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Lifestyle Business

How do you raise a child like Tessie Sy Coson?

BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET - Wilson Lee Flores - The Philippine Star

Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it. —Marva Collins

Philippine STAR subscriber and businessman George Chua Cham of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, e-mailed: “My family and I always read your newspaper columns. I have a question: How can business families raise a hardworking and disciplined child like SM founder Henry Sy’s daughter Teresita ‘Tessie’ Sy Coson of BDO? What did he and his wife do right?”

First of all, I’d like to congratulate the Henry Sy family for another milestone in 2012. The international news service Bloomberg reported that their holding company SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) has just “leapfrogged” over the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) “to become the nation’s most valuable stock.”

I can’t forget that years ago, when he had dinner at his newly opened Podium mall, Henry Sy told me that ever since he was a kid, he always dreamt of being No. 1 at anything he does.

On the question of how to raise a child to become as conscientious, diligent, humble and capable as BDO boss Tessie Sy Coson, I once asked her when her dad first made her work part-time. She replied that at age 13 she already started to work in the family store. My follow-up question was whether this was during holidays or weekends, and she said usually after school hours. Henry and wife Felicidad Tan Sy trained Tessie and her other siblings Hans, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Herbert and Harley well.

Apart from providing kids the best education, it is important not to spoil children in order to raise them with the proper attitude. In my studies of business families past and present, those with humble, level-headed children like Lance Gokongwei and his sisters, the Zobel brothers, the kids of Manny and Cynthia Villar, Lucio Tan’s heir apparent Mike Tan, the children of Andrew and Mercedes Gotianun and the Aboitiz heirs, did not spoil them. 

One monumental and fatal error of some self-made entrepreneurs is trying to insulate their kids from the hardships or struggles they went through in their youth by pampering their children and indulging their whims. Don’t shield kids from hardships.

Instill discipline and proper moral values by words and by example. Teach them how to save and budget, the difference between need and want, the value of money, the importance of delayed self-gratification, how people earn in real life by their own efforts.

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PBCom led by talented young boss

One of the best bankers in the country today is 48-year-old Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) chairman and Petron president Eric Ongpin Recto, former finance undersecretary and a nephew of Alphaland big boss Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin.

Recto earned his degree in industrial engineering at the University of the Philippines in 1985 and his MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1989. It was through Recto, a STAR reader, that I was able to get the first, exclusive interview with the brilliant, visionary yet controversial and brutally frank Ongpin.

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Comeback Tycoon Pepito Alvarez selling lots of BMWs & KIAS

Among the wealthiest self-made billionaires in the southern Philippines is BMW and Kia vehicle distributor Jose “Pepito” Chavez Alvarez of Cagayan de Oro City, who recently donated the Jose Ch. Alvarez (JCA) Technology Complex to the Jesuit-run Xavier University’s Manresa campus along Masterson Avenue in that city.

In the Philippines, despite the success of various luxury brands, Germany’s BMW brand is still a bestseller along with rival German brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Other popular brands include Toyota Lexus and Volvo.

Unknown to most people, what is most inspiring about the Alvarez success story is not just his “rags-to-riches” career but his having recovered very well from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Alvarez is reputedly also one of the biggest landowners in Palawan province, especially in San Vicente Island, where Megastar Sharon Cuneta Pangilinan has also invested in a beautiful beachfront property.

The late Speaker Ramon “Monching” Mitra Jr. was a close friend of Alvarez, but his son, Palawan Governor Abraham “Baham” Mitra is now Alvarez’s political rival. I remember meeting and talking at length with Alvarez many years ago at the unique, rustic hilltop Palawan residence of Speaker Mitra.

The tycoon’s brother is Palawan Congressman Antonio “Tony” Alvarez, whose first district includes El Nido, where the Ayala Group has tourism facilities, San Vicente, Busuanga, Culion, Cuyo, Coron and other areas.  The world-class Amanpulo resort is located on Pamalican isle, which is part of the Quiniluban group of Cuyo Islands.

* * *

Balikbayan composer, arranger, lyricist, pianist and music producer Marites Salientes is holding her second concert on Jan. 24 at the Manila Polo Club. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She usually plays the Tap Room in Manila Hotel and Martinis Bar every Wednesday with her Joyful Jazz band. In 2000, she joined corporate America as vice president of sales and marketing for Pulte Homes Inc., a Fortune 200 company.  Her boyfriend, DMCI Homes president Alfredo “Freddie” R. Austria, is often seen admiring her music at Martinis Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Manila hotel. 

* * *

Mang Inasal & Jollibee founders buy RFM condo project, Oishi boss goes into hotels

Congratulations to “rags-to-riches” Mang Inasal founder Edgar Injap Sia II for selling his fast-food chain to Jollibee and ending up as a real estate business partner with Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong in the aptly named Double Dragon Properties, which he said will be “focusing on some horizontal, vertical and commercial center developments.” 

Their first condo project, WH Taft Residences near De La Salle University, is targeted for completion in 2014. They bought the 30-story, 562-unit condo project from Philtown of RFM’s Joey Concepcion. The new owners said: “We will resume full-swing construction this quarter of 2013.”

Injap also has another company called Hotel of Asia, Inc. in partnership with Oishi snack food tycoon Carlos Chan and another ethnic Chinese entrepreneur, Simon Paz. This firm will focus on Hotel 101 condotels and franchising Shanghai’s Jinjiang Inn, which operates mid-range business hotels. The first Jinjiang Inn in the Philippines will open on San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, this mid-2013 and the second hotel will open on Arnaiz (Pasay) Road, Makati City, in 2014.

* * *

Thanks to Philippine STAR readers and multinational executives Wen-Szu Lin and wife Karen Cua Lin of Beijing City for sending me their interesting new book entitled The China Twist: An Entrepreneur’s Cautious Tales on Franchising in China. 

Lin is a Taiwanese who grew up in America, while his wife Karen is originally from Davao City in the southern Philippines. They met each other at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Karen’s father is businessman John Cua from Davao.

Wen-Szu Lin and Karen said that there are so many ways for the Philippines to economically benefit from the rise of China, pointing out that despite Taiwan and mainland China “still officially at war and ideologically so different,” the leaders of both societies pragmatically set aside politics in order to focus on booming trade, investments and tourism. Lin said China has become the fastest-growing and biggest source of tourists as well as a top export market for Taiwan, due to the strategy of setting aside politics. 

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Thanks for your feedback! E-mail [email protected] or follow WilsonLeeFlores on Twitter, Facebook and http://willsoonflourish.blogspot.com/.

ALVAREZ AN ENTREPRENEUR CENTER HENRY SY JINJIANG INN JOLLIBEE MANG INASAL
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