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Business As Usual

Prime movers behind Franchise Asia Phl 2014

Jennylei Caberte - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The local franchising industry has been able to weather many storms in the past, thanks in part to the dedication and efforts of the men and women behind the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) who work tirelessly to ensure the survival of their sector. Visionaries like PFA chairman emeritus Samie Lim, the universally acknowledged "Father of Philippine Franchising," have enabled the local franchising industry to meet and prevail over numerous challenges.

 Year after year, the Philippine franchising industry has to confront and address challenges that test the resolve of its leaders to carry on. Despite overwhelming constraints and problems, the men and women behind PFA did not shirk away from their duty of ensuring their industry would stay afloat especially during trying times.  PFA has managed to ward off threats and cushion the impact of worrisome developments on the local franchising sector. 

The story of PFA is by itself an inspiring saga. Those who have been called upon to serve their organization have valiantly performed their leadership obligations despite the many problems they have to contend with in their own businesses. They bravely soldiered on, motivated by the need to help their fellow businessmen to ensure the survival of their industry.

FAPHL 2014 generals

The "generals" behind FAPHL 2014 have geared and focused their efforts toward ensuring that this year's event allowed franchising stakeholders to better understand the challenges and opportunities the ASEAN integration offers.  Since preparation is key, the organizing committee led by Dr. Alan Escalona (CFE), overall event chairman, has made sure the stakeholders were   armed with the necessary information to enable them to take advantage of opportunities presented by the establishment of an ASEAN common market.

The men behind FAPHL 2014 are no strangers to adversities themselves, having weathered challenges and difficulties in the past to achieve their current status.  Here they are: 

Dr. Alan Escalona, Fruit Magic

Escalona, who is president and chief executive officer of Fruit Magic, considers himself fortunate to have been born into a Filipino family who placed equal importance on education and business sense. For him, business training came very early in life.  

"My parents would always tell us when we were young, to always keep our eye out for business opportunities, even if they allowed us to work elsewhere temporarily. Since they were in the garments business, they always really encouraged us to help them during our spare time and on weekends. That means that even on school days, if we have no classes, they insisted on taking us to the factory to help out. They frowned on idling our time aimlessly at home. Looking back now, I realize that these are the values that are very dear to me," Escalona recounted.  

After completing his medical course at 21, and entertaining the idea of settling down, Escalona realized his priorities have changed. Instead of concentrating on his medical practice alone, he decided he also wanted to put up his own business, with which he could raise his own family. 

Thus from the 1980s to the 1990s, Escalona, like his parents, went into the garments business. With his business acumen and access to special machines from his many years of working in his family's garments business, the business was able to supply lingerie, baby clothes and jackets to various companies in the US including brands like Victoria's Secret. 

Challenged by the prospects of his new business, Escalona went to the US to study the fruit bar business. He learned more about juicing and found it was more to his liking since it combines medicine or a health-related field and business.  

Today, aside from presiding over his thriving business, Escalona has become a strong advocate for Filipinos to go for fruit juices, one cup at a time. He has been juicing for over a decade and still plays basketball with young fellows in their 20’s and takes the upper hand in their games.

 Richard Sanz, FoodAsia Corp.

Another FAPHL 2014 “general” is Richard V. Sanz, president and CEO of FoodAsia Corp. (Bibingkinitan and Bar-B-King), who chaired the International Franchise Expo. He learned and developed his penchant for hard work and perseverance from his mother who single-handedly raised him and his siblings.

Sanz, a Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate of De La Salle University – Manila said he was not born with a silver spoon. He recalls the many nights when he saw his mother finishing one sewing project after another using their old sewing machine, to support them.  

His mother’s hard work has inspired Sanz to persevere in life and do his best in his studies. As a young student, he stayed focused on his studies and related activities, guided by the constant reminder from elders that “an idle mind is the playground of the devil." 

The hardships of his mother and the simple life they lived when he was young taught him the value of hard work and frugality with the blessings that come their way. These values inspired Sanz to come up with unique concepts like Bibingkinitan, noting that regular bibingkas are often not all consumed and part of them simply go to waste.

He thought that somebody has to make bibingkas smaller or ‘bite size.” It dawned on him that he could be that person. Thus, he embarked on several taste tests until he arrived at a formulation that his customers agreed with. He thus named it Bibingkinitan which is the marriage of two words: Bibingka and Balingkinitan.  

The concept proved successful and now, Sanz is reaping the fruits of his creativity and hard work. Apart from selling Bibingkinitan, he has also ventured into the barbecue business selling grilled goodies that cater to the Filipino palate. His Bar-B-King outlet is located in popular malls, which is another feat for him considering that it was the first time he ventured into a restaurant-type of business.

Jerome Tuguin, Mister Donut

Leading this year's International Franchise Conference is Jerome C. Tuguin, general manager of Mister Donut Philippines.

The marketing savvy of this FAPHL 2014 “general” has been instrumental in the expansion of Mister Donut, which now has more than 1,000 franchise stores all over the country.

Tuguin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, Major in Economics, from San Beda College, Manila. He also earned a Master of Entrepreneurship, with Distinction, from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.  

His extensive experience in the corporate world and his success in helping Mister Donut become a byword among Filipino consumers have made Tuguin “the man” to chair the FAPHL 2014’s International Franchise Conference.

He said this year's conference focused on the importance of education and how knowledge can help the local franchising industry succeed even in the face of stiff competition that may be posed by other franchise concepts in Southeast Asia. 

Escalona, Sanz, and Tuguin, three FAPHL 2014 “generals” emphasized it has always been PFA's mission to explore ways to help stakeholders in the franchising industry. Correctly, they believe that the success of one local franchise concept would mean more jobs for Filipinos and more revenues for the government; revenues which it could use to invest in education and anti-poverty initiatives.

This year, the Philippine franchising industry is bracing itself for the impact of the forthcoming integration of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) into one Economic Community with a solid 600 million consumer market. ASEAN integration took  center stage at the Franchise Asia Philippines 2014 (FAPHL 2014) on July 16-20, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  It is considered as Asia's biggest four-in-one franchising event.       

BIBINGKINITAN

BUSINESS

ESCALONA

FRANCHISING

MISTER DONUT

SANZ

TUGUIN

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