Tuesday, September 9, 2014


With unmatched audacity befitting the boldness of the modern Chinese-Filipino voyager, forty-eight (48) delegates of the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) — the biggest so far in the Club's 23-year history of international expeditions — set its sights on Shanghai (上海市), the "Paris of the East." And rightfully so. As the most dynamic city in the world’s fastest- changing nation, Shanghai is an exhilarating, ever-morphing metropolis that isn't just living China’s dream, but is setting the pace for the rest of the world.

An advance party of ten (10) arrived on September 3, where they held an "Anvil Bonding Day" among the delegates at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, while ensuring that the main delegation's logistical needs will be ensured for the rest of the trip. On September 4, the central delegation disembarked from the Pǔdōng International Airport (上海機場集團有限公司) and proceeded straight to the five-star, The Eton Hotel Shanghai (上海裕景大飯店), a glitzy auberge owned by the Lucio Tan group, which is located in the central part of Lujiazui (陸家嘴) Financial District in Pudong (浦東).

The intrepid delegates lost no time in assembling for their first official activity: a welcome dinner by the Shanghai Young Entrepreneurs organized by no less than Liwayway (International) Co., Ltd.'s humble-yet-dynamic young President and CEO, Larry Chan (施學理) at the Guoman Hotel Shanghai (上海國豐酒店). In a short speech, he expressed his great respect for the Anvil Business Club as the organization of choice for young Chinese-Filipino entrepreneurs and hopes to establish stronger business ties among young businessmen bound by a history of shared experiences.

The following day, September 5, the sizable delegation were escorted to the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone (中國 上海 自由貿易試驗區) at the Linggang New Area (臨港新城), arranged by the Shanghai Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (上海市歸國華僑聯合會). The said venue is the first Hong Kong-like free-trade zone in mainland China, which covers an area of 29 square kilometers (11 sq miles) and integrates four existing bonded zones in the district of Pudong. The new zone is being seen as the most important attempt at reform since Communist leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), the architect of China's transformation to a market economy, designated Shenzhen (深圳) on the border with Hong Kong a special economic zone in 1980. The group was also extensively toured around the massive, four-phase, fully-furnished, 45-hectare mass apartment complex that hopes to house 10,000 Chinese local employees who would be working for companies around the said Free Trade Zone.

That evening, the Anvil delegates were treated to a sumptuous dinner hosted by The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People's Government (上海市人民政府僑務辦公室), where no less than Director-General Xu Li (徐力) took time off from his busy schedule to render a short message of appreciation to the group for their visit. He also reminded them of the great significance of the Overseas Chinese, as they were the ones who actually contributed greatly to the success of China today, despite decades of being displaced by leaders of years past. For his part, Anvil Chairman Peter Mangasing responded by thanking the good Director-General for his graciousness and extended his invitation for him to visit Manila in the near future. The affair concluded with a modest gift-giving ceremony, where indigenous paintings were exchanged by both parties. The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government has, since 1992, been at the forefront of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Returned Overseas Chinese and relatives of overseas Chinese.

The night was capped with a visit to the famed Nanjing Road (南京路), Shanghai's main shopping street and one of the world's busiest shopping streets.

September 6 was perhaps the busiest day in the entire itinerary as the group headed to the massive, 17-hectare Oishi Shanghai factory complex (上好佳有限公司) at the Qingpu District (青浦區) in Huqingping (滬青平) for a plant visit, where the group was personally accommodated by the company's President, Larry Chan. During the two-hour tour, delegates were absolutely mesmerized and awed by the Oishi story, as they drew inspiration from the enormous challenges that the Chan family had to overcome. A tour of the Oishi plant in Shanghai, with the iconic logo of the Oishi bird greeting you everywhere, was like a trip to a Willy Wonka chocolate factory, like in the movie — a rich multi-sensory experience. Each product variant, from the prawn crackers to the potato fries and candies, had its own assembly line or production terminal, from the raw ingredients to the packaging.

A buffet lunch was again hosted by the Liwayway (International) Co. Ltd. at the luxurious, five-star Holiday Inn West Hotel (上海西郊假日酒店) where Anvil members were able to get up-close-and-personal with the young and energetic Oishi leader, while others had the perfect opportunity to mingle with fellow delegates. In the afternoon, Larry Chan took time off from his busy schedule to host the delegates' trip to the world-renowned Shanghai Tower (上海中心大廈), currently the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world, standing at approximately 632 meters (2,073 ft) high and has 121 stories. They then proceeded to the Tianzifang (田子坊) complex, an arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated residential area in the French Concession area of Shanghai. It is a quaint and typical Shanghai neighborhood composed of narrow alleys that became a commercial area for arts and local brands, but the place was still able to retain its original, homey atmosphere.

The final agenda in the packed itinerary was the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Anvil Business Club at the Eton Hotel, in appreciation of Larry Chan's unprecedented hospitality and warm accommodation throughout the three-day trip. With many Chinese-Filipino friends who already settled in Shanghai as the evening's special guests, Larry Chan was not only presented with a personalized gift from the Club, he was also conferred an honorary membership in Anvil for exemplifying the ideal values that the organization espouses.

After the formal ceremonies, the group decided to let their hair down and proceed to an evening of fun and fellowship at the Bar Rouge, one of the most famous clubs in Shanghai. Feasting on a mesmerizing retreat of tantalizing cocktails, mouthwatering cuisine, and an energetic and inviting atmosphere, most hard-drinking members already went home in the wee hours of the morning, convinced that the bar has set the standard for The Bund nightlife, with its terrace view, classy, sleek interiors and iconic French-Shanghai identity.

As the last of the delegates boarded their departing flight from this vibrant city, many are already pining for the day when they will come back. For beneath the European-style cityscapes and tempting, tree-lined neighborhoods rub shoulders with the sci-fi skyline of Pǔdōng, Shanghai will almost always captivate the Overseas Chinese of any generation. After all, this was where China first met the West — a persistent metaphor that serves as a daily reminder of their dual identity.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) Honorary Chairman Jeffrey Ng celebrated a relatively low-key 50th birthday in conjunction with the Club's 9th monthly board meeting. Officers and past presidents trooped to Astoria Plaza Hotel's newest Japanese culinary find, with an exclusive dinner treat at the Minami-saki (南サキ), which has yet to formally open its doors to the public the following day.

The five-course Signature Japanese cuisine, personally prepared by Astoria Plaza Hotel's Chef Kimito Katagiri (公人片桐) – who seasoned his expertise through across-the-board training in the kitchens of Japan and sweeping toil in five-star hotels in the Philippines for more than three decades – consisted of buttered beef tenderloin, freshly skewered lobsters, oysters dipped in poached egg sauce, and a dazzling selection of delectable sushi and sashimi platter.

Amid a warm, cozy environment, doubly made pleasant with good food, and great friends, the board continues to display unprecedented enthusiasm, especially with its most recent string of noteworthy projects (i.e. Tacloban school donation, Gotianun forum, etc.) and looks forward to a number of up-and-coming activities, such as the monthly food trips, the 2nd Entrepreneurs' Summit, the Shanghai Goodwill Mission, and the Meycauayan Medical Mission.

Indeed, Anvil is "Seasoned to S.H.I.N.E." all the way!