Designed for Growth - Planters Development Bank

Designed for Growth - Planters Development Bank

Designed for Growth - Planters Development Bank


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Patricio Amadeo of Phela Resources


Coupon sites: are they worth it?

Why some businesses stay small


GPIoS teaches businesses that

profit and environmental

responsibility go hand-in-hand



for Growth

Gerry Choa of PRO-FRIENDS





New Beginnings

With the new Dragon Year upon us, we feel it is a time for new

ideas, new ambitions, and brand new directions. As we turn a

new leaf, this issue pays special attention to changes—we move

forward with vitality and breathe new life to the first issue of the

SME Magazine for 2012.

It is the same periodical you have grown to love, replete with

insightful reads on topics with strong focus on entrepreneurship;

now with a vibrant new look. Alongside this change, we

have added new sections which we hope you will find most

useful. Handy tips and trade secrets grace these pages, making

the magazine a treasure trove of business information and

motivational articles.

Our inaugural theme for the year is something that many SMEs

aspire for: Growth. Given the country’s dynamic yet unpredictable

business landscape, companies that make steady progress happen

to serve as inspiring role models—steadfast and resolute in their

vision to continue developing. Our main stories focus on two

firms that beat the odds and have proven that hard work and

determination pay off. It is with great hope that these reads will

inspire you, regardless of what industry you happen to be in.

We do hope that you will like the changes we have made, and

that you will, as always, find SME magazine to be an invaluable

source for information and learning.

May this issue provide new ideas, inspirations and ambitions to

take on the challenges of 2012. Forward we go!

Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting

Chairman and CEO

Planters Development Bank




Planters Development Bank


Consuelo V. Dantes


Bobby F. Banaag


Olive B. Ramirez


Therese M. Gutierrez


Bryan C. Rilloraza


Joy G. dela Cruz

Abi N. Abear

Eman C. Cruz


Art Ilano


Millicent Agoncillo


Maita de Jesus


Rodolfo S. Sevilla Jr.


Johann Frederick G. Mendoza


Michelle Acantilado


Louise Myjel A. Guevarra

Staff Box


3 Around the World

4 Newsline

6 BizBeat

18 Profile: Gerry Choa of PRO-FRIENDS

22 Profile: Patricio Amadeo of Phela Resources

26 Save Mother Earth

27 Health Watch: Stress

28 Tech Review

29 Worth Reading

30 Lifestyle: Callospa & Resort

32 Billboard

7 SME Focus:

Human Resources








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Your feedback is important to us.

For your comments or suggestions, email us at




Around the




If you’re pondering some ideas for a business, consider the recent

trends in global entrepreneurship. The Organization for Economic

Cooperation and Development (OECD) listed down six global

trends that have so far driven and shaped the world’s economy.

First is the shift from “managed” to “entrepreneurial”

economy. Large company- and government-funded entities

were the paramount in a managed economy around 1940,

and by 1970, companies like IBM and General Electric became

huge. Today, the emergence of new technologies and industries

put firms like Apple and Facebook on the map, challenging

dominating industries and driving the commercialization of new


Second is the rise of the “knowledge economy” wherein

knowledge-intensive firms that invest in research and development

enjoy more labor productivity and better economic growth.

Third is strategically-networked innovation, which is the

outsourcing of R&D and production via licensing and intelligent

supply chain management. There’s also globalization, which

gave birth to international collaboration, enterprise development

and the rise of new economic players. The fifth trend is the

significance of low, mid, and high technology. While it may

be true that high-technology is innovative, they only make up a

small proportion of all businesses, and it is still the low- to midtech

industries that continue to progress.

Lastly, there’s social entrepreneurship and innovation,

which recognize the importance of social economy. Corporate

social responsibility started around the 1980s, but it was the

“Third Sector,” which comprised of voluntary, non-profit social

enterprises, that was considered as true social entrepreneurship.

Financial experts believe that 2012 will see the flourishing of the

Philippine economy. Riding these trends may help lead to this,

particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

source: http://www.cemi.com.au/content/global-trends-entrepreneurship-andinnovation




The Philippines has always been dependent on agriculture, both

in terms of food production and employment. However, times

have changed—lands that were used as farms are now being

developed for commercial use. Many Filipinos are now going for

office jobs rather than going out on the field—not that there’s

anything wrong with it.

While it may be true that our farming lands have been decreasing,

in the United States and other countries that are heavily

commercialized, there are far less lands available for agriculture.

The result: a rather difficult access to food, especially those that

are organic and nutritious.

The solution: urban agriculture. Simply defined, it is cultivating,

processing and distributing food by farming in an urban setting.

Two of the more popular methods for urban agriculture are

rooftop and vertical farming.

One example of rooftop farming can be found in Chicago through

“The Urban Canopy,” an organization whose goal is to install a

3,000 square-foot farm on the rooftop of their headquarters to

produce fresh and healthy food for the community. Its vision is

to show that many rooftops throughout a city can serve as small

farms. Founder Alex Poltorak believes that rooftop farming can be

vital in agricultural movement by creating a sustainable food system.

Vertical farming is almost similar to rooftop farming except that

the farming is done on a specialized high-rise building. The

building can double as a water-treatment and waste-recycling

facility. Vertical farms obviously can produce higher volume of

food than rooftop farms, although it doesn’t come cheap since

building a skyscraper is expensive. The rent may also be tough to

recoup if it will only depend on crop sales.

This trend has yet to hit the Philippines, although some malls

do plant trees to reduce heat, and perhaps what come closest

would be malls with vegetable plantations. The biggest challenge:

convincing the penthouse tenants to tolerate having root crops

above their heads.

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/the-urban-canopy-aims-to-




The Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for the rollout

of electric tricycles across the Philippines, encouraging local

government units to support this venture. This comes on the

heels of a relatively successful pilot program in Mandaluyong City.

According to DOE Energy Resource Development and Utilization

Chief Engr. Eduardo Amante, the average cost for charging an

e-trike is just 50 pesos, compared to the 200 pesos worth of gas

that a regular tricycle would have used.

This leads to the question: what are the top trends in electric

vehicles around the world? Heather Clancy of tech site ZDNet has

identified these trends for 2012.

First, the world will be seeing more electric car models. We’ve

already seen Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt. But now,

more carmakers are set to join the e-car bandwagon.

Next, the bad news is that prices will still remain high for e-cars.

Even with battery prices falling, much of 2012’s e-cars have

already been ordered beforehand, so price tags will still remain

high for now. Good news is that more real estate companies and

businesses are installing electric vehicle chargers. Pervasiveness

will lead to lower costs which can trickle our way eventually.

Another trend: wireless charging. Cars can park in a space that,

through magnetic induction, will recharge them without having

to get plugged in. The technology is still being developed thus far,

but holds promise for the long haul.

An unusual trend: e-cars serving as backup generators. Imagine

having a brownout and plugging your car into your house so that

you can use the car’s battery to power your home.

Perhaps the most interesting observation is that most e-cars in

the US are actually rented rather than owned. This points to the

possibility that perhaps e-cars are best used on for commercial


Can an aggressive rollout of e-trikes lead to a Filipino e-car

program? Let’s just say that we have a better chance of

developing a Filipino Car program than ever before if we focus

on developing our e-car capabilities. And that comes next after a

successful e-trike program.




Melbourne IT firm partners

with SME.com.ph

Melbourne IT, one of the top providers of IT-based business

technology solutions globally, recently forged a partnership with

PDB SME Solutions, Inc., the country’s pioneer in providing webbased

business solutions for small and medium

enterprises (SMEs).

The partnership will allow PDB SME Solutions, Inc. to optimize its

services and provide a wider range and more SME-centric online

business solutions to Filipino entrepreneurs. “PDB SME Solutions,

Inc. can now offer the Filipino SMEs with more intuitive ways

to make use of the worldwide web in promoting their business

and provide them the ease and flexibility of managing their site

based on their wants and business needs,” according to PDB SME

Solutions, Inc. Chairman Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting.

Melbourne IT EVP and General Manager Lori Harmon said the

agreement will provide SMEs a one-stop shop to get their business

online while giving them access to the entire Philippine and global

markets. “Instead of having to go to multiple companies to set up

your website, you can go to one company allowing you to focus

on running your business,” Harmon said. “It will help make SMEs

a lot more successful and grow faster by building up their brand

and selling products online,” she added.

Australia-based Melbourne IT is one of the largest domain name

registrars managing more than 6 million domain names and more

than 80 million web pages.

IT partnership

signed. PDB SME

Solutions Inc. chairman

Ambassador Jesus

P. Tambunting and

Melbourne IT general

manager Lori Harmon

ink the agreement

that will provide a

wider range of online

business solutions to

Filipino SMEs.

Plantersbank to host APEC–SME Confab

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in its annual

meeting held in Mexico last year, announced that the

Philippines will be the venue of the 2012 APEC-SME Meeting

and Conference to be held on July 18 to 20, with Planters

Development Bank taking the lead and playing host. Plantersbank

is the only financial institution that was invited to be a member

of the prestigious Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Financial

Institutions Dealing with Small and Medium Enterprises (APEC-

SME). This will be the first time the Philippines will be hosting this

annual summit.

“We are pleased to bring the APEC-SME Summit to Manila this

year and it’s truly an honor to be hosting the chief executives

and their respective delegations. With SME playing the key role

in building a healthy economy, this yearly gathering gives us the

opportunity to share learnings and developments in SME Finance

which will help us in further improving our services and offerings

for SMEs. We also plan to showcase the advances we have made

through the years in terms

of SME financing,” said

Plantersbank Chairman

and Chief Executive

Officer Ambassador

Jesus P. Tambunting.


Starting Strong, Finishing Well:

Plantersbank SME Speaker Series in Cebu

Cebu City — A mixed crowd of seasoned stalwarts and rising stars

of the Cebu business scene packed the Cebu City Marriott Hotel

for the Plantersbank SME Speaker Series. Some 250 SME clients

and friends trooped to listen to renowned motivational speaker

Anthony Pangilinan’s talk entitled “Starting Strong, Finishing Well:

Market Leadership in the Race in Life.”

The SME Speaker Series was presented in partnership with the

Cebu City Chamber Inc. This symposium is an added dimension of

Plantersbank’s portfolio of innovations for enabling entrepreneurs.

Now on its fourth year, the Plantersbank SME Speaker Series

shares with local entrepreneurs the winning management

techniques and business skills of today’s top management gurus.

The advocacy program is aligned with the Bank’s goal to promote

SME enablement. It aims to provide Filipino entrepreneurs with

a venue to equip themselves with the latest management trends

and learn valuable tips, as well as expand their network and build

possible partnerships.

The SME Speaker Series has been visiting key cities nationwide

since it started in 2007.

Plantersbank supports

WWF campaign

Plantersbank and the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly

known as the World Wildlife Fund) joined hands in the campaign

to promote consciousness about climate change and how to

reverse it in the country. Plantersbank gave a check for P50,000

representing donations from individual employees and funds

raised during the Bank-wide Save Mother Earth Bingo Social.

The donation was turned over by Support Services Group head

EVP Consuelo V. Dantes and Bank environment officer FVP

Roberto F. Banaag to WWF officials Reggie Olalia and Mayj


Plantersbank announces

new products for Kids and Teens

Plantersbank recently launched two new additions to its roster of

products and services. Targeting the younger market segment, the

Bank unveiled the Plantersbank SME Kiddie Club, for depositors aged

7 to 12 years old, and the Plantersbank Teen Club for teenagers aged

13 to 19.

True to its mission of enabling entrepreneurs, Plantersbank’s SME

Kiddie and Teen Clubs are the only savings accounts for the youth

that inculcate the value of entrepreneurial spirit. Aside from honing

the value of saving in young depositors, various programs and

activities throughout the year will likewise be provided to engage the

entrepreneur within every kid.

These interest bearing savings account for kids and teens have low

initial deposit requirements and comes with a passbook for SME

Kiddie Club and a passbook and ATM card for SME Teen Club.



Unemployment rate: 7%

Underemployment rate: 19.3%

Minimum wage, NCR: Php 389 to Php 426

Areas Outside Metro Manila: Php 190 to Php 337

*Source: NEDA

How (un)competitive is Philippine electricity?

Philippines 0.18

Japan 0.17

Singapore 0.16

Thailand 0.09

Malaysia 0.07

Indonesia 0.06

Vietnam 0.04

*Source: International Energy Consultants report

Innovation and MSMEs

How innovative are micro, small and medium enterprises in

the country? The 2009 Survey on Innovation Activities by the

Department of Science and Technology gives us some indicators.

We compared them with large organizations for good measure.

Micro Small Medium Large

Establishments that are:

Product innovators 23.6% 32.7% 42.5% 46.4%

Process innovators

Both product and process

23.6 38.3 50.0 56.4

Innovators 17.0 25.2 33.8 42.0

Average annual spend for innovation activities

Average residential

power rates*

Country $ per KWh

Micro Php 51,200 Small Php2.9 million

Medium Php3.2 millio Large Php30.1 million

Hello Philippines!

To our Korean guests, we say “Annyeong!” And yes, there are lots

of them because Koreans now represent our largest tourist group.

Here are our top ten foreign visitors in 2010, as mapped out by the

National Statistics Office.

Origin Visitors

Korea 474,395

United States 407,613

Japan 240,528

China 133,216

Hong Kong 98,548

Taiwan 95,293

Australia 88,737

Singapore 77,759

Canada 66,845

United Kingdom 64,484

The Micros Rule

If you’ve ever wondered just how much of Philippine firms

belong to the MSME sector, then this may shed some light. The

following is the breakdown as of 2009, as per Department of

Trade and Industry statistics.

Micro 91.08% (710,882)

Small 8.14% (63,529)

Medium 0.39% (3,006)

Large 0.39% (3,080)

24.4% of all Philippine firms are concentrated in the National Capital Region.


SME Focus Human Resources

Finding Mr. and Ms. Right

by Leslie G. Lee

Hiring trustworthy

employees can be tricky,

but there are actually

some ways you can weed

out the best from the

slew of “blah” applicants.

Small businesses, unlike large firms,

unfortunately don’t have the resources

to “expertly” hire trustworthy employees

and almost always rely on the “kakilala”

(referrals) system. And even then, not all

referrals turn out to be great hires.

So what should be done when hiring

walk-in applicants who are strangers as far

as you’re concerned? Here are some tips

culled from experts and small

business owners.

Arrange for a personal,

face-to-face interview.

First appearances DO matter. One

entrepreneur shares that she always insists

on face-to-face interviews, as seeing the

applicant in the flesh clues her in if she’ll

want that person to work with her. “My

instinct is almost always 100 percent

foolproof,” she explains. “There are times

when I talk to this person over the phone,

and he or she seems okay. But then, when

I see him or her in person, I suddenly get

the feeling that we won’t get along once

we start working together. So it’s really

important for me to see all interviewees or

applicants in person before I make

any decisions.”

Listen to your instinct.

If you’re the type of entrepreneur who

goes with your instinct in making business

decisions, you should apply this rule when

hiring people. Do not underestimate

what your gut is telling you. Take for

example what happened to this owner

of a garments business: “When this

applicant showed up, he seemed okay

and the staff looked like they liked him.

But… something didn’t feel right to me.

Outwardly there was nothing wrong with

him. He looked pleasant enough, but I

just felt that he wouldn’t make a good

addition to the team. So I let him go.”

He had actually made the right decision,

because he heard through the grapevine

that that person was hired by somebody

else, and was fired a few weeks later

when caught stealing. “See, I was right,”

the entrepreneur said with justified


Check the body language.

Subtle gestures are proof that actions do

speak louder than words. “The face is used

more than any part of the body to cover

up lies. We use smiles, nods and winks in

an attempt to cover up, but unfortunately

for us, our body signals will tell the truth

when there is a lack of congruence

between our body gestures and facial

signals,” writes Allan and Barbara Pease in

The Definitive Book of Body Language.

According to them, “eight of the most

common lying gestures” are: the mouth

cover, the nose touch, itchy nose, the eye

rub, the ear grab, the neck scratch, the

collar pull, and fingers-in-the-mouth.

The next time you spot these gestures

when interviewing a potential employee,

it’s your cue to be extra cautious.

Double-check references.

Sure, even if a potential employee was

introduced to you by someone you

know, it still helps to do background

checks. This is even more important when

you’re interviewing a complete stranger.

Background checks, to the experienced

employer, can be merely affirmations of

the impressions formed from interacting

with the applicant, whether negative

or positive.

On the other hand, these references can

give employers a clue about the applicant’s

personality and working habits or ethics.

That’s why it’s very important not to skip

this part and exhaust all possible and legal

means for gleaning information about

each potential employee before reaching

a decision.


SME Focus


The Group Buying Site:

Is It Really a Good Deal for Business?

by Jing Lejano


three-day, two-night stay

in Boracay with airfare and

accommodations for only P5,000;

a 60-minute massage for P99; an LCD

TV for P50,000—these are just some of

the amazing deals that Internet-surfing

consumers can find online. And these

deals certainly are enticing, with some

getting thousands of buys in a span of

just a few days. One offer for an overnight

stay at a premium hotel, which slashed 75

percent off its rack rates, garnered almost

4,000 buys.

Fueled by such consumer response,

websites offering group deals have

mushroomed all over the Internet—around

20 based on a cursory Google search. So yes,

these sites do offer wonderful packages for

consumers. But how about the businesses

which offer them? Does the sheer volume

of sales make up for the staggering

discounts on the price of their products

and services?

A Sucess Story

Maribeth Pion is the proprietor of Tralala

Haven Spa and Salon in Las Piñas City.

Offering a wide range of services from

manicure and pedicure to body massage

and hair treatments, Tralala Haven has

been doing brisk business for the past few

years. In fact, it now has three branches

across Las Piñas.

Because business was a bit slow around

October and November last year, Maribeth

and her partner and sister Me-An Castro

thought of signing up with a group buying

website. The requirements were fairly

simple: present your Business Permit and

offer up to 50 to 70 percent discount off

your regular rates.

Tralala Haven’s first deal went live on

January 2012. The salon offered hair

rebonding services for P799, a significant

slash off their regular rates which ranges


from P1,500 to P2,000, depending on

length of hair. They received 61 buys.

Their second deal, which went live two

days after the end of the first one, offered

their eyelash extension services for only

P250. The deal was live for three days and

received 25 buys.

Maribeth and her sister Me-An say they are

more than happy with the results, being

the cheapest form of advertising available

to small businesses like them. Not only

have they gotten more customers who live

around the Las Piñas area, they have also

redeemed vouchers from customers who

live in Laguna, Taytay, Novaliches

and Tondo.

“We’ve done promos before and it was

hard. You have to do the layout, get an

artist, and make flyers. Here, they take

care of it all including the layout,” Me-An

says. For the sisters, the strategy is to give

the customers good service to encourage

them to go back to the salon. And

more often than not, Maribeth says the

customers get additional services at regular

rates when they get there. Since the hair

rebonding treatment takes a bit of time,

the customers usually get other services to

while away the hours, like manicures

or pedicures.

Terms of the Trade

Group buying websites entice businesses

by promising exposure to a big customer

base. Purchases are tracked real-time, so

the business owner knows exactly whether

his offering has been successful or not.

And because there are no upfront costs,

the website only gets paid when the offer

is able to generate sales. No sales, no

profit for both website and business.

However, for every deal that’s bought

online, the website gets 50 percent. For

every P799 hair rebonding deal that was

bought, for example, P399.50 went to

Tralala Haven and P399.50 went to the

site. The site pays out Tralala Haven in

three installments: 50 percent ten days

after the end of the promo, 25 percent

30 days after the end of the promo, and

the remaining 25 percent after the threemonth

redemption period.

This is one of the points that has made

group buying sites such hot spots for


The Dark Side

In his book Groupon: Why Deep

Discounts are Bad for Business, author

Bob Phibb details the travails of several

businesses which jumped on the

Groupon bandwagon. Called the “Retail

Doctor” in the United States, Phibbs

has been a corporate officer, franchiser,

and entrepreneur with over 30 years of

business management experience.

"For every deal bought

online, the site gets

50 percent. They

then pay you in three


Phibbs cites the story of a restaurant in

Manhattan, New York that sold 1,142

coupons for $14 worth of food in 24

hours. Computing the cost of the deal

to restaurant, Phibbs writes, “Groupon

collected $7994 for what normally would

have been $15,998. That means after

clearing the credit card fees, he gets about

$3677. If food costs are the standard 30

percent in a restaurant, that would make

it $4799 or a real loss of about a dollar

a customer—that’s just in food costs. Far

from being even.”

Phibbs goes on, “I believe discounting,

couponing, and the like whether through

Groupon, LivingSocial, citywide365 or any

of their clones are killing the freedom of

private businesses to operate competitively

for profit… I believe these sites are the

worst thing since Wal-Mart because they

reinforce customer beliefs they need a deal

to open their wallets.”

He adds,“You’ll need to make 20% more

sales if your margins drop from 50 to 40%

just to replace the lost profits. It would

mean you’d have to increase traffic 40% if

you sold one out of every two people who

came in. Most businesses’ closing ratios

are a fraction of that; you could potentially

be working twice as hard for no more

return on your investment.”

True, those numbers maybe correct, but

getting into group buying sites might

be more appropriate for certain types of

businesses. A popular online entrepreneur

who sells clothes and fashion accessories,

for example, is not keen on participating in

group deals as she cannot possibly afford

to drop her prices that low; it would eat

into her profit margins.

Yes, it can work

For her part, Maribeth says they still have a

little profit left over; they offer services, not

goods. “We are happy with the results,”

she says. Apart from having gained new

customers, the deals have also given them

a way of promoting their other services.

During the time of the interview, they were

having a promotion on their Acrylic Nails.

They have more deals lined up in the next

few months. “It’s really free advertising.

Even if others opt not to buy, they would

still inquire,” Maribeth says. Consumer

awareness is one of their main objectives,

she adds.

As we wind up the interview, Maribeth

tells me the story of a massage center

which had 1,300 buys of its P600 offer.

That’s a quick P800,000 in sales, P400,000

of which will go the massage center. This

was enough capital for the business to

open another branch. “You can’t normally

get P400,000 just like that right?“ she says.

So should you participate in group buying

promos? As Phibbs says, check your

numbers first. Whether you’d want to

make a deal or not is solely up to you.

Before signing any contracts, perhaps it

is best to ask yourself: what is it that you

want to get out of it? Your answer will

point you towards the right direction.


SME Focus





by Art Ilano

You want to promote your business,

but advertising is expensive. Fear

not, there are cheaper ways to get

your word out!

You have a small business, so you certainly wouldn’t want to spend

on primetime TV ads (half a million pesos, easy). But even newspapers

can be pricey (P40,000 for one-fourth page), while a radio ad (P9,000

for 30 seconds) is way too fleeting.

What you want is a promotions strategy that won’t break your bank

account, and the best way to do that is by doing the marketing

equivalent of a surgical strike. After all, the reason why traditional

tri-media is expensive is that its coverage is broad by nature. But small

businesses do not need broad market exposure. A small business is

always better off focusing on a clearly defined market. Fortunately,

this also presents the opportunity for the kind of pinpoint strikes that

you’d want.

Here are some strategies for surgical marketing campaigns, without

the need for a surgeon’s salary.


If you’re selling low-cost items, such as ballpoint pens, then sampling

is a viable promotion strategy. But be warned: you have to know

what you’re doing. Do not just hand out samples left and right in

some public area. If each of your pens costs five pesos, then you’re

hemorrhaging five pesos every ten seconds without even knowing if

the people who get them would be interested.

What you’d want is to first identify areas where your target market

tends to congregate heavily. If you’re marketing school supplies, then

of course you’d want to do your sampling on school grounds. Better

yet, if parents are the decision-makers, then perhaps wait until there’s

a school activity with both parents and students on board. This way,

you have some degree of assurance that you are reaching the market

that really matters.

SME 10

One other warning though: samples

only work if (a) you have an innovative

product that needs to be tried to be liked,

or (b) your product truly stands head and

shoulders above the competition.

Post-Its are an example of a sampling

success. When first launched, 3M tried to

market these innovative notepads through

advertisements. Nobody bought them.

That’s because people simply did not

understand the concept of sticky notepads

and what they can be good for. But all

that changed when 3M decided to hand

out sample packs. Immediately, with the

product actually in their hands, the people

finally understood the usefulness of the

Post-It notes and the product took off.

But if you are offering a ballpoint pen that

is just about at par with the leading pen

brands, then, sad to say, no amount of

sampling will make consumers switch to

your brand. They’ll take your sample, use it

until it runs out, then likely forget about it

(if they haven’t already lost it yet).

Worst case scenario: people take your

freebie… and then actually think that

it’s your competitor’s product! Yes, this

happens quite often, unfortunately.

So use sampling only if you truly believe

that all that’s needed is for people to

actually try your product for them to

become likely loyalists.


Setting up a booth at a trade show or

exhibit can be a good way to attract

attention, but you have to pick your

venues wisely. You’ll definitely want a high

pedestrian count, but it should also be the

kind of pedestrians that really matter.

It’s bound to be a serendipitous affair

though. In other words, you aren’t always

sure what kind of trade show will be

popping up, and you aren’t always assured

of getting a slot in those that you want.

But it may help to think outside the box: if

you’re offering a food franchise, perhaps

a food franchise exhibit is not always

the best place to go to due to the dense

competition. Instead, think of what other

kind of trade show has a big probability

of having the types of people who would

tend to get a food franchise. A retirees’

convention perhaps?

Speaking of which, if a trade show has far

too many sellers offering products that are

way too similar to yours, then this could

be trouble. Your conversion rate, or the

probability of a booth visitor turning into

your loyal customer, could be very low.

It could even mean that the booth just

wouldn’t be worth it.

Here’s what you can do: at booking

time, try to get information on who

are the types of exhibitors who would

be participating too. If there’s a lot of

potential competition, try to get your

booth placed at an area that’s away from

the competition (without sacrificing foot

traffic). It won’t guarantee conversion,

but at least your conversion rate has a

chance of being higher than otherwise as

your distinct location may induce more

customer recall.


Sometimes you need to resort to posters

and flyers that can hopefully elicit brand

recall and remind your market that you

exist. But where to post these? Far too

many posters are wasted in useless

locations, and far too many flyers end up

in the trash bin.

First of all, do invest in quality. If you’re

gonna do it, then you might as well do it

in style—so long as you don’t overspend

while you’re at it. All we want is for your

materials to look decent enough to make

your business appear respectable. Don’t

go cheap and mass produce your materials

on newsprint or flimsy papers: you are

actually destroying your brand equity in

the process.

So instead of printing thousands of cheaplooking

flyers that you’ll sow scattershot

everywhere, why not print just a few

hundred good quality brochures that you

then hand out in a very selective manner?

Which means the question now becomes

one of “So where do I distribute my


You’ll have to think smart. Know your

target market. Know where they tend to

congregate. Know what they tend to do.

And then be there when it happens.

Pizza Hut’s “Hate Late” campaign was a

tremendous promotions success, not just

because the message became pervasive,

but also because it was a surprisingly

low-cost campaign to begin with. But

they pulled it off because they chose their

venues with military precision. For instance,

since the theme of the message was about

hating lateness, they identified areas where

people typically have to wait, like bus stops

and airport waiting areas, and peppering

their collaterals in these places. These also

included banners in streets that tend to get


So a smart, systematic strategy for

disseminating your materials should be

part of the game plan. And please don’t

do it at the expense of ruining your brand

image by being too stingy with your


Ad Bits

• Billboards range in price anywhere

between Php 30,000 a month for a

15x20 foot board to a whopping half

a million pesos a month for a 60x85

foot board at the C5 flyover in Taguig

City. Billboards are also most expensive

wherever the road curves because

these offer longer viewing times.

• According to Nielsen, TV ownership is

still growing in the Philippines, which is

in contrast to what’s happening in the

US due to their increased dependence

on the internet. This means that TV

will still be our most effective medium

for those seeking nationwide mass


• “360 Degree Marketing” is the term

that’s used to describe strategies where

the product message is placed right

where and when it is most relevant

for consumers. This includes ads for

kidney supplements placed right above

urinals, or ads for sanitary napkins

being printed right on bus seats.

SME 11




In nature, growth is inevitable. Living

things change and become more

complex. In the world of business,

however, things are not so simple.

A small business might stay the way it is

or even decrease in size depending on the

choices and resources of the owner, the

needs of the customers, and the climate of

the market.

The Philippine Magna Carta for Small

Enterprises defines small to medium

enterprises as those whose total assets

range from P1.5 to P100 million. If a

business is to grow out of these categories,

the goal is to move beyond that range.

“Business growth basically is increase in

revenue. You want to sell more and make

more because that’s where you derive

profit,” says Benito Teehankee, PhD,

current chair of the Management and

Organization Department at De La Salle


Teehankee shares that there are many

strategies to achieve this growth. First,

there’s branching out. If you have more

locations, you’re not limited to the flow

of customers in one area. Another is to

expand your original store by adding a

floor or a section to the space alloted for

your business. These two strategies aim to

increase revenue by increasing foot traffic

and possible purchases. Taking control of

the materials you use for your products

also counts as a strategy for growth.

To grow or not to grow?

Of course, the first question is should

you aim for business growth to begin

with? “Growth is not mandatory,” says

Teehankee. Staying small has its benefits,


To Growth

Why Some Businesses Stay Small

by Raydon Reyes

after all. Owners of small businesses

enjoy greater control over all aspects

of their venture as compared to larger

counterparts. The size allows owners

to wear different hats—from product

designer, operations manager, personnel

recruiter, to customer relations officer. In

contrast, big businesses require a more

organized approach to handling these areas.

Having closer ties with your customers is

also an advantage. “They know you. They

can customize the product based on your

needs. It’s a more personal experience,”

Teehankee notes. But if the aim is greater

stability, business growth is the way to

go. Being bigger means having a wider

range of products to offer the market.

This means that you can navigate through

seasonal changes in demand for one

product by compensating for the loss in

profit with sales from another product.

Hurdles to overcome

According to Teehankee, one of the main

challenges in growth is lack of capital.

Then there’s the need for management

talent. “Owners might be good in

product design, but they might not be

good in marketing, pricing decisions, and

marketing communications,” stresses

Teehankee. Even if you have a great

product, not having these sub-skills can

put an impediment to your efforts to grow

your business.

Collecting also becomes an issue with

growth. “When you now have a higher

volume, you won’t get everything from

cash sales. A lot will depend on credit. If

people don’t pay on time, your growth

will get delayed. So you will need to

get investors and give up some control

because they will want to have input (in

your business),” says Teehankee.

Trust also becomes an issue. How do you

manufacture trust? You can’t. It’s earned

through time. But when you try to grow

fast, you recruit from left and right.”

Teehankee concludes that business owners

should be careful not to overextend

themselves, know their target market very

well, and invest in frontline training to

overcome these struggles towards growth.

SME 12

SME Focus

Lots of companies are

doing it. Should you?


The Pros

and Cons of


by Faye Ilogon-Valencia

Outsourcing is defined as the process of

contracting another organization outside

your company to perform certain tasks. This

way, in-house employees can focus on their

core functions, allowing them to focus on

the things that they do best. These days,

outsourcing has certainly flourished and has

acquired an added dimension in the age of

telecommuting. The practice has certainly

gone digital and full-on global—what with

call centers and BPOs catering to entities

located in different continents.

So who should consider outsourcing? A

company’s decision depends on its resources

and immediate goals. It works for some,

but it’s certainly not for all. If you’ve ever

pondered about whether or not you should

consider outsourcing, then here are some

pros and cons.

The following are the top three

advantages of outsourcing:

1. It saves money. Outsourcing can mean

a huge chunk of savings. Most outsourced

entities and individuals perform the

contracted functions for significantly less

money than if it is done in-house. That’s

because they have seasoned expertise and

economies of volume that is borne from

servicing several accounts. Outsourced

secretaries, for instance, can manage your

correspondence for around 40 to 60% of an

in-house secretary’s wages. Also, outsourced

workers are not entitled to benefits, and

a majority of them are not even required

to work within the company premises.

This means that they won’t incur overhead

expenses for space, equipment, or utilities.

2. It streamlines operations. With “red

tape tasks” out of the way, the company’s

in-house employees can concentrate on

core activities. They will have the time to

conduct quality control measures that can

further improve the company’s operations

or products. There’s a lot of room for

originality and creativity within a company

when people aren’t bogged down by

tedious tasks. For instance, medical firms

that assign administrative tasks to their

doctors may not be making efficient use

of these doctors’ hours. So if the tasks

are outsourced, then doctors can focus

on doing what they do best, which is to

diagnose and heal.

3. It buys quality time. Freeing up your

organization from doing tasks which

others can do better means that you can

find time to implement programs that

will enhance your in-house employees’

skills, or even teach them new ones. You

won’t have to worry about the company

being at a standstill when they deal with

the learning curve since your outsourced

operations will be taking care of business

while you take care of yours.

On the other hand, the

top three disadvantages of

outsourcing are the following:

1. It’s a confidentiality risk. The “red

tape tasks” that you outsource reveal

a lot about your company. Even if you

instruct your outsource partner to observe

confidentiality, you have to accept the

fact that the information will be accessed

by people who are technically not part of

your company’s core group. You can never

tell how other companies deal with your

confidential issues.

2. It won’t guarantee consistency. Since

you don’t personally manage or train the

people who perform the outsourced tasks,

you run the risk of getting back moribund

performance. You don’t have much control

over quality once the tasks have been

outsourced, and by the time that you

realize what is going on, it may already be

too late.

3. It binds you. Like it or not, your

company’s fate becomes intertwined

with that of your outsourcing company.

You become somewhat dependent on its

financial status or workforce situation.

If it’s a solid company with contented

employees, then you’ve got nothing to

worry about. But if its finances are in dire

straits and its workers are unhappy, then

you’ll end up suffering, too. Unfortunately,

you may not even know how their

company is actually performing. Again,

by the time you realize what’s going on, it

may be too late.

So should you outsource your red tape

activities? Lots of companies have done

so. Payroll, manufacturing, and customer

service are just some of the tasks that have

been successfully outsourced by local firms

to other local firms. Just keep in mind the

pros and cons before you jump into the

outsourcing bandwagon.

SME 13

SME Focus





by Portia Silva

Small-scale businesses plunging into

bigger ventures can be stalled by the

fear of financial instability. Fight off the

finance fidgets with these pointers.

Many businesses are fueled by dreams of churning out wonderful

products and services to the delight of customers. But that

dream can quickly come crashing down when it turns out

that management doesn’t quite know how to handle bigger

budgeting requirements. Fortunately there are countless success

stories out there that will inspire you to expand regardless of your

financial skills set. Here are some lessons that we gathered that

can guide you in effectively managing your budget without, well,

cutting the budget.

Manage your cash flow

After identifying your enterprise’s business goals, the most vital

thing to consider is how to keep the money flowing. That is, the

amount of cash generated by your company must be equal to

(good) or greater than (great) your overall expenses. Henry C.

Ong, financial adviser, president, and COO of business advisory

firm Business Sense Inc., says that there are several ways to ensure

that your money is replenished substantially.

• Keep track of your expenses.

The movement of money in and out of the company should

be dealt with keen eyes since your weekly or monthly financial

SME 14

ecords will determine where certain percentages of your money

are going. Be hands-on in monitoring all of the company’s

financial activities to get a good grip of the market that you are

dealing with. It is advisable to put all receipts of purchased items

in one file and note down earnings in a separate sheet.

• Negotiate with suppliers and set payment deadlines

for customers.

Knowing how to maintain good relations with the people you

work with and the market you provide for is a skill you need

to develop. Ong encourages open and honest communication

when dealing with suppliers. It is not about delaying financial

obligations but knowing how to strategically come to terms with

deliveries and payment schedules. In the same manner, collect

receivables in due time to guarantee a positive cash income.

• Check up on the competition.

It is vital to not only know what you can offer but to be aware of

what others have or do not have vis-à-vis what you have. Scour

the market for businesses in the same category and determine

if your price range is within reason to keep yourself competitive.

Consider all elements that went into the conceptualization, the

making, and the selling of your product before putting up that

price mark. Remember that consumers are easily attracted to cheaper

alternatives. This does not automatically mean that they will pick

up your item if the quality is not at par with the competition.

Reduce costs and save money.

Building a business naturally involves huge amounts of outgoing

money, splurged on equipment, advertising and labor throughout

the different stages of your business. As an expanding enterprise,

handling your capital budget seems like a huge challenge when,

in fact, there are several ways to cut costs and save up on future

expenditures. Here is a list of tried and tested ways to save costs,

from real entrepreneurs who run small, expanding businesses.

• Seek alternative market venues for your product.

Recently, we have seen a boom in weekend markets and trade

fairs all over the metro as well as an increase in the number of

sellers online. These two places, however different, are flocked

to by buyers because of convenience: the products are delivered

faster and nearer to where they are.

• Identify the necessary expenses and spend on them only

when you urgently need to.

Determining the necessity of spending on particular items to be

used in your business is heavily dependent on the enterprise’s

survival. Carefully evaluate the machineries, the supplies and other

items that you have on your list and ask yourself if you can afford

them. If not, find secondhand material and ask for help from

friends for sourcing leads.

• Barter your product and services for another’s.

Exchange deals are among the easiest ways to save up on

advertising. Tap publishers and marketers and ask them if you

can have a minimum advertising page on their pages in exchange

for your products or services. You can also offer to provide gift

certificates in events sponsored by people you might know who

are looking for items to giveaway to guests.

• Network your business by chatting up.

Social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook have

countless of accounts registered under their wing, so take

advantage and ask for help in spreading word about your

business. If you want to go old school, log in to all your e-mail

accounts and give out a formal press release about your business

and hit send to all your address book contacts. The more people

you reach, the wider your market becomes.

• Accommodate and train interns.

While you have regular employees working with and for

your business, an extra helping hand can make things easier.

Undergraduates are always on the lookout for companies who

will take them in and grant them experience in exchange for a

reasonable allowance.

Monitor your financial status and stability.

At the very beginning of your venture, you should have

identified key goals to achieve within a reasonable timeframe. All

evaluations should then be based on these specific measures.

• Maintain a healthy balance on all your numbers.

Numbers and percentages tell the truth. But you must also look

at all sides of the coin. Strike a balance between the numbers

on your recorded sales and expenses and then shift to what you

actually have in the bank. All your financial statements must

“communicate” with one another and must coincide with all the

figures stated.

• Price the values of your intangible assets.

Other key elements that play a role on your product or service

like the prominence of your brand, familiarity of certain brand

campaigns or jingles, and knowledge of the community about

your business are only some of the intangible assets that you can

price and develop. This can be helpful when you decide to loan or

franchise your business to other interested parties.

• Avoid cash advances on your credit card.

Owning credit cards only makes spending easier, more

accessible… and more expensive. Efficient businesses must

therefore focus on the petty cash rather than on the swiping of

those credit cards. It works to your advantage because you not

only avoid having debts, but you are also able to closely monitor

your expenses more closely and in real time.

SME 15






What’s in

it for you?

by Portia Silva

Provide total solutions

to your client’s needs

with a strategic battle

plan in the work force.

Today’s consumers are highly-attracted to

fast, affordable, and reliable services that

are accessible anytime and anywhere.

While traditional methods of reaching and

communicating with clients are still being

implemented, a majority of enterprises

are now availing of locally-available

software that offers customer relationship

management (CRM) solutions.

What is CRM?

Antonio B. Alejo III, project manager and

pre-sales consultant at Hewlett-Packard

Asia Pacific, explains that a CRM program

is a company-wide strategy to maintain

relations with present customers while

extending interaction with prospect clients.

“CRM covers a very broad spectrum: from

sales to level 1 or basic support, and up to

senior management levels,” says Alejo.

CRM goes beyond just the software and

includes service training as well. HP, for

instance, provides a classroom-type of

training that is part of the on-boarding

plan for all its new recruits. “Apart from

this, web-based trainings and template kits

are readily available for the employees,”

adds Alejo.

Basically, the success of operating CRM

solutions relies mostly on the capacity of a

company to make it work internally. Alejo

points out that the program has to be tried

and tested to measure its effectiveness. It

is therefore crucial to develop a workflow

and an interface that’s easily adaptive and

can be taught to the rest of the team.

And then there’s the software. CRM

software is designed to help you keep

track of your customers. At the most basic

level, it tracks statistics such as birthdays

(so your company can greet them at the

right time) and sales call histories. More

advanced CRM solutions track sales

histories to show infographics about the

most sellable products, “itch cycles” (the

most likely time for customers to buy),

average spending patterns, and more.

CRM software can therefore transcend just

being a service tool to becoming a potent

market research utility as well.

Is it affordable?

The answer to this question would depend

on your company’s budget and service

strategy objectives. HP has CRM packages

for different enterprises. And another

firm, Microsoft, also offers CRM packages

geared towards SMEs by way of its

Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution. When

in doubt, check with these providers. More

importantly, strive to quantify the benefits

that CRM programs can provide for your

business by way of potentially increased

sales and customer satisfaction. And then

calculate the cost versus benefits.

So why should SMEs look

into having CRM?

One of the objectives of any enterprise is

to encourage repeat business with

first-time and unique customers. Having

great relations with your clients can help

make this happen and can possibly lead to

more referrals. Dave Monter, technology

consultant at HP, advises that businesses

need to take care of their clients and

attend to their needs throughout the

customer life cycle: marketing and sales,

order processing and shipping. and

customer feedback and services.

“Make sure that you will be able

to deliver the service promised

to the customer,” Monter

advices. “They can either reach

the expected outcome or, better

yet, exceed the customer’s

expectations. Never propose a

service which you can’t deliver.

It should be realistic. Make sure

that there’s a testing phase before

going all out in the business.”

SME 16

SME Focus


Reminders on Preparation and Filing

of Income Tax Returns by Charity P. Mandap

As the tax filing season draws near, it is

important to note some of the significant

requirements attendant to the filing of tax

returns in order to avoid inconveniences

and penalties imposed. This year, it is

crucial to comply with the use of the new

income tax forms. Since small and medium

enterprises (SMEs) consist mostly of individuals,

we prepared the following checklist

for the preparation and filing of income

tax returns relevant to individual taxpayers

engaged in trade or business:

1. Use of new income tax forms. Starting

income tax filing calendar year 2011,

which is due on or before April 15, 2012,

the new BIR Forms (November 2011 version)

shall be used by taxpayers. Married

individuals shall file an income tax return

(ITR) for the taxable year to include the

income of both spouses, computing separately

their individual income tax based on

their respective total taxable income. In the

case of self-employed individuals who own

and operate most SMEs, they are required

to use BIR Form 1701 as circularized under

Revenue Memorandum Circular No. (RMC)


The enhanced BIR Form 1701 incorporates

a new Part IX requiring the disclosure of

details on income subjected to final tax

and income exempt from income tax.

Note, however, that the disclosure of

other income is optional in 2011 but shall

become mandatory for the year 2012.

Taxpayers are well-advised, therefore, to

ensure that information about their other

income are collated regularly so as to avoid

delay in the filing of income tax returns.

2. Election of OSD or itemized deductions.

Individual taxpayers engaged in trade or

business, including those in the practice of

a profession, have the option to claim deductions

using either the optional standard

deduction (OSD) or itemized deductions.

The option must be signified by checking

the appropriate box in their ITR. Please

note that under RMC 16-2010, the type of

deduction adopted by the taxpayer in his

first quarter ITR should be the same as in

his final ITR for taxable year. Thus, any

taxpayer who fails to indicate his choice in

his first quarterly ITR shall be considered as

having availed of the itemized deductions

option for the taxable year.

3. Availment of additional exemptions.

In addition to the OSD or itemized deductions,

an individual engaged in trade or

business is allowed to claim personal and

additional exemption for each qualified

dependent child (QDC) up to a maximum

of four dependents. The amount of personal

exemption that may be claimed is

P50,000 regardless of the status of the

individual taxpayer (i.e., single, head of

family or married) and P25,000 for each

qualified dependent.

The additional exemptions for QDC shall

be claimed by only one of the spouses in

the case of married individuals. The husband

shall be the proper claimant of the

additional exemption for QDC unless he

explicitly waives his right in favor of his

wife in the Application for Registration

(BIR Form No. 1902) or in the Certificate

of Update of Exemption and of Employer’s

and Employee’s Information (BIR Form

No. 2305), whichever is applicable. In

cases where the spouse of the employee

is unemployed or is a non-resident citizen

deriving income from foreign sources, the

employed spouse within the Philippines

shall be automatically entitled to claim the

additional exemptions for children.

4. Submission of Statement of management

responsibility. A statement of management

responsibility should accompany the ITR to

be filed by the taxpayers. This should be

duly signed by the individual taxpayer, or

by the president, or any officer performing

similar functions in the case of corporations.

5. Two or more checks per tax return.

In paying your taxes, two or more checks

in payment for a single tax liability are

allowed provided that said checks are prepared

in accordance with the provisions of

Revenue Regulations No. 16-02. In preparing

the check, the taxpayer should indicate

in the space provided for “PAY TO THE

ORDER OF” the presenting/collecting bank

or the bank where the payment is to be

coursed and “FAO Bureau of Internal Revenue”

as payee. The taxpayer identification

number (TIN) should be written under the


Cash (up to P20,000) and check payments

for annual income tax payments of individual

taxpayers are allowed to be paid with

the cashier of the Revenue District Office

(RDO) for five working days prior to and

until April 15.

6. Installment payment. When the tax

due exceeds P2,000, the taxpayer may

elect to pay in two equal installments --

the first installment to be paid at the time

the return is filed and the second, on or

before July 15 of the same year.

7. “No payment” returns. “No payment”

returns, including refundable/creditable returns

with excess tax credit carry over, and

returns qualified for second installment

shall be filed with the RDO where you are

registered or with any Tax Filing Center

established by the BIR.

8. Retention of records. Records and

information pertaining to, as well as copies

and proof of filing/payment of the filed

returns should be retained and kept safe

for at least three years in preparation for a

possible BIR audit.

Taxpayers with gross quarterly sales or receipts

exceeding P150,000 shall have their

books of accounts audited and examined

yearly by independent Certified Public Accountants

and their ITRs accompanied by

a duly accomplished Account Information

Form (AIF) or audited financial statements.

To ensure compliance with all other tax

filing requirements, taxpayers should keep

abreast of upcoming BIR announcements

and bank bulletins concerning the schedule

of extended banking hours, rules on

out-of-district filing, and the responsibility

of authorized agent banks.

The author is a senior tax associate with Punongbayan

& Araullo, a member firm within Grant Thornton

International Ltd. For comments or inquiries, please

e-mail Cha.Mandap@ph.gt.com or call 886-5511.

Further enquiries, please contact Melissa Valledor

agt 886 5511 loc 633 or 886 5577; Issued on: 24

January 2012

About P&A:

P&A is a leading professional services firm with a

proven track record of high-quality work. P&A provides

value-added services to clients through a clientcaring

team of audit, tax and business professionals

who utilize leading-edge systems and technology

and are guided by the highest standards of quality,

integrity and competence. P&A is a member firm

within Grant Thornton International Ltd.

SME 17




Designed for Growth

Gerry Choa leads PRO-FRIENDS to real estate success

through astute planning and by listening to the market

by Cecile J. Baltasar

Inside the PRO-FRIENDS office building in

Mandaluyong, there is an early-morning

excitement amongst the employees.

A big happening is up today and everyone

—from the friendly lobby security guard to

the corporate communications manager—

is buzzing with anticipation. The event?

Their beloved Chairman Gerry Choa—who

has maintained a very low-key image—will

have a full-fledged interview, and a photo

shoot to boot. And there is a bonus: he

is being made-up for the accompanying

photo shoot.

“Sir, pa-autograph naman,” is heard

often throughout the morning as various

employees stop by the conference room

where the “make-up session” is being

done. Mr. Choa laughs and threatens

promotion to chairman, effective

immediately, to anyone else who treats

him as a celebrity.

It is in this friendly and almost irreverent

atmosphere that PRO-FRIENDS (Property

Company of Friends, Inc.), a 13-year-old

real estate development company, thrives

and grows exponentially.

His life’s purpose

Gerry Choa grew up in Pasay helping

out his parents and his siblings in their

family’s small retail hardware store. He

lifted sacks of cement, did inventory,

and arranged lumber and pipes in their

makeshift shelves. When he wasn’t

working or studying, he and his siblings

perched outside their neighbor’s house and

watched TV through the window.

SME 18

“But we never felt poor,” says Gerry. “We

never felt sorry for ourselves.” Instead,

what their austere upbringing gave the

Choa siblings were lessons in the value

of money, hard work, saving, and sharing

with each other. When they were small,

for example, Gerry took 5 centavos from

the money he earned doing odd jobs and

bought a plastic cup of pineapple juice

from a vendor down the street from their

house. He called over his younger sister

and together, they shared the cup of juice.

When he was a teenager studying at Grace

Christian High School, Gerry graduated

into selling. And it was around this time

that he experienced something that would

change his life forever. He was in Sucat,

Parañaque on the same day of the burial

of sugar tycoon and philanthropist Don

Antonio Roxas Chua. The procession of

the mourners was so long that even while

the hearse was already inside the cemetery

on Sucat Road, the end of the procession

Lancaster Estates,

Alexandra house model

was still making its way down South Super

Highway. This was when Gerry chanced

upon it.

“It was then that I reconciled my Christian

education with my parents’ upbringing,”

says Gerry. “I saw how Don Antonio

affected so many people that even on his

death, they were there for him. I realized

that the value of life is not measured by

riches but by how your life affects others.

I had found my purpose in life.”

The beginning

In 1986, Gerry, under various companies

that he put up with different partners,

started developing real estate. He stayed

in the industry, operating his succeeding

corporations either solo or with his


“In 1999, we decided to put up

PRO-FRIENDS with only my family

as shareholders so that we could

independently grow the company with the

values important to us and in the culture

that we thrived in,” says Gerry who began

the company with his wife as his boss

(“My wife told me to work, and I worked.

It was a good set-up”). This was right after

the crash of 1997 when banks didn’t want

to loan out. So Gerry and his team had

to develop their own credit system. They

collected from their buyers themselves

and then they dealt with the banks so the

banks would liquidate back to Gerry. “Only

Plantersbank came through and helped us

out,” says Gerry. “So our relationship with

them is very solid.”

Taking that kind of risk, but cautiously

and only after tremendous research, has

become PRO-FRIENDS trademark move.

Their first project was Villa de Primarosa,

a 10-hectare housing development they

bought off a bank for rehabilitation. They

turned the development around and

payback came after five months.

Park Regency Residences

swimming pool, the biggest

village pool in the province


SME 19


PRO-FRIENDS was able to eventually

expand the project to 33 hectares. “When

it is risky, when no one wants to be there,

that’s the best time to make your move,”

says Gerry. “Demand is high, there’s no

competition, so you can write your

own rules.”

With such an aggressive approach, it was

not obvious to everyone that this new

powerhouse of a development company

was still at its infancy. Gerry began PRO-

FRIENDS with a staff of eight. Office

furniture was sparse and at lunch, all eight

met at the “pantry dining table” which

was a single monobloc picnic table. Each

would bring out his baon and inevitably,

about three of them would have Pritong

Isda in his lunchbox. Sharing lunch was a

given, or perhaps, a privilege.

Thirteen years later, PRO-FRIENDS is now

a company of 800 employees, most of

whom Gerry knows by name. Each of

these employees is encouraged to sound

off. After all, asks Gerry, “How are we

going to know what’s happening on

the field, in selling or planning, if there’s

no open communication?” In fact, says

Monica Morales, PRO-FRIENDS’ Corporate

Communications Manager, “He even

knows some of the kids of his employees.”

This culture of family is reflected in the

corporate hierarchy, as well. Everyone who

goes above and beyond his or her work

can get promoted several ranks ahead.

Planning ahead

Gerry, whose success can be attributed

not in small part to his penchant for

making plans, cannot stress enough how

important planning is to PRO-FRIENDS

projects. “Our company is built on

planning,” he says. “We do intensive

research for each potential project, and

even for existing ones, and come up with

a Plan A, Plan B, even a Plan E. I don’t

regret the extra plans, even if we waste 90

percent of them, because making plans is

the cheapest thing to do. The best thing

about having a plan is knowing what to do

when other plans don’t happen. You can

pinpoint exactly where something goes

wrong, which makes it easier and quicker

to fix in the long run.” This business model

was built so that each project could stand

alone and take its own risks.

There were times, however, when Gerry

didn’t foresee developments. In 2004,

sales of Pro-Friends shot up 100 percent.

Unfortunately, they were not tooled up

then; they did not have enough people

to handle the market influx. So they

experienced servicing problems. And to

deal with that, he did something no person

outside the industry could probably take.

“We decided to stop growing,” Gerry

says. “We had to tool up before growing

again so we could be ready for anything.”

From 2005 to 2006, PRO-FRIENDS halted

growth. They spent this time instead to

tool-up even beyond necessity. By the end

of 2006, sales had gone up again and

PRO-FRIENDS was more than equipped to

handle it. “The decision to stop growing

is one you have to make,” he says. “It is

not about market share, but about a family

wanting to live in a dream house but not

being able to because of servicing problems.”

Gerry’s philosophy is also evident in the

Lancaster Estates which PRO-FRIENDS

is developing in Alapan, Imus, Cavite.

They put in a school in consultancy with

the LaSallian Supervision Office for the

community and by filling it up with all

the necessary facilities, they stand to lose

300 to 500 million in the next three to

Leighton Hall,

Lancaster Estates’ clubhouse


five years while waiting for enrollment to

fill up to capacity. Gerry doesn’t believe

in a bad business year, he says there’s no

such thing. All one needs to do is adjust

one’s business model and know the

people you are working for. “When you

understand your market, you can actually

help upgrade their lives,” he says. “By

putting in that school everything that a

student would need for his education,

we transform the students’ lives and,

consequently, their families, as well. You

need to feel what your market feels in

order to serve them properly.”

In fact, PRO-FRIENDS is known in the

industry as the company with an acute

understanding of its market. In the next

two to three years, Gerry wants to focus

on that and build up his company’s

customer service arm. “We will serve our

customers to the next level,” he says.

Design specifics

and applications

In May 2011, Gerry celebrated his 52nd

birthday. On that day, he stepped down

from being CEO of PRO-FRIENDS and

became Chairman, instead. “I’m now

on my second life,” Gerry jokes. But, as

usual, he didn’t turn a year older without

planning for it. Approaching it, Gerry

made sure that he took care of things,

getting his family in good order, setting up

his company well enough so that it would

be ready for any eventuality.

SME 20

Bellefort Estates,

Sabine house model

His varied interests are more evident when

he talks about current events, such as the

RH bill, with a surprisingly passionate tone.

“The Philippines has a very large domestic

economy,” he says. “Our population is our

best economic tool. All you need to do is

educate everyone, and that doesn’t have

to cost much. Once all our children are

educated, think about how much they can

contribute to our economy. “Our country

is really in a very good place.”

One would assume that someone who

spends his life making plans would be a

highly-strung person who is so nervous

and tense that he barely smiles and

rarely jokes. Gerry is the opposite. He

smiles often, peppers his statements with

witticisms, and has an easy air about him.

Gerry’s office shelves are filled with books:

Be the Solution, Italian Painting, Battle

Hymn of the Tiger Mother, The Magic

of Thinking Big, Catholicism for Filipino

Catholics, among others, and several

more coffee table books about design and


Eternally optimistic and passionate about

his work, Gerry shoots off advice to

young people: “Love your work. There

is no grand design to follow. Just keep

improving and allowing yourself to

be pleasantly surprised by life’s turns.

Only then can we do our share in God’s

creation. And that is perfection.”

PRO-FRIENDS is one of the country’s

fastest growing real estate developers,

with 52 finished developments and 36

on-going projects. They are the developer

of Bellefort Estates, Lancaster Estates,

Carmona Estates and Parc Regency

Residences. For more information on PRO-

FRIENDS’ properties, please call (02)491-

7700 or visit www.profriends.com.

The Sage’s Words

Gerry Choa, Chairman of

PRO-FRIENDS, can write a self-help

book from his life.

Pre-empting this, here are some of

his wise words:

“There are lots of

money in our economy.

You should be very

proud of your country.”

“A bad business year is

still a good year as long

as you learn.”

“Once you help better

the lives of kids, you

better the lives of

their parents, families,

and finally, society in


“The trick in making

difficult decisions is that

you don’t dilly dally

in making them. If it

needs to be done, do it


SME 21

SME Profile

The Man


Grew the



by Therese M. Gutierrez

The sun looked down kindly as the

gentle breeze swayed its leaves, its roots

anchored deep in the sandy soil, and its

trunk carried the burden of sweet produce.

Up on the rocky mountain terrain of Sitio

Pao-pao in General Santos City, thousands

of hectares are peppered with the humble

plant—the banana. And there smiling,

almost as sheepishly as a little boy, is the

man whose vision made it possible,

Patricio Amadeo.

His voice, soft and gentle, but his laugh

hearty, he spoke of years gone by with

vividness, his mind sharp but his demeanor

gentle. At 73 years old, Manong Pat—a

name coined by people who work for

him—still oversees the operation of Phela

Resources Inc., his business engaged in

banana export to Japan through DOLE-

Stanfilco Incorporated. Rising up early, he

greets the morning sun as he makes his

rounds, going through their makeshift

sheds that house the packaging of

the bananas.

“First time ko ma-interview,” (This is my

first time to be interviewed) he says with

a chuckle. Not that there were no offers

before—big television networks have

approached him for an exclusive—but

he has gently turned them down. “What

for?” he says. With a slew of businesses

under his belt, Manong Pat remains

undoubtedly humble, always tracing his

roots back to his modest beginnings.

SME 22

Taking the Leap

Born and raised in Iloilo, Patricio Amadeo

worked as a jeepney driver. “Life was

hard,” he narrates, “Isang kahig, isang

tuka” (hand-to-mouth existence). The

hardships he experienced gave him

the resolute desire to achieve more in

life. Then at 30 years old, with his wife

having recently given birth to their first

born, Amadeo made a pivotal decision to

transfer to General Santos, then Dadiangas

Town, to see if life out there could afford

him better opportunities.

His decision to leave his hometown was

based on a multinational company—not

that he worked there. At that time, Coca-

Cola was opening a plant in Dadiangas

and he thought, “If a big company was

confident of setting up a firm in the town,

that must be a good sign of economic

boom in the area.”

With a meager P10, Amadeo, with his

uncanny skill of looking out for great

opportunities, set up business making

school bags in the small sleepy town.

“Madali lang gumawa ng bags” (Bags

are easy to make), he narrates. Business

was brisk; Amadeo sold his wares in the

public market, and after gaining capital,

he started several more enterprises—going

into aqua- and agri –culture as well hotel,

furniture and retail (hardware) business.

The Lakatan variety proved to be a

resilient specie—unaffected by pests

and could thrive on hilly terrain

His Vision

Now enjoying a comfortable life which

is a far cry from his life back in Iloilo,

Amadeo felt a nagging desire to help

his fellowmen. “Gusto ko makatulong.

Alam ko kung paano ang mahirap na

buhay dahil napagdaanan ko ‘yun. Yun

talaga ang vision ko.” (I really wanted

to help because I know how difficult life

can be. And that has always been my

vision). “I am not ambitious,” he said

with a chuckle. “If I eat three times a

day, even without merienda (snacks),

I am happy. As long as I am helping

others, I am happy.”

Bananas get a thorough

rinsing before packaging

Having recently bought land in the uphills

of General Santos City, he thought of

tapping the indigenous people to be

his workers. “Dito sa bundok, walang

employment, walang opportunities”

(Here in the mountains, there are no

employment opportunities), he laments.

“They cannot write, and they can only

speak in Bisaya,” says Amadeo, thus

greatly limiting their chances of decent

work. But knowing the hilly terrain like the

back of their hands, the indigenous people

proved to be his great asset to

his company.

SME 23


The Banana Boom

Unpredictably rugged and almost barren, Amadeo, started

planting Jumilina trees. Its hard wood provided a constant

stream of raw materials for his furniture business. But although

profitable, the trees took years to mature and the widespread El

Niño in the country stunted its growth.

Not to be shaken, Amadeo thought of planting early crops—fast

maturing plants that will bear fruits within a year. Although the

hilly terrain did not guarantee profit, he took the chance and

planted banana. After all, he thought, “bananas planted on

higher ground yield sweeter fruits.”

The steep slopes and uneven plateaus of the mountain proved

to be tricky. He needed a variety of trees with a sturdy trunk, one

that could hold the weight of its fruits. The Lakatan and Señorita,

the local varities resistant to pests, proved to be the best choice.

The firsts few harvests were sold mostly in the public markets

of GenSan, Cebu, Iloilo, and Manila. Although one without a

background in banana growing, Amadeo muses, “God must really

love me,” as business continued to flourish and do well locally.

“The banana is a versatile fruit and Filipinos naturally are banana

eaters,” he shares.

Manong Pat shows how

to properly cut bananas

from the stalk

SME 24

At about the same time, pest

contamination in bananas was a big

concern, especially for exporters. Dole, the

world’s largest producer and marketer of

high-quality fresh fruits, stumbled upon

Amadeo’s produce, took interest and

asked for several samples of the fruit. After

passing the stringent set of qualifications,

Dole made them their sole supplier of

Lakatan and Señorita varieties for export

to Japan.

With a thriving business, he continued

to purchase additional land, and invest

more in capital. “We opted to bank with

Plantersbank,” he shares. When other

banks turned them down for loans,

Plantersbank was ready to help. “Madali

sila kausap,”(They are easy to talk to) he says.

Paying it Foward

Life has indeed been sweet for Amadeo.

Phela Resources Inc.—whose unique name

Phela was derived from the first letter of

the family member’s names —continues to

enjoy growth. Not only does the company

“The company provides

close to 600 jobs and

transformed Sitio Pao-pao

into a thriving community.

provide jobs to some 600 workmen and

women, it has transformed Sitio Pao-pao,

a once humdrum countryside setting to

a thriving community with roads wellbuilt

and schools from elementary to high

school. “I want to give the people here

in the mountains a good chance in life,”

he smiles. With job opportunities and a

sound educational system in place for the

children of his workforce, it is no wonder

that Amadeo has taken on a patriarch role

in his company.

The cool crisp air blows and the banana

plant towers above. Patricio Amadeo

smiles almost sheepishly, as he looks

at hectares upon hectares of greenery,

“It’s a pretty sight,” he muses. He has

accomplished much in business—but more

in life. He is more than a business owner,

more than an entrepreneur; he is Manong

Pat, a visionary who brought the company

to life and made a difference in the lives

of others.

SME 25


Save Mother




There’s nothing wrong with

progress; in fact everyone wants

it, especially financially. However,

some societies nowadays seem

to progress for the worse that they ruin

natural resources provided to them just

for the sake of development. Metro

Manila, for one, is very progressive yet is

considered as one of the most polluted

cities in the world due to the waste

emitted by some small and medium


But gaining profit while continuously being

environmental conscious is still possible.

That is what STENUM has believed in

for their over 20 years of existence.

This Austria-based consulting and

research company has given sustainable

development support to manufacturing

companies in Europe. “We take the

pressure out of the company by reducing

material and energy streams,” Dr. Thomas

Dielacher, Managing Director of STENUM,

says. Now their cause has landed in

the Philippines, in the form of Green

Philippines Island of Sustainability (GPIoS).

GPIoS came to the country in 2007 as a

project backed by the European Union

under the SWITCH-Asia Programme.

Around 30 companies were initially

introduced to an approach that married

environmental responsibility and

profitability—referred to as EcoSwitch.

“When we make energy smaller, we have

less to purchase. We have less emissions

and less waste, so less waste treatment as

well. It’s good for the environment and for

the pocket because less purchase means

less to pay,” Dr. Dielacher explains.

Until 2013, GPIoS will be open to SMEs

specializing in manufacturing and services

in Metro Manila, CALABARZON, Clark,

and Subic. This goal is made possible by

local implementing partners which include

Philippine Business for Environment (PBE),

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and

Industry (PCCI), and the Department of

Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

just to name a few.

GPIoS has also found a reputable partner

in Planters Development Bank, which

shares the project’s environmental

initiatives. Through Plantersbank, GPIoS

can reach out to a pool of SMEs regarding

their cause. Companies that intend to

prioritize environmental consciousness

can avail of workshops, seminars, and

individual consulting with GPIoS without

financial costs. “When businesses have

a problem, we’ll solve it for them. But

we also show how to analyze it, how to

find out the best options, and how to get

them implemented. And soon, they can


teaches Filipinos how to

preserve nature without

breaking the bank

by Louise Myjel A. Guevarra

do it on their own,” Wilson Baldonado,

Sustainability Officer for GPIoS, explains.

Plantersbank, meanwhile, is provided

with learning opportunities concerning

Cleaner Technology, Pollution Prevention,

Waste Reduction, and other topics covered

by GPIoS and their resource personnel.

They serve as project liaison—mobilizing

participating companies and taking charge

of logistics for seminars, workshops,

meetings, and on-site visits.

There are three training modules that

businesses can enroll in depending on

its size and nature: ECOBONUS caters to

medium and large companies, ECOFOCUS

to small and medium, and ECOSENSE

to micro enterprises with ten or less

employees. At the end, participants are

expected to learn how to optimize their

resources, while improving their energy

efficiency and waste management, and

reducing production and maintenance

cost. The workforce should have learned

how to be more responsible, and the

company as a whole should have improved

working conditions and better legal


GPIoS manages the annual EcoSwitch

certification program that will disseminate

the best practices as part of its “Shining

Showcases” project. These, in turn,

will prove to society that caring for the

environment can still be profitable, no

matter how big or small a business is.

SME 26


Much of modern life is

defined by stressful living.

But you don’t have to fall

into this trap. If stress is

the enemy, then it pays to

know more about it.

Health Watch


Over Stress

by Louise Myjel A. Guevarra

Stress is actually a normal physical

response, perhaps born from human

evolution. In the wild, ancient humans

needed the sensation of stress to help

keep them on the lookout versus

predators. These days, however, we’re no

longer worried about lions and cobras. So

our stress mechanisms are usually triggered

by relatively more trifling concerns.

Where does it start?

Stress is triggered by both external

and internal stimuli. External stimuli

may include major life changes (work,

relationships, and financial status, for

instance), while internal stimuli include

one’s health and fitness, emotional wellbeing,

and unrealistic expectations.

When something threatens us, our sense

of defense heightens—a process known as

a stress response. This protection helps us

stay focused and alert despite what’s going

on. So if you think about it, while stress

may often be associated with negative

situations, biologically speaking, stress can

actually be viewed in a neutral, or even

positive, way.

What can stress lead to?

Unfortunately, when coupled with anxiety,

stress can lead to negative effects. Physical

effects of stress can be felt from the brain

down to the reproductive system. These

include erratic sleeping patterns, muscle

tension, headache, and gastrointestinal

disturbances. Emotional effects,

meanwhile, include changes in eating

habits and mood swings.

In extreme cases, stress may also lead

some people towards unhealthy behaviors

such as alcohol or drug abuse, which may

ultimately affect their quality of life.

How can we manage stress?

Stress may be unavoidable, but one can

learn to manage it to avoid its negative

effects. Don’t let the challenges of life

take charge. Instead, take charge of

your thoughts, emotions, environment,

schedule, and all the possible problems

you may typically encounter in your life.

For instance, when faced with a situation

that you know will cause you a lot of

stress, always find some way to give

yourself some slack. Remember that there

is always room for negotiation.

Second, learn how to react in a more

positive way to the causes of stress—

remember that a positive outlook and

response lead to positive effects as well.

Much of stress is imaginary: it’s all in the

mind. The “glass is half empty, glass is half

full” saying is very much true.

More importantly, don’t let your life be

an endless series of stressful events. Make

time for rest and relaxation. Once you get

used to spotting the possible causes of

stress, you will learn how to stay in control

even as the pressure builds.



Researchers are continually studying

stress in order to delve deeper into

its genuine effects on people. Here

are some of their recent findings.

� A study in the Journal of

Proteome Research has found

that food bingeing doesn’t do any

favors. It is, however, good to eat

dark chocolate. The flavonoids

found in dark chocolates provide

a soothing effect for those who

feel stressed out. Around 1½

ounces of dark chocolate a day for

two weeks can reduce one’s level

of stress hormones. That’s good

news for chocoholics!

� If you’re feeling stressed out

because of someone, it may

be best to sleep it off. People

who confront others before

bedtime are only making things

worse, according to Andrea

K. Wittenborn, PhD, Assistant

Professor in the Marriage and

Family therapy program at Virginia

Polytechnic Institute and State

University. Stress may cause

the part of the brain called the

amygdala to cue off the fight-orflight

response, thus limiting one’s

ability to have a calm, rational

discussion. “If you’re already

angry or frustrated, you become

emotionally flooded and unable

to think clearly. Plus, sleep is a

powerful antidote to stress,” says

Russell Rosenberg, PhD, director

of the Atlanta Sleep Medicine

Clinic and vice chairman of the

National Sleep Foundation.

� Brain shrinkage has been linked to

stress. Yale neurobiologist Rajita

Sinha’s new report published in

Biological Psychiatry states that a

deep history of stress can cause

the brain to have less gray matter

than expected in a part of the

prefrontal cortex that regulates

emotion, blood pressure, and

blood sugar.

SME 27


Power in

your hands

Everything needs batteries these days.

Fortunately, one of the latest trends in the tech

world is for you to have your own portable

power bank. Here, the editors of

Technoodling.net, one of the country’s premiere

tech sites, have offered to give us a rundown of

some of the most notable and totable battery

packs in the local market today.

So what makes for a good portable power bank?

Lots of power, of course. Plus compatibility

with most of your mobile devices. These would

include iPhone and Android phones, phones by

Nokia, LG and Samsung, game devices, cameras

and the like. Tablets? Maybe. Laptops? No, they

need way too much power.

Energizer XP2000

Portable Charger


If you want something

that’s less cute and more

functional-looking, then the

XP2000 may be more up

your alley. Specs-wise, it is

nearly similar to that of the

MiLi Power Crystal, down

to its battery charge and its

six interchangeable tips.

Tech Review

Third Rail System

Est. Php 3,900

The Third Rail system

consists of a slim protective

case for the phone that

features a piggybacking

mechanism, which allows

you to snap on an extra

battery pack with ease.

MiLi Power Crystal


This can provide up

to 12 hours of extra

talk time. Includes six

interchangeable plug tips.

CD-R King Portable

Power Bank


CD-R King’s Portable

Power Bank is actually

quite impressive, with

3,000 mAh of power and

interchangeable tips for

most portable devices.

MiPow Power



The Power Shadow is

a car charger for USB

devices. The top part

of the charger can be

pulled out to become

a snap-on portable

battery pack for

iPhones and iPod

Touch devices.

SME 28

Business Owner’s

Guide to Reading

and Understanding

Financial Statements

by Lita Epstein

P 1095.00

Financial statements are

referred to by managers

and business owners when

they want to know how

a company is doing in

terms of financial health.

There are different types of

financial statements, all of

which are important. This

book will help managers

and business owners

learn about these types of

financial statements, and how to properly understand them.

This book covers the differences between the various types of

financial statements, how these statements can be used for

making business decisions, and understanding the importance of

the budget process. Keep Business Owner’s Guide to Reading and

Understanding Financial Statements on your desk and help ward

off potential financial missteps.

It’s Your Biz: The

Complete Guide to

Becoming Your Own


by Susan Wilson Solovic

P 1495.00


Everyone can start their own

small business. It can be

both a good thing (ditching

corporate job to pursue a

passion) and a bad thing

(falling easily into the pitfalls

of new businesses).

Worth Reading

It’s Your Biz: The Complete

Guide to Becoming Your

Own Boss serves as a guide

to those who are aspiring to have their own profitable businesses

and improving the odds of its success. With this book, you’ll

get information on how one can gauge the qualities required to

succeed; how to build a business plan that works; how to choose

partners, advisers and employees wisely; and how to protect your

company. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Encyclopedia of Small

Business Forms and


by Martha Maeda

P 1295.00

Thinking of starting up

a small business? The

Encyclopedia of Small

Business Forms and

Agreements may just be every

small business owners’ best

friend. This book provides

readers with information,

and even templates, for

every form and agreement

that they will need for their

businesses, including checklists, worksheets, contracts, and

human resource documents. With this book, you’ll learn how to

properly document your hiring, firing, technology, legal, merger,

acquisition, fund-raising, sales, and marketing needs.

If you prefer a soft copy instead, the book also has an

accompanying CD-ROM that also tackles the different issues,

situations, and tasks that small business owners face every day,

from start-up dilemmas down to legal matters. Encyclopedia is in

essence, a small business survival kit.

What You Need to

Know About Starting a


by Kevin Duncan

P 989.00

Let’s face it, not every

business can be a sure

hit. Without the right

background and knowledge,

a business startup is likely

to fail in a year’s time.

Given that bleak forecast,

What You Need to Know

About Starting a Business

is the perfect companion

for people who believe that

they have a good business

idea but don’t know how to

go about making it happen.

This book explains the basics of starting a company, managing

money, selling your business to potential clients, and lots more, all

with the aim of helping you turn your idea into a business success.

SME 29




Callospa & Resort

A Place of Tranquil Serenity for

Your Mind, Body and Soul

by Ma. Cecilia Pedrocillo

For one thing, Callospa has been awarded

Best Spa by the Department of Tourism.

It has also garnered a Most Enterprising

commendation from the Department of

Trade and Industry.

The business was put together by

Evangeline Garcia, a foreign exchange

trader who wanted more from the usual

spa. She decided that if she cannot be

satisfied by existing spas and wanted more

amenities and comforts, then she might as

well put one up herself.

Callospa & Resort offers an ambience that

is out of the ordinary. “It’s like you’re in

your own little rainforest that brings you

closer to nature,” says Garcia. It therefore

comes as an advantage that the resort is

situated in Antipolo, which is still host to a

little bit of nature amidst the urban setting.

But Callospa pushes for even more. “We

also added a Bali and Malaysian touch to

our facilities, which gives us our edge,”

adds Garcia.

If you wish to find

a place where you

or someone dear

to you can relax

and enjoy a quiet

moment, then

Callospa & Resort

may be worth


The resort’s clients consists mostly of

foreigners, as well as many balikbayans.

These visitors come over with the primary

purpose of unwinding and relaxing away

from their busy work lives, so the resort

strives to offer them exactly what they

have been wishing for. But aside from

tourists, Callospa also welcomes wedding

receptions. “It feels good to be a part of

something true and solemn,” says Garcia.

To this end, the resort benefits from

referrals from family, friends and other


Garcia attributes part of her success to her

business partnership with Plantersbank.

“Being with a bank that is trustworthy is

something that makes an entrepreneur

feel secure,” says Garcia. “I chose to be

with Plantersbank because it’s a bank that

knows my business needs and is always

ready to give those needs to me.”

This also helps Garcia feel upbeat about

her business prospects. “Everybody’s

optimistic about their business and that

makes me feel optimistic too,” she says.

“Being an entrepreneur, you should be

positive about the business that you put up

and believe in yourself.”

SME 30




• 1604E - Annual information return of

creditable income taxes withheld/income

payments exempt from withholding tax for

TY 2011


• Summary lists of sales/purchases by

VAT-registered taxpayers (all eFPS groups) for

TQ ended January 2012


• Inventory list for FY ended January 2012

• PEZA - ITR filed with the BIR on February

15, 2012 by PEZA-registered enterprises for

FY ended October 2011


•Computerized books of accounts and other

accounting records in CD-R, DVD-R or other

optical media, and affidavit on the postreporting

requirements for CAS for FY ended

January 2012


•Engagement letters and renewals or

subsequent agreements for financial audit by

independent CPAs for FY beginning May 1,




• 2000 - DST for February 2012


• Summary report of certifications issued

by the President of NHMFC (RA 7279) for

February 2012


• eSales report by large taxpayers (regular

and excise) using CRM/POS and other sales

machine with TIN ending in an even number

for February 2012


• Transcript sheets of ORB for distilled spirits,

wines, fermented liquor, tobacco products,

oil, automobiles, and cigarette paper for

February 2012

Tax Calendar



• 1600 - Withholding VAT/PT for February



• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation, EWT

and FWT for February 2012 (non-eFPS


• 1606 - Withholding on transfer of real

property other than capital assets for February



• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation,

EWT and FWT for February 2012 (Groups D

and E)


• eSales report by large taxpayers (regular

and excise) using CRM/POS and other

sales machine with TIN ending in an

odd number for February 2012


• Transcript sheets of ORB for mineral

products for February 2012

• Sugar cooperative’s list of buyers of sugar

for February 2012, together with a copy of

certificate of advance payment of VAT made

by each buyer appearing on the list

• Information return on releases of refined

sugar by the proprietor or operator of a

sugar refinery or mill for February 2012


• 2306 - Certificate of VAT/PT withheld

for February 2012

• 2307 - Certificate of creditable PT

withheld for February 2012


• PhilHealth - ME-5 contributions for February


• SSS - R-5 contributions for February 2012

of employers with SSS identification numbers

ending in 1 or 2

13 Tuesday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation, EWT

and FWT for February 2012 (Group C)

14 Wednesday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation, EWT

and FWT for February 2012 (Group B)


• HDMF - M1-1 contributions by employers

whose names start with letters A to D for

February 2012


• SEC - AFS for FY ended November 2011 by

corporations whose securities are registered

under RSA or SRC



• 1702 and 1702-AIF - Annual ITR and AIF for

corporations and partnerships for FY ended

November 2011

• 1704 - IAET for FY ended February 2011


• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation, EWT

and FWT for February 2012 (Group A


• 1601C, 1601E, 1601F and 1602 -

Withholding return on compensation, EWT

and FWT for February 2012 (all eFPS groups)


• 1707A - Consolidated CGT return for

shares not traded in the stock exchange

for FY ended November 2011


• Bound computer-generated/loose-leaf

books of accounts and other accounting

records for FY ended February 2012


• Summary list of machines (CRM-POS)

sold by machine distributors/dealers/

vendors/suppliers for TQ ended February



• SSS - R-5 contributions for February 2012

of employers with SSS identification numbers

ending in 3 or 4


• PhilHealth - RF-1 remittance report for

February 2012


• PEZA - AFS filed with the BIR on February

15, 2012 by PEZA-registered enterprises for

FY ended October 2011


• HDMF - M1-1 contributions by employers

whose names start with letters E to L for

February 2012



• 2551Q - PT for TQ ended February 2012


• 2550M & 2551M - VAT and PT for February

2012 (non-eFPS taxpayers)


• 2307 - Certificate of EWT for TQ ended

February 2012


• SSS - R-5 contributions for February 2012

of employers with SSS identification numbers

ending in 5 or 6

21 Wednesday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 2550M & 2551M - VAT and PT for

February 2012 (Group E)

22 Thursday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 2550M and 2551M - VAT and PT for

February 2012 (Group D)

23 Friday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 2550M and 2551M - VAT and PT for

February 2012 (Group C)

26 Monday – LAST DAY OF e-FILING

• 2550M and 2551M - VAT and PT for

February 2012 (Groups A and B)


• 2550M and 2551M - VAT and PT for

February 2012 (all eFPS groups)


• 2550Q - VAT for TQ ended February



• Summary lists of sales/purchases by

VAT-registered taxpayers (non-eFPS taxpayers)

for TQ ended February 2012

• Sworn statement of manufacturers or

importers on the volume of sales per brand of

alcohol and tobacco products for December

2010 to February 2012


• HDMF - M1-1 contributions by employers

whose names start with letters M to Q for

February 2012

• SSS - R-5 contributions for February 2012

of employers with SSS identification numbers

ending in 7 or 8


• SEC - AFS for FY ended November 2011

by corporations whose securities are not

registered under RSA or SRC


• Computerized books of accounts and

other accounting records in CD-R, DVD-R

or other optical media, and affidavit on the

post-reporting requirements for CAS for FY

ended February 2012

• Manual books of accounts and other

accounting records if using new books for FY

beginning April 1, 2012


• Summary lists of sales/purchases by

VAT-registered taxpayers (all eFPS groups) for

TQ ended February 2012


• Inventory list for FY ended February 2012

• PEZA - ITR filed with the BIR on March 15,

2012 by PEZA-registered enterprises for FY

ended November 2011

• BOI - Transcript sheets of ORB by qualified

jewelry enterprises for FY ended February



• HDMF - M1-1 contributions by employers

whose names start with letters R to Z for

February 2012

• SSS - R-5 contributions for February 2012

of employers with SSS identification numbers

ending in 9 or 0


• LGU - Payment of real property tax in

full or first installment for 2012

SME 31


Gourmet Farm offers Salad bar

Gourmet Farms, the pioneer of healthy

livings, has recently brought back their

salad bar to serve all vegetarians and salad

lovers. The salad bar offers a satisfying

healthy meal with the best selection of

fresh greens and salad fixings where

you can make your own mixture of the

freshest, all-organic produce straight

from Gourmet Farm. You can also choose

from their variety of salad dressings and

add your favourite toppings such as nuts,

bacon bits, croutons, and more.

For more information about Gourmet

Farms, please visit www.gourmet.com.ph.

You may also email info@gourmet.com.ph

or call their Silang, Cavite Office at (046)


Binalot opens new branch at

Robinsons Otis

Binalot Foods, the Pinoy-pride-themed

dishes has partnered with Robinsons mall

to open outlets in several of their locations.

The first venture is the grand opening of

Binalot Robinson’s Otis recently. Another

two branches are ready to open this 2012

at Robinsons Place Imus and Robinsons

Metro East. Now with over 38 stores,

many of the Binalot stores are franchised

by entrepreneurs with multiple branches,

showing its popularity as the growing

Pinoy-branded franchise.

For more information about Binalot, please

visit www.binalot.com or you may call



Manny O. Wines bags

international awards

The Philippines is not a wine-producing

country, but this has not stopped Manuel

H. Osmena from producing his own

Manny O. Wines which have been reaping

international awards—49 to date—in

no less than seven countries, namely

UK, France, Germany, Spain, California,

Japan and most recently, in Hong Kong’s

International Wine Competition, in which

it bagged eight international awards.

Manny O. started blending wines in 2004

in France and his first vintage 2006 was

released in the market in late 2007. With

his fervour and determination, he started

blending his own brand of wines from the

premier vineyard of Europe. Several of his

best and which internationally recognized

wines are Agapitos Rose and Branco from

Alentejo, Portugal; Sumiller Monastrell

from Yecla, Spain; and NV Celebrus Brut

Blanquette from Limoux, France.

For more information about Manny O.

Wines, please visit www.mannyowines.

com. You may also email inquiry@

mannyowines.com or you may call their

Manila office at 799-7777 or Cebu office

at 492-7788.

Echostore’s gift of hope

Echostore, the leading store for sustainable

lifestyle, offers Echostore gift certificates

all year round. The gift certificates are

perfect for those who love receiving gifts

with meaning and to those who love to

share the hope and the meaningful way

of life. Echostore is a profit venture with

a big social cause that offers products

made by cultural communities, creative

industry practitioners, women groups and

foundations to help break the cycle of

poverty through livelihood programs and

fair trade practices. Give gifts of hope all

year round with Echostore gift certificates.

For more information about Echostore, visit

www.echostore.ph or visit their Serendra

store at Bonifacio, Taguig City or you may

email echolifestyle.store@gmail.com.

Get utmost coverage for

your business!

Small and medium enterprises can now

avail of affordable and customized

insurance packages tailor-made to

their specific insurance needs. The PDB

Insurance Agency (PDBIA), an affiliate

of Plantersbank, now offers SME

Secure, a complete range of insurance

products that can cover against

calamities like fire, typhoons, floods,etc.

SME Secure has what it takes to ensure

that SMEs are fully covered. Among

their insurance partners are Federal

Phoenix Insurance Company, Inc., PNB

General Insurers Co., Inc., UCPB General

Insurance Company, Inc. and Beneficial

Life Insurance Co., Inc.

For more information about their

products and services, you may visit

their office at 9th flr Plantersbank

Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati

City or you may call 884-7600.

SME 32


SME 33

SME 34

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