Despite the Christmas season creeping up on the viewing public, CHiNOY TV has maintained its high viewership at 1.86M views on the episode featuring Mr. and Ms. Chinatown Philippines (MMCP)! With special guests Wilson Agbayani, Chairman of Miss Chinatown Foundation, and acclaimed director Paolo Valenciano (son of Mr. Pure Energy Gary V), alongside alumni of the MMCP.
Next, we have a multi-awarded albeit very young Chinoy entrepreneur in the spotlight.
Avin Ong, CEO of Fredley Group of Companies, has been featured, interviewed and awarded multiple times. The young entrepreneur is in many lists: from Gen T of Tatler, to Ateneo’s Graduate School of Business Hero Graduates, to Injap Sia’s Outstanding Young Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur of the Year during the Asia CEO Awards 2020.
All even more impressive when you find out that Ong was raised by a single mom, was a scholar from kindergarten to high school, and “the man of the house” since birth. From putting up a fruit shake stall as a seven year-old in the palengke or wet market of 4th Avenue Caloocan, to now being a 20-something hot shot CEO with more than 200 branches across 8 food and beverage chains, Ong is a testament to the saying no one is an overnight success.
Many articles have already featured Ong and asked him for his success insights. But to CHiNOY TV, he has opened up about his failures, he shares “I actually failed my De La Salle University College entrance test during my first try. So, imagine I was a scholar since kindergarten so everyone had really high expectations on me. It was very surprising and disappointing at the same time for me that I failed the De La Salle University College entrance test, so I had no choice even the reconsideration I did not pass.I had no choice but to start my college life in College of St. Benilde, and then after 2 terms, I decided to reapply again in De La Salle University without anyone knowing because I was so afraid that I might disappoint them again. I decided to take up my undergrad in CSB for like 2 terms and then on my second term I was already working so hard, getting really good grades, reapplying, paying the application because I’m a Chinese citizen. It’s actually more expensive to apply in the De La Salle University. I work really hard just to pay for my application again and then I was able to get in and that’s the time I decided to share the very good news with everyone to tell everyone that I’m finally in and I will be studying or continuing my study in De La Salle University.”
And he is frank about all of the setbacks he had to endure growing up and throughout his business journey. From being a kid working after school until 12mn or even 2am making hangers, to being the key caretaker of his first food business, Sandaya Yakiniku, shuttling between Quezon City and Rockwell Makati to make it to his MBA classes, to having to deal with a very irate customer and breaking down after, Ong reveals that he has had a true rollercoaster before success. He says, “At some point I was a waiter, I served food, there were also a time na galit na galit yung customers during Mother’s Day kasi delayed yung food nila so the customer asked the cashier, “Call your manager!” So of course I was the manager, I approached her and I said, “Hello Ma’am, how can I help you?” and she shouted at me, like galit na galit aggressively shouting in my restaurant and I have to just apologize and offer something else. And when I reached home that night, I closed my door and I started crying because I felt so frustrated, I felt so disappointed not because she shouted at me but because I felt like I was not good enough, I could have delivered better. I could have provided better services to my customers. I would say growing up, achieving is such an important thing to me. My mom never accepted, my mom would never accept us to be just second place, second honor, even in an essay writing contest, singing contest, dance contest, my mom would always expect us to be the first place. So, that was challenging.”
Focus & Family
Apart from his double MBAs from Ateneo de Manila University and ESSCA – Ecolé de Management in Budapest, Hungary and cutting his teeth in Deutsche Bank as a globe-trotting executive, these challenges were the core memories that have made Ong the young but self-disciplined and risk-taking CEO that he is.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Ong has his sights set on the world. He fully aims to be a globally recognized business leader and he is also already on the philanthropic path, committed to giving back to society. All of this is driven by an underlying gratitude for his parents and his upbringing. Ong reveals the reasoning for his company name, “I was asked, ‘What would be the name of our company?’, After a few hours I told them I wanted to name our company as FREDLEY FOOD AND BEVERAGES INC. because I feel like we’re doing all these things or the reason why we’re all here today is mainly because of our dad and our mom. And we want to dedicate the company, this company to our father and our mother so the name of my father is Alfred, so we got the FRED and the name of my mother is Shirley so we got the LEY, so that’s why we establish FREDLEY FOOD AND BEVERAGES INC. at that time we were not a group yet, so we called it FREDLEY FOOD AND BEVERAGES INC. and if you look at our logo it’s actually a round logo with colors blue, yellow and red, all those colors represents peace, culture and education.”
His father died while Ong was still unborn but from his mother and his sisters, Ong has learned the values of Independence, Integrity and self-discipline, the latter he affectionately calls “Tough love.” Ong advises, “We live in a world full of distractions, when you reach home, when you go the office there might Facebook notifications, Instagram notifications or you might be tempted do your IG stories or Facebook stories, there are so many distractions around us and no one is going to discipline you except yourselves. Self-discipline for me is very important because as soon as you wake up, you have to list down the things that you wanted to do today, you want to achieve today. And you have to discipline yourself every minute of that day in order for you to complete all those tasks list. Self-discipline for me is very important and I actually called it “tough love” because being tough on yourself is a very lovely gesture. So, you just have to be tough on yourself, you just have to be hard on yourself in order to live the life you want in the future.”
Catch 1CH1NOY: Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart only on CNN Philippines via Free TV Channel 9, Sky Cable Channel 14, Cignal Channel 10. It will also simultaneously air on CNN Philippines’ webpage www.cnnphilippines.com.