The Philippines' First All-Opinion Website

May 5, 2019


“I hate business. When I grow up, I will NEVER, ever, EVER go into business!”

That’s what I told myself when I was young. Now, I keep learning from entrepreneurs and work like a dog because I’m saving for a business in the future.

Sometimes life is funny. The things we absolutely hate become our passion in life. I used to think that business was evil because it made my parents spend less time with us. However, I realized that because of the businesses my parents got into, they were able to send me and my siblings to good schools.

But this story isn’t about me. It’s about the business women whom I met and what I learned from them:

  1. Keep learning.

“There’s always something new to learn,” my mentor told me. More notes and more meetings also mean more opportunities to grow.

It’s exciting to learn something new—but the more I learned, I realized that there are more things that I haven’t learned and should learn. It can be overwhelming at first because there are lots of names, acronyms, and even laws that I need to remember. Instead of getting confused, I was advised that it’s best to welcome the new information like the glorious food in a buffet: choose quality over quantity.

In business, the ones who kept learning kept innovating while the ones who claimed they know better just became bitter.

Chef Gaita is one of the most humble people I have ever met. At the recently held Tourism Summit where she was invited to be a speaker, she mentioned that people call them experts but that does not mean they know everything. She believes that when people have that “I know everything” mindset, it will be the start of their downfall. It will not make them grow because she too believes that there is always something new to learn.


  1. Choose the right partners.

Some choose their business partners only because of the money that they can bring to the table. While having a lot of capital can be a good start, if you don’t share the same values with your business partners, the foundation will always be wobbly. Shared values are and will always be priceless.

Also, part of the partners in the business is the staff. It’s often overlooked but like what Cathy Turvil of Nurture Wellness Village said, “when you believe in them, they grow”. I looked at the smiles on her team’s faces and felt the sincerity. It genuinely showed how happy they are to work with her.

Ms. Cathy knew their first names and proudly introduced them to visitors. I was even more impressed when she shared that she has more than a hundred employees, then she shuddered at the number. “We are responsible for more than a hundred families,” she adds. I was floored by how she didn’t just think of them as an individual. She also thought of how their work at her business would have an impact on their families.


  1. If you decide to tie the knot, choose wisely.

In addition to partners in business are the partners in life. Marriage is like a business because it’s a commitment. A couple invests their time and talent to support each other. Thus, if you have a business and advocacy that you really love, the one you will marry will play an important role in achieving your dreams.

On top of my list for this are Gina and Bobby Jimenez. Gina is the inspiring lady behind Connected Women, a tech startup for women aimed to match 30,000 women with jobs in five years, working from home. With the huge amount of work that she needs to accomplish here and abroad, she remains optimistic because Bobby is always there to support her. Her husband doesn’t mind being surrounded in a room where 98% are women. At the ASEAN Women’s Business Conference, Gina and Bobby still walked side by side, met new friends (again, mostly women) and encouraged them to be part of Connected Women and Facebook’s She Means Business without forcing them or making them feel uncomfortable. They simply love each other and love what they are doing to help more women. Even when there are no Connected Women events, he tells Gina how proud he is of her accomplishments.

If your loved one is your cheerleader, that person is definitely for keeps!

Bobby Romero (second from right) smiles as he listens to his wife Gina who shares her experience to the members of Connected Women Philippines


  1. Manage money. Don’t let it manage you.

Of course, the goal of having a business is to make money. Alongside this, entrepreneurs have financial obligations (pay employees, taxes, and debts on time), financial discipline (separate personal money from business money), and other money matters to attend to. The edge of women on this is our ability to multitask that’s why even before establishing the business, women attend classes likes basics of accounting and bookkeeping.

For the times when I would earn only a few pesos, I would remember what Inez Reyes of Reyes Barbecue mentioned: “Ang piso ay piso. Ang piso na iyan puwedeng maging isang milyon.”

Need more capital to jumpstart or further boost your business? The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) offers loans. DBP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Benel Lagua explained that “It’s not risky (for our bank to offer this) because women are good payers”. I believe that’s something that women in business should continue.

Like power, handling money is a big responsibility. What entrepreneurs do when they have a lot of money and when they don’t have money speaks volumes.


  1. Don’t forget your community and your country.

Josette Biyo (an educator whose exceptional work impressed MIT so much that they named a planet after her) said it best: “Doing something for your country is not a choice. It’s a responsibility.” In a ballroom of Mandarin Oriental Manila filled with business women attendees organized by the Women’s Business Council a few years back, the lead speaker was able to educate without being preachy.

That is the same reason why I look up to ECHOstore’s Chit Juan, Reena Francisco, and Jeannie Javelosa. They reach out to various communities in our country. It has been 10 years and they are still at it because they believe in the impact of a social enterprise. It’s not just profit but progress at the same time.

The ECHOtrio: Jeannie Javelosa, Chit Juan, and Reena Francisco

When a business helps local communities, it shows love for our country. Try it and you will realize that there can be no greater love.


  1. What we have is owned by the CEO of all CEOs

Whatever religion or faith we have, I observed that the most admirable owners, board members, managers, or directors are those who are not obsessed with titles. In fact, the ones who excel in business are those who acknowledge that someone up there gave these blessings.

Baker Mary Grace Dimacali always applied this. Perhaps that’s the reason why her products at Mary Grace Cafe constantly look good and taste good. She prays and complements it with hard work. The CEO up there helps those who help themselves.

Come to think of it: The fame, awards, titles, and even properties are all not ours. They are temporary.

For me, these are the reasons why women mean business when they do business. Being an entrepreneur is a risk. It is rewarding but it can also be heartbreaking. Still, as someone once said, “if you love what you are doing, then why not give it your best?”

I hope to meet more inspiring women like them.



Lead photo by Liz Rañola

Share and Follow Us:

Photo/s used in this post is/are covered under the Fair Use Exemption of the IP Code.

By posting a comment in the section provided, you hereby agree to:
  • You acknowledge that Manila Speak is only a platform for your views and opinions and those views and opinions of yours are not necessarily that of Manila Speak.
  • The comments section is a public forum and you will be considerate and respectful at all times.
  • You shall not post any defamatory utterances, profanity or vulgar language, anything that is obscene or abusive. You shall not post any false statements, harassing words or threaten a person’s safety or property.
  • You shall not, without consent, post any personal information such as but not limited to phone numbers and email or mailing addresses.
  • You shall not violate other’s intellectual property or proprietary rights.
  • Manila Speak may or may not review your post but it reserves the right to remove that same if such post may potentially violate the guidelines.
  • All Rights Reserved. No portion of this site may be republished without permission of the publisher.



Speak Your Mind

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial