Browse Month by January 2017
Business, vanj padilla

What my mentor in Isabela told me minutes before I left 

I always want to talk to this person. Because I heard a lot of stories about him.

He is a self-made man, successful business owner, has an unquestionable love for his family and a rock solid faith in God.

IGC Motors big boss Isaias  G. Corpuz with his eldest son

Mentor IC is the proprietor of IGC Motors in Isabela.The company sells quality cars at affordable price. Mentor IC has clients from up to Visayas and Mindanao even though he is from a small town in Isabela.

He was not born with a silver spoon. He admits that they are so poor that at a very early age when boys like him are busy playing games and going to school, he and his elder brother need to look for food.

It was never easy. Everytime I hear their story, it makes me cry. Their struggle is real. He eats hard labor breakfast, lunch and dinner. He worked at a logging business and whenever they get logs from the mountains, he would buy junk materials in sacks that he carries one by one and sells in town.

He also worked as a helper in their eldest brother’s palay and corn buying store, drove tricycle for years just to earn additional money and support their needs.

Bottomline is at a very early age, he has to go through hard labor and learned the value of money.

Minutes before we left their town, I asked him to teach me about financial management. I told him I lack the necessary knowhow on how to handle money, make money work for me instead of the other way around. I told him I don’t want to mess up with blessings that God shall be giving me because I suck at fiscal management. And here are his tips:

Put God first 

All wealth and blessings come from God.

Being alive is a blessing. Having peace of mind is a blessing. We are taught to set aside a portion of our incomes as offering. This offering is being used by the Church to propagate the words of God and introduce Him to other people. The more people who will rightfully worship Him according to His will, the better it is for man. The better it is for us givers.

We offer it during the first day of every week as per the Bible. After setting aside the amount, you now have the freedom to control what’s left of your income.

Do not spend business capital on dead investments.

Cars, unless a necessity should be carefully thought of before you purchase. Think of how the vehicle can help you achieve your dreams or ease up your life rather than splurge on it for the sake of having a nice car.

Houses are also stagnant investments. He said he never spends on house renovation, improvement, expansion unless the money come from other revenue sources or incentives. He does not touch his revolving capital. Revolving capital should be revolving, not stalled.

Capital outlays should always grow  

Before spending your capital, think about how will it earn. How will it work for you. How it will grow. It you think it won’t grow, do not spend on it. Put it elsewhere.

You should go into a business that makes you happy 

I asked him why he went into buying and selling cars when he was a very popular geodetic engineering practitioner.

He said he loved cars, even when he is young. It made him happy. He used to buy a wooden truck when he was a kid. Paid P8 a day to the seller just so it can be told that he owns a truck.

He got the idea to buy and sell SUVs because his father in-law and brothers in-law are few of the best mechanics in town.

He added that he does not buy SUVs from second or third owners. Just first owners. Saves him a lot of trouble and unforseen costs. It makes flipping better and faster.

Most of his customers are silent millionaire farmers. And Isabela has a lot of those. They plant three or four crops a year because of better irrigation facilities. And his clients do not mind price much. They want a better performing, better looking SUV for their family to reward hard work.

Diversify only when ready 

Mentor IC said it is better to focus on one industry and grow or establish it before thinking of diversification. It takes about two to three years to reap rewards in business so its better to put your eggs in one basket first then focus on growing it before thinking of another.

Be a hands-on business owner 

You can delegate tasks but always be there to supervise. You must know every aspect of your business. Get your hands dirty and get paying clients. The adage ‘build and they will come’ only applies to the lazy ones. Build and give them reasons to come over and over are but two of the keys to success.

Live below your means and do not envy what is not yours 

I heard this gazillion times before. My millionaire aunt lives like a poor one inspite of her wealth. Mentor IC shared that when he was young, he used to iron his money to become creaseless. He values it and although he can spend it on anything he likes, he lives like he has lesser money to spend. He does not splurge. He does not have a vice or his spending habits are under control. He is a cash kind of person. Does not use check or credit cards. Just cash. 

Wanting what does not belong to you is the beginning of greed. He said convert the envy into positive energy like instead of thinking how can you ‘keep up with the Joneses‘, work hard for it instead. Do not want what is not rightfully yours. Instead, challenge yourself and put in the efforts.  

It was only a short and simple conversation but indeed, it was one for the books. How can you afford not to listen to the story of a self-made man? The man whose character is unbreakable even by poverty? The person whose determination and business acumen is impeccable? The man who, when he gives something out, God returns it tenfold or more?

I told him to teach me more. I thought I would learn more from Mentor IC like I do from his elder brother. And it was one of the most memorable talks I had in Isabela, the land named after the Queen of Spain.

                                  The display area of IGC Motors in Ramon, Isabela

IGC Motors, dealer of quality cars at affordable prices is located at National Highway, Burgos Ramon, Isabela Philippines. If you need a trustworthy and reliable car dealer, call them at mobile number 0999.574.4262. 

Business, Tech, Travel

The surprising Calle Uno trip we were talking about

Three members of the ‘Norte Bloggers’ dropped by Calle Uno Co-working and collaborative space on a Saturday night to propose a collaborative event in Baguio to be held on April 2017.

We pitched that Calle Uno hold The Storytellers’s Summit Baguio leg to the owner, Ace Estrada and the idea is welcome to him.

According to their website, Calle Uno is “located in a bustling commercial-residential area in Quezon Hill, along Naguilian Road in Baguio City, our working space of 1800 square meters is spread over three storeys. The building is a grand old mansion lovingly restored to its former 1950s glory. Its best feature is the beautiful brick arches sitting at one end of the spacious grounds. It offers spaces and rooms designed to flexibly serve multiple purposes. Its ambiance ranges from the laid-back atmosphere of a cafe to the seriousness of purpose found at a campus library.”

I found my happy place in Calle Uno. The thing that I was dreaming to have since I was small. It was their walled bookshelf that I wanted to build in time for my precious books.

Vanj Padilla happy place
My happy place. i think I could live here

Calle Uno is more than just your ordinary co-working space. The team behind it through Ace Estrada and his family is revolutionising this industry in Baguio. The Baguio market is just ripe for this kind of business and I was impressed with its long-term goals.

Calle Uno is also a launchpad for food startups and one of their mini kitchens can be rented to launch your food business. What is more interesting is that food start-ups have a ready market such as the members and their patrons to test their minimum viable recipes.


Calle Uno also has uniquely designed food trucks from old Volkswagen cars locally called “PENDONG” where concessionaires can sell food, do cooking demos and soon launch an online TV cooking channel under the Calle Uno brand.

It is indeed exciting. And It is refreshing to see people finally getting IT, the technology and disrupting the co-working industry to stay on top of your game.

Calle Uno aims to build a community of tech start-ups, budding food and  tech entrepreneurs, artists, online professionals, virtual workers and what nots.

Visit them and find out how they can help you build your career and your dreams.



I was instantly awarded a membership by the owner, Ace Estrada who happens to be my province mate.







Family, Relationship

Me to daughter: Its not yet OK to have a boyfriend, but he can come over

I am one of the strictest mothers in the world. I have inherited my mother’s iron hands and use it among the kids now.

Maybe my kids sometimes wish they were born to kinder mothers rather than me. Haha. I have a daughter. She is the only girl among four siblings and she is the eldest. She is the better version of myself. So my protection for her goes beyond the skies. Its crazy to have a daughter who is both responsible and smart at the same time.  She can attract all the forces in the universe towards her and God knows what will happen.

When she turned 18, I heard she had a significant other. I objected and threatened her. Of course, its as natural as breathing oxygen. Told her to finish her studies or else….

She made good with her studies. Actually, better than I did in school. Hahaha. It is evident that she is self-motivated and God-fearing, not to mention- also afraid of her monster mom.

I kept thinking about how she did it, who are the people who helped her? Who are the people who inspired her? It could not be me. And not entirely her family. So when I learned that the guy was helping her, I devised a strategy about how to push her to maximize her potential.

So here are my five reasons I allow the guy to come over:

  1. Asked her to refrain from participating too much in non-curricular activities. 

These are time-wasters and they make it a reason to see each other because of school activities that don’t help them much in their academic lives. Better they spend time after class building their talents, their future careers, their individual passions, rather than ‘making babad‘ in school. I told them to look after each other and see to it that they come home immediately after classes. They can come over for a few chats at home and leave.

2. Better to see them at home than hide anywhere else.  

Kids nowadays have their own thinking process. Their listening skills are strong from peers but buffer from elders. Rather than hide their “friendship” from me, I’d rather they are visible for the family to see. You see, when you trust kids with a little something, they think they are in charge. And every responsible child will not mess it up. Knowing that my daughter knows the extent of what I can do to them, I knew she and the other person will keep their words. Trust is a big thing to kids. Gives them confidence. Trust does not reduce them as persons.

3. Lessen the lies, encourage them to tell the truth 

When people lie, they need to tell another lie to corroborate the original lie. And it is no good. It is never healthy. I do not like my children to continually lie to me. Especially in matters concerning them. Lying children will distance themselves to their parents because of guilt. And it doesn’t make any sense. Why would I allow my child to tell lies because of a stranger which she calls her special friend?

4. Gained an ally, lost an enemy 

Everyone knew the down side of having an enemy. You don’t stop until you win and make the other party lose. Its so stressful.

I realised that if I use all my forces to stop my daughter from seeing her friend, I gained an enemy, I lose a daughter because eventually she would be mad and she will protect him. No, he does not enjoy that privilege. So reversing the strategy, I allowed him in the house, I gained a new ally. This young ally will help me protect her in places where I cannot. In places where she spends most of her time now, in the university. And it is a win-win scenario. Unless of course the ally becomes an enemy in the making. Hopefully not because we go back to square 1 which is war.

5. They keep trying to prove and improve themselves 

Ever since I allowed the friend to come over, both of them are trying to prove that indeed they are worthy of their new found freedom. They are more transparent in their actions, meaning where they are going, what they plan to do in school, how they wanted to help in the business and those things that could have never happened in the first place have I sticked to my original plan of extreme hostility.

Its not easy to trust a stranger into your house and into the family, especially if you do not know the background of the person. What’s his story? What is his family’s story? What if he will hurt my daughter? There are a gazillion what ifs, but while I find answers to those what ifs, it helps a little to provide a space where I can see them both more frequently. Takes them away from other influences that I am not aware of.

A week ago, my daughter took her class cards home and announced that she once more made it to the dean’s list. Not bad. I hope she and her special friend does more. I hope to learn about her friend make it to the top also and be each each other’s positive support group.

How about you? Do you allow your kid’s special friends inside your house and treat them like friends too?