My Journey: The Story of an Unexpected Leader
By Maria Rosario “Charo” Santos-Concio and An Mercado-Alcantara
By Zsarlene B. Chua, Reporter
Actress and former TV executive Maria Rosario “Charo” Santos-Concio took a long time before agreeing to write a book about her life.
She said it was an “act of bravery and vulnerability” she wasn’t ready for, but ABS-CBN Publishing president and CEO Ernesto Miguel “Ernie” L. Lopez, persuaded her, saying “many people fought hard to make this book” because many people could learn from an unexpected leader.
Now, as My Journey: The Story of an Unexpected Leader hits the stands, Ms. Santos-Concio and Mr. Lopez looked back on the making of the book, an effort which spanned more than two years.
“[At first,] Charo didn’t know about [the book]. We were doing it behind her back,” Mr. Lopez said during the book launch on March 29 at the Rockwell Club in Makati City.
The book was initially commissioned for her 60th birthday, but they then decided she “needed a more serious book.”
“Charo needed a memoir,” he said.
It took some convincing — Ms. Santos-Concio said the one thing that made her agree was the fact someone might learn from the stories of her journey. Of course, the support of her family helped her in making the decision.
Described as “part-biography, part self-help” book, My Journey chronicles the journey of this doctor’s daughter in Mindoro, from childhood to her entry into show business, becoming ABS-CBN’s first woman president in 2008, until her retirement in 2016.
“I was never one to plan my entire life out,” she said during the launch. She added that she only went with whatever life gave her and remarked that she was lucky to have met people who helped her along the way.
Ms. Santos-Concio remains at ABS-CBN as its chief content officer and has resumed her acting career after an absence of over 17 years on the big screen. Her most recent project was Lav Diaz’s Ang Babaeng Humayo (2016). She won the Golden Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival for her work in the film.
“[Listening to her stories] was like sitting at the feet of a master storyteller,” said An Mercado-Alcantara who coauthored the book.
Their sessions took several hours, with the shortest session clocking in at four hours. Each session, said Ms. Alcantara at the launch, was very informative, as Ms. Santos-Concio painted amusing yet honest anecdotes about the industry.
The book is also said to be singular in terms of taking on the subject of leadership as Ms. Santos-Concio “treats the subject with a nurturing tone,” according to a company press release.
“[She] isn’t afraid to admit her fears and foibles, and reassures the reader that there is power in times of uncertainty and self-doubt,” said the press release.
According to a pep.ph article published on March 31, the book includes the story of how Ms. Santos-Concio almost resigned due to the fierce ratings war between the country’s two largest TV networks and how the pressure of winning and losing the high-stakes game led her to handing in her resignation to her bosses who refused to let her go.
She instead took a break which spawned rumors in the industry, before returning to take the helm again.
My Journey: the Story of an Unexpected Leader is currently on its second printing and is available in leading bookstores nationwide for P550.