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What businesses can learn from marriages during the pandemic

There is something romantic, even spiritual, about marriage during the pandemic. A couple exchanging permanent vows set against a backdrop of extreme uncertainty... what could be a more enduring image of romantic love?

Bounce back, MSMEs!

Small enterprises face major challenges in 2021. Studies done before the pandemic revealed that about 20% of small businesses fail by the end of their first year. By the end of the fifth year, 50% go under, and by the 10th year, that number rises to 80%. With COVID-19, however, the attrition rate has accelerated substantially. In the Asia-Pacific region, nearly one-third of SMEs expect to lay off 50% or more of their workers just to survive.

Reimagining the ‘Next Normal’ in Philippine business

What if big businesses were to make it their mission to address the leading social problems of the country? What if business leaders were to set the ethical tone from the top of their organizations and build corporate cultures that would make ethical business practice the norm and business scandals a thing of the past? What if business leaders were to have the empathy to know the needs of their customers, employees, and other stakeholders and take care of them accordingly? What if more business practitioners were to abandon the profit maximization mindset and, instead, aim for honoring human dignity and planetary sustainability while achieving their business goals?

The positive driving force of FOMO

Prior to the pandemic, the Philippine apparel and footwear retail industry registered stellar sales, closing at P184.9 billion in 2019 (Euromonitor, 2020).

Out of the mouths of babes: Lessons from businesses born in...

With most of the world still in some form of lockdown, one would think that everything would be placed on hold. But life goes on… It must go on. Aside from babies still being born during the quarantine, we have seen something else being birthed that gives many of us hope: micro enterprises.

The Divine Commission

“You have been told, O Man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: only this, to act justly, to have mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Making HR relevant

During the past three months, the faculty and administration of De La Salle University have been preparing to transition to e-learning given the ongoing pandemic. Preparation meant learning to optimize our learning management system and understanding the nuances of distance learning. Preparation also meant ensuring that course content, in my case Strategic Human Resource Management, is relevant and takes into account the implications of this pandemic.

The challenge of policing riots

As I write this, the worrisome images of riots in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, and 20 other US cities flash over cable news — replacing the reportage on COVID-19 that had been the standard preoccupation of news media for two months. A week has passed since white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on a viral video pressing his knee onto the neck of George Floyd (who is black) for more than eight minutes. In the video, Floyd is heard saying “Please,” “I can’t breathe,” and “Don’t kill me.” Floyd reportedly died during the incident, and Chauvin, along with other police officers present, was fired. Chauvin was later on charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Doing our part as the real COVID-19 frontliners

Since the start of the community quarantine, many have referred to the health workers helping treat COVID-19 patients as “frontliners.” The term tugs at the emotions and signals an appreciation for the difficult work they do in helping fight the deadly virus. After all, we are at “war” with the virus, and the health workers are firing away with every weapon in their professional arsenals to keep as many infected patients alive as they can.

Decision-making during this COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of the Cynefin...

While stuck at home under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), I took the opportunity to clean my desktop of old files. I chanced upon a 2007 article by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone entitled, “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making,” published in Harvard Business Review. Snowden and Boone introduced the Cynefin (pronounced ku-nev-in, a Welsh word for habitat/place) framework, a decision-making framework that allows leaders to “sense which context they are in so that they can not only make better decisions but also avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes.” I thought it would be interesting to look into how leaders have responded to this unprecedented crisis brought about by COVID-19 using the lens of the Cynefin Framework.

Embracing technology more tightly during a pandemic

The national Association of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in Education (nACPAE) scheduled its 28th Accounting Teachers’ Conference (ATC) for this summer. Had there been no COVID-19, the ATC working committee would have been at its busiest right now attending to both logistical and non-logistical matters in time for the opening ceremony on April 27. But until this quarantine is lifted and the situation approximates what it was before the pandemic, eager accounting teachers will have to wait until June or even longer.

The Pandemic of Hope

Two important events are happening in the nation as I write this piece. First, Luzon is on extended enhanced community quarantine, and second, Christians are celebrating Easter. These two realities pose questions on existence and survival on one hand, and the celebration of Christ’s triumph over death on the other.

Rage killed the Cat — and other musings on COVID-19

We know the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” But recently, one cat wasn’t curious enough to understand why Filipinos thronged at a checkpoint despite the social distancing rule imposed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Stay home!

“Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.” Psalm 143:7-8

Telecommuting amid COVID-19

The community quarantines for Metro Manila and Luzon started on March 15 and on March 17, respectively, and are expected to last until midnight of April 14. Travel in and out of the island is restricted for most forms of transport -- land, sea, and air. People are advised to limit their movements and stay home as much as possible to avoid being exposed to the virus.

A TV network for the common good (Part Two)

ABS-CBN’s franchise says that it should “provide at all times sound and balanced programming; ...assist in the functions of public information and education; [and] conform to the ethics of honest enterprise...” In line with this, I believe the network needs to provide more balanced and independent reporting and analysis of important social issues to help Filipinos become critically engaged citizens.

Tastes of Saigon

I am currently in a quaint café along Bui Vien Walking Street in Saigon, enjoying a cup of egg coffee coupled with a glass of hot tea. Yes, you read it right -- coffee, tea, and me! While I had been in Vietnam twice before, this is the first time I’ve tried its famous egg coffee. When the server asked me if I wanted hot tea to accompany my coffee, I was a bit surprised and told her that I was fine with my coffee. Until I took a sip. A little bit embarrassed, I asked the lady if her offer of hot tea still holds, as the egg coffee was incredibly sweet and a bit too rich for my taste. With a suppressed giggle, she served the hot tea. I wonder how they say, “Sabi ko na sa iyo, eh!” (I told you so) in Vietnamese.

In search of entrepreneurial and innovative nation builders

Entrepreneurship is one of the vital engines of economic growth in the Philippines as it stimulates production and innovation. Our country is regarded as one of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s fastest-growing economies, with a projected 6.7% GDP growth rate heavily relying on micro-, small-, and medium-enterprises over the next two years.

To love is to ‘co-create’

“Well, she looked at me/ And I, I could see/ That before too long/ I’d fall in love with her” -- I “Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles

How business firms perpetuate economic inequality

Our Constitution says that all economic agents, including corporations, shall contribute to the common good in order to achieve our country’s vision of a rising quality of life for all. More than 30 years after the ratification of the fundamental law, easily one-third of Filipinos are poor despite the official poverty rate now falling below 20% and healthy economic growth at nearly 6%. The World Bank reports that the country has one of the most persistent poverty problems in the region. And the concentration of wealth among the very rich continues to worsen every year.

Engagement and Experience: People helping other people

Following the Mindanao earthquake in late 2019 and the Taal Volcano eruption this January, both of which have left many people displaced and affected, companies and corporate foundations mobilized resources and organized relief operations. NGOs, local government units, and educational institutions, among many others, are also doing their share to aid those stricken. From supplying clean and potable water, mounting charging stations, organizing medical missions, to distributing relief packs, these efforts are nothing short of inspiring.

Taking sport management seriously

Opportunities abound to develop or exploit underdeveloped industries such as agriculture and technology, given the right enablers and government support. Sport is one such sector that is gaining increased attention, especially with the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games 2019.

Developing resilience in 2020

The year 2020 started with a bang. From the wildfires that have been ravaging Australia, to the floods in the Indonesia capital, and to the political strife between the United States of America and Iran, the world has been in a constant state of flux. Here at home, we were treated to a spectacular volcanic plume that is causing dread and despair in Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite. This eruption reminds us of how nature’s wrath and fury should teach us to become more resilient.

Eulogy Virtues

“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.” -- Ecclesiastes 7:1

Critical thinking for business leadership

Business leaders need to exercise more critical thinking to avoid and solve the problems businesses have caused in the last two decades. While business has created massive economic growth all over the world and lifted billions out of poverty, chronic management malpractices have also harmed consumers and worsened income inequality, environmental damage, and psychological and health issues for so many workers.

Transformational leadership

“The only thing constant is change.” -- Heraclitus

Crab mentality

The performance evaluation has been the traditional way a superior gives feedback to staff. But as I have observed, this evaluation sheet is not the true representation of one’s work. It is either very subjective or objective depending on the situation or on the superior’s opinion. Yes, it is not only a tool to evaluate one’s performance but also a measure of one’s motivation and productivity. However, I find it odd that rank and file employees, even if they worked hard and persevered, may not get the credit for their work. We want to believe that our work speaks for itself. But then, in reality, someone else gets the credit.

It’s time to pay travel time

I have been travelling long distances since I was in grade school. I got accustomed to the time spent travelling as well in the effort and mindset to prepare for the travel. Waking up earlier, preparing earlier or even the day before, not being able to eat breakfast, looking groggy, and enduring cold baths. This was the trend then and continues up to now, especially for those who live in the provinces and work or study in Manila.

Working across Generations: A workplace dilemma

The Commission on Population (Popcom) projected that by the end of 2019, there will be about 108.88 million Filipinos. The growth also means that about 1.4 million Filipinos will be added to the country’s workforce, boosting our total workforce to about 70 million employable Filipinos. With the increasing number of employees year after year, companies must be able to provide their managers with knowledge and essential skills on how to manage different employees from various generations who are present in today’s workplace.

The Silent Scream: mental health awareness in the workplace

A pop of paracetamol, a cup of coffee, a puff of smoke, binging on junk food or skipping meals -- perhaps a reaction to what a person is feeling and perhaps, too, what can be normal in the workplace.

I was asked to dance

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” I first heard this tagline during our company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) campaign. I am blessed to be a part of an organization that highly values respect for people. As a matter of fact, respect for people is one of our company’s core values and I am proud to share that respect has been embedded in our culture. My first-hand experience of “being invited to the party” was when I was nominated to be a part of a project composed of mostly Western and Middle Eastern employees. I knew I was “asked to dance” when I was given the role to lead a critical part of the project. I felt included and valued throughout the project and even after its completion as I knew that my inputs were appreciated.

Seeking discomfort for success

After graduating from college four years ago, I started working for Sterling Bank of Asia, Inc. I have been with the same department since the start. Having a daily routine for four years can be exhausting from time to time. Questions began to rise in my mind: So, what’s next for me? Should I leave the company that started my career path, or should I continue to look for my purpose in this company?


Shopee is a Singaporean e-commerce platform under the Sea Group, which was founded in 2009 by Forrest Li. Shopee was first launched in Singapore in 2015, and has since expanded its reach to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In May this year, ASEAN UP ranked Shopee Philippines as second among the Top 10 e-commerce sites in the Philippines, with monthly traffic estimated at 14,400,000.

Data Science and Finance

We are now living in the age of Data Science and Big Data, as the ubiquity and availability of large amounts of data plus advances in technology to store, process, and analyze such data have revolutionized ways of thinking about things and of doing business. If you take a look at your social media accounts and wonder how these outfits are able to anticipate the kind of content you like to consume, the answer is that data science and big data analytics are being harnessed to try to guess exactly that, and with very good results. Want to buy a book from your favorite online merchant and out pop some other suggested books that you never even thought about, but you buy them anyway thanks to the prompt? You guessed it, data science and data analytics had a hand in this as well.

Journey to wholeness: Material development

Filipinos are generally spenders. This is our nature in terms of handling finances. After all, we only recognize the importance of savings and investments when in a crisis, we do not have enough money to spend.

Inclusive business means good jobs

We all hear about inclusive business nowadays. And rightly so because business, especially big business, is the most important force in growing the middle class in our country by spreading the fruits of our healthy economic growth.

Journey to wholeness: Aesthetic Development

One of the field trips in my Integral Human Development class was to the National Museum of Fine Arts. This trip was meant to feature aesthetic development, one of the forms of well-being. Aesthetics is the appreciation and nature of beauty, in the context of art. Aesthetic engagement can breed emotional connection through the process of creating, doing, and experiencing art. This connectedness has the capacity to bring about meaningful interactions and belongingness in the workplace.

Journey to wholeness: Social development

As part of our Integral Human Development class, we went on an exposure to GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan. The professionalism and courteousness of everyone on the farm was both contagious and heartwarming and it was easy to see why there so many people who are involved in this social enterprise.

Towards inclusion

How do we understand and develop inclusive organizations?

Just a little more…

A cursory scan of the popular titles in a bookstore -- The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, Wabi-Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life -- and I can’t help but smirk.

The present and (hopefully) the future of Animal Agriculture in the...

What would a meal look like in 31 years? That is the big question scientists are now urging governments and private institutions to answer. By 2050, the global population is expected to rise to 10 billion with no assurance that all those mouths will be fed.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Siklab Awards 2019

The awarding ceremonies of the first Ramon V. Del Rosario Siklab Awards will be held today, July 25. This program is a national search for the youth leaders of tomorrow, sponsored by PHINMA in cooperation with the De La Salle University Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) and the Junior Chamber International Manila. It recognizes youth leaders who have had positive impacts on the community or nation by their work and service.

Keep the ‘killer’ tagline alive!

“Drip... drip... drip...” that’s the sound I heard in the middle of the night from the aircon in my bedroom. I got out of bed and rushed for pails! I was annoyed because the aircon was just cleaned a month ago. I called the company the next day to send someone to fix it. It took at least four days for someone to come. Two technicians arrived. They told me that they were the ones who cleaned the aircon a month ago. The older one was the lead man -- he said that he was new in the company, but he was proud to say he had years of experience. I was surprised to learn that the younger man was an on-the-job-training employee! I am a loyal customer of their company. But I could not believe that they sent company neophytes!

Taking a stand for marginalized employees

I moved to the Philippines 12 years ago to start a business. The skilled labor and high level of English proficiency made it a natural choice among its neighbors in the region. The friendly people, beautiful islands, live bands, and incredible nightlife didn’t hurt either! As my business progressed from start-up to operations, I realized that I had so many questions about why employees behave the way that they do in an organization.

The underperformance doomsday scenario

After years of debate and wrangling among legislators, workers’ associations and employer groups, the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill is now on the desk of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for signing. The bill seems sure to become law since the president himself declared it a priority based on his campaign promises.