all part of the appeal.

Members were treated to generous servings of cold appetizers, beginning with "Thon a la chutney de mangue" (Tuna with onion mango chutney), "Coquilles St. Jacques a la vanille" (Raw scallops with vanilla); warm appetizers, such as "Foie gras poele, creme de pomme et brioche" (Seared foie gras, apple cream and brioche), "Tartare de homard" (Lobster Tartare); a choice of several main courses like "Fillet de saumon sauce au vin blanc," "Magret de canard," "Cherveuil de veau," and "Ravioli de poisson, truffes, sauce au vin." The hearty meal capped it with a selection of delicious desserts, as "Mousse au chocolat," "Profiterole," "Dessert de Gils," "Tarte Tatin," "Foundant au chocolat," and "Créme bruleé."

Head Chef Jonas Ng took time out from his busy schedule to orient the lucky diners with the art behind French cuisine, explaining in great detail how the mouth-watering dishes were meticulously prepared under carefully orchestrated conditions. Trained at the world-famous Art Institute of Vancouver-Dubrulle International Culinary Arts in Vancouver, Canada, Chef Jonas has indeed mastered the art of his craft, if only the quality of the evening's exquisite selection were to be judged. This French joint seems to be a rare find in Metro Manila — a restaurant that isn't just trying to offer haute cuisine — but actually succeeds. The dishes are delicate and beautifully arranged, and the flavors perfect. The servings initially appear small, but are actually quite enough especially when combined with their variety of in-house housemilk cheeses that invariably arrive in six different flavors (i.e. naturé, truffle, ash, scallion, rosemary and black pepper, red peppercorn) — you leave feeling neither hungry nor stuffed silly.

Le Jardin is a penthouse garden-themed French restaurant by celebrated French Chef Gils Brault, famous for his top-rated Trois Gourmands restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. It's popular for serving classic dishes cooked the traditional French way, and for making their own breads, cheeses, and desserts.

Chef Hasset Go of MedChef, together with Chef Jonas Ng of Mango Tree and Huat Pot fame, trained and worked as apprentices under Chef Gils Brault in Vietnam for 6 months. Working with owner-partners James Ng, Peter Mangasing, and Mike Tayag, they opened one of the most romantic and successful French restaurants ever to hit the culinary scene in this bustling Metropolis.

After the satisfying dinner, we can certainly put our own stamp of approval by saying, "Une des meilleures tables, vaut le voyage" ("Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey")!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu represented the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) as society's most venerable crème de la crème enjoin insurance pillar, Peter Coyiuto in celebrating his 60th birthday at the über-classy Buddha-Bar in Makati. 

 For that one evening, the 7-star bar-cum-resto lounge was THE meeting spot of society's A-listers and "who's who" in business, government, media and entertainment circles who dropped by to join in the festivities. The witty celebrant's entire family, led by his ever-supportive wife (and Anvil Business Club's first Chairperson) Elena Coyiuto and closest friends of this Wharton grad arrived in full force to share this very special day with him. Even the Vice-President of the Philippines, the Honorable Jejomar Binay couldn't refuse his invitation and passed by to extend his well-wishes.

A grand buffet with sumptuous dishes prepared by Buddha-Bar's top-notch chefs had everyone coming back for more while the open bar kept the conversations going all throughout the night.

An entertaining video of Uncle Peter's colorful life opened the festivities, followed by a hilarious monologue by the jocular celebrant, whose self-deprecating humor and witty one-liners that can rival those of Dangerfield and DeGeneres. Finally, after another convivial family "dancercise" video, the entire Coyiuto clan brought the house down with their choreographed dance routine, gamely swaying to a legendary medley of eighties music.

Peter Coyiuto is the power businessman behind the very successful First Life Financial Company, Inc., one of the country's life-insurance industry giants, as Chief Executive Officer and President; and as a Director of the Prudential Guarantee Assurance Corporation. He also served as President of Wharton-Penn Alumni Association in 2012.

Indeed, Uncle Peter surely knows how to celebrate his sexagennial... in a grand manner! Congratulations and may you have many, many more colorful birthdays to come!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu represented the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) at the grand birthday celebration of inimitable emcee par excellence Johnny Litton as he adds another year to his forever-young and colorful life at 78.

Peppered by some of the most illustrious personalities from government, business and social circles, as well as with the presence of the ingenious birthday celebrant's loving family and ever-supportive friends, the entire celebration was a clear and palpable manifestation of the countless lives he has deeply touched throughout the years; with the many hats he has donned as a successful businessman, invaluable consultant, witty entertainer, prolific writer, engaging raconteur, and most especially, as a loving family man.

World-class performances from the New Minstrels and other noted artists kept everyone glued to their seats. But what provided the fitting climax to the evening's festivities was a fashion show featuring the society's most respected patricians and elite. Guests also got to take home especially-prepared giveaways from perfume icon Joel Cruz and L’Occitane by Rustan’s courtesy of Nedy Tantoco.

A number of officers from the Anvil Business Club, most notably Past Chairmen/Presidents Jeffrey Ng and George Siy, as well as Directors Dr. Elton See Tan and Sheree Chua graced their presence during this star-studded affair.

While I was introduced to this great man only recently, his good-natured demeanor, matchless candor and heartfelt passion for people from all walks of life made him a natural draw to everyone he meets. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have him as a good friend and adviser.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu represented the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) during the grand opening of “History and Her Story,” a commemorative exhibit on the fifth death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City.

Attended by family, close friends, business tycoons, key associates and former cabinet officials of the late President, the short program was highlighted by the esteemed presence of President Benigno Aquino III, as well as sisters Ballsy Cruz and Pinky Abellada, who officiated the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon. Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Dr. Elenita Sombillo-Binay, Makati Mayor Jun-Jun Binay, Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte, Bobet Vera of Tiger 22, PeopleAsia publisher Babe Romualdez, and Ayala Corp. President Fernando Zobel de Ayala were also on hand to witness this special occasion.

In his short remarks, President Aquino encouraged the new generation of Filipinos to understand the lessons of the past so that the nation will not be doomed to repeat its mistakes. "Through this exhibit and your stories, those who never encountered my parents will gain valuable insight about how they lived their lives and why they mean so much to the Filipino nation,” Aquino said.

The exhibit offers never-before-seen photographs that provide a rare glimpse into the late President's life – from her school years at the St. Scholastica’s College to her marriage to former Senator Ninoy Aquino to the 1986 "People Power" revolution that catapulted her to the presidency charged in leading a crestfallen but hopeful nation almost broken by 20 years of Martial rule.

“History and Her Story” also revisits Mrs. Aquino’s years as the first female president of the country, with exclusive photographs from her personal close-in photographer, Val Rodriguez, as well as the collections of the Aquino Center and Museum and the Ninoy and Cory Foundation.

The exhibit in Glorietta will run until August 10. "History and Her Story" will then be brought to Alabang Town Center Activity Center from August 11 to 17; Tri-Noma Cinema Lobby from August 18 to 24; Greenbelt Gallery from September 1 to 7; and Fairview Terraces Activity Center on Sept. 8 to 14.

Kudos to People Asia Magazine for spearheading this noble endeavor of keeping the endearing memory of President Cory alive in our nation's collective subconscious.