Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rent or Sell? What to Do When You Leave Your Home.

Rent or Sell? What to Do When You Leave Your Home.

You've decided to move, but you have a home to consider. Do you sell or rent? While an investment property can generate a nice income over time, you have to figure out if keeping this home is part of your long-term financial plan and if you want that added responsibility.
“There are so many considerations if you’re looking at renting or selling your home,” says Allison Turk, realtor associate at EWM in Miami Beach, “and it comes back to the data.”
Having a tenant pay your mortgage is a great way to build equity, but home prices may not increase in years to come, which can be a problem once you do sell. Sometimes, depending on your financial goals and how long you plan to live in a new area, selling the home is a better choice.
What's important here is to take your emotions out of the decision. Instead, here’s what to think about as you go through the process:

1. What are your goals?

Owning an investment property isn’t just about collecting an income -- you have to budget for maintenance, repair and carry costs. No matter how easy the home is to manage or how much income it generates, consider how this fits into your financial plan and whether you have the time to manage the property.
“You have to weigh the cost of future appreciation and the [rental] income you’re getting now, or if it’s better to get the money from your house [by selling] and put it in your bank account,” says Cara Ameer, broker associate and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “In most cases, the money you’d get from a rental is more than [you'd get] if you put that money in a CD.”

2. How’s the real estate market?

Your home’s location is key, since this is what will attract buyers or renters, depending on what you decide, and how much people will pay for your home. Homes in areas with good schools, shopping and other amenities will likely attract strong tenants who will pay enough to cover your costs.
Research your market and how fast homes sell -- if you can break even or make a profit, you may want to sell. On the other hand, “If the selling conditions aren’t great, renting could offset your expenses,” says Turk.

3. Do you want to buy a new home?

A mortgage on your old home is considered debt as part of a lender’s debt-to-income (DTI) calculation, but any rental income that you currently receive can offset this debt. Unless your income is high enough to afford both mortgages, selling your old home will wipe the slate clean when it comes to your mortgage debt.
Owning a rental property also means other expenses, and your budget needs to be prepared for them. “Add into your emergency fund six months of mortgage payments for your second home in case the home is empty [because you can’t find a renter] or someone trashes your home and you have repairs,” says Kelley Long, certified public accountant in Chicago.

4. Will you recoup your costs if you sell?

Depending on how long you’ve lived in your home, if home prices haven’t appreciated enough, turning your home into an investment property may be a good idea for the short term. “How long you have to hold a home to [get to] break-even depends on how much you’ve put down and your purchase price,” says Ameer. In most markets, the break-even time period is seven to 10 years, but this time period could be shorter or longer, depending on how fast or slow prices appreciate in your market.
Even so, there’s risk that you may not break even no matter how long you wait to sell an investment property. “You can’t predict what the market will look like when you need to sell,” says Turk, “and you can’t think about money you may lose because the home hasn’t appreciated.”

5. What do the numbers look like? 

If you decide not to sell your old home, you want to make sure that the rent you collect is sufficient to cover your expenses, which will include your mortgage, property taxes, any home ownership association (HOA) fees, certain utilities and maintenance.
Investment property has different tax considerations from a primary residence too, and the accounting can be complicated. Your mortgage payment, property expenses and rent play into your cash flow and whether you have taxable income or a loss. “The math isn’t always that simple when you want to figure out how much income you’ll have to report for taxes with rental income,” says Long.
Keeping accurate records, then, is key to making sure you know what deductions you can take. Deductions include the depreciation, since you can write off a portion of what you paid for the home every year; mortgage interest; property taxes; any HOA fees; and other costs associated with maintaining the home.

6. Who will rent your home?

“You are taking a risk on somebody [when you rent your home],” says Ameer. “You have to worry about the financial stability of someone else. Just because they signed the lease doesn’t mean they’ll make good on their rent.”
Consider the profile of potential tenants -- you'll want to find someone who earns enough to afford the rent you’re planning to charge. You can enlist the help of a real estate agent to find and vet potential tenants and check their credit, verify their income and employment, conduct background checks for any criminal or civil arrest and check references. Or you can do this work yourself.

7. Will you be able to sleep at night?

Investment properties are great ways to build long-term wealth, but only if owning a home in another city won’t cause you stress because of the maintenance and repairs involved. It’s also a commitment, and you have to stick it out until the mortgage on the property is paid off and the home makes you money every month.
“Before you do anything, do a gut check,” says Long. “What price would make you happy if you sold your home today? See if you can get it. You may still decide to sell it at a lower price, too.”
source :

Friday, September 2, 2016

6 Reasons You Should Promote Yourself From Landlord to Real Estate Investor

6 Reasons You Should Promote Yourself From Landlord to Real Estate Investor

Investors in real estate are not quite the same as landlords. Investors take more business risks and often times get better results and profits. It’s the big leagues of property investments.
The good news is that anybody can join the big leagues. Real estate investment entails more risks than merely leasing and overseeing a house in the case of landlord ownership. But the risks are worth taking as the result of good investment far outweighs any risks.
A landlord is anyone who owns land - a house, apartment or what we generally call real estate. He or she generally rents those houses and apartments to tenants. Meanwhile, a real estate investor is much more - clearly you still own houses -- but you don’t have to wear all the hats that come with being a landlord.
I have highlighted six different reasons why it is wise and expedient to metamorphose from being just a landlord to a real estate investor.

1. Investors avoid the hassle of being a landlord.

Marketing the propertyvacancy showingstenant screenings, lease negotiationsrent collectiontenant communicationrepairs and emergenciesbookkeepingcoordinating insurance policies and more - these are the hats on a landlord’s head.
Investors exempt themselves from the daily grind and responsibilities and focus more on the business and profit making part. No need worrying how to make a plumber show up on Sunday afternoon. An investor would focus on constant research and smart decision-making.
To do this requires hiring a property management company (PMC) to advertise, negotiate with clients, maintain and generally oversee property and assets on her behalf. This in the short-term might seem like great expenses, but if only to rest from the hat wearing it is worth it, plus a few more advantages as you will see.

2. Investors have the benefit of focus.

Imagine having all the responsibilities above and doing it long-term -- which is what many landlords do. It could get really exhausting, to avoid using a stronger word. Investors focus on one thing, and this increases their profit in the long-term and also in the short-term, depending on how quickly they can make a property more profitable.

3. Investors avoid indigent tenants.

Almost every landlord has to face this at some point, especially in economies that are dwindling. Let’s face it, so many people all over the world are living below the poverty line. Most of these people find it extremely difficult to pay their rent when it is due. And many times these tenants would not vacate the premise, which means you can’t get a new tenant. This usually leads to the issuance of quit notice, or even as far as using a court injunction, to get them to leave.
An investor can’t be bothered by such challenges. The firm manages all of that and reports to her. And in the event that a property is not profitable, she can sell it, and move on to better investments.

4. Time, leisure and early retirement.

Good investors acquire properties that have flexibility. This includes the cost of hiring a management firm in their cashflow assumptions so they can vet out any financial deal breakers.
Because of this early planning and wise decision making they can have more time to themselves. They can enjoy vacations and travel, and it won’t affect their jobs, because they limit themselves to about 20 percent of what they would have done as landlords.
Landlords might even be so restricted that they have to live in the same property with the tenants to keep an eye out. Investors on the other hand, keep charge of their time versus money balance.

5. The better end of asset appreciation.

The valuation of property tends to increase over the years as the net operating income of the same property augments as a result of increase in rent and reduction in the maintenance cost. The latter is assured through effective property management work. Investors need only to find the best management firm they can.

6. Investors are in it for the money.

Aren’t we all? Landlords and investors alike invest in property to make profit, but investment is a less tedious way of making money.

To be a real estate investor, you only need to have business at the forefront of your mind. You buy an asset with the intention to offload such property for good profit as soon as it is profitable. This canning ability is called flipping, and it is achieved by smart real estate investors by buying undervalued assets ,or those that are not in huge demand marketwise.
Investors have no sentimental attachments to properties -- as selling it doesn’t mean losing their home -- as is the case of many landlords.

Source :

Thursday, September 1, 2016

8 Ways Real Estate Is Your Smartest Investment

8 Ways Real Estate Is Your Smartest Investment

Inflation is defined as, “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.” Your money doesn’t go as far -- simple. The $30k you made at your job 10 years ago and lived comfortably with barely gets you by now. You can’t control inflation (the Federal Reserve does that) and the government has doubled their debt since 2008. It’s now at $18.3 trillion and grows every day.
The government cannot save you or your family, or ensure your financial freedom. Set your mind right about earning money. More cash = more freedom! Money itself won’t make you happy, but it will give you the ability to provide a better life for yourself and your loved ones. You must invest with income streams that give you positive cash flow, learn to leverage your debt, learn to handle inflation and take control of your physical assets.
Do you currently have commercial real estate assets in your investment portfolio? Are you scared to have your money in the stock market (like I am) but also fed up with almost no return on investment with your money at the bank? Do you instinctively like the idea of being invested in income producing real estate with results you can see?
Here are eight reasons why investing income producing real estate is an excellent choice for protecting and growing your wealth:

1. Positive cash flow.

One of the biggest benefits to income producing real estate investments is that leases generally secure the assets. This provides a regular income stream that is significantly higher than the typical stock dividend yields.

2. Using leverage to multiply asset value.

Another important characteristic of commercial real estate investing is the ability to place debt on the asset, which is several times the original equity. This allows you to buy more assets with less money and significantly multiply asset value and increase equity as the loans are paid down.

3. Low-cost debt leveraged to multiply cash flow.

Placing “positive leverage” on an asset allows for investors to effectively increase positive cash flow from operations by borrowing money at a lower cost than the property pays out. For example, if a property generating a 6 prcent cash-on-cash return were to have debt placed on it at 4 percent, the investors would be paid 6 percent on the equity portion and approximately 2 percent on the money borrowed, thereby leveraging debt.

4. Hedge on inflation.

For each dollar that is created, there is a corresponding liability. Real estate investments have historically shown the highest correlation to inflation when compared to other asset classes, such as the S&P 500, 10-year Treasury notes and corporate bonds.
As countries around the world continue to print money to spur economic growth, it is important to recognize the benefits of owning income producing real estate as a hedge against inflation. Generally speaking, when inflation occurs, the price of real estate, particularly multi-tenant assets that have a high ratio of labor and replacement costs, will also rise.

5. Capitalize on the physical assets.

Income-producing real estate is one of the few investment classes that, as a hard asset, has meaningful value. The property’s land has value, as does the structure itself, and the income it produces has value to future investors. Income producing real estate investments do not have red and green days, as does the stock market.

 6. Maximizing tax benefits.

The US Tax Code benefits real estate owners in a number of ways, including unlimited mortgage interest deductions and depreciation accelerations that can shield a portion of the positive cash flow generated and paid out to investors. At the time of sale, IRS allows investors a 1031 provision, allowing investors to exchange into a like-kind instrument and defer all taxable gains into the future. (See your tax advisor for full explanation.)

7. Asset value appreciation.

Over time, more and more inflation has made it into the economy, drastically reducing purchasing power. However, income producing real estate investments have historically provided excellent appreciation in value that meet and exceed other investment types. Properties historically increase in value as the net operating income of the property improves through rent increases and more effective management of the asset.

8. Feeling the pride of ownership.

The right property in the right location with the right tenants and ownership mindset can produce a tremendous pride of ownership factor that is highest among all asset classes. Homeownership is out of reach for most people. Imagine owning thousands of multi-family housing units instead?
No one can ensure the future of rental of income properties’ values, but this asset class seems positioned to continue to benefit from many other socio-economic issues that I will save for another time.

Source :

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The 7 Tips Entrepreneurs Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

The 7 Tips Entrepreneurs Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

Why should entrepreneurs invest in the first place? The answer is: to have enough money to live on when we no longer can or wish to work. To put that money aside, however, we have to accumulate enough to offset inflation and the taxes that erode our savings. And for that purpose, real estate is an excellent solution.
The great thing about real estate is that even in a bad economy, it will usually fare better than stocks. Land, after all, is a finite resource. People need a place to live, work, shop and play -- so real estate is really just a matter of supply and demand. 
What's more, real estate will continue to appreciate despite occasional slow-downs in the economy. In fact, it's proven to be the best way to create wealth, and an investor need not be a genius or a millionaire to succeed. Here are some tips, then, for entrepreneurs on getting started and succeeding in real estate investing:

1. Do -- plan your financial goals.

Before you buy that first property, or do your first analysis, determine what you expect from your investments. What are your financial goals?  We often discuss the “time vs. money” concept: The more you have of one, the less you need of the other to reach your financial goals. This means that you shouldn’t shy away from taking the time to understand your goals and make sure each investment is a step toward achieving them.  If you are unsure exactly how to create financial goals, meeting with a financial advisor is an excellent first step. 

2. Don't -- spend a fortune on books, tapes and seminars, then just put all that information on a shelf. 

You absolutely do need to learn some basics before venturing into investing. So, be sure to do some studying, but don’t let “buying and collecting” information become your endgame. Again, having goals in mind will make the process much more straightforward. It’s easy to get so tied up in the “research” phase that you never actually take action. Instead, write down specific questions you want answered or goals you want to meet before delving into the latest book/seminar/etc. 

3. Do -- look at plenty of properties. 

Don’t just grab the first property you look at. Too many investors buy properties because they “look nice,” or the investors don’t want to put the work in to look at what’s really out there. Remember, you won’t be living there, so don’t make your investment decision based on your personal preferences. While you shouldn’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis, make sure you are thorough in looking through properties. Give yourself a wide range of options, then narrow them down based on the criteria (goals) you have set for yourself.

4. Don't -- postpone starting your investment program because you’re waiting for that perfect “unicorn” deal.

That’s the flip side to number 3, of course. Plenty of beginning investors suffer from “a-better-deal-may-be-just-around-the-corner” syndrome. This can backfire in a big way, and you could potentially let a great deal slip just because you’re holding out for something better. Your task may feel difficult if this is your first property, but you must realize that the “perfect deal” rarely (if ever) exists. Better to execute on a deal that meets most of your criteria than wait for another that may never come. 

5. Do -- a thorough financial analysis.

Be realistic. Look at different alternatives to determine which makes the most financial sense. And never buy property at a higher price or on less attractive terms than your analysis says made sense. Be wary of sellers that try to over-estimate the value of the property through pro-forma (estimated) data. While you can certainly use a pro-forma to start the conversation, make sure you know the real numbers before closing. Look at previous years’ tax returns, property-tax bills, maintenance records, etc. to get a good idea of the real income and expenses.
The most important figures you should know are: 
  • Net income (income/expenses) 
  • Cash flow (net income/debt financing payments) 
  • Return on investment (cash flow/investment)
  • Cap rate (net income/property price)
  • Cash-on-cash return (cash flow/investment)
  • Total ROI (total return/investment)
In each case, “investment” refers to how much you invest in the property. "Debt financing" refers to any loans you may have to take out to buy the property. And "total return" refers to cash flow, equity accrual (i.e., equity gained from your tenants paying their rents), appreciation and taxes.
Once you have understood these figures, you should have enough information to determine whether or not acquiring the property fits with your financial goals.

6. Don't -- try to buy property that the seller is not motivated to sell.

If the seller is motivated to sell, you’re not likely to get the price best aligned with your financial goals. So, how do you know if a seller is motivated? Look at the asking price. For example, If the property has been on the market for a year for, say, $200,000, with little-to-no price reduction, the seller is clearly not very motivated to move the property. However, if that same property has been on the market for a year and has had its price moved down considerably, the seller most likely wants to do whatever it takes to get the property off his or her hands. Of course, this raises the question of how to find motivated sellers. There are many approaches, and not all of these will work for you, depending on what property you want. But a few trusted methods include: 
  • Attending open houses 
  • Looking for vacant/unattractive properties that are for sale 
  • Spreading the word about yourself and what properties you are looking for -- truly 
  • Going the old-fashioned route and looking in the classifieds of your local paper 
These are just a few ways to find sellers, but there are potentially dozens of other methods, depending on what type of property you’re looking for.

7. Do -- know the difference between real estate investing and the business of real estate.

As an entrepreneur, you already have a business, and real estate investing is best used to support that business, not replace it -- unless that’s your intention. In other words, don’t get so caught up in executing transactions that your core business falters. If that happens, you’ll be facing a bumpy road to get back to stability. Unless your business is itself real estate, or you’re looking to get into the business full-time, always remember that pursuing these deals is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. 
So, if you’re interested in staying ahead of taxes and inflation while building security for the future, real estate investing may be for you. What are you waiting for?

Source : 
BUY-SELL-RENT PROPERTIES visit www.PropertyDepot.PH

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Arnel Paciano Casanova: From a slum dweller to a city builder

Arnel Paciano Casanova: From a slum dweller to a city builder

In Photo: Lawyer Arnel Paciano Casanova, president and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development Authority, speaks before participants of an investment conference in 2014.
By Leony R. Garcia
WHO would ever think that a slum dweller, a penniless student who migrated to the city to pursue the elusive dream of education, would one day become a city builder?
This is the story of Arnel Paciano Casanova, currently the president and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), a government development corporation mandated to transform former military lands into alternative productive civilian enclaves. 
Casanova grew up in a poor family in Padre Garcia, Batangas province. His father, a farmer, and her mother, a seamstress, had a hard time raising him and his seven siblings. Thus, at a young age, there was this thirst for learning as a way out of hardship for the family and a way to be successful in life someday.
Thirst for learning
“In my town, a college degree was literally an impossible dream.  Yet, my thirst for learning was insatiable.  Armed with P100 in my pocket, I went to Manila and took the University of the Philippines [UP] College Admission Test, and passed,” Casanova reminisced.  
So while studying in UP, the young Casanova lived with relatives, who were slum dwellers in Fort Bonifacio. He then became one of those unknown city migrants who had to scrounge for food, shelter and education while sleeping on the floor, enduring leaking roofs and flooded road.  “Yet, I found grace in humanity in the slums.  Neighbors know each other. I never ran out of people to play street basketball with at any given time of the day or night.  We shared food, no matter how meager it could be. I found my true friends in the midst of  squalor,” he continued.
Peace negotiator at 25
Fast forward. Casanova was 25, just a year out of the UP Law School. He was a young lawyer working as part of the government peace panel.
“Fortunately, we were able to successfully negotiate peace with former military rebels.  For this, I was awarded the prestigious Philippine Legion of Honor Medal [1997], one of the youngest recipients of such award under the presidency of President Fidel Ramos,” he said.
According to Casanova, other accomplishments of the peace panel then included the recovery of weapons, firearms, explosives and ammunitions of the army rebels—Reform the Armed Forces Movement, Soldiers of the Filipino People, Young Officers Union (RAM-SFP-YOU).
As a lawyer, he also helped draft the General Peace Agreement between the Philippine government and the RAM-SFP-YOU and the Marcos loyalist forces and the Amnesty Proclamation. And in 2003, he testified on military corruption before the Feliciano Commission, a body created to investigate the Oakwood Mutiny. This resulted in the recovery of government property, valued at approximately $200 million, which was misappropriated by a group of retired and active generals of the military.
BCDA chief
And now, 20 years after, Casanova finds himself approaching his fifth year as BCDA president and CEO.
And his latest accomplishments:  “Through sound partnerships forged with the private sector, prudent asset management and revenue collection, we were able to contribute over P27 billion for the account of the modernization of the Armed Forces.  Among our projects which greatly benefited the nation are the Bonifacio Global City, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and soon, the country’s first, smart, disaster-resilient metropolis, the Clark Green City.”
Other advocacies
Currently, he is a faculty member of the Ateneo School of Government and UP College of Law teaching social entrepreneurship and law, while mentoring other social enterprises involved in health care, poverty alleviation, environment, housing and others.

He is also into microfinancing and is part of CARD Inc., the biggest microfinance institution in the Philippines. He has founded AvantChange, a social enterprise organized in Cambridge that aims to promote social entrepreneurship in Asia. Further, he supports the Tsinelas Leadership of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, and is among the pioneers of Kaya Natin! (We Can!), a social movement for good governance and ethical leadership.
A staunch supporter of the youth, Casanova believes in the promise and the vast possibilities that they can do.  “For me they are equally good and hardworking. My story is not unique, and we have many youths who have moved mountains through hard work and selflessness.  The only difference with today’s youth is the lack of reverence for the heroes of our country. Because we can learn a lot from our history, value those who passed before us,” he admonished.
He also advised today’s Millennials  to love the country and study hard, to value the opportunity to participate in  good governance, and  not holding back in dreaming and working hard to achieve those dreams.
“From a slum dweller, I am now a city builder.  And my education in UP and in Harvard has given me a different perspective—a perspective that has empowered me to pay it forward. In building Clark Green City, my colleagues in the BCDA are  being able to offer Filipinos an opportunity to live a better quality of life—a life they deserve,” he said.  
“Clark Green City is a project for the benefit of the new generation. And we in the BCDA are committed to realize this for our country. We hope our countrymen will support this project, as it will behold proper urban planning that will yield growth that is inclusive—affordable quality of life that is world-class and responsive,” Casanova concluded.
Source :

Lucio Tan at 25: Birth of an enterprise

Lucio Tan at 25: Birth of an enterprise

In Photo: Himmel, 1999
By Joey de Guzman / Special to the BusinessMirror
AS a child, Lucio C. Tan was always fascinated by technology. With a sense of wonder, he marveled at the speed and efficiency by which machines and high-tech devices of his time transformed the world. He believed then, as now, that technology and innovation play vital roles in the development of any enterprise.
anniv016a-100915At his tender age, he dreamt of becoming a scientist. Thus, after graduating from Chiang Kai Shek High School in 1955, he immediately set this dream to motion: He enrolled in a chemical engineering course at the Far Eastern University. Though he did not become a full-time scientist by profession, his almost obsessive fondness for science and technology is reflected in his daily life and throughout his business empire.
Business mind-set
As a working student, the young Lucio Tan busied himself with mastering the craft of mixing chemicals and flavorings at the Bataan Cigar and Cigarette Factory. Through hard work and a frugal lifestyle, he slowly raised the seed of his envisioned enterprise. While still working for the cigarette firm, he became a partner in a cornstarch venture and, later, established an electronics shop producing transistor radios. Though both attempts at entrepreneurship didn’t take off, these setbacks only fueled his determination to pursue his dream.
Sowing the seeds of an empire
At 25, he started laying the groundwork for a chemical manufacturing and trading firm. While others of similar age were busy establishing careers after college, Tan was already forming the foundations of what would become one of the most inspiring corporate success stories in the Philippines.
Making the most of what he learned from his chemical engineering studies and his work of mixing chemicals at the Bataan Cigar and Cigarette Factory, he drew plans and purchased second-hand machines and reconditioned American trucks for his envisioned enterprise.
anniv016b-100915On November 18, 1960, Himmel Industries Inc. was born. The company started small, venturing into the trading of chemicals, such as refined glycerin, sorbitol, industrial honey, menthol and flavoring compounds. While the company’s original target market was the burgeoning cigarette industry, it later expanded operations to supply major ingredients to the food, pharmaceutical, beer, paint, ink, textile, cosmetic, paper, glue, plastic, rubber, PVC and cement industries.
Within the same year, Tan married Carmen Khao Tan. They have seven children.
Located in Barrio Santolan, Pasig City—where it still stands today—Himmel was founded by Tan and several partners. Each took specific roles in managing plant operations, marketing and cash management. With this core group, Himmel provided high-quality products and professional services, thus earning the trust and loyalty of its clients and business partners.
Early years
At the time of Himmel’s entry, there was great demand for refined glycerin—a chemical widely used in the cigarette, paint, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. However, few Philippine companies could meet the demand and the pharmaceutical grade required by most manufacturers. Seeing great opportunity, Tan flew to the United States and bought an old glycerin refinery, dismantled the same and rebuilt it piece by piece in the Philippines.
The refurbished plant was a huge success. Himmel was able to process and produce high-grade glycerin, which it sold to local companies at costs much lower than its imported counterparts. Because of Tan’s foresight and keen business sense, many local companies benefited from his glycerin plant, which made Himmel a byword in Philippine industrial circles.
Trading and related businesses
Years later, Himmel’s operations expanded to the trading of industrial chemicals. In 1977 it built a second glycerin plant.  With the foundation for long-term stability in place, Himmel diversified into the trading of fabricated steel drums, compound flavors, and fragrances and printing ink.
With great demand for flavorings and fragrances, Himmel introduced the planting of peppermint grass in Mindoro; propagation of citronella plants in Laguna; and raising of honey bees. It was upon Tan’s initiative that honey production was pursued. Even today, the tycoon is an acknowledged beekeeping expert, a skill he acquired during his younger days as a chemist for the Bataan Cigar and Cigarette Factory.
With natural competitive advantages as a supplier of raw materials, Himmel ventured into soap manufacturing. Through Manserve, an affiliate company, Himmel produces its own line of bath soap, like Nova, Success, Persona and Stiefel. The company is also a major subcontractor, producing different brands for various multinational corporations.
In 1981 Himmel set its sights on the booming Calabarzon area. Using South Korean technology, it built a private pier in Pinamucan, Batangas, that could service huge vessels with average lifting capacities up to 17,000 dead weight tons. Later, Himmel acquired 14 shore tanks with a combined capacity of 11.5 million liters of liquid bulk cargo, including aviation fuel.
On a par with international standards, Himmel’s liquid cargo terminal could store imported chemicals and solvents in bulk for later delivery to different parts of the Philippines. Equipped with some of the best safety and firefighting equipment, the cargo terminal has attracted an impressive list of clients which includes giant multinational firms.
Himmel and the lt Group
Through vision and hard work, Tan and his cofounders built Himmel from its small plant in Pasig City to its current status as one of the country’s biggest chemical traders. Its path to success was paved with calculated moves, carried out with methodical precision. Its operations were anchored in the belief that nothing can be gained from haphazard strategies.
Indeed, after more than five decades, Himmel has distinguished itself not only in the chemical manufacturing and trading sectors, but also as the seed from which sprouted a vast conglomerate that now cuts across the length and breadth of Philippine commerce.
It was from Himmel and, later, Fortune Tobacco Corp., that the Lucio Tan Group of Cos. (now publicly listed as LT Group Inc., or “LTG”) expanded into agribusiness; airlines and related services; banking, finance and securities; brewery; chemicals; distillery and alcohol; education; food; hotel; real estate; soap manufacturing; steel fabrication and construction; and tourism and travel services.
Since Himmel was established, Tan set his sights on the pursuit of quality and profitability that was to shape the vision of today’s LT Group Inc. With its achievements, it could be said that Himmel—more than a corporate success—is one man’s vision which he dreamed and put into action at the young age of 25.
Source :

Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: No Dream Too Tall

Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: No Dream Too Tall

In Photo: Portrait of the Cabangon Chua couple, who got married on the eve of Christmas, 1959 and Young businessman Tony, shown here with his third motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson speeder.
By Joel Pablo Salud |Special to the BusinessMirror
It was half past the summer of 2009 when, as the new boy in the Philippines Graphic newsroom, I was introduced to the company’s chairman emeritus, Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua. I was then just recently hired as the magazine’s new managing editor.

Tony (in bow tie), then the youngest member of the Chamber of Pawnbrokers of the Philippines. Then Manila Mayor Antonio J. Villegas is in left foreground.
Tony (in bow tie), then the youngest member of the Chamber of Pawnbrokers of the Philippines. Then Manila Mayor Antonio J. Villegas is in left foreground.

At the doorway to his office, I saw the ambassador standing all dapper and sporty in his dark blue jacket, sports shirt and beige pants, even as he sported a smile that made me feel doubly welcome.
I immediately sensed a humility to him that defied explanation. I had worked in numerous companies prior to working with the Aliw Media Group. I was no stranger to corporate top brass. The same level of modesty I sensed in my new boss came few and far between.
Very few had had the chance to meet the man, whom many fondly call Amba, up close. As we shook hands and settled in his office, I noticed a huge framed photograph of a lovely woman in Filipiniana attire hanging by his wall. I recall wondering who the woman was, until later in the day when I was told she was the ambassador’s mother, Dominga Lim Cabangon.
Past the routine civility of introducing myself as his new hired hand, Amba immediately set the pace of the conversation. No small talk, no further courtesies; just a gesture of trust I rarely see in other bosses I’ve worked with in the past.
“I want you to interview General Ermita for the magazine today,” the ambassador said, obviously eyeing me with a bit of curiosity. After about half a minute of silence, he waved at his secretary, who apparently knew what the gesture meant.

The Filipinas Pawnshop, on the corner of Herran (now Pedro Gil) and General Luna in Paco, in a recent photo: Still in the same location after almost 50 years.
The Filipinas Pawnshop, on the corner of Herran (now Pedro Gil) and General Luna in Paco, in a recent photo: Still in the same location after almost 50 years.

Turning to me, he then said, “My driver and my car are waiting for you downstairs. Hijo, I have worked with a lot of journalists and editors in my lifetime. All I ask is that you be fair.”
With no further instructions, he stood up and kindly saw me out the door. As I strolled past the secretary’s desk, he again called and asked me to draw near.
Thereafter, he leaned over and said, “I want you to think of the magazine as your own, and think of me as your own father. From this day on, I will treat you as one of my children. We’re your family, always remember that. If you need anything, anything at all, don’t have second thoughts of asking me.” He then patted me on the shoulders.
That alone said a lot about the sort of individual I was to respect as my boss. Little did I know then that there was more to this man than meets the eye.
Weeks into the job saw me scrounging for information about the ambassador—who he is, how he runs things. I have yet to hear anything adverse when, quite by accident, I stumbled on two books, one written by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: A Saga of Success, and its sequel penned by award-winning writer Jose F. Lacaba and Eric S. Caruncho.
While I was not the sort who read biographies, Joaquin and Lacaba were good enough reasons to flip the pages.
Tony Cabangon’s life as a child cared for by single parent—his mother Dominga—along the poorer side of Barrio Namayan in Mandaluyong was anything but a breeze.
During and immediately after World War II, the young Tony ran errands as a servant, rented out komiks, sold newspapers and magazines, and buffed the shoes of American GIs just to make ends meet. Later on, with a little help from a vocational course, the future ambassador to Laos worked as an automotive and diesel mechanic and a passenger jeepney driver.
His mother Dominga borrowed money from rich relatives in exchange for life’s modest needs.
Often ill-treated to the point of being humiliated, both mother and son soldiered on, Tony more than ever, who did everything humanly possible to ease the poverty of his mother.
It was a hard climb for both mother and son, but none too steep for Tony to reach. To ease the grip of poverty, the young Tony engaged in everything, from vending fish whenever he can to finally opening a humble sari-sari store in that pitiful riverside barrio they called home.
One defining moment in young Tony’s life came by way of an American GI. In the book The Continuing Saga of Success, written by award-winning poet Jose “Pete” Lacaba and Eric S. Caruncho, Tony himself reminisced about the incident.
Tony related that while he was shining the shoes of a GI, his eyes caught the pear the man was eating. Tony hardly had a bite to eat for hours. As if to taunt him, the GI asked if Tony wanted the pear.
“And this son-of-a-bitch American knew my mouth was watering for that pear he was eating. ‘You want this pear, boy?’ he grinned at me. I could only gape at him. The pear was only half-eaten and suddenly he hurled it away. ‘Go get it, boy!’ I didn’t move […] I refused to stir.”
It was then that the GI kicked the young boy “like a dog.” The sudden violence forced the young Tony to scamper under a six-by-six truck for safety, where he wept because of the pain.
“But at the time,” Tony said, “I felt something of my mother’s pride. I hadn’t run to pick up that thrown-away pear the GI wanted me to eat. I was very thin then, probably malnourished, certainly quite hungry. But I had not run after food like a dog. I had shown the American how even in misery, one can keep one’s pride.”
It served the young boy a lot of good to see to it that his mother was cared for by him all throughout her life, earning for himself some home-spun wisdom along the way. Coupled with being streetwise, the young Tony began his dream of a life even while in high school and college.
With more than ample resources from the sari-sari store, the young Tony ventured into being a driver of a passenger jeepney in his middle teens. It was, as he said, his first car. His job as driver and shopkeeper kept him busy all throughout the day, plying the Pandacan, Santa Ana and Paco routes. The hours he spent as college student of the University of the East he dedicated to studying until he made it into the Dean’s list.
No summer went by without seeing Tony on campus, between the pages of textbooks and inside classrooms. He was, at an early age, a man in a hurry. In three years, and at the age of 22, he was able to finish what was supposedly a four-year commerce course.
However, his attempt at being a certified public accountant proved disastrous for a time in Tony’s estimation. He had failed the first test. While on the verge of taking the second, his first business as a jeepney operator was already taking off.
But he had better things in mind than the meager return on investments he received from driving and operating a fleet of public-utility jeeps. Able to convince college friends to invest their money on a new venture—a pawnshop—Tony took on the reins of what would be a defining moment in his career as a businessman.
It cost him more than a hand and a limb: all of the P30,000 savings he garnered from operating a fleet of passenger jeepneys.
And so rose the Filipinas Pawnshop at the corner of Herran (currently Pedro Gil Street) and General Luna in Paco, Manila. It still stands today as an admirable tribute to the ingenious young man who knew how to turn his misfortunes into fortunes.
At the age of 26, Antonio L. Cabangon Chua was the youngest member of the Chamber of Pawnbrokers of the Philippines. He would decades later stand as the country’s diplomat to Laos and chairman emeritus of one of the country’s largest and most extensive business and media enterprises—the Antonio L. Cabangon Chua Group of Companies and the Aliw Media Group.
In honor of his mother’s memory, the ambassador shares his blessings through the Dominga L. Cabangon Memorial Foundation. With its goal of supporting needy children through education, the foundation has lent its hand in support of hundreds of scholars belonging to deserving children of his employees, also to priests seeking further education.
With this comes his homage to his good friend and first editor in chief of the Philippines Graphic, National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin: the Quijano de Manila Foundation. The foundation’s aim is to offer financial assistance to the effort of developing young writers and children of journalists. The Philippines Graphic Nick Joaquin Literary Awards, now on its 25th year, seeks to enhance writers’ skills by empowering them with tools needed for the task.
“Whether you’re rich or poor, everyone has 24 hours in a day. It’s what you do with your 24 hours that counts. In life, you never give up.”

*Joel Pablo Salud is currently the editor in chief of the Philippines Graphic.

Friday, January 29, 2016

John C. Maxwell: Are You Stretching toward Your Goals or Just Coasting?

Swimmer Michael Phelps is arguably the greatest American Olympian and one of the greatest competitors of all time. In the 2008 Beijing summer games, Phelps won eight medals—all gold—to break the record for the most hardware ever captured in a single Olympiad and become the most decorated Olympian in history.
But it is the race that almost blew his winning streak that captivates me the most. It was his seventh contest, the 100-meter butterfly, and Phelps trailed for literally 99.9 meters of it. In the last fraction of a second, Phelps thrust his arms into one final, mighty stroke. Meanwhile, his Serbian competitor, Milorad ˇCavi´c, coasted the final few inches. Almost implausibly, Phelps tapped the wall first, beating ˇCavi´c by a mere one-hundredth of a second.
Most of us won’t experience such a heart-pounding, dramatic moment in our lifetimes, but we do make daily choices to either stretch or coast toward the finish lines we create for ourselves through personal goals. They’re often small decisions—routine things we don’t think about a lot—but they have the power to determine much of our success.
Reaching a finish line can be as simple as completing an “almost done” project or initiating a long-delayed and difficult conversation. Unfinished business can be disastrous. It drains your mental energy. It derails your goals. It impacts how you feel about yourself. And, critically, it can undermine your reliability in the minds of others.
Simply put: Procrastination is the enemy of progress.
Life is full of moments that require one more stretch to achieve success. If you don’t have the discipline to persevere, well, you’re going to end up like Phelps’ competitors—looking up at the winner from a lower podium (or worse). In the words of economist Thomas Sowell, “Doing 90 percent of what is required is one of the biggest wastes, because you have nothing to show for all your efforts.” Instead you must develop the habit of staying committed and finishing strong.
Here are some suggestions to help you do that:

Engage in brick-by-brick thinking.

I confess: I  have very little patience. I tend to want instant results. Still, I understand success requires daily progress. How do I solve this dilemma? With daily disciplines. I practice what might be called “brick-by-brick thinking.” My friend Henry Cloud, Ph.D., says, “All success is built and sustained just like a building is built, one brick at a time.” I practice regular disciplines every day, and these small, incremental actions turn into tangible steps toward success.

Amplify the reward.

When you don’t feel like doing what you should, then focus on why finishing is important. The why can keep you motivated even when you lack desire. Motivation is fickle. You can’t depend on your emotions to keep you committed to your goals. So envision your end result and keep it in the forefront of your mind. How will you feel when you accomplish your goal? Why is it important to you? By focusing on the answers, you’ll stand a much better chance of reaching your goals.

Build structure and systems around your goals.

Great intentions don’t get me very far. I need systems. They make it easier for me to stay disciplined. I have an insatiable hunger to learn, so I read every day. I want to stay fresh, so I file great quotes and illustrations every day. I had a heart attack in my 50s, so I exercise by swimming every day. (Phelps’ Olympic records are safe, by the way.) My life is filled with systems that move me forward and push me to reach my wall.

Surround yourself with support.

Over the years I  have found that I am most successful when I tap into a network of people who support me and encourage me in my goals. When I need business advice, I talk to my brother Larry and my company’s key businesspeople. When I want to launch a new venture, I talk to my CEO, Mark Cole, and members of my inner circle. When I am ready to write a book, I meet with my creative team to brainstorm and vet ideas.
If you want to succeed, surround yourself with people who will help you, encourage you and, when necessary, hold your feet to the fire. Remember to choose wisely—your success largely depends on the company you keep.

Quitting isn’t an option.

A great start is important, because all’s well that begins well. But it takes much more to reach your goals. I tend to think of it like farming: You can prepare the land immaculately and plant the seeds just right, but if you don’t water, fertilize and cultivate as you go, then you wasted your time by planting the crop. Remember the reward that awaits you—the fruit you will harvest—and it will help get you through the times of hard work in the “summer.”
When I was a kid, my father always told me, “When you made the choice to start, you made the choice to finish. It isn’t two choices… It’s one.” He taught me early that if you aren’t careful, quitting can become a habit. The good news is that finishing can also become a habit when you practice diligence in all that you do.
There’s an old saying, “The fortune is at the finish line.” It’s absolutely true. Why did Michael Phelps aggressively reach for the wall at that critical moment? Because he had practiced finishing strong every day of his life. And that made the difference between gold and silver.
Let’s learn from his lesson. And let’s remember that, oftentimes, the only thing separating us from success is a few inches. So don’t let up, and reach for the finish line!
Source: John C. Maxwell /