Friday, October 30, 2015


Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs ) in a relief mission for the victims of Typhoon "Lando" (International name: "Koppu") at Barangay Iba O'Este, Calumpit, Bulacan, one of the hardest hit settlements in the country. The howler brought torrential rains in Central and Northern Luzon, bursting Labangan River's banks, immediately transforming Calumpit's 25 out of 29 Barangays into a sea of watery morass.
Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu  lead an extraordinary group of young volunteers from the
Armed with more than 1,500 sets of disaster-relief packs, consisting of canned goods, bread, toiletries and hygiene kits – mostly donated by Anvil members, as well as those bought from previous fund-raising initiatives – more than a dozen member-volunteers trooped to the Barangay Iba O'Este Multi-purpose Compound to engage more than 2,000 indigent, typhoon-stricken victims and individually turn over the buckets of aid supplies to them.
Braving the 31-degree sweltering noonday sun, Anvil members had their hands full in assisting the Calumpiteños who braved the extraordinarily humid weather and the long queue – many of whom had patiently lined-up since six in the morning – just to partake of the Club's generous donation. The success of this endeavor is largely credited to the assistance of local municipal officials, led by its Mayor, the affectionate Dr. Jessie de Jesus and Vice-Mayor, the affable Dr. Zacharias Candelaria, who ensured a peaceful and systematic administration of relief goods were in order. The good mayor even donated an additional 300 sacks of relief goods in anticipation of a sudden surge of donees that day. All in all, every single resident who endured the long lines did not go home empty-handed; a majority of them even got two or more sets of relief items.
A brief program preceded the relief operations. After rendering a short prayer by fellow Anvil member (and beauty queen) Frances Cham, Calumpit Mayor de Jesus spoke to the growing assembly of residents and lauded the Anvil Business Club for selecting Calumpit as their beneficiary. Yours truly was later asked to give a short message, whereby I encouraged the typhoon victims to rise above this tragedy and assured them of our Club's continued support. In his appreciation, the good Mayor handed a small framed certificate to the Anvil Business Club, extending his thanks on behalf of the victims.
A small "salu-salo" fast-food packed lunch was later prepared by the Committee for fellow Anvil members and municipal hall volunteers. In his short message, Mayor de Jesus profusely thanked the Anvil Business Club, noting that the said relief operation was "absolutely heaven-sent," as the typhoon-weary residents had nothing to subsist for days due to the fact that the massive flooding destroyed their homes; some of them even had to stay along unused train tracks, without a roof over their heads and faced incessant mosquito bites.
Typhoon "Lando" recently barreled through the northeastern part of Luzon, dumping a catastrophic amount of prolonged, heavy rains, causing widespread flooding in many parts of the country. Powerful winds caused widespread damage and disruption across Luzon. As of this writing, more than 100,000 people are still in temporary shelters as Typhoon "Lando" destroyed more than Php6.57 billion (USD141.63 million) worth of crops, infrastructure and homes. It is, by far, the worst typhoon ever to hit the country this year, having brought the greatest 12- and 24-hour rainfall totals on record in the Philippines.
The Anvil Business Club still plans to conduct more relief operations to the hardest-hit areas all over Luzon in the coming weeks.
Kudos go to the Calumpit Relief Mission Committee, led by Anvil's valiant Director for Community Development Henry Kho, Committee Chairperson Erika Rellera, Co-Chairmen Brian Dee, Johnny Uy and Eckhart Ang. Special mention goes to the major member-donors: Mar Celo Co (Hobe bread); Desmond Chua (Daily Supermarket); Leoncio Lei Yee Jr. and Sheryl Yu (free shuttle services); Jayson Sze (transportation of goods); Jardin Wong (Golden Bay Seafood Restaurant); Tom Yeung (Katinko Ointment); Marvin Tiu Lim (Mega Sardines); Alexander Martos (bottled water); as well as good friend and U.P. Diliman college buddy, Ariel Concejero (Henkel's Syoss Shampoo and Conditioner).
A special shout-out goes to JCI Senator Larry G. Cruz – a very good friend, a pillar in JCI PHILIPPINES (charter JCI Marilaw President; past National Vice-President for Metro North Region; past National Secretary-General; and current TOYM Executive Director) and a genuine son of Bulacan – for lending his invaluable time at a moment's notice in assisting the Anvil volunteers in navigating the unfamiliar Calumpit terrain and for helping the group distribute the relief items.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


 Incredibly honored to have led select officers and delegates from the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) in an exclusive, private dinner hosted by no less than His Excellency Zhao Jianhua (趙鑑華), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of the Philippines at his official residence in Makati.
Over a plated, eight-course banquet consisting of Szechuan-Western fusion cuisine, the good Ambassador set the tone for a very casual, free-wheeling (read: no-holds-barred) discussion on a range of topics, from the austere (his opinion on the West Philippine Sea maritime row) to the frivolous (his all-time favorite Chinese restaurants in Manila). Incomparably incisive and uncharacteristically gracious, he regaled the group with his intricate knowledge of Geo-political diplomacy, touching on the centuries-old relationship between China and the Philippines, his views on the current Philippine election campaign, and his fervent desire to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. "The Philippines and China have long shared a deep appreciation of our cultures," he said, noting the existence of trade relations even before the advent of the Song Dynasty (宋朝) in the 10th century.
Conversing comfortably in English and Mandarin with the dexterity of a seasoned polyglot, the good Ambassador lauded the Anvil Business Club for its increasing prominence in society, citing its recent efforts to raise its profile beyond the confines of the Chinese-Filipino community. "As young entrepreneurs, you represent the future of your country," he said, "and it is my hope that you will continue to significantly contribute to the progress of your nation as leaders in your respective fields of endeavor."
Accompanied by Chinese Consul-General Qiu Jian (邱 艦) and Economic and Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan (金遠), China's Chief Envoy took to task of his critical role in smoothing Sino-Philippine relations in the wake of the festering row in the West Philippine (South China) Sea. "We do have problems, difficulties, I mean disputes in the South China Sea," he began. "The disputes have been there for decades. China's position on these disputes has been clear and consistent. China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha (南沙) Islands and adjacent waters. And in the meantime, it has always been China's policy to settle these disputes through peaceful negotiations. The policy is here today and will remain unchanged in the future."
Ambassador Zhao reassured the young group that China will "never resort to military action" no matter how contentious the issues are in the disputed islets, stating that China has never been (and will never be) a military aggressor. "China was once divided by eight countries with their respective spheres of influences; we do not wish to do the same with anyone. Besides, China and the Philippines have always been traditional trading partners and close neighbors," he mused. "In the highly unlikely event that we attack the Philippines without provocation, China will be the world's laughing stock! Military conflict is not even being considered as an option in the disputed islands."
The Chinese plenipotentiary shifted his discussion on how he thinks the Philippines can benefit from its current relations with China. "The prime task for both countries is to focus on economic and social developments, for which our peoples, the ordinary working class will benefit," the good Ambassador opined. He believes that the Philippines should look beyond differences and instead address issues which can benefit both countries, citing China's economic status. "China has become a economic giant. In terms of the Gross Domestic Product, we are Number Two in the world now, and we are developing at a rate of 7% growth annually," he said. "So there's great potential for China's economic development, also for enhancing economic and trade relations between our two countries. Sooner or later, the Mainland China will become the Number One trading partner of the Philippines. And as far as investment concerned, we have been encouraging Chinese enterprises to come to the Philippines to invest."
At this point, the good Ambassador offered a few ways where China can help the Philippines. "You know, China is good at infrastructural projects, and so far, as I observe, the Philippines is suffering from the bottleneck of infrastructural projects. That's the area with the greatest investment potential. Another area is tourism; the outbound tourists from China to other countries in the world have exceeded 100 million. I can give you examples: To Thailand, each year we have 4 million Chinese tourists, to Malaysia 4 million, to Indonesia is around 1 million. Those numbers are still increasing. But here in the Philippines, we only have 430,000. You can just imagine, in the future if there are 2 million or 4 million China tourists coming to the Philippines, how big contribution these Chinese tourists will make to the development of the Philippine economy? So those are the areas I think we have great cooperation potentials. That's why I'm quite optimistic about the future of our bilateral relations."
Over the unprecedented, four-hour tête-à-tête with China's top diplomat to the Philippines, the officers of the Anvil Business Club got to know Ambassador Zhao up-close and personal – his favorite pastime – drinking Ti Kuan Yin Tea (鐵觀音茶) while listening to traditional Chinese instrumental music; his savvy appreciation for Chinese culture and the arts; his wealth of knowledge in ancient and modern world history; and his perceptive world-views. The good Ambassador seemed to have enjoyed the Anvil’s company so much that he even took his sweet time touring the delegation around his 5,000-square meter residence. No other organization has enjoyed this much cordial attention from a high-ranking diplomat.
All told, Ambassador Zhao’s wit, charm, and intelligence has given every Anvil member in that room every reason to believe that China-Philippine relations will still go a long way under his astute diplomacy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


It was another evening of torrential rains and snarled traffic jam in the metropolis, but Typhoon Lando's wrath didn't stop the delegation from the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) in gracing the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (菲律賓中國商會) commemoration of China's 66th National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival at the Golden Bay Fresh Seafood Restaurant.
Attended by noted business and government personalities – among them Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of the 1st District of Leyte – the affair saw lucky winners receive generous cash prizes as their raffle tickets were drawn by chamber officers and special guests. A sumptuous twelve-course lariat and free-flowing Hennessy Cognac (courtesy of Anvil member Rudy Ngo) were made available to everyone. Entertainment numbers from sultry singer-composer Diana Soto Dayao, up-and-coming belter Abegail Garza, and fast-rising crooner Jayson Alexander Kiong made the evening more colorful. Both Jayson and ABS-CBN Sports & Action talent (not to mention, former Starstruck V finalist) Roxanne Chan Montealegre superbly co-hosted the event.
The National Day of the People's Republic of China (國慶節) is a public holiday in the People's Republic of China to mark the 66th founding nationhood of the State; it is traditionally observed on October 1 of every year. The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節), on the other hand, is a harvest festival celebrated by ethnic Chinese and is listed as an "intangible cultural heritage" and a public holiday in Mainland China.
Kudos to the Yeoman efforts of PCCCI's energetic Secretary-General Melvin Han Bing Tan, who made the entire evening very memorable.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Anvil's President Mr. Reginald Yu represented the Anvil Business Club (Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) in a special taping session at Radioworld Broadcasting Corporation (CLTV36) studios based in San Fernando, Pampanga, on the topic of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA)'s "Clark Green City."
The Anvil Business Club was especially selected by CLTV36 for a taped television interview regarding "Clark Green City's" potentials for investors as the next Metro Manila – only this time, more environmentally sustainable. "The project plan presented by BCDA President, Atty. Arnel Casanova during Anvil's Team-Building Session last October 2 was very promising," I said. "If executed as well as its previous projects – most notably the Bonifacio Global City – I believe that the 'Clark Green City' would even surpass the growth potential of BGC in terms of scope and breadth."
Indeed, the "Clark Green City" is seen to be a more modern version of the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and is planned to be 100 times bigger; moreover, the said plan shall boast of sustainable high-rise buildings, its own water recycling facility, and a water catchment facility, among others. Touted to be the center of big business and venue for trade activities for the whole of Central Luzon, the 35,000-hectare area adjoining the Clark Special Economic Zone is envisioned to be environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive, economically competitive, culturally relevant, and technologically integrated.
Asked if members of the Anvil Business Club would invest in such an endeavor, I replied, "Any businessman worth his/her salt would certainly do. Who would not want to invest in a destination where nature, lifestyle and business, education, and industry converge into a global city based on principles of sustainability?"
CLTV36 is the first and only free-to-air regional TV Station with a reach of 5.2 million population in Central Luzon. It is carried by 34 cable partners with 58,000 household subscribers. Broadcasting over Central Luzon's seven provinces (Pampanga,Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Bataan,Tarlac, Zambales and Aurora), CLTV36 is designed to serve the region through its news and public affairs programs, complemented with entertainment shows. The studio is part of the Laus Group of Companies owned and operated by business tycoon and fellow JCI Senator Liberato "Levy" Laus.
Kudos to Aldrin Marcelo and Irish Dotillos of CLTV36 for their warm accommodation.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Honored to represent the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) during the the Republic of China (Taiwan)'s 104th National Day Celebrations, in an evening of invigorated friendship between the Philippines and Taiwan at the Luzon Ballroom of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

Attended by a large gathering of over 1,000 guests, the historic event – exceptionally organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) – brought together dignitaries from Congress, representatives of various government departments, political parties, media, academia, diplomatic corps, as well as local communities. Among the speakers during the cocktail reception are Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin (林松煥), Representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Philippines; as well as Chairman Amadeo Perez Jr., Chairman of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO). Also present during the affair was former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, who shared a toast to health and friendship together with Representative Lin and Chairman Perez.

In his message, Representative Lin reminded the audience of Taiwan's related historical ties with the Philippines, likening the aim of the Wuchang Uprising (武昌革命) on October 10, 1911 into the visions of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal in his poem, “My Last Farewell”, in which the aim was to proclaim a modern Republic in which, people can enjoy their liberty, democracy and freedom. "Although it is never easy to realize the dreams of the revolutionaries including Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山), the Founding Father of the R.O.C." he said, "the R.O.C. in Taiwan has actually realized the said dreams – a free and democratic country, where people can freely use their freedom to pursue their dreams of their lives and develop their potential to the fullest extent without any fear of oppression and harassment."

Taiwan's head envoy also cited the strong economic relations between the Philippines and Taiwan. "Taiwan is the Philippine’s 6th largest destination of export, 9th largest trading partner and the Philippines is ranked as Taiwan’s 11th largest trading partner," he affirmed. "Bilateral trade volume has doubled from US$ 6.05 billion in 2009 in to US$11.60 billion in 2014. In 2014, Taiwan is also the 7th largest foreign investor of the Philippines and there are over 6,000 Taiwanese businessmen operating nearly 600 companies here," he concluded.

For his part, MECO Chairman Amadeo Perez lauded the Taiwan government for its continuous support to the Philippines and expressed hopes that both countries "can nourish the roots of friendship, and that the bilateral cooperation and partnership will grow from strength to strength in the years to come."

The Republic of China (R.O.C.) developed out of the Wuchang Uprising (武昌革命) against the Qing Dynasty (清朝) on October 10, 1911. That date is now celebrated annually as the R.O.C.'s national day, also known as the "Double Ten Day." On December 29, 1911, Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山) was elected president by the Nanjing Assembly (南京組裝) representing seventeen provinces. On January 1, 1912, he was officially inaugurated and pledged "to overthrow the despotic Manchu government, consolidate the Republic of China and plan for the welfare of the people." After Sun's death on March 12, 1925, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) became the leader of the Kuomintang Party (中國國民黨). However, after October 1, 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and a few hundred thousand Republic of China troops and two million refugees, predominantly from the government and business community, fled from mainland China to Taiwan, as the Communists took over the mainland. On December 7, 1949 Chiang proclaimed Taipei, Taiwan, the temporary capital of the Republic of China.

Thanks to Anvil's Director for Cultural Affairs, Jayson Sze, for arranging and extending the event invitation to the Anvil Business Club.

Monday, October 5, 2015


 "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." This African proverb just about sums up the motivation behind the phenomenal advances that the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs (Anvil Business Club) has accomplished for its first-ever, Team Building Session at the Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club last October 2 to 4, 2015.

Graced by more than fifty members who either took a rainy, three-hour chartered bus ride (sponsored by the Club's dynamic Vice-President for Internal Affairs Hubert Henry Chua), or drove with their own private vehicles, the three-day, two-night session showcased the extraordinary creativity and laser-like precision of the Project Committee, led by Director for Cultural Affairs Jayson Sze, Chairperson Val Ang, and Co-Chairperson Zel Chua who left no stone unturned in ensuring that the participants leave with an explosively awesome experience.

Under the creative direction of Committee Head for Programs, Richmond Co and buttressed by the dynamic husband-and-wife tandem of Ben Ching and Larraine Chuacokiong Ching, the delegates immediately warmed up to each other through their various icebreakers, such as the "Hunter, Fire, and Earthquake" game – where members bunch up in threes, with two of them holding their hands (forming and "shelter") over the third player. The two players with the joint hands are called "trees" and the third player stooping between them are called "squirrels." When the command “Hunter” is shouted, the squirrels must move out of their trees move to another tree. When the command “Fire” is shouted, the “trees” must move out of their spot and move to another squirrel. When the command “Earthquake” is shouted, the “trees” and “squirrels” must move out of their spot; this where you have a complete pandemonium, where a “tree” can become a “squirrel” and vice-versa.

Another is the "Rubber and Glue" game – where participants form around in a circle and two members at the opposite ends of the circle are given two neckties; one fastens a single knot and passes it to the person next to him/her, while the other bands a double knot and also passes it to the person beside him/her. The one who gets to hold two neckties ends up losing the game. Still another is the "Pass the Message" game – where the players should pass a message given by the facilitator from one end of the line to the other using only facial gestures.

Another engaging set of activities was the "Amazing Race" series relay games. The first in the series, the "Over and Under" game, saw participants divided into three equal teams, each lined up in parallel lines. The first person from each line has a bucket of water and needs to take out the water from the bucket using two plastic cups to pour water to a waiting set of cups simultaneously – one over the head and another between their legs – to the person behind them and passes the water to the next person, and so forth in the same "Over-under" pattern. The second event in the series, "Swimming Relay," had players paddle, run, or wade towards a waiting canoe some ten meters off-shore. The first team to have its members individually touch the canoe and run back to shore wins the competition.

For many, however, the most memorable team-building activity of the entire session remains to be the "Mystery Box" game – loosely patterned after the increasingly popular "Escape Room" and "Breakout" game, where a team of 7 to 8 people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements in their surroundings to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the area within a set time limit. Absolutely interactive and immersive, the puzzle game was littered with riddles, gadgets, and mind tricks. Armed only with just one micro-LED flashlight per team amid pitch black surroundings, participants desperately try to solve the puzzles as quickly as possible as problem-solving abilities, creativity, and resourcefulness prove to be critical skills to win the game. Even Anvil's most-recognized erudite George Siy (Chairman Emeritus) and Peter Mangasing (Chairman) could not help but scratch their heads at some of the most troublesome brain-teasers they have ever come across.

Other interesting undertakings included, "The Monopoly Trade" game and "The President and Bomber" game. The former is a card game derived from the board-game Monopoly, where teams attempt to collect six different complete sets of cards (i.e. oil, coal, gold, wood, steel, bomb), either by playing them directly, stealing them from other players, or trading them for other cards they already own. The latter is a social deduction/hidden role game for six or more players – where two teams, the Red Team and the Blue Team – compete against each other. The Blue Team has a President. The Red Team has a Bomber. Players are equally distributed between two rooms (i.e., separate playing areas). The game consists of five timed rounds. At the end of each round, some players will be swapped into opposing rooms. If the Red Team's Bomber is in the same room as the President at the end of the game, then the Red Team wins; otherwise the Blue Team wins. Lying was encouraged.

But, while the three-day affair was primarily meant to engender closer camaraderie, not everything was fun and games. True to its nature of being a business club, the committee invited no less than the magnetic Atty. Arnel Cassanova, the youngest president of The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) who successfully transformed a former army camp into a beautifully master-planned central business district we now call the Bonifacio Global City (BGC); as well as the longest and most modern toll-way in the Philippines, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway among other projects that stirred development in the country.

Cutting short his function with President Benigno Aquino III just to be with the Anvil Business Club members, the enigmatic administrator broke bread with the delegates during a satiating dinner at the Sambali Lounge and later proceeded to lay out his far-reaching vision for Clark City: "The Green City," the biggest and most ambitious project under BCDA's sleeves. According to Atty. Cassanova, "The Green City will be an intelligent city (technologically wired, connected by internet) and a sustainable city with its lot of spaces." He believes that there is a need to create another metropolitan city that will ease the congestion in Manila and provide economic activity in Central Luzon. "And this is exactly the mandate of BCDA, to create opportunities, spur development and add to the value generation of the country as we continue to grow economically," he added.

In-between breaks, members were given the opportunity to take advantage of Anvaya Cove's unique "mountains-meet-the-sea" topography, where distinctive environments are set against stunning views of the mountains of the Bataan range and the waters of Subic Bay. Member-participants had a field day enjoying the resort's various water playground facilities, its luxurious infinity pools, Seahorse Kiddie Village and Massage Salas; while some just decided to enjoy the respite away from the Metro Manila urban jungle by simply having a well-deserved nap in one of their assigned "casitas," among many others.

The final evening was to be the most exciting, as Ayala Land Premier's Rafael and Tracey Nieto treated the Anvil delegates to a sumptuous, two-set, five-course smorgasbord, while presenting a wide range of Ayala Land Premier's on-going residential and commercial projects for possible investment opportunities. They were even given a wide screen projector to cheer for the Gilas Pilipinas Team in their exciting (albeit losing) match versus the Chinese contingent. The official schedule ended with a cozy bonfire nightcap, where the tired but happy members traded war stories under bottles of wine, whiskey, toasted marshmallows and hotdogs.

As the group headed back to Manila the following day, everyone couldn't stop heaping praise-after-praise to the Anvaya Committee for a job exceptionally done. The torrential rains of Typhoon "Kabayan" only served to lift the spirits of the participants that they were already planning for the next out-of-town trip even before they reached the city-destination.

Indeed, we only have the entire Committee to thank for in bringing such a perfectly rewarding weekend to an indelibly memorable conclusion.