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For my column today I will take a look back in time, because as we get so occupied with all the parties brought by the Christmas fever, we sometimes tend to forget the things that really count. We were really busy with the Christmas preparations as my wife and I played host to both the Orosa and Concepcion clans, on top of the pre-Christmas parties of our children. Then on Christmas Eve, my wife’s brothers and sisters and her relatives from Vancouver and Australia came together for their annual reunion. Talent, especially in singing, runs in the Orosa family, while we Concepcions are more of the entrepreneur type, and that has been our excuse when it comes to performing for these Christmas programs. But we enjoyed watching our relatives dance to the famous Korean Gangnam song, which I think is the most performed dance routine in Christmas parties this year. My daughter Isabella, who was the youngest performer in that number, danced together with her cousins and my wife’s brother from Vancouver, and I must admit that her talent definitely did not come from me.
Having a Christmas mass at home is something that our family has been doing for so many years now, and it is always celebrated by Fr. Dennis Meim, a former classmate of mine who went on to become a priest. His homily was about the family and the importance that God places upon it. Fr. Dennis said that God could have sent Jesus in this world without a family, but He chose Mama Mary and Joseph to be our Savior’s mother and father. For me, family is what keeps the Filipino spirit together despite the problems that we face as a nation, and it has been the underlying strength of our country. The desire to provide for our families is so great that spouses even sacrifice their own relationship and risk prolonged separation from one another to work abroad just to give their family a better future. The remittances sent back home is a testament that they continue to provide for their families’ needs. In relation to family, I had the chance to discuss with Fr. Dennis his thoughts on the RH bill. He said that if responsible parenthood can be taught to our Filipino brothers, then maybe there is no need of a RH law.
As we talked further, our conversation led us to the question about people who are not exposed to the Christian faith and if will they be deprived of entering the kingdom of heaven. I shared with him my own opinion that everyone, regardless of religion or faith, is given the chance of entering His kingdom, and it will depend on how he has lived his life on earth. Even Buddhists or Muslims, as long as one had lived a life that nurtured relationships and played Good Samaritan as often as one can, will make it to the kingdom. It turned out that Fr. Dennis shared the same view. Indeed, Christmas is a time for renewing and building on relationships we have with parents, family, and friends. It is a season that reminds us of the time we have spent on earth and how well and meaningful we intend to spend it in the future for our next life.
My father will celebrate his 81st birthday on Saturday with his twin brother. He is more relaxed but he still has a sharp mind, and he is able to remember some of his grandkids’ names with a little help from us. He is still faithfully married to my mother for 54 years now. Although they fight (which I guess comes normally with age), they still travel together, and my sisters have the task of watching over them. My father has really been a great mentor to me and my siblings, and even if we had serious disagreements in the past I have to say he will forever be my greatest mentor. I am what I am because of him. The advocacy that I started eight years ago is something that I never thought I would do, and maybe unknowingly he did plant that seed in me. He has lived his life in the service of the Filipino people through his advocacies such as the Pasay City Citizens’ League for Good Governance and NAMFREL, among others. Joecon was the first to say “Yes, the Filipino Can!”, especially during the Philippines’ darkest hours. His contributions were part of the reasons why we are now the new darling of Asia, as we Filipinos enjoy real democracy, good governance, and a better investment climate. To my dad, happy birthday! My birthday wish for you is for God to bless you with a long and happy life, and that you continue to enjoy your children and grandchildren—and hopefully remember all our names. I love you, dad.
We are four weeks away from mounting the 2nd Filipino Technopreneurship Summit 2012, and due to the increasing response from schools and technical institutions to attend this, we are now going to hold it at the SMX Convention Center on January 21. This is going to be a one-day summit that will feature successful Filipino technopreneurs here in the country, as well as the biggest Filipino-Americans who have made it big in Silicon Valley, USA.
This is the era where technology has the greatest influence in society. It is in this generation where we saw the rise of gadgets and devices, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, which are all designed to improve communication between people. This is also a great opportunity for aspiring negosyantes to start their entrepreneurial journey and hopefully to win their fight against poverty through this medium. One technopreneur success story is that of RJ David from Sulit.com.ph. He was a mechanical engineer by profession, but he turned to IT as this is the field that he loved the most. He spent some time as an IT employee until he decided to try his luck in business. He failed numerous times, but he did not give up until he and his girlfriend, who is now his wife, hit the jackpot with Sulit.
We hope that through the summit, many will be inspired to take the route that RJ took and succeed. Registration for the technopreneurship summit is ongoing. Call 6379229 or check out Go Negosyo’s website and Facebook page for more details.