Gokongwei Success Story


John Gokongwei life story is another rags to riches success story of a true Filipino Taipan entrepreneur. His business empire company known as John Gokongwei Summit Holdings, Inc. or J.G. Summit Holdings, Inc. for short has been one of the most successful conglomerate in the Philippines today competing with more solid names such as SM Malls, PAL, and Ayala.

It has business interests in branded consumer foods (Universal Robina Corp.), real estate property development (Robinson’s Land Corp.), air transportation (Cebu Pacific Air), banking and financial services (Robinson’s Bank), telecommunications (Sun Cellular and Digitel), petrochemicals (J.G. Summit Petrochemical Corp.), and United Industrial Corp. of Singapore.

John Gokongwei Story started in 1927 in the Chinese province of Fujian where he was born. Because they needed to escape the turmoil in China, they migrated to the province of Cebu here in Philippines where his grandfather Pedro Gotiaoco operated a successful chain of movie houses. Let’s view another entrepreneur story as we witness Gokongwei’s inspiring story with the various challenges that he faced delivered as part of his speech to the 20th AD Congress last November 21, 2007.

Before I begin, I want to say please bear with me, an 81-year-old man who just flew in from San Francisco 36 hours ago and is still suffering from jet lag. However, I hope I will be able to say what you want to hear…

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Thank you very much for having me here tonight to open the Ad Congress. I know how important this event is for our marketing and advertising colleagues. My people get very excited and go into a panic, every other year, at this time.

I would like to talk about my life, entrepreneurship, and globalization. I would like to talk about how we can become a great nation.

You may wonder how one is connected to the other, but I promise that, as there is truth in advertising, the connection will come.

I was born to a rich Chinese-Filipino family. I spent my childhood in Cebu where my father owned a chain of movie houses, including the first air-conditioned one outside Manila. I was the eldest of six children and lived in a big house in Cebu ‘s ForbesPark. A chauffeur drove me to school everyday as I went to San Carlos University, then and still one of the country’s top schools. I topped my classes and had many friends. I would bring them to watch movies for free at my father’s movie houses. When I was 13, my father died suddenly of complications due to typhoid. Everything I enjoyed vanished instantly. My father’s empire was built on credit. When he died, we lost everything-our big house, our cars, our business-to the banks. I felt angry at the world for taking away my father, and for taking away all that I enjoyed before. When the free movies disappeared, I also lost half my friends.

On the day I had to walk two miles to school for the very first time, I cried to my mother, a widow at 32. But she said: “You should feel lucky. Some people have no shoes to walk to school. What can you do? Your father died with 10 centavos in his pocket.” So, what can I do? I worked.

My mother sent my siblings to China where living standards were lower. She and I stayed in Cebu to work, and we sent them money regularly. My mother sold her jewelry. When that ran out, we sold roasted peanuts in the backyard of our much-smaller home. When that wasn’t enough, I opened a small stall in a palengke (market). I chose one among several palengkes a few miles outside the city because there were fewer goods available for the people there. I woke up at five o’clock every morning for the long bicycle ride to the palengke with my basket of goods. There, I set up a table about three feet by two feet in size. I laid out my goods-soap, candles, and thread-and kept selling until everything was bought. Why these goods? Because these were hard times and this was a poor village, so people wanted and needed the basics: soap to keep them clean, candles to light the night, and thread to sew their clothes. I was surrounded by other vendors, all of them much older. Many of them could be my grandparents. And they knew the ways of the palengke far more than a boy of 15, especially one who had never worked before. But being young had its advantages. I did not tire as easily, and I moved more quickly. I was also more aggressive.

After each day, I would make about 20 pesos in profit! There was enough to feed my siblings and still enough to pour back into the business. The pesos I made in the palengke were the pesos that went into building the business I have today. After this experience, I told myself, “If I can compete with people so much older than me, if I can support my whole family at 15, I can do anything!” Looking back, I wonder, what would have happened if my father had not left my family with nothing? Would I have become the man I am? Who knows? The important thing to know is that life will always deal us a few bad cards. But we have to play those cards the best we can. And WE can play to win! This was one lesson I picked up when I was a teenager. It has been my guiding principle ever since. And I have had 66 years to practice self-determination. When I wanted something, the best person to depend on was myself. And so I continued to work.

In 1943, I expanded and began trading goods between Cebu and Manila. From Cebu, I would transport tires on a small boat called a “batel”. After traveling for five days to Lucena, I would load them into a truck for the six-hour trip to Manila. I would end up sitting on top of my goods so they would not be stolen! In Manila, I would then purchase other goods from the earnings I made from the tires, to sell in Cebu. Then, when World War II ended, I saw the opportunity for trading goods in post-war Philippines. I was 20 years old. With my brother Henry, I put up Amasia Trading, which imported onions, flour, used clothing, old newspapers and magazines, and fruits from the United States.

In 1948, my mother and I got my siblings back from China. I also converted a two-story building in Cebu to serve as our home, office, and warehouse all at the same time. The whole family began helping out with the business.

In 1957, at age 31, I spotted an opportunity in corn-starch manufacturing. But I was going to compete with Ludo and Luym, the richest group in Cebu and the biggest cornstarch manufacturers. I borrowed money to finance the project. The first bank I approached made me wait for two hours, only to refuse my loan. The second one, China Bank, approved a P500,000-peso clean loan for me. Years later, the banker who extended that loan, Dr. Albino Sycip said that he saw something special in me. Today, I still wonder what that was, but I still thank Dr. Sycip to this day. Upon launching our first product, Panda corn starch, a price war ensued. After the smoke cleared, Universal Corn Products was still left standing. It is the foundation upon which JG Summit Holdings now stands. Interestingly, the price war also forced the closure of a third cornstarch company, and one of their chemists was Lucio Tan, who always kids me that I caused him to lose his job. I always reply that if it were not for me, he will not be one of the richest men in the Philippines today. When my business grew, and it was time for me to bring in more people- my family, the professionals, the consultants, more employees- I knew that I had to be there to teach them what I knew. When dad died at age 34, he did not leave a succession plan. From that, I learned that one must teach people to take over a business at any time. The values of hard work that I learned from my father, I taught to my children.

They started doing jobs here and there even when they were still in high school. Six years ago, I announced my retirement and handed the reins to my youngest brother James and only son Lance. But my children tease me because I still go to the office every day and make myself useful. I just hired my first Executive Assistant and moved into a bigger and nicer office. Building a business to the size of JG Summit was not easy. Many challenges were thrown my way. I could have walked away from them, keeping the business small, but safe. Instead, I chose to fight. But this did not mean I won each time.

By 1976, at age 50, we had built significant businesses in food products anchored by a branded coffee called Blend 45, and agro- industrial products under the Robina Farms brand. That year, I faced one of my biggest challenges, and lost. And my loss was highly publicized, too. But I still believe that this was one of my defining moments. In that decade, not many business opportunities were available due to the political and economic environment. Many Filipinos were already sending their money out of the country. As a Filipino, I felt that our money must be invested here. I decided to purchase shares in San Miguel, then one of the Philippines’ biggest corporations. By 1976, I had acquired enough shares to sit on its board. The media called me an upstart. “Who is Gokongwei and why is he doing all those terrible things to San Miguel?” ran one headline of the day. In another article, I was described as a pygmy going up against the powers-that- be. The San Miguel board of directors itself even aid for an ad in all the country’s top newspapers telling the public why I should not be on the board. On the day of reckoning, shareholders quickly filled up the auditorium to witness the battle. My brother James and I had prepared for many hours for this debate. We were nervous and excited at the same time. In the end, I did not get the board seat because of the Supreme Court Ruling. But I was able to prove to others-and to myself-that I was willing to put up a fight. I succeeded because I overcame my fear, and tried. I believe this battle helped define who I am today. In a twist to this story, I was invited to sit on the board of Anscor and San Miguel Hong Kong 5 years later. Lose some, win some. Since then, I’ve become known as a serious player in the business world, but the challenges haven’t stopped coming. Let me tell you about the three most recent challenges. In all three, conventional wisdom bet against us. See, we set up businesses against market Goliaths in very high-capital industries: airline, telecoms, and beverage.

Challenge No. 1: In 1996, we decided to start an airline. At the time, the dominant airline in the country was PAL, and if you wanted to travel cheaply, you did not fly. You went by sea or by land. However, my son Lance and I had a vision for Cebu Pacific: We wanted every Filipino to fly. Inspired by the low-cost carrier models in the United States, we believed that an airline based on the no-frills concept would work here. No hot meals. No newspaper. Mono-class seating. Operating with a single aircraft type. Faster turn around time. It all worked, thus enabling Cebu Pacific to pass on savings to the consumer. How did we do this? By sticking to our philosophy of “low cost, great value.” And we stick to that philosophy to this day. Cebu Pacific offers incentives. Customers can avail themselves of a tiered pricing scheme, with promotional seats for as low a P1. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket. Cebu Pacific also made it convenient for passengers by making online booking available. When we started 11 years ago, Cebu Pacific flew only 360,000 passengers, with 24 daily flights to 3 destinations. This year, we expect to fly more than five million passengers, with over 120 daily flights to 20 local destinations and 12 Asian cities. Today, we are the largest in terms of domestic flights, routes and destinations. We also have the youngest fleet in the region after acquiring new Airbus 319s and 320s. In January, new ATR planes will arrive. These are smaller planes that can land on smaller air strips like those in Palawan and Caticlan. Now you don’t have to take a two-hour ride by mini-bus to get to the beach. Largely because of Cebu Pacific, the average Filipino can now afford to fly. In 2005, 1 out of 12 Filipinos flew within a year. In 2012, by continuing to offer low fares, we hope to reduce that ratio to 1 out of 6. We want to see more and more Filipinos see their country and the world!

Challenge No. 2: In 2003, we established Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. and developed a brand for the mobile phone business called Sun Cellular. Prior to the launch of the brand, we were actually involved in a transaction to purchase PLDT shares of the majority shareholder. The question in everyone’s mind was how we could measure up to the two telecom giants. They were entrenched and we were late by eight years! PLDT held the landline monopoly for quite a while, and was first in the mobile phone industry. Globe was a younger company, but it launched digital mobile technology here. But being a late player had its advantages. We could now build our platform from a broader perspective. We worked with more advanced technologies and intelligent systems not available ten years ago. We chose our suppliers based on the most cost-efficient hardware and software. Being a Johnny-come- lately allowed us to create and launch more innovative products, more quickly. All these provided us with the opportunity to give the consumers a choice that would rock their world. The concept was simple. We would offer Filipinos to call and text as much as they want for a fixed monthly fee. For P250 a month, they could get in touch with anyone within the Sun network at any time. This means great savings of as much as 2/3 of their regular phone bill! Suddenly, we gained traction. Within one year of its introduction, Sun hit one million customers. Once again, the paradigm shifts – this time in the telecom industry. Sun’s 24/7 Call and Text unlimited changed the landscape of mobile- phone usage. Today, we have over 4 million subscribers and 2000 cell sites around the archipelago. In a country where 97% of the market is pre-paid, we believe we have hit on the right strategy. Sun Cellular is a Johnny-come- lately, but it’s doing all right. It is a third player, but a significant one, in an industry where Cassandras believed a third player would perish. And as we have done in the realm of air travel, so have we done in the telecom world: We have changed the marketplace. In the end, it is all about making life better for the consumer by giving them choices.

Challenge No. 3: In 2004, we launched C2, the green tea drink that would change the face of the local beverage industry — then, a playground of cola companies. Iced tea was just a sugary brown drink served bottomless in restaurants. For many years, hardly was there any significant product innovation in the beverage business. Admittedly, we had little experience in this area. Universal Robina Corporation is the leader in snack foods but our only background in beverage was instant coffee. Moreover, we would be entering the playground of huge multinationals. We decided to play anyway. It all began when I was in China in 2003 and noticed the immense popularity of bottled iced tea. I thought that this product would have huge potential here. We knew that the Philippines was not a traditional tea-drinking country since more familiar to consumers were colas in returnable glass bottles. But precisely, this made the market ready for a different kind of beverage. One that refreshes yet gives the health benefits of green tea. We positioned it as a “spa” in a bottle. A drink that cools and cleans- thus, C2 was born. C2 immediately caught on with consumers. When we launched C2 in 2004, we sold 100,000 bottles in the first month. Three years later, Filipinos drink around 30 million bottles of C2 per month. Indeed, C2 is in a good place. With Cebu Pacific, Sun Cellular, and C2, the JG Summit team took control of its destiny. And we did so in industries where old giants had set the rules of the game. It’s not that we did not fear the giants. We knew we could have been crushed at the word go. So we just made sure we came prepared with great products and great strategies. We ended up changing the rules of the game instead.

There goes the principle of self-determination, again. I tell you, it works for individuals as it does for companies. And as I firmly believe, it works for nations. I have always wondered, like many of us, why we Filipinos have not lived up to our potential. To be a truly great nation, we must also excel as entrepreneurs before the world. We must create Filipino brands for the global market place.

When we started our own foray outside the Philippines 30 years ago, it wasn’t a walk in the park. We set up a small factory in Hong Kong to manufacture Jack and Jill potato chips there. Today, we are all over Asia. We have the number-one-potato- chips brand in Malaysia and Singapore. We are the leading biscuit manufacturer in Thailand, and a significant player in the candy market in Indonesia. Our Aces cereal brand is a market leader in many parts of China. C2 is now doing very well in Vietnam, selling over 3 million bottles a month there, after only 6 months in the market. Soon, we will launch C2 in other South East Asian markets. I am 81 today. But I do not forget the little boy that I was in the palengke in Cebu. I still believe in family. I still want to make good. I still don’t mind going up against those older and better than me. I still believe hard work will not fail me. And I still believe in people willing to think the same way. Through the years, the market place has expanded: between cities, between countries, between continents. I want to urge you all here to think bigger. Why serve 86 million when you can sell to four billion Asians? And that’s just to start you off. Because there is still the world beyond Asia. When you go back to your offices, think of ways to sell and market your products and services to the world. Create world-class brands. You can if you really tried. I did.

As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world. I want to see other Filipinos do the same.

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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

89 responses on “Gokongwei Success Story

  1. SIR john Gokongwei , im really inspired after i read your stories, im 15 years old since I start thinking of my future, like u im very agressive, hardworking and a fighter. i was a former sk chairman then, wen i start my bussiness, really hard, had to work in palengke to sell chicken, i woke up 3:00am everyday to prepare the chicken, but my xxxx gf take all my capital. but i dnt loose hope, i start again and again, in mny fights i lost… when im 2o years old with all my savings being a sk chairman and breeding a dog “shihtzu” i build a small place for billiards, family ktv and arcade machines. although it is small it really helps my bros and sister, after my dad dies. im 21 yrs old then, i took over our small hardware business, its really hard to work and to study so i quit studying and focus to my business although im in comming 4th yir nursing.. now im 23 yrs old, im a barangay kagawad of our barangay here in valenzuela city, i safely run our business and nearly pay all my fathers debt… now i facing difficulty in my bussiness,… but im very much eager to win the battle.. pls gve me some advice,, to become wat u are ryt now. i have 1 sister and 2 brother 1 sister and law and a nephew dat is counting on me… i want my father to b proud of me.. pls help me.. salama po idol ko kau…….

    • Hey, Romeo here, I think you’ve got what it takes. please contact I’m creating a financial workshop.

    • hi if available pa po ung financial workshop. sana po maka sit in po ako after class 🙂 salamat po.. dami ko na ttunan sir JG, besides sa book nyo tska sa article sana meron pa po kau site na pde din naman makita ung interviews and stories nyo po salamat po 🙂 big fan or yours ..

    • hi. just have faith in God and he will grant all your wishes, i believe in your capability, Take care. God bless!

    • I think you got the right determination and mindset, what you need is more and better strategy to leverage your efforts and investment. And for that it entails risk e.g. acquiring good debts to finance your potential investments. just make you sure you have studied and researched your investments well and it should be long term. Learn the basics of financial leveraging, capitalizations and corporate governance.

    • Sir J.G.,

      Meron sana dito sa Valencia ,Bukidnon ng financial workshop para maka join po kami.and May i ask if possible po ba sa Valencia City , Bukidnon ang Robinsons Land and RBANK for us na employee po ng RSC Valencia?

      THANK YOU SIR J.G. Inspiration po namin ang pagsisikap mo hanggang sa narating po ninyo kung saan po kayo ngayon. ” YOUR THE BEST ” Idol ko po kayo.

      GOOD HEALTH ALWAYS.

      Regards …

      Eduardo 🙂

  2. …your story is so inspiring..i want to be like you especially i came from nothing because our breadwinner died when i was 6yrs old and i have 8 siblings. Thank God because i have sister who supported the studies of my siblings and also me. My sister was a working student when she was in college and now she is accountant supervisor. But my sister wants us to learn to be independent and so i was. Now i am working student (taking up office management)and i experiences hardships and challenges because of the commitments i have in school and in work, not only that i have also commitment in church and doing household chores. I don’t know how to divide myself to those duties and responsibilities but then i inspired to your story and there’s a word/phrase struck in me is “I succeeded because i overcome my fear” and your strong determination. Today i am not satisfy with my life in terms of achievements i want to be a successful like you. Even i have work right now (in fast food chain)andi was in networking at the same time and i become a franchise dealer of famous cosmetic company and i gain a profit from that.And it really helps in my expenses. But then i want to try something new and i am willing to put up my time,effort, passion,etc. if there is an opportunity. I know that in business there is always a trial and error however i don’t let the challenges cover me instead i let trial/challenges overcome itself. Actually when i was in elementary i started sell yema,fruits, peanut and anything to gain a profit for me to have “allowance”in school because me and my siblings have no pocket money to be able to buy viand for our lunch. I am 21yr-old now and i realized that i have to do something to make my dreams come trueand its time for me to be serious in this matter and its not to late for me because everything is a chance only that i have to grab the opportunity. Like you never stop and i will do the same, sometimes i think how to be a successful person?timing that i have report in school about marketing and i have to research some Filipino Successful entrepreneurs to have an example in my report and i found out your story. I really admire your dedication and determination from now on i want to build my dedication and determination to reach my goal.
    i hope that someday i am one of the president of my own company.

  3. This is really very inspiring. When my grandson came from school today, i just finished reading those stories of successful Filipinos.

    I just finished yours when my grandson, Anthony aged 10, came to my room. I retold him your story.

    There are a lot to learn from your life story. I don’t want to be blamed later that i did not tell him about you. You are worth emulating.

    As a former public school teacher, your story needs to be included in subjects like Social Studies & GMRC . Filipino pupils need to be taught early in life the character traits successful people possess.

  4. I am currently feeling down and out with how things in my life are going… I have a lot of opportunities but an equal amount of things are holding me back from grabbing it. And these words from you, Sir, is not only inspirational, But very motivating. I hope our request to have URC as a sponsor for our show will push through so i can say that there is a part of this great company, spear-headed by a great businessman, that i can be a part of.

    Thank you!

  5. Maraming salamat po sa kwento ng buhay ninyong ito. Sana po marami ang makabasa nito at ma-inspire ding magsumikap na umunlad sa buhay. (Isa na ako roon).

  6. very very very very inspiring, you are really my role model sir john gokongwei. i hope i would be one of your elite sales force in selling properties for RobinsonsLand, i applied for account manager..

  7. so inspirng…plss help us Filipinos to be one of your laborers for a great future…also for economic growth of Philippines…

  8. with that story of success i’m so inspired…let MR. John Gokongwei be a role model for every Filipinos…
    we will all be successful as long as we keep fight… let as achieve successful at our own ways…

  9. i really want to be like you someday but for now i am still studying hard ….i was really inspired about what challenges you faced…. more power…. go…go…go…

  10. sir jhon,

    thank you very much for your inspiring stories,it inspired me so much, i wish i will accomplish the same thing you have done for the filipino people. i am on the entertainment business, i acted as a bridge for the musician to get job for them by getting clients such as their company events and many more that require entertainment services..

    hope you can invite us in one of your events.

    thank you very much.

    simon entertainment

  11. sir JOHN GOKONGWEI i realy admire your strong personality..as i read your story of success im so inspire.i also admire your positive outlook in life which now im keeping to pursue it..
    tnx for the idea.. kep it up

  12. what an experienced!!!!!!!!!!its very inspiring especially to our youth now a days . Its very important to have a values of being hardworking,persevered person and trust on your self!!!!!you prove that life is fair……………………………..thank you soo much…………………..hope that we crossed our way!

  13. it’s really inspiring successful life of Mr. gokongwei……………………… I really appreciate him so much
    each of one must have self determination…….hardworking……..and faith in god and our self………………………………. thank you so much for sharing your life experience.

  14. I was ultimately amazed about the courage, determination and hardwork you gave towards your life.
    Now, I realized that success is not impossible to those person who shows positive outlook in life.
    I hope that someday I will be like you. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your great achievements.

  15. John Gokongwei is my favorite Business tycoon, i love C2, Jack & Jill, my sim card is sun cellular, i also love FHM, which in someway JG summit owns it, thank you sir John Gokongwei for the brands that you created, you will be remembered forever not just by you being a tycoon but from your brands,

    perseverance
    genius
    faith

  16. maganda ang kwento ng buhay ninyo, naway tularan kayo ng marami pilipino,gaya ng marami ng cmment nangangarap rin po ako magins isang businessmen gaya ninyo. sana maapot ang pangarap ko kagaya ninyo.
    isa po kayong modelo.

  17. thanks for sharing a beautiful story idol,,wow,,great!!i can be like you father of good example,,”if i work for money right now, tomorrow let my money work for me”no surrender,,i win the battle!!

  18. mr. gokungwei you’re truly one of a kind! i rily learnd a lot frm your story sir. i hope i cn do the same in our small pharmacuetical business which is now at its critical stage because of the arrival of big competitors that has nw alrdy affected our sales greatly. hopefully, this competition will be like the duel of david and goliath, the small outmatching the giant with a great marketing strategy like you once did.

  19. As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world. I want to see other Filipinos do the same.

    -these lines totally inspire me.
    from nothing to something 🙂 if he did it , maybe i could do it too. 🙂

    challenges always come
    experience from it convert learnings
    learnings convert to opportunities.

  20. Amazing! It really takes great courage for one to succeed! There are many complexities that life may offer.. Yet, we should learn to be steadfast in keeping ourselves going..

    Godbless! and more power!:)

  21. When i read the book about “Negosyo”, i was inspired to the story behind the success of every entrepreneurs in the philippines. I was inspired so much to the story of Sir J. Gokongwei, indeed, i am motivated to go farther and believe i can reach the goal i dream of someday.

  22. Nice story. I always shop at Robinsons Galleria supermarket and department store. They have lots of variety goods and their price is cheaper than SM. Sa gatas na lang ng mga bata – mas mura sila. I’m not an employee or partner of this company. I’m just telling what I discovered. You may also check. Yun nga lang, wala yatang loyal customer’s lounge?

  23. Sir your life story gives me a clear vision on where i am really going.im working as as supervisor n a bakeshop chain in cebu.i am much inspired to work after reading your story mabuhay po kayo

  24. you r an inspartion of many people, spcially here n the phillpns,, your words such as sipag at tyaga, frugality and perspective, i forgot whre i read it,, but it gives us an idea how we are trying to be lke you,,, mabuhay po kayo!!!!!

  25. I was so very impress with what Sir John Gokongwei did to our country. I wish and pray that I would be like him in other area like being a great doctor and a missionary with self-determination. I will try my best to become like him, successful in his goal and in his life. Thank God for a life given to Sr. John Gokongwei.

    Message to: Sir John Gokongwei. 🙂
    Sir, I pray for your good health and blessings in your life and in your family. Continue what you have started. God bless you! 😀

  26. Mr. John Gokongwei’s success story is really an inspiring one. I’m impressed and motivated to pursue my life struggle with much enthusiasm, determination and patience as of Mr J. Gokongwei. No guts no glory . May I ask if Robinson’s, Thailand also owned by Mr. John Gokongwei ?

  27. hi po mr.john gokongwei i know that you know chef lenny yu wing he is my guide i’ve work there as a cashier,and thank you kc ginawa nyo po akong c jesus na nagkatawan tao,dun po sa mga taong di naka2alam totoo po na may pakiramdam ako and may kumakausap saking utak mahirap po ipaliwanag pero totoo po.

  28. hello. am good, by the way, am Romeo, Hope we become good friends here, genuine one. great day. I have known the secret of millionaire mind

  29. ”’I really like your success story mr. john… your words -‘rags to riches’- really catch up my attention… very inspiring words you share mr. john… it broke my pessimistic thinking of my mind in aiming to be one of the people to share my success story of my life to everyone someday…

  30. hardwork + determination + faith = GREAT SUCCESS!!

    I was born poor, but I firmly believe that poor was not born in me

    An inspiring story Sir J. Gokongwei.. CONGRATULATIONS!!

  31. he succeeded because he overcame his fear.
    there’s always an opportunity everyday passes our lives but ignore them as we don’t like of doing it because of PRIDE and FEAR. it is always printed in our mind that every time we saw something different we always ignore them as it is not our line of profession or simply saying its against our pride or just fear of doing it. if only we have the same determination and willingness to reach our goal just like Sir Gokongwei, then we are far more successful than any other countries. i knew that this is a life changing story and i hope that we all use it. i myself has a lot to work out specially my ATTITUDE. the attitude of wasting TIME. i have a lot of goals in life but did nothing to get them until time passes by and forgot them. if only i valued my time then i’m sure i would be now a somebody person. but its not yet late. starting immediately, ill make something different for my self. something that i can be proud of someday when my hair became grey… and has a story to tell to my grandchildren. ITS NEVER LATE TO BE A SUCCESSFUL PERSON, just work it out. at the end, it is only you who will reap them all. don’t mind about the failure, as they say it is always “trial and error”, and always say it to your self ” at least i tried”. but never stop from there. as from failure you will learn the best wisdom in life, and from wisdom can have the best weapon to fight the battle, and through your best weapon you will have a big chances to win. then you will have a story to tell… who knows you might will become part of the business history.

  32. Maraming salama po..sa inspirasyon n dulot nyo sapagkat nakakapukaw n damdamin..sisikapin ko po na maging katulad nyo alam ko po na hindi magiging hadlang ang kahirapan ko upang maabot ko ang mga pangarap ko..ayos lang kahit hindi ako maging kasing yaman nyo..ang importante para sken ay mapatunayan ko sa sarili ko n kaya ko kaya kung umahon sa kahirapang ito..maraming salamat po..arian magat

  33. Among the stories I have read, it seems tome John Gokongwie is one who is more Filipino in more ways than one.

    1. He wishes that Filipinos succeed in their endeavors.
    2. He all the more invested in the Philippines I’m time of uncertainty.
    3. He seems not greedy.
    4. Parang mas may tiwala ako sa kaya. Perang sincere. Parang hindi ang nang aapak.

  34. Among the stories I have read, it seems to me John Gokongwie is one who is more Filipino in more ways than one.

    1. He wishes that Filipinos succeed in their endeavors.
    2. He all the more invested in the Philippines in times of uncertainty.
    3. He seems not greedy.
    4. Parang mas may tiwala ako sa kanya. Parang sincere. Parang hindi ang nang aapak.

  35. Such a wonderful story of success. I realized a lot of things while reading his story. He inspires me a lot 🙂

  36. What a very inspiring story…. Me and my beloved partner in life is planning of opening up our own business and we are a scared of really going through it cause it might not work out fine but after reading Mr. JG’s story I was really fired up and inspired. I am very optimistic right now and is very excited of pushing through with our planned business in our town. 😀

  37. i need to find a business leader to make my assignment and gokongwei’s story is awesome!!!..he is a role model to everyone, and i just realized great things happen when you bet and take risks. “Forget the risk and take the fall. If it’s what you really want then it’s worth it all”
    I want to be someone like you. To control something that everyone relies on. It’s a pleasure to help people at the same time achieve my dreams. I also want to feel how to hold so much power.

  38. sir im inspired of your sucsses hope i cud be like you.
    and hope someday i cud meet a dr. Sycip cuz i think he
    is the one of your successor.
    Cuz just like you my father died when i was 32
    he was a supervisor at rubber product here in
    sta cruz bambang when there bussines has gone
    he supper a lot of pain and confuse he died sad
    and blame me becuz im an under grad in pmi college
    and still had no job so are family fall apart and my older
    brother left manila and sail to the island of ilo ilo with no
    money in his pocket.

    sir pls give me some advise becuz im feel
    like a monkey always chasing shadow
    in big hallow jungle sorrounded by a eagle
    like un insect bzzzzzing to my ear.

  39. Inspiring story Mr Gokongwei! I congratuate your very touching and encouraging story. I will do my part as a future businessman. I will help to employ many Filipinos and be ble to help those who are in needs. So help me God! 🙂

  40. Wow….Truly inspiring….. Congratulations for the job well done. God will reward you for investing and expanding all the TALENTS and GIFTS which He bestowed on YOU….

  41. So much inspiration I’ve got from your success life story. I admire your will power and determination to acquire and eventually succeed in you endeavors. I hope you still have time to help us in any way to succeed in our line of business right now which is IT Services.Thank you Sir for the inspiring story……

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