Friday, June 26, 2015


A sizable delegation of staunch supporters from the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) went to cheer for their president during the induction of the Alumni Association of Xavier School's (AAXS) new set of officers, where yours truly shall serve as Vice-President for a two-year term from 2015 to 2017.
Leading the new board as the Association's 27th Vice-President is John de Guzman, Ph.D., DBA (’67), Federation of Filipino-Chinese Alumni Associations, Inc. (FFCAAI) Vice-President. In his inaugural address, Dr. John remarked that his love affair with his alma mater has come full circle – having first distinguished himself as Xavier School's very first Student Council President in 1966 – and today, as the alumni organization's oldest-serving president. He deemed his role as "auspicious," noting that the school shall be celebrating it's 60th founding year in 2016. A strong advocate for quality education, Dr. John vowed to pursue programs that would support Xavier's "3-Is" thrust of "Innovation, Internationalization, and Information Technology."
For his part, outgoing President Diosdado Ng ('85) thanked everyone for a very productive two-year term. Despite the many challenges he has undergone throughout his tenure as AAXS head, he enjoyed every moment of his presidency, fully aware that simple innovations and initiatives have somehow brought positive changes in the lives that he touched. "The Xavier alumnus has always been 'barat' ('niggardly') but not 'kuripot' ('tightwad')," he mused. "I believe that if every member of Xavier School's 13,000-plus alumni would just give Php50 every month for the association, imagine how many poor children we can send to school or strengthen communities," he said.
The new AAXS board had no less than Xavier School's President, Fr. Ari Dy ('89) as their inducting officer. In his short remarks, he congratulated the outgoing board for their Yeoman efforts in supporting the school through various projects, noting that President Dado's term has seen an increase in the number of outreach programs. He urged the new board to continue what the outgoing leadership has started, with a more renewed sense of mission, as the school shall celebrate its Diamond Jubilee Year next year.
The Angelo King Multi-Purpose Center was packed with well-wishers and supporters, a majority of them active alumni from the Association, including past presidents, school officials, former teachers (humbled to see my former grade school teachers: Ms. Jane Ching, Ms. Luisa B. Relatado, Ms. Rosel Valenzuela, Mr. Saloy Salumbides) and Class Representatives. Among the leading alumni present included Senator JV Ejercito ('87), who took time out from his busy schedule to grace the ceremonies. In his inspirational message, he lauded outgoing President Dado Ng for "possibly being the most active AAXS President... (I have)... met in many years" and "left big shoes for the new leadership to fill." He credited his success as a public servant due to his Xavier values for being a "Man-for-Others" and reiterated his unwavering support for the AAXS for the coming term.
The newly-inducted president has been with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines for over 40 years, starting as a young student leader in Xavier School. As a professional scouter, Dr. John has strengthened the cause by establishing the Boy Scouts Foundation that provides financial support to deserving scouts who cannot afford to join jamborees (local and overseas) as well as funding development projects for communities affected by calamities. He has earned the respect of his colleagues, becoming the first Philippine representative to the World Organization of the Scout Movement in Geneva, Switzerland. At the core of his commitment is his strong faith, deepened by years of service to the St. Jude Parish Pastoral Council. He was conferred the prestigious Xavier-Kwangchi Exemplary Alumni Award for his efforts in 2011.
Also inducted were yours truly (’84) as Vice-President; Greenhills Kagawad Atty. Edson Eufemio (’86) as Secretary-General; former JCI Manila Director for Individual Development Joel Dayrit (’00) as Treasurer. The Trustees include: Little Baguio Barangay Captain and JCI San Juan Katipunero Supremo President Allen Christopher Silvano (’96), Arun Hemandas (’01), Jonathan Richie Yap (’94), Benedict Chua (’76), Juan Miguel Pacifico David (‘95/’96), Dr. Jonathan Dy (’86), Edgar Gatchalian (’86), Kagawad Stefano Angelo Lim (’09), Jimmy Ongaigui (’63), Wilson Tan (’87), and Dr. Timoteo Yu (’75).
Kudos to lovely Anvil leaders YanFang Zhu for co-emceeing the event with David Gozali ('13), and to Katherine Sy-Yap for another great events/program management.
The Alumni Association of Xavier School (AAXS) was formed in 1960 with nine members, the size of the first graduating class of Xavier School. With the membership base growing to over 13,000 Xaverians spanning 55 batches, the AAXS' objectives and structure have evolved. At present, the association works to fulfill the objective of promoting camaraderie and friendship among alumni; of assisting in the development of Xavier School and its community; and upholding the Xavier ideals.
All elected officials formally assumed their positions last April 1, 2015 and shall serve until March 31, 2017.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


 Members of the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) painted the town red at the "Hennessy Artistry Halo" event – the biggest "by-invite-only" music party of the year, in no less than the super-exclusive Valkyrie Night Club – the country's newest, hottest and biggest boutique club with over a thousand people in attendance.
Coined as an "explosion of musical artistry, innovation and refreshing mixed drinks," the party was hosted by the Moët Hennessy Asia-Pacific Pacific Pte. Ltd. – the company that produces and distributes the world's largest luxury Cognac brand – in celebration of Hennessy's 250th Founding Anniversary this year.
Despite the horrendous Friday evening traffic, exacerbated by the atrociously limited parking space and the hopelessly overcrowded venue (guests had to wait at
least an hour in line just to register, not to mention that doors were opened belatedly at 10:00 PM), the long wait was worth the hassle: The party was top-billed by Australia's electronic dance music’s first sisters – Mim and Liv Nervo of NERVO – multi-talented DJ dynamos now dubbed as the all-time top-ranking female DJs in the world. And they were supported by an array of top local acts, including UP Dharma Down, Motherbasss, Abdel Aziz, Quest, Silverfilter, and Kat DJ – all of whom continued to bring the house down until the wee hours of the morning.
Amid overflowing bottles of Hennessy's best-selling variants – V.S.O.P., X.O., Paradis, Prive, and Imperial – Anvil members were whisked to one of the club's exclusive VIP rooms and had a grand time mingling with mostly twenty-something clubbers and nightlife veterans, as they danced to the tune of today's Indie rock, Post rock, experimental rock, pop rock, shoegazing, electronic rock favorites. The Anvil members were so highly-regarded in that event that even Steven Bullock, Regional Director and Head of Moët Hennessy Asia-Pacific Pacific Pte. Ltd., took time from his busy schedule to spend time with the group.
Kudos to Anvil member and Liquor Kingdom's Rudy Ngo for arranging this exclusive, "by-invitation-only" event for the Anvil members.
Valkyrie Night Club at The Palace is a new nightlife destination by the group that brought you some of Manila’s best clubs such as Embassy/Encore, Members Only, Manor, Prive, Republiq, Opus, 71 Gramercy, Universe, etc. Once fully finished the complex will be the biggest nightlife complex in the country with room for 10,000 clubbers.
Jas Hennessy & Co., or more simply Hennessy, is a cognac house with headquarters in Cognac, France. Today, the company of Jas Hennessy & Co. sells about 50 million bottles a year worldwide, or more than 40 percent of the world’s Cognac, making it the world's largest Cognac producer. It is owned by Moët Hennessy.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Members of the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) became VIPs of the top officers of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, as the latter hosted the Club's Business Exchange Forum at the E's Bar in EDSA Shangri-La Hotel.
An impressive delegation of Hong Kong's Economic Trade Officers, led by Mr. Fong Ngai (方倪), Director of Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in ASEAN, and accompanied by Mr. Jim Wong (黄掁輝), Assistant Director (Trade); Mr. Melvin Lee (李國煒), Investment Promotion Head, and Mr. Willie Tan (陳威利), Investment Promotion Deputy Head, braved Manila's three-hour traffic and made its case for Anvil members to "InvestHK."
"InvestHK" (投資推廣署) is a special department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, launched primarily to "support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong." Founded on July 1, 2000, its mission is to confirm and strengthen Hong Kong as Asia's leading international business center and to attract economically and strategically important investment.
"Hong Kong is the number one business city in Asia. It is the perfect base for companies that want to do business in Mainland China and across the region," Director Fong began. "As Asia’s world city and the gateway to China, Hong Kong is known around the world as the freest economy, the hub for international business as well as a highly competitive financial and services center."
After rendering key economic data which showed Hong Kong's robust business prospects, Director Fong enumerated its "Four Pillar Industries" which currently define Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product performance, namely: Trading and Logistics (25%), Financial Services (16%), Business and Professional Services (12%) and Tourism (4.5%). Moreover, he also noted the phenomenal rise of what he calls "Diversified New Industries" which the Hong Kong Government is supporting. These industries include Start-Ups, Social Enterprises, and Cultural and Creative Industries (i.e. design, fashion, film, arts and culture). Concomitant with the increasing demand for manpower sources, Director Fong noted that the City's acute shortage in skilled professionals, particularly in the insurance and asset/wealth management sectors, has led to more attractive immigration policies for investors and skilled manpower. He also outlined a number of new developments in the business landscape, including the construction of a new, 488-hectare Central Business District in Kowloon East with an ambitious plan of making it a "Smart City."
Director Fong also enumerated various programs designed to help overseas and local SMEs set up in Hong Kong. These include: government support for companies, incubator programs, loan guarantees, funds for marketing, low and simple tax system, as well as its globally-recognized for being one of the world’s most business-friendly cities. Free market policies, the rule of law and free flow of information mean a level playing field for all companies.
The forum ended with an extended question-and-answer session, as well as a commitment by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office to include the Anvil Business Club as one of its "priority" partners in establishing more trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong.


Auspicious to have been asked to render my views as President of the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) on the status of business ties between China and the Philippines in light of the maritime standoff concerning the South China Sea by CNN Philippines.
In an impromptu interview session, I was asked for my personal insights about Sino-Philippine relations, which the governments of both countries maintain to be "friendly." The network wishes to find out what that means in terms of daily business practices. "Despite the seeming escalating tensions between the two governments," I mused, "Chinese-Filipinos remain optimistic that the issue will eventually arrive in an amicable solution."
Asked if businessmen felt threatened by tensions in the disputed waters, I opined that, while the territorial spat between the Manila and Beijing is a cause for concern, Filipino and Chinese businessmen remain upbeat on strengthening trade and investment ties. "China is one of the largest economies," I said. "The Philippines, on the other hand, is one of the rising tigers of emerging Asia. We should seize the opportunities as we enter the era of Asian leadership."
On the issue of the importance of bilateral ties between the two countries to local businesses and if these industries will be affected if these relations sour, I countered that China and the Philippines have been doing business since 982 A.D. during the Sung Dynasty, and it is highly unlikely that this trade shall be affected to a significant degree. "China and the Philippines share geographic proximity, convenient transportation and low cost of economic cooperation; trade between these two countries is an inevitability," I said.
Manila and Beijing have been locked in a territorial dispute over resource-rich parts of the South China Sea over the past years. China uses its so-called “nine-dash line” to assert ownership over almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines uses the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as its basis for its claim; while the Philippines, which calls the disputed areas the “West Philippine Sea,” has already sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to nullify China’s massive claims over South China Sea. Beijing, however, has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings, insisting instead on bilateral talks to settle the dispute.
As the Philippines and China mark 40 years of diplomacy this year, an on-going sea dispute brings them – antithetically – to the lowest point of their relationship.
Many thanks to CNN News Correspondent Juan Carlo Gotinga for arranging this precipitous interview session. My segment airs in CNN Philippines (Channel 9) at 6:00pm tonight; with a replay at 9:00pm.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Marshaling the phenomenal growth in membership over the past two years, the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) formed its first-ever inter-color sports league which involved all its 250-plus members. For its first (and presumably the most-awaited) tournament, the basketball series opened with an exciting, two-game playoff between Team Hobe/Far East vs. Team West Avenue Residences (WAR), and the Team Crown Pipes vs. Team Dragon Fireworks.
Sports Committee Chairman cum Head Commissioner Chester So, rendered an exceptionally well-drafted commentary on Game One:
"On the opening night of the Anvil Club's Basketball Tournament, Team Hobe/Far East escaped with a hairline victory over the gritty Team West Avenue Residences (WAR), with a final score of 52-49. Team WAR had ball possession with Team Hobe/Far East leading 50-49 when Hanz Chan stole the ball and went in for a fast break lay-up with 9 seconds remaining on the game clock. This turned out to be the insurance basket. In the dying seconds of the game, Team WAR failed to send the game into overtime when they were not able to convert a desperate 3-pointer. Errol Chua led Team Hobe/Far East with 21 points and 11 boards, while younger brother Earl Chua added 9 boards; and Ace Olano chipped in 12 points. Team WAR was led by a balanced game by Alex Tan with 20 points, 13 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. Eckhart Ang, plagued by early foul trouble, brought in 6 boards and 4 steals to the tally count.
"In the second game, Team Crown Pipes took advantage of a slow start by Team Dragon Fireworks and won 67-45. Denzil Li and Jjs Siy struck early and Team Crown Pipes raced to an early 20-point advantage in the first half. The lead ballooned to as much as 26 points when Team Dragon's star player Jayson Sze caught fire in the Third Quarter by bringing his team to as close as 13 points behind, only to lose steam and yield to Team Crown Pipes. Team Dragon Fireworks was out-rebounded 53-38 that proved to be their undoing. Team Crown Pipes was led by an all-around game from Denzil Li with 19 points, 15 boards, 4 assists, 1 block and 2 steals. Reymont Choachuy added 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Brian Dee added another 13 points, with Baron Tan collecting 10 boards. Jayson Sze led Team Dragon Fireworks with 18 points, while Noel Yu had 9 points and 14 boards. Kenneth Dee added 10 points and Nikko Lim sealed the game with 6 points and 11 boards."
Do watch out for the succeeding elimination games on Tuesday, June 9, between Team Dragon Fireworks vs. Team West Avenue Residences; and Team Hobe/Far East vs. Team Crown Asia Pipes.