Sunday, October 08, 2006

What does the future holds for this young man....

The year was 1990.

He should be busy in school like any typical UP student but this young man is weighing nails in a hardware store somewhere in the middle of Guimaras Island.

Two more years and he will graduate with a degree in Marketing. Yet even before he finishes, he has known more about marketing than his professors (intellectuals yet have never managed even a sari-sari store). This young man ventured into business early –starting at age 12 while his contemporaries are still engrossed in their childhood games. He already had suffered sleepless nights due to numerous check clearings - a typical trader's pressure point. He was a cashier, salesman, pahenante, cargador and even delivery van driver rolled into one. He was a one man show.

Two years later he was already considered by older traders as a certified volante – one who sells hardware materials (nails, plywoods, cement and other construction materials) - by alsada meaning he buys the stocks on credit from his Chinese suppliers and pays them at the end of day. He relied on saliva capital (laway lang ang capital) and innocent charm that makes the seasoned chinese trader believe in his promises to pay.

At age 14, he was already trusted by his suppliers with thousand of pesos worth of credit line . Imagine a teener haggling with seasoned chinese suppliers for the price of 10mm steel bar- hoping to up his profit margin by a few centavos!

At age 15, he has managed several hardware outlets which have mushroomed from a single store he started in Kalibo, Aklan. Those who witnessed his feat expects him to become rich soon.

Sometimes when this young man goes home aboard the Guimaras-Iloilo ferry, he would stare at sunset and wonder: "Am I destined to be a hardware salesman....forever?". How he wished to experience how is to be in Manila like his cousins. The nightlife, barkadas and all. What did fate had in store for him?

After graduation, he decided to give Manila a try and pursued law studies at the prestigious Ateneo Law School. Fame and fortune as a young salesman were all forgotten in lieu of helping others in legal dire straights.

Now a lawyer and after 15 years from that time he posed at the entrance of his hardware store he looks back and ponder– Did I make the right choice?

Quickly he realize the obvious answer and thank God.



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