Sunday, May 22, 2016


Over the past few years, Metro Manila alone has seen the rise of towering skyscrapers, bustling communities, affluent central business districts, casino and entertainment complexes, and world class venues that can host events that resonate around the world. In the provinces, the rise of BPOs and the steady stream of remittances has created centers of commerce in top tier cities such as Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, and even second tier cities such as Iloilo, Bacolod, Baguio, and Naga.
It is said that to see where a country is headed, you must look at the buildings. If this were true, then it is extremely evident that the Philippines’ future is bright indeed.

The growing demand for quality real estate projects for the booming economy has created a need for pioneering, world-class designs that can balance both commercial interests as well as ergonomic, people-related, and environmental concerns. After all, the new generation of Filipinos will need places to live and work in that can stand with the best the world has to offer. Among the architects that are at the forefront of the looming architectural revolution, few are as revered and respected as Architect Jose Siao Ling.

A wise man once said that show me who your friends are, and I will show you who you are. If this is so, then counting the SM group, the Robinsons group, STI, Toyota, Honda, Cathay Land, and so many other business luminaries as their main clients are surely a testament to the man’s excellence and quality of work.

If a picture indeed paints a thousand words, then the numerous designs that Architect Siao Ling has pioneered shows a portrait of who the man is. After all, who does not know SMX Convention Center or Mall of Asia Arena, buildings that can stand with the best the world has to offer?
It was thus a great honor that Anvil Business Club was able to hold the second REAL ESTATE ROUNDTABLE at Architect Siao Ling’s office in N. Domingo, San Juan. In his eight-floor green building that is emblematic of his pioneering designs, Arch. Siao Ling graciously shared with Anvil members his life experience, trends in modern architecture, his guiding principles in design, and much more.

While most of the discussion will not be included in this article due to confidentiality, there are at least some general insights that bear sharing:
These include:
In his own words, “Architecture is an endless search for perfection of artistic and holistic arrangement of man and his space, in harmony with his economic, social, cultural and natural environmental concerns in consideration with the tools in technical innovations, market and trends.” Architect Siaoling is known as among the pioneers in application of Feng Shui, environmental ergonomics, and green technology in design consideration in the Philippines. He has been at the forefront of numerous innovations in Philippine architecture that push the boundaries of beauty and aesthetics.
However, more than just the design, he is also mindful of the commercial consideration and welfare of the owner. His firm takes it upon itself to calculate the potential returns of the client, informing the client whether or not they believe the project can make money. In many cases, he says, he has even refused projects that he feels will lose money for his business partners.
Balancing both right-brain and left-brained thinking, aesthetic and logic, beauty and return, creativity and wisdom, passion and reason, is one of the reasons Arch. Siao Ling is trusted by many in the industry.
From the time he worked as a fledgling architect in Hong Kong to now, in his current stature as one of the top 10 architects in the Philippines, Arch. Siao Ling has never stopped investing in knowledge and technology. In fact, he continues to further his research and knowledge base through travel, partnerships with foreign architects, and sending his team to world-class training and expos, in order to always be at the forefront of the industry. Whereas other architects specialize in a certain field, his dedication to innovation has allowed him to do projects as diverse as BPO buildings, recreational parks, university campuses, and world-class sports arenas.
Architect Siao Ling had a piece of advice for Anvil members who are in the construction industry and who wish to supply the top conglomerates in the country: always deliver on time, and beyond what is expected. Arch Siao Ling has never hesitated to take out suppliers who are lacking, even in the smallest things and in the shortest of deliveries, because for him, quality and time should never be compromised.
Because of his Spartan standards, which he himself follows to a tee when he commits to a project for any of his clients, he has developed a reputation for excellence that has stood the test of time. They know that if it is a Siao Ling work, it will end up well.
Whereas Chinese-Filipino firms do not usually train other Chinoys due to fear of competition, Arch. Siaoling has been the source of wisdom, personally training many of the top Chinese- Filipino architects in the country, the likes of Daniel Go, Jonathan Gan, and many others. He believes that doing this is his greatest contribution to Philippine architecture—for if they themselves in putting up their own firm embody the excellence that they have learned while interning in Jose Siao Ling and Associates, then Philippine real estate will surely be in a wonderful place for decades to come.
After the forum, Architect Siao Ling hosted the Anvil members to a sumptuous lunch in his 600 square meter function area. He regaled the wide-eyed crowd with stories of his projects, his dealings with some of the top businessmen in the country, and his life story. Afterwards, he even took time to tour some of the members who stayed around his wondrousv7th/8th floor loft.
The roundtable which was supposed to end at 12 ended up extending to 3pm, testament to the way he himself values giving back to the young people who may one day be movers and shakers of Philippine society, as just he himself is now. All in all, the real estate roundtable was a resounding success. Anvil members learned significantly from the experience, and look forward to the next session this July and August.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Last Thursday, May 19, was Anvil's first ever ESPRESS ME Personal Branding & Styling Workshop, held at the artsy CO/OP Cafe. Workshop speakers were Anvil’s very own Lexter Ang and Valerie Lim, with Lexter having 10 years of experience in corporate design and marketing strategy; and Valerie having 8 years of experience in social media management and styling.
Registration started at 7PM with the very stylish members of Anvils poured into the CO/OP café and had their Polaroid-Instax taken against the interesting interiors of the restaurant. Groups of tables were clustered together where new and old Anvil members had the chance to catch-up and get-to-know each other while having their dinner before the start of the workshop.
ESPRESS ME, Why ESPRESS ME? This inspiration came from the delightful drink “espresso”, a strong black coffee brewed in such a way to give optimal flavors and caffeine content. And according to Director Lorina Tan, this basically is also the intention of the workshop series - to be able to deliver to our fellow Anvil members - the optimal knowledge and practical content in just a few hours.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell.” – Seth Godin
What is your Story? Personal Branding and Styling is all about the stories that other people tell about you when you’re not in the room – in other words, other people’s perception of us, the reputation that we leave after each interaction, and both reputation and perception is controllable!
Polaroid shots were distributed to our Anvil participants who were asked to write three impressions of the random pictures that they were given. It was interesting and fun exercise where the participants wrote adjectives about fellow Anvil colleagues, and everyone ended up laughing at the end.
Lexter Ang, our Personal Branding speaker, guided us through a series of questions that participants need to introspect and to reflect, a process to create our own unique value proposition and core method positioning statements. Even though, according to Lexter, this usually takes one whole day normally, participants were able to create our own statements in less than an hour!
“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren
BTS – Body, Talk, and Style: Valerie Lim, our personal styling speaker, worked us through the different elements of developing our own styling brand through colors, essential wardrobe items, posture, and body language. Valerie also shared to us that having an open body stance, body gestures, with great body posture can immediately fill a room with your presence. And how having that X-factor through body, talk, and style, is what makes us different and distinctive from other people.
Even more interesting, Valerie called some Anvil volunteers on stage to show how a simple clinching a belt on a long blazer jacket, or wearing a statement necklace and accessories, can change the whole aura of an outfit. Volunteers then were asked to catwalk amidst the cheers and applauses of their fellow Anvil colleagues. Lots of insights, laughter, and great company - the first ever Anvil ESPRESS ME – Personal Branding and Styling Workshop was a success! Kudos to the workshop’s Chair – Sherwin Chuacokiong Diu, Co-chair – JR Co, Event Directors - Harvey Uy and Katherine Rose Chua, Event Consultants – Director Lorina Tan and Lexter Ang. Our event’s hosts and moderators – Hillary Ang and Karyl Coseto. Volunteers for the personal styling segment – Kevin Tai, Edward Co, Sharon Lim, and Melanie Gale Sy. Our volunteer photographer – Eugene Siytiu. And of course, to our workshop speakers – Lexter Ang and Valerie Lim.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


The Anvil Business Club was able to add some Chinese culture to the new business district located in Fort Bonifacio last May 14, 2016 with the showing of The Last Tycoon. This was the second movie showing organized by the Anvil Cultural Committee at the U-Theater, Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street. The story was inspired by the life of a prominent mob boss in Shanghai in the early 1920s and 1930s.
The story follows the characters of a local fruit vendor and his lover who aspires to be a successful opera performer. It narrates how the local fruit vendor went through the hardships of being able to take one’s life away without feeling any emotion whatsoever. He then goes on his way to Shanghai to make a name for himself. He first started on the street as a follower of the local gangster, then became an apprentice of the mob boss, and then slowly made his way up to the top as a boss.

Just like the previous movie showing, the dynamics of the business world has not changed. Loyalty, trust, and good negotiations are key aspects to running a business. It is the backbone to every business deal and structure one may partake.

What will you do if your life was turned upside down? Will you risk your life for your mentor or just take over the entire business as your own? Is there more to what meets the eye in doing business? Not all answers are within the box, you have to look beyond what’s in it and be ready to embrace risk.
After the movie there was a short discussion led by Honorary Chairman Wilson Lee Flores, followed by delicious snacks prepared by Chairman Emeritus George Siy and Wilynda Chua.

Overall the movie showing was another success for the Cultural Committee. I am glad I was part of yet another Anvil movie showing, I am a regular fan of Chinese movies such as this, and Anvil has been moving forward to advocating the Chinese culture to our modern world today. I really look forward the watching yet another cultural heritage movie in Anvil, Red Cliff.