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When this “Tagumpay” column started a year ago, the idea was to feature success stories of entrepreneurs whose lives give great inspiration. It is something we all need in life to help continue to motivate us to achieve our dreams. All of us need inspiration as our fuel. As our own story serves as inspiration to others, we also get inspired by the stories of others. This “Tagumpay” column provides that fuel we all need to face life’s challenges.
This time, allow me to give tribute to my partner in life who has given me the fuel to get where I am today and have what I have one great happy family. My wife, Marissa Orosa Concepcion, celebrates her golden year this week. This is our tagumpay story.
I met Marissa in her high school days. We met in the park in our village in Forbes. She was the manager of the Assumption team (I think). I was in the park’s basketball court daily, as basketball was my passion in those days. I literally slept on the court. Marissa attended the inter-village games. That was the first time I was attracted to her.
As young kids, we used to hang out in her place. Marissa did have a boyfriend at that time, but I guess she still found time to hang out with her new friends and I was just part of that group. I was so skinny then and not that attractive. I felt that I would be no match for those who were courting her and there were quite a number of them. Some were even good friends of mine.
But the race was on.
Even though she had a boyfriend, I was kind of persistent. I found ways to draw attention. When we had trips abroad, I would always come home with pasalubong for her. During group dates, I hardly had any money, so I had to turn to Eloy’s to sell my clothes just to be able to afford going out. My parents used to give us P50 a week for school allowance, at a time when Coke was sold for P1, but it wasn’t quite enough to impress on a date. I also did not yet have a car. When finally had one, I had to share it with my sister Marie. We fought regularly over the car. Despite all this, I did not lose hope.
When our family went on a tour of Jerusalem and Europe, we visited more than 20 churches since my parents were deeply religious. I made sure one of my three wishes when I prayed in each church was to ask that she would say yes to be my girlfriend when I got back home. That was my wish at every church we visited.
During those times, we did not have what kids today have, like the MU (mutual understanding) status. It was still the old-fashioned way of courtship. We would have long telephone conversations until mornings. There was no Facebook, so everything was more personal. I remember sending her a postcard almost daily during that trip to Europe. That was how kulit I was, but the strategy was to be “top of mind,” as we say in marketing today. I did not want her to forget me while I was abroad.
A couple of weeks after I got back from our family trip, I was able to gather all my guts and conquer my fear. I asked her if she would be my girlfriend. To the shock of my life, she said yes. My wish in all those churches was answered! We did go on strong for a couple of years, but being young and naughty I guess, we broke up. She had more suitors when that happened. When I realized that it was a mistake, the comeback was more challenging. It took years. I almost gave up after meeting someone else, but I guess that one last try and a car accident made things gradually fall into place again. We were stronger.
We finally got married. It was something that I thought would not happen, considering what we went through. I will never forget Marissa’s mom, who motivated me to continue and not give up on her. I tied the knot at the age of 25 on June 26, 1983. She was 22.
I always look back at how Marissa and I met; how we were as boyfriend-girlfriend; and how she helped me with my first businesses with fire extinguishers, popcorn, and cotton candy. She has always been with me as I had my humble beginnings in RFM Corporation, being patient and understanding as I acquired Cosmos and Selecta, among other brands that kept some of my time away from the family.
Marissa continues to be very supportive and understanding, as she also attends every Go Negosyo event. She is always there as my partner in giving back. She sees that I find great fulfillment in my advocacy. She is a perfect hostess in many of our dinners and social events.
Today, we have five children: Christian, 24; Magsy, 21; Catherine, 17; Monica, 15; and Isabella, 4. They are all good children since they have a mother who has made sure she mentored them quite well. Coming from experience, they can’t fool her. She knows the tricks. Seriously, we both have taken the time to be with them, even with the work we have. Mentoring kids, especially as they grow up, is the parents’ responsibility.
More than wealth and power is a happy family, which brings about a happy life. As Marissa joins me in our golden years, we further realize that God has been good to us. We would like our children to be blessed with the same fortune of having a blessed family, something many take for granted these days. This is my greatest tagumpay having my wife and family.
I have also been inspired by my parents. My father Joecon, who is turning 80 this year, is still in the best health. My mom is a great inspiration as well. While they are of old age and do fight a lot (which is part of growing old), they are still together. They have eight children and 28 grandchildren, which is truly an inspiration to me and my wife.
We will all reach our golden years. What more can we ask for in life that is far greater than to be happy and surrounded by a blessed family? To my wife Marissa, you are still as young and beautiful as when I met you more than 30 years ago. May our Lord bless you with a long and happy life; and may you continue to serve as an inspiration to your friends and more importantly to me and our children. I love you always…
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top rating entrep show Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! on GMA News TV, Saturday and Sunday 8-8:30 a.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips in your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.