Saturday, February 28, 2015


The Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs  warmly received Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, one of the country's most bemedalled and sought-after educators in the lecture circuit, during the Club's second Business Exchange Forum for 2015 as its guest-of-honor and speaker. To say that we were truly honored to have a teacher who exemplifies both excellence and knowledge to a superlative degree gracing our Forum is an understatement, as it took us nearly six months just to confirm her booking for that evening.
One of the most-recognizable faces in the Ateneo de Manila University campus, where she is a full professor of math and psychology, Dr. Queena's esteemed presence during the Forum was a homecoming of sorts, as she served as a member of Anvil's Board of Directors during the Club's nascen

t years. This perpetually cheerful coach – who possesses the uncanny ability to deconstruct extremely technical subjects, like math and science, into simple, and delightful mental morsels for scholastically-challenged simpletons (like yours truly) – has managed to capture the imagination of the evening's entire audience (numbering almost a hundred), as they stayed riveted in their seats for an entire hour-and-a-half.
Dr. Queena talked about the "Best Practices of Successful Family Businesses" – what really makes Filipino and Filipino-Chinese family businesses succeed? The discussion centered around the best practices based on actual cases and up-to-date literature, as she masterfully answered long-standing questions as: What are the common problems in family businesses? How can succession be managed well? How can employees be motivated to do good work? How can the next generation be trained to recognize their legacy? How can various generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) work in synergy rather than in opposition?
And while she indicated that family businesses made up more than 57% of the United State's Gross Domestic Product, 63% of the workforce, and 35% of Fortune 500 companies, chilling statistics have demonstrated that family businesses are plummeting to an alarming degree. In the United Kingdom, for instance, 20% of first-generation businesses make it to the second; while only 10% make it to the third. In the United States, only 3% make it to the fourth generation and beyond. This goes true for family businesses in the Philippines, as 80% of the well-known firms are run by Chinese-Filipinos.
Dr. Queena gave a few insights on the most-common problems encountered in family-run enterprises, chief among which centered on the founder's obtuse refusal to let go; the resistance to professionalize; sibling rivalry; the role of third-generation cousins and in-laws; as well as the risk of having non-family members enter the business. She also emphasized the pivotal role that parents play in molding children to develop good study and work habits, instilling in them the power of internal motivation rather than external pressure, and the values of taking responsibilities for themselves (as opposed to spoon-feeding them).
Dr. Queena Lee-Chua graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1987, with a degree in BS Mathematics, summa cum laude. She also received a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the same university, where she is now a full Professor. A frequent speaker for schools, government, civic groups, and business, she is also a consultant to schools, NGOs, education groups, the Department of Education, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). A past governing member of the National Book Development Board, she specializes in mathematics and science education and learning psychology, popular math and science, parenting, teen, and children’s issues. She was a recipient of the prestigious TOYM (The TOYM Philippines: The Outstanding Young Men Awards), TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service), and MetroBank Foundation's Awards Program's Outstanding Teacher of the Philippines award, among many, many other nationally-renowned accolades.
Indeed, she epitomizes the ideal educator – exceedingly competent, acutely compassionate, strikingly conscientious, and possessing an unimpeachable character.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu representedAnvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) as a guest in DZRJ's "Good Job, Philippines," anchored by the inimitable Barbie Atienza and co-hosted by the debonair John L. Fernandez, who was pinch-hitting for Ms. Maggie Muñoz-Shih. It was a pleasant reunion of sorts as both are good friends and former colleagues from Junior Chamber International-Manila (i.e. Manila Jaycees).

It was a distinct honor for yours truly, as this one-hour program exclusively discussed about the Anvil Business Club – an Association of Young Chinese-Filipino Entrepreneurs, which I currently head as President. The show gave yours truly a great opportunity to talk about the organization's objectives of propagating positive values in promoting a healthy economy and a progressive society among young Tsinoy businessmen and professionals, aged 21 to 50, with the ultimate aim of pursing excellence in each member's respective field of endeavor and empowering them to be productive members of society.
While delicate issues about the Club's perceived exclusivity with ethnic Chinese-Filipinos and the recent re-admission of women into the organization were brought up, it was the kind of programs that the Club was running which sparked the most interest among the hosts. I indicated that, since its founding in 1991, Anvil is recognized for acknowledging successful businessmen and executives by inviting them to speak at monthly functions, which we call "Business Exchange Forums," where members listen to their life stories, their struggles and their triumphs, while learning valuable lessons along the way.
I added that, apart from the Exchange Forums, Anvil seeks to broaden the horizons of its members through annual industrial trips that give our members a wider perspective of business, by touring international plants, factories, trade fairs and institutions. Each year, this activity has a local counterpart, wherein members also visit local plants and factories in order to encourage investments in the Philippine economy.
At the core of its programs, however, is the Club’s various civic projects. Members try to give back to the community by sponsoring scholarships to the less fortunate but deserving students; donating classrooms to far-flung provinces needing such; and conducting dental-medical missions to indigent residents of small barangays.
Finally, I was asked, "Why use the name Anvil?" I indicated that the name "Anvil," was admittedly, rather picturesque. An anvil, as everyone knows, is a flat piece of steel where other metals are hammered on to become useful tools. Its symbol and namesake is also its perfect metaphor: for within the Club, members forge not only new friendships and connections, but also endeavor to produce conscientious, decisive, and well-informed business leaders.
I made a rejoinder during the program's conclusion by issuing a personal challenge to our organization: I said that, before my term ends this year, we aim to make an upward leap from being mere anvils to becoming the wielders of the hammer whose horizons on how we ought to develop our nation – largely, through the exchanges of ideas which we are engendering in our various programs.
DZRJ-AM (810 AM), also known by its tagline, "The Voice of the Philippines," is an AM radio station of the Rajah Broadcasting Network, Inc. in the Philippines. It is, by far, still the only English-language AM station in Mega Manila. "Good Job, Philippines," on the other hand, is a radio talk show program that discusses all good news – all the time – about people, jobs, careers and related topics.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Esteemed to be again invited by CNN Philippines; this time, appearing live in a television interview under their station's flagship public service program, "Serbisyo All Access," with veteran broadcast anchors Mr. Gani Oro and Ms. Amelyn Veloso.
As part of the program's Chinese New Year celebration feature, I represented the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) as a resource speaker to enlighten the public about the good cultural traits of Chinese people in business. Some of the more pronounced characteristics I mentioned included attributes grounded on traditional Confucian values, such as FILIAL PIETY (孝順), a virtue of respect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors; SELF-DISCIPLINE (自律), delayed self-gratification for the sake of long-term future benefits; and FRUGALITY (節儉), the quality of being economical with current resources.
I was also asked to enumerate some of the characteristics of indigenous Filipinos that, in my view, were stumbling blocks to achieving business success. Three of the most common habits that Filipinos needed to address include: (1) The "NINGAS COGON" attitude, a trait where one starts something with great interest and enthusiasm, then after a very short time, loses interest and stops whatever it is he is doing, eventually, leaving things incomplete – much like a wild fire burning out quickly; (2) "BAHALA NA" demeanor, a defeatist or fatalistic mindset where one is only willing to do so much and leave the rest to God. Some people believe it makes one irresponsible, careless and lazy; and (3) the "MAÑANA" habit, where one procrastinates in doing things to some future period of time what can be done today. I cautioned the hosts, however, that these attitudes were not originally characteristics of the Filipino, but were just passed on by our Spanish colonial masters.
Curiously, some of the salient questions asked by the public also reflected a number of clear misconceptions about the Chinese-Filipinos. "Is there a difference between Filipino and Chinese in terms of entrepreneurial style? Can non-Chinese Filipino be similar to the Chinese entrepreneurs?" I explained that being industrious, frugal or self-disciplined are not exclusive traits of Chinese-Filipino businessmen. They are, in fact, primordial traits that define any entrepreneur worth his salt who would want to succeed in a business venture. After all, it takes tenacity, vision, high tolerance for failure and self-belief in order to overcome months (and even years) of trials and vicissitudes before one can reach his zenith of accomplishment.
"Serbisyo All Access" is CNN Philippines' first public service program produced by 9News and the channel's first locally produced program in Filipino vernacular language, as it serves public needs. It is a two-hour, one stop public service program envisioned to help serve the needs of the Filipino by working with various sectors.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Mr. Reginald Yu represents the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) in an exclusive, private dialogue with one of the global banking industry's most revered experts in Asia markets, Mr. Hartmut Issel, UBS AG Wealth Management Head of Equity Credit & Macro for the Asia-Pacific, during his short visit to the Philippines.
Speaking with a private audience of less than ten invited guests, the head of Wealth Management Research at UBS – and arguably, one of the world's most esteemed investment analysts – rendered a revealing treatise on the global economic outlook and the performance of key financial markets for 2015, as he discussed how he observed a number of visible divergences between economic regions. Mr. Issel cited how the end of Quantitative easing (QE) – a monetary policy used by a central bank to stimulate an economy when standard monetary policy has become ineffective – and interest rate hikes in the United States would influence the world markets at a time when Europe and Japan have decided to print more money.
He pointed out that, while there is a noticeably slower credit growth trend across the Asia-Pacific Region, the Philippines is still being predicted to be a leader in economic growth forecasts with 6%, second only to China with 6.8% for 2015. The Asia Market expert cautioned, however, that while China's sustained economic growth – which contributes 35% to the world's expected 3.5% global growth in 2015 – continues to be strong, the country's overall debt is mostly constituted by corporate debt – 90% of which are state-owned. To this end, China recently declared a sweeping reform on State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) with the participation of private capital, restructuring or closing unprofitable units, deregulating key industries, and improving incentives for management – in order to stem the growing debt gap.
He debunked the public notion that the global economy is entering a period of cheap oil, citing key economic indicators, such as growing demand for oil, which is projected to increase by 1 million barrels per day each year, as world population grows from 6.8 billion today to 9 billion by 2050.
The concluded his one-hour presentation with his prediction that the world economy can accelerate in 2015, which will be led by the United States. He predicted that Europe will continue to recover from its economic crisis, but at a slower pace. He opined that China's growth is gradually slowing (due to weaker demand for its products and the widening SOE debt), while India (with the new government's fiscal reforms) will gain at a higher speed of growth. Finally, he foretells the strengthening of the US Dollar across the board, while the Philippines stands a good chance of being one of the strongest economies in Asia.
Special thanks should goes to Sharlene Soo of UBS Hong Kong for hosting this exclusive dinner.
UBS is the biggest bank in Switzerland, operating in more than 50 countries with about 63,500 employees globally. It is considered the world's largest manager of private wealth assets with over CHF2.2 trillion in invested assets; and a leading provider of retail banking and commercial banking services in Switzerland.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Anvils' President lead a delegation from the Anvil Business CLub (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) to cheer for one of our own members, Atty. Oscar Franklin Barcelona Tan, as he was feted with the prestigious TOYM Philippines: The Outstanding Young Men Awards during simple, yet majestic ceremonies at the Heroes' Hall of the Malacañan Palace. Anvils' President lead a delegation from the Having been personally involved in the TOYM Awards since 1999 – serving in varying roles as Deputy National Chairman, Publications Chairman and adviser for many years – I deem this year's ceremony as especially memorable, as yours truly accedes in being the prime culprit of goading and relentlessly pushing my good friend, fellow Xavier School alumnus (XS '97) and fellow former editor of our high school alma mater's alumni publication to try his luck in this nationally-renowned awards search.
Admittedly, when I first came across his name, I was incredibly awe-struck by this young achiever's sterling academic credentials (e.g. Ateneo de Manila University, cum laude with double-major in Ateneo’s two most difficult programs, Management Engineering and Economics Honors in 2001; University of the Philippines College of Law, where he set the law school's record of eight legal writing prizes and distinguished himself as the youngest Chairman of the Philippine Law Journal, graduating at the Top Ten of his 2005 Class; and Harvard Law School, having had the honor of being selected to speak at their commencement ceremonies to represent 700 graduates of Class of 2007). This latest recognition is but a shining testament to my long-held faith in my kindred compatriot's tremendous potential as one of society's brightest catalysts for positive change in the near future.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines 2014 National President, Jci Sen Christine Garcia opened the formal ceremony with her assertion that, "we are our own worst enemy," drawing her conclusions from her one-year stint in leading the 7,000 member-strong network of young Active Citizens. "I have seen two sides of the coin of what we Filipinos are made of," she opined. "One side of the coin depicts passivity and indifference reinforced by doubts and fears... our favorite post, hashtag and twit is to complain about how bad the country is. Yet we do not lift one finger to make the Philippines a better place. The other side of the coin depicts active citizens... quietly engaged in exciting efforts to the discourse on nation-building. These are men with vision, with courage, and with an indomitable will to succeed whatever be the obstacles in our country," she said.
Speaking on behalf of the honorees, Atty. Oscar Franklin Tan devoted a great part of his speech on a subject which he felt most at home with – law. "I enjoy talking about law," he began. "I enjoy inviting other people to talk about law. I try to empower people to form opinions on law. I hope that people see law not as extremely technical rules or the incantations of a secular religion, but that law immortalizes our society’s most cherished values." He shared his observation that the public "blindly and uncritically accept the interpretations of law of our Supreme Court and our lawyers in general;" and declared that, "our Supreme Court and lawyers in general are sometimes wrong and the good sense of our greater society is sometimes right. And even when the lawyers are correct, blind and uncritical acceptance of law does not add to our political maturity."
Marshaling the ardor of a law professor, he proceeded to elucidate the audience with his take on the "Equal Protection" clause of the Constitution, fearlessly touching on legal nuances of such controversial issues as the RH Law and the Bangsamoro Basic Law. He ended his half-an-hour treatise with a challenge to President Aquino in continuing to have "...the confidence to take his own independent stands on legal issues, and how these stands have always been faithful to the spirit rather than the letter of the law, to the common good instead of bizarre technicalities."
This year, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras led the recognition rites for the 2014 honorees of the TOYM, on behalf of President Benigno Aquino III, who had to beg off due to pressing matters. In his short message, the good Secretary praised the honorees for being "role models not only for the communities (they) have immediate contact with, but also and more importantly, for a nation of millions." He added that, "our countrymen see in your example the fruits of hard work, excellence, and compassion. You are the hope that inspires them to pursue their own dreams, and hopefully, in so doing, to touch the lives of others."
The 2014 TOYM honorees include: Vincent Franco Frasco for public service; Jessie Pascual Bitog for agricultural engineering; Maria Doris Dumlao for journalism; Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat for government and public service; John Mark Velasco for medical science and public health; and, of course, Oscar Franklin Tan for law.
Kudos to the 2014 TOYM Search Committee, led by National Chairman Marc Lester Manalo; the TOYM Screening Committee, headed by Cong. Doy Leachon; and the TOYM Board of Judges, chaired by Ms. Marixi Prieto of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Congratulations to you all! Together, let us "Change the Future through Excellence!"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Mr. Reginald Yu represented the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) as the only youth-based Filipino business organization to represent the Philippines during the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services, in preparation for the country's hosting of the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November 2015. Kudos to fellow member and my "man Friday" for that session, the ever-reliable Jayson Sze, for his invaluable assistance.
Organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in partnership with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) of the Philippines and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services is the beginning of a series of dialogues that will be held on services envisioned to: (a) guide APEC's public and private stockholders in examining developments, challenges and opportunities for the services sector; (b) identifying new strategies for building the full potential of the services sector; (c) generating policy options towards removing barriers to services trade; (d) developing an innovative approach in pursuing the services agenda of APEC; and, (e) fostering collaboration and best practice exchanges to promote services growth.
The maiden dialogue centered on Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), Creative Industries, and Research and Development Services. No less than Ms. Jane Drake-Brockman, Senior Service Adviser of the International Trade Center – and one of the region's most respected trade economists – and well, as Dr. Gloria Pasadilla, Senior Analyst at the APEC Policy Support Unit in Singapore, top-billed the first session that provided an overview of the latest trends in services, including one on sector development and reforms.
The Honorable Laura del Rosario, DFA Undersecretary for International Economic Relations and APEC 2015 Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) Chair, personally extended the invitation to the Anvil Business Club in heading the initiative of setting up a structure of effectively pooling a network of entrepreneurs and businessmen in the Asia-Pacific Region in order to generate employment and create wealth for industry-specific sectors in services.
A manifestation of the business-and-government's recognition of Anvil's phenomenal growth and unprecedented rise in profile over the recent months, the organization was undoubtedly chosen to play a key role in this year's APEC Summit – a first for the Anvil Business Club in its 24 years of existence.
With this immensely distinguished yet monumental responsibility, the Anvil Business Club seems to have its work cut out for us this 2015. Wish us luck!