Speech on the Occasion of the Birthday Party at the Makati Shangrila
I beg for your kind indulgence as I try to encapsulize the significant events during my seventy (70) years of earthly existence:
⦁ At the outset I am acknowledging my gratitude and thanks to my children Don and Danda for the great honors of substantially financing this event here at the Rizal Ballroom of this prestigious Makati Shangrila on the occasion of my seventieth (70th ) birthday celebration;
A.1 It was far from my wildest dream then that these children would be doing these honors premised on the following historical settings:
A.1.1 Don from birth stayed at the Rex Printing Press where he reportedly created disorderliness because of his inherently being “malikot” where he would jump from stacks of paper to another, one table to another;
A.1.2 He would be playing with kids coming from the informal settlers;
A.1.3He would succumb to an incursion of a “two (2) inch nail at his foot with his face and body filled with mud and would arrive at the Rex Printing premises unmindful of the harmful circumstances he underwent’ ;
A.1.4 At the Ateneo Grade School (which is closer to our place of residence), notwithstanding the presence of Cynthia’s relatives, there was no year that we were not called upon to discuss about behavior (like the possession of Playboy Magazine which admittedly originated from me) and academic deficiency;
A.1.5 Even as we survived with the elementary years (which were invariably characterized with the giving of sacks of rice and other gifts to the teachers)accompanied with endless tutorship likened to the preparation for the bar exams, we were still not sure pala whether or not he would be admitted to the Ateneo High School;
A.1.6 Challenge after challenge prevailed where even during his graduation at the Ateneo High School we had been looking for him at the podium for him to receive his graduation certificate to no avail until he would reappear later;
A.1.7 It did not end at the Ateneo High School as the same scenario happened at the De La Salle College where he took Business Administration degree where we would fail to see him once more and his then future brother-in-law Luigene (brother of Lenie) at the graduation rites and would reappear subsequently;
A.1.8It is further aggravated by the fact that all the toys which he was receiving from his grandparents and ourselves through the years were nowhere to be found thus my aspiration for him to become rich where even during baptism he was baptized with the name “Don” to connote a rich haciendero or an illustrado was not forthcoming;
“to connote a rich haciendero or an illustrado was not forthcoming:”
A.1.9 Incidentally my original nickname “Onong” was also changed to Jimmy after that of my childhood Hollywood idol James Dean (pursuant to the suggestion of Norma Ablaza sister of childhood best friend Lambert Ablaza in keeping with my good looks then(please do not laugh) and whose elder brother Louie who is a Consul of a Latin American Country is my companion in other associations where I similarly belong );
A.1.10The only person who had a similar nickname was a chitcharon vendor whose selling area was at the La Loma Cemetery whose chances of making it big was slim during that time;
A.1.11 I have a classmate at San Beda whom I have invited to this party whose nickname is “Richie” who made it big despite his being a tough guy during our elementary days;
A.1. 12 Another tough guy who was expelled at San Beda but created an empire in the fishing business and other businesses is Francis Tiu Laurel;
A.1.13 My aspiration for Don to go upstage where I would pin medals and hang necklace (s) of achievement was therefore not realized and that the only certificate and trophy I would recall he was in possession with was relating to the lending of a car which I learned later was financed by him;
A.1.14 The dream of having a possible successful partner or successor at the Rex Book Store would be an empty dream;
A.1.14 Out of sheer frustration, during moment of intoxication I even inflicted physical blow on him in the kitchen of the Tandang Sora house which I regretted later;
A.1.15 Despite the frequent scoldings and being told by her disciplinarian mother Cynthia to stand facing the corner for several hours he nevertheless remained the “sunshine boy” and would just sing every morning without being vindictive /retaliatory or holding any remorse ;
A.1.16 This perception of constantly being a loser , however, ended when he started to work at the Security Bank and while working thereto he studied at the AIM where he took the newly offered course of Master in Entrepreneurship where “Lo and Behold” he graduated with Superior Honors with Professor Eduardo Morato as his guru;
A.1.17 I could still remember Prof. Morato’s admonition to him ”in the beginning there was cash in the end there was more cash” and the constant reminder ”the need to have purity of intention at all times ”;
A.1.18 Incidentally Professor Morato is now the head of Bayan Academy under ABS CBN with Gina Lopez as the Chairman thereof which is a partner of Rex Book Store in choosing noteworthy schools to provide Excellence Awards;
A.1.19 Don as the COO of the Rex Group admittedly is responsible for whatever progress Rex has attained presently through professionalization and modernization together with my very minimal contribution which include the proliferation of branches across the Archipelago (aligned with my desire to visit all the provinces) and that of course of the founders Mr. and Mrs. Juanito Fontelera;
REX HALL BAGUIO REX FREEDOM BLDG-RECTO
Kolbus Online with Sixteen (16) Stations Goss Magnum
A.1.20 With Danda, the experience I had with Don appeared to have been reversed, where at St. James School in Tandang Sora, Quezon City I would be required to go upstage interminably to put medals and necklaces of honors prompting me to say to myself “Yes Lord, thank you for answering my prayers”;
A.1.21 When she transferred, however, to the Holy Spirit Quezon City and then to Assumption for her tertiary course the long range aspiration that she would consistently receive honors has not reappeared where I would say to myself then: “Lord, hindi pala lasting”.;
A.1.22 At present, she is now the Director for Publishing and Manager for Strategic Partnerships and Business Development of the REX Group and is known for her resiliency and objectivity in resolving matters affecting the business and even family interrelationships;
A.1. 23 As narrated above, both Don and Danda are late bloomers and admittedly played pivotal roles in the present-day survival and success of the Rex Group;
A.1.24 Notwithstanding the heretofore challenges both of Don and Danda, they have learned the value of saving which had been inculcated during the early years where likened to the Rockefeller style Don would have special ledger of his personal accounts to ascertain his current financial position until now;
A.1.25 They learned to survive with meager school allowances and would even venture to initiate businesses to enhance their financial situation where they suffer frustrations as their father during the early years was not constantly present as he would be out in the field selling and promoting books while Cynthia was likewise not predisposed to spoil them with fat allowances;
A.1.26 Cynthia would even scold Danda for reminding her at the middle of the night of her “utang” where Cynthia would say “ang tindi ninyo nananalaytay talaga ang dugong Buhain sa inyo sa pagkamakunat”;
A.1.27 Thus though the foregoing experiences could be harsh where stinginess prevailed and togetherness between father and children was missing, the circumstance nevertheless could have strengthened their resolve to improve themselves financially leading to financial independence allowing them to have the capability to finance this big event if only to manifest their love and respect to their father notwithstanding the latter’s imperfections;
A.1.28 Thank you Don and Danda for deciding to hold this prestigious event to honor your father;
A.1.29 Thank you for being articulate and/or talkative (due to the pig’s sexual organs placed in your respective rooms by Grandmother Deling during your respective births) and unafraid to talk and interact with people not only with people below but people of high caliber and proven authority thus not being afraid to meet the challenges of the business allowing us to survive at this point in time in this competitive world;
A.1.30 Thank you Cynthia for begetting these two (2) children Don and Danda;
A.1.31 Thank you Don on your pronouncements during the death of your mother” Thank you Mom for allowing Dad to fly” followed by the conciliatory pronouncement ”Dad, do not worry we will take care of you”;
B. From my perspective, there were certain experiences also which were already cited elsewhere which were blessings in disguise for a person like me whose capability are at the mediocre level to move forward and to seek a place in the sun;
B.1 Due to my desire to improve my financial situation I even decided to do an exclusive caroling devoid of a group thus the savings would be for my benefit exclusively and that I am thankful to have preserved the caroling instrument made of flattened soft drink covers and a sliced piece of bamboo as evidentiary proof of this seemingly selfish move to enrich oneself;
B,2 During the death of my father I heard vividly my neighbor ”Ano kaya mangyayari sa mga batang ito?
B.3 Despite the meager financial situation of my widowed mother with three (3) children, she courageously enrolled us at the prestigious San Beda College;
B.4 One of my classmates at San Beda made the following remark”Akala ko mayaman kayo dahil ang ganda ng kotse (Buick 57) pinanghahatid sundo sa San Beda pero ang liit pala ng inyong bahay’;
Note: I am proud to announce to my mother and the classmate who made the remark that I was given the Distinguished Bedan Alumni Awards on two (2) occasions “Bedan Achiever Award” and “The Most Distinguished Bedan Award”, “First Icon of SBC-GSB Entrepreneurship”, a Professorial Room in my name and other honors and exclusively the “Hall of Fame Award” during 2013;
I am also honored to announce the venerable Father Benabarre OSB whose age is approaching one hundred (100) years old chose Rex as his publisher and printer in his present day writings including his new book “My First Hundred Years” which will be released on the occasion of his birthday;
At this juncture, may I give recognition to Father Benabarre, Fr. Abbot Alaras, Father Rector Aloysisus Maranan, my classmates at San Beda Class ‘61 with Valedictorian Baby De Leon, Major General Art Carillo, Past BDO President Exequiel Villarcorta, Ambassador Wilfrido Villacorta, Business Magnates Francis Tiu Laurel, Richie Cuerva, Oscar Contreras, Cesar Corquera among others), directors of the San Beda Alumni Association under the incumbent President Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, San Beda Alumni Foundation under former Secretary of Health Jaime Galvez Tan for instilling in me the virtue of ora et labore or pray and work;
Recently I was invited in my capacity as President and Chairman of the Rex Book Store by the Dean of San Beda College of Law, ACCRA President and the incoming ASEAN Lawyer’s Association President Ave Cruz to serve as Co-Chairman of the ASEAN Law Forum on proposed new law subjects;
May I give recognition to Atty. Ave Cruz?;
B.4.1 Though my stay at the De La Salle College where I completed Bachelor of Science in Business Administration did not earn much recognition I am nevertheless thankful I received the following Citation for Being Silver Jubilarian and the PECASA Award (which presently is nowhere to be found) with Ambassador to the USA Cuisia, Atty. Rene Saguisag and Makati Business Association Mr. Ramon Del Rosario as similar awardees and lately a Certificate of Appreciation from De La Salle Lipa was awarded to Rex Book Store for sponsoring the formation of their law library;
B.5 One of the members of the barkada would state “Huwag na natin isama sa party si Buhain wala namang pera yan!”
B.6 When I was about to get married to Cynthia, a relative from Bulacan inquired from my mother “May lupa rin ba kayo? My mother just smiled where I spoke silently to myself “Marami, sa paso”;
Note: Despite my absence of familiarity yet with many members of the famous Bulakena Club I have been chosen to succeed the leadership of President Cabochan. At this juncture, may I therefore give recognition to my friends at Bulakena Club with Engineer and Lydia Reyes as the Founders for the trust reposed;
B.7 A visitor during the Buhain-Ignacio wedding said ”Saang galing familia iyan” where somebody answered ”never heard’;
B.8 While continuing to promote books although I passed already the bar exams a school principal in Cebu who is a lawyer said ” You are a disgrace to the profession – instead of practicing law you are selling books” ;
Note: I am happy to give recognition to my sister-in-law Ditas Ignacio wife of former Assemblyman Rolleo Ignacio who through her usual cooperative predisposition especially with relatives shared some predicted questions where 20% were asked thus elevating my score at the bar exams and to Justice Edgardo L. Paras for the brief coaching on how to answer ;
B.8.1 I am thankful to Divine Providence for allowing me to pass the bar exams with flying colors despite the following negating circumstances:
B.8.1.1 I took law for a span of ten (10) years as I could not take full load course as I would promote books during the second (2nd) semester;
B.8.1.2 It is aggravated by the situation that when I started studying law the erstwhile Constitution was still in effect but when I took the bar the revised Constitution was the one in effect;
B.8.1.3 It would truly be an embarrassing situation if I would fail in the bar exams considering that Rex Book Store is a publisher and distributor of law books;
Note: May I take this opportunity to give recognition to my classmates at the Ateneo including First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, Atty. Teddy Cruz, Former Ombudsman Mercy Navarro, fellow long termer Mariano Celis III, Ruby Henson, Evelyn Geroche Villegas, Vivian Gonzaga, Daisy Arce, Sonia Tablizo etc.;
May I, as cited earlier take this opportunity to thank Atty. Ave Cruz for recently inviting me in my capacity as the President/Chairman of Rex Book Store for serving as the Vice-chairman on the segment of the ASEAN Integration proposed law subjects?
B.9 During a party, a supposed kinakapatid from the Rodrigo clan near the De La Paz Residence said “paforma forma ka wala ka naman ibubuga”;
B.9.1 A reported member of the Locsin family together with his barkada inflicted series of physical blows on me thus creating numerous lumps on my face when I hit his car with my station wagon without any forthcoming aid from my group;
B.9.2 The foregoing statement, inquiries and experiences could be indicative of the arrogance of the rich and wealthy over those who have lesser in life;
⦁ One of the turning points in my life like what I said earlier was when I passed the bar after taking the law course at the Ateneo College of Law for ten (10) years;
C.1 Being a lawyer aside from giving justifications for me to wear coat and tie it opened up new doors like assuming the leadership of the Philippine Educational Publishers Association(PEPA) where I was elected upon the endorsement of Second President Jesse Sibal who succeeded the founder Dr. Ernesto Sibal;
Note: I would like therefore to avail of this opportunity to announce even posthumously my deepest thanks to Jessie Sibal for the endorsement of my leadership to this prestigious organization and to the former Secretary General Dr. Juanita Guerrero former Chief of the Bureau of Elementary Education who assisted me on the advocacy of uplifting the quality of educational publications through this prestigious organization.
May I take this opportunity to give recognition to the PEPA Members who are here with us under the leadership of Pres. Policarpio?
C.3 Being a President of PEPA enables me to become the Chief Delegate of the Philippines to the International Publishers Association (IPA) wherein I followed the practice of shouldering the membership fees as well as incurring the travel expense which, however, fulfilled my childhood dream to be like Peter Pan on his ability to fly but in my case through the airplanes;
Note: I am thankful in particular to Dr. and Mrs. Jose Buhain for serving as the architects of world travel by introducing me to become a member of the Travelers’ Century Club where full pledged membership would require having visited at least one hundred (100) countries and remote islands, to my parents Jovita and Juanito, to Brother Ogie and Brother Totie and to the family in general for the encouragement to travel should financial conditions would allow.
May I give recognition to the Bu-Fon familes?
C.4 Being the PEPA President gave me also the opportunity to become the Chief Delegate to the Asia Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) where I was appointed Honorary Chairman for actively participating thereto for twenty(20) years thus further allowing me to visit more places;
C.5 Likewise, as an offshoot of these experiences I spearheaded the formation of the ASEAN Book Publishers’ Association wherein recently I together with Breezy Santiago were given the honors of giving formation and sustenance to the existence of ABPA during the preceding nine (9) years thus allowing me once more to visit more places;
C.5.1 Thus all in all I have completed visiting two hundred fifteen (215) countries;
C.6 As travel oftentimes are difficult as it would require the concurrence of three (3) things namely time, money and health it is customary to purchase souvenirs to serve as trophies of every travel;
C.6.1 My house is replete with these souvenirs and because of the overflow I was constrained to put up the Book Museum in Marikina and Display Area in Tanza, Cavite;
C.7 Being the PEPA President it helped me to contribute to the advocacy of causing the passage of the law called the Book Publishing Industry Development Act or RA 8047 which considered the book publishing industry as necessitating priority incentives like tax exemptions, etc. although some of the procedural provisions on government textbook purchase are still to be implemented;
C.7.1 I was privileged to be appointed by President Fidel Ramos as a member of the Board of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) and was subsequently elected to become its First Chairman;
Note: May I take this opportunity to give recognition to Congressman Antonio Cerilles together with the Aquila Legis Brods who were then seated in Congress, to Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and Atty. Dascil and to Senator Shahani sister of Pres. Ramos for their indispensable roles in causing the passage of the law;
To PAPI President and erstwhile NBDB Governor Juan Dayang for elucidating the provisions of the Book Act in the regions and provinces;
May I take also this opportunity to give recognition to the incumbent NBDB Chairman Nena Sta Romana and the NBDB Governors and Mrs. Socorro Ramos for being considered the mother of the book industry?
C.8 This development provided me with the opportunity to cause the formation of the Book Publishing Federation of the Philbook which could serve as the umbrella organization to implement the provisions of RA 8047 and the ertswhile Book Exporters Association of the Philippines;
Note: May I give recognition to PEPA President Toots Policarpio, NBSAP President Florinia Espiritu Santo, PBAI President Bing De Jesus and myself as Philbook Chairman as the ones that comprise now the Executive Committee of Philbook?
May I give recognition to the Book Development Association of the Philippines presently(BDAP) being led by Lirio Sandoval for being one of the stronger pillars in the industry who has been the sponsor of the yearly Bookfair.
C.9 After lapse of my incumbency at PEPA I was elevated to the position of President Emeritus and concurrently Chairman of the Legislative and International Affairs;
C.10 After serving as NBDB Chairman for six (6) years I formed the party list AKLAT which actually received high numerical votation but was disqualified as per ruling of the Supreme Court upon petition of Sanlakas that AKLAT is not a marginalized entity;
C.11 Thereafter I was requested by then Philippine Printing Technical Foundation (PPTF) PP, President Emeritus, Secretary General of the League of Councilors Benny Brizuela to prepare the draft of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Forum for the Asia Pacific Graphic Arts Technology or FAGAT (which is now renamed FAPGA) where I was later admitted to be a PPTF member, and then an officer ;
C.11.1 I am proud to announce that I was elected to be PPTF President for the Third Term or another two years in addition to the preceding four year term with the initial endorsement from PE Brizuela;
NOTE: May I give recognition to PE Brizuela and of course to the PPTF Members and Staff present here for the first endorsement and the trust and confidence reposed.
C.12 Recently I was elected as the Acting President of the ASEAN Print to help implement the regional industry needs consistent with the ASEAN integrated Community;
C.13 Recently the Philippines through PE Brizuela and I caused the approval of the PPTF prepared draft of the FAPGA Constitution and By Laws;
C.14. During the preceding year, the PPTF continued to hold the position of leadership at the Printing Industry Board Foundation, Inc. (PIBFI) which is the umbrella organization of the associations involved in printing and print-related activities;
C.14.1 With these developments, where PPTF is now holding leadership in the national, regional and virtual leadership and/or virtual consultant on ASIA Pacific Level , it is the dream likewise of the undersigned to maximize this distinct opportunity to similarly help in the passage of the law that would professionalize the printing industry and to modernize the printing schools in NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao likened to the Book Publishing Industry Development Act or RA 8047;
C.14.2 We are highly appreciative that the legislative bodies through Senator Chiz Escudero at the Senate and Congressman Eric Singson at the House accepted the Legislative Proposals on the above cited concerns of the printing industry;
Note: May we give recognition to Atty. Roland Tan, my Aquila Legis Brod and a fellow Rotarian (both of us belong to the Rotary Club of Ayala Heights) and is presently the Chief of Staff of Senator Chiz Escudero for accepting the legislative proposal?
C.15 Another aspiration is for the completion of the coffee table book entitled “History of Printing in the Philippines” like” The History of Book Publishing in the Philippines” which was accepted locally and globally which initially documented the evolution of the book publishing industry in the Philippines and this time the evolution of printing in general in the Philippines with Rex Book Store as the Publisher and PPTF as the Co-Publisher;
C.15.1 It may be worthy to point out also that the PPTF was considered by the APO-NEDA as the official private printing association by reason of its “credible leadership” that would act as observer in the evaluation of printing bids of contracts of big magnitude be it in the government and/or private sector;
C.12 I am likewise holding position of honors as Chairperson of La Consolacion Manila and La Consolacion- Binan for the past several academic years;
Note: May I give recognition to La Consolacion Superior General Niceta Vargas, President and erstwhile OSA Superior General Sister Imelda Mora, OSA for the continuing trust and to Sister Natalia Guillema, OSA of Regina Carmeli who initiated the granting of first book order of Zaide’s ”Our Philippines and Her Neighbors” to give inspiration to the celebrant to initially lead the life of an advisor-salesman for the entire Philippine Archipelago?
C .12. I was privileged to serve the Ayala Heights in varying capacity, four (4) times as President and now as the incumbent First Vice-President with Atty. Raffy Morales Managing Partner of Sycip Law Office, as the incumbent President;
Note: May I therefore give recognition to the Ayala Heights Officers led by President Raffy Morales, Ms. Lenie Evaristo, Mr. Art Palileo, Mr. Nestor Valdez, Dr. Glenn Del Moral, Dr. Daniel Parungao, Chi Fragada and Bob and Medz Sison and residents who are now here;
C.13 I was privileged to become also the President of the Doña Faustina Village Association;
C.14 Lastly I was bestowed by accident or design the highest honor as President and Chairman of the Rex Group which is comprised of Rex Book Store, Rex Printing ,Rex Crown, JJ Properties, REX International, REX Digital, etc.;
Note: May I therefore give recognition to the entire staff of the Rex Group present here?
Lastly I would like to conclude my speech by saying thank you to all of you for allowing me the child born from Tondo with mediocre capability whose name is Dominador(which means to dominate) to seek a place in the sun on the occasion of his seventieth year of earthly existence.
Genghis Khan’s Portrait donated by Architect Pat Cerrada on 1997 at the exterior wall of Atty. Buhain’s Office
I am also thankful to Divine Providence that on the occasion of my Seventieth (70th) Birthday the Seventy(70)Foot statue of St. Benedict within the “Rex City within the Forest compound” in Barangay San Francisco, San Miguel, Tarlac is likewise completed.