The rise of world-class pinoys

The rise of world-class pinoys


One voice pic
 why it would take an Irish (motivational speaker) named Mike Grogan to write a book “The Rise of the Pinoy” to tell the world Filipinos are “world-class”.

Grogan traveled through Europe, Africa and America- left his lucrative profession there to   stay in the Philippines. He is fascinated by Pinoys and wrote about 21 of them and what made them tick – big-time.

Finding One’s Inspiration drove Josh Mahinay to establish Bag 943 (Be a Giver) , an outfit that designs and makes high fashion quality bags -with a difference. For every bag sold -one other bag is donated to one disadvantaged child in any of the adopted public schools.

Amid the mocking laughter of friends, John left his job in the USA to set up the firm. One day, he was moved by a poor student carrying an old plastic bag in  his home province in Zamboanga and reminded him of his own destitute past as a school boy. That stunned moment changed his life.


Kris Reyes Lopez (founder of Messy Bessy)   drew inspiration  from among the many orphanages she visited starting when she was 4 years old -towed there by her mother. Today Messy Bessy  provides education (high school and college) to “at risk” adults and gives them employment.

“At risk” are young adults who have been traumatized in the past that ruined their personalities. Once healed psychologically, they become part of her workforce that makes natural, chemical-free personal and household care cleaners.

Finding one’s unique and purpose is life drove Anna Meloto- Wilk , a graduate of a top school, to quit her high-paying job to follow “serving the purpose” of her life.  “Many people are chasing a lifestyle- the Filipino dream- of two cars and a house- and to maintain that lifestyle. I am chasing my purpose in life”.

Anna with her American husband ( a Gawad Kalinga volunteer) now successfully run “Human Nature” , the largest homegrown cosmetic and beauty company in RP  hiring 300 social entrepreneurs ,selling in 5 countries abroad (aside from here)  with 40,000 dealers.

On the other hand, Anton Diaz quit his senior executive position in a multinational company 10 years ago and created a blog called “Awesome Planet”- mainly starting as a documentary and critique of places that  the family traveled to and restaurants they ate in.  Now he has 1 million pages followers and happy to be able to help people find the right choices.

Is Anton happy? You bet -he is.


Having the wrong motivation will never take a person where he should be. Lucky for Steve Benitez who was so obsessed with coffee, wherein he noted every “coffee experience” he ever had wherever he went.


Finding one’s motivation- love for coffee for Steve- was what  transformed him into becoming the CEO  today of Bo’s Coffee- the No. 1 homegrown coffee shop in the nation.

But here is another one. “Every child who is hungry must be fed”- was the simple motivation for one, Benjie Abad to set up his own  Karinderia ni Mang Urot” which is feeding for free – children in 7 public schools three times a week.

“No heroism here. No voices telling me what to do. I just feel the need to feed the hungry. And I will continue to do this for as long as I can breathe.” says Abad who was moved, sometime in 2012, by the site of children eating food leftovers from a thrash bin. Benjie was moved beyond words.


First, it was just Saturday when he set up a table near his home in Quezon City -to feed the hungry children for free.  Then he used the Facebook to enjoin his friends -here and abroad- to finance the selfless undertaking- and they all responded. Kind hearts are only be told- in order to act.

Identifying One’s Greatest Enemy is the one thing that keeps internationally known founder of Gawad Kalinga Tony Meloto from losing track of his objectives.  He has been invited many times  as international speaker regarding  the tenets of his NGO (that moved thousands out of poverty) and   that has been replicated in many sites in Asia. Since he is mobbed like a “rock star”, Tony goes back to his roots among the poor and informal settlers in order to always re-discover this crusade  is “not about me but the greatness of  the human spirit within all of us.”


His GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan is a model hub that aims to create 500,000 social entrepreneurs that will positively affect 5 million Filipinos in the future.

On the other hand,, for Rebecca Bustamante – it was her  friends discouraging her that she can never rise above her social class -that she had to fight life long. Rebecca, in fact, was a domestic helper (DH) for 15 years in Singapore and Canada -but used all her extra time and money to “educate herself” through seminars and short courses.

Today, the DH is a successful businesswoman and  CEO of the ASIA CEO Forum.

Of course, we have heard of the saying  that ” failure is just success turned inside out”. And all Noey Lopez had to do was to do just that after a monumental failure that almost ruined his self-esteem.

Embracing One’s Pain  was Lopez ‘move to rise above his failure- as he worked 15-16 hours a day with one goal in mind : to manage successfully a world brand of coffee shop in the Philippines. Starting in 1996, Noey had charted Starbucks into a 200-plus branch popular coffee bar in the country today.  People flock to Noey today to ask for his formula- this man who thought he was then a total failure. But not after he learned to embrace his pain.

It started with realizing one’s failure and not to repeat the same mistakes twice.

One Filipino named Richard Sanz probably took all the lessons noted above.At age 23, he quit his IT executive position in a multinational company -an engineer with zero business knowledge. He learned business hands-on and read a lot of business books and models.

He used his savings of P100,000 and started Tea Square- a business that moved and  then floundered. One day, he saw a leftover  parcel of a bibingka on the table plate and an idea struck him

“Why make plate-  size bibingka which you slice up and some are not consumed?”

Thus a simple idea grown into a giant  business was born. He set up Bibingkinitan -to serve nothing but bite-sized bibingka with the usual salted egg and cheese on top and cooked over banana leaf.

Now only 33 years old, Richard,  has now   250 stores in the Philippines and one each in UAE and Dubai.  His dream is to make a global success of a 100% Filipino product.

There are 10 million overseas Filipinos -many who do not know how to cook bibingka but  yearn for its native taste. Voila! a Food Champ is born.

May our readers be inspired by one or all of them for the  coming First World Philippines. Shalom!

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