Profiles, Stories, Taoke (Business)

How Modern Tao Kes are Bouncing Back in the New Normal

Last June 1, Metro Manila transitioned into a general community quarantine which ushered in what many now call the new normal. As businesses slowly reopen their doors in the new normal, they face the challenge of bouncing back from the aftermath of the 2-month quarantine.

With this in mind, Globe myBusiness, together with CHiNOY TV, set in motion the Saludo SMEs campaign to honor the resilience and strength of local entrepreneurs, including all Modern Tao Kes in the community! Both parties stand in solidarity with them as they prepare to face a new tomorrow. Several events and offers are even lined up to help them come back stronger from the quarantine.

One of the events under this campaign is the second webinar of the ‘Create. Modern Tao Kes.’ E-Series Visayas Edition. The webinar took place last June 26, with the support of the Anvil Business Club, Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs, Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Junior Chamber of Commerce, Cebu Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Mandaue Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Incorporated, and Filipino-Chinese Tao Ke Group, and with the attendance of more than 200 Tao Kes from Visayas!

There at the event to impart their wisdom were Dr. Cecilio Pedro, President and CEO of Lamoiyan Corporation and Kenneth Yang, President and CEO of Golden Arches Development Corporation, moderated by Valerie Tan.

In the webinar, Pedro and Yang shared practical advice to the attendees, especially with moving forward in the current economic crisis.



In the Chinese Filipino community, the family business is always a topic of discussion. After all, a hefty portion of Chinoy entrepreneurs come from or are part of family-owned businesses.

With this fact, Dr. Cecilio Pedro gave a piece of advice that is rarely heard. “The only way for your sons and daughters to exceed is [for you] to get out.” His words work in two ways. Pedro believes that whether or not the next generation wants to continue the family business, they should be free to do as they please. If they refuse, then the company should move forward with professionals who’ll make the company better or just as better. In another case, if they accept to work in the family business, they should be left to do so independently. The bottom line for him is that whatever path the business will be in, one should know when to finally step back or retire. This is, as Pedro believes, to be the sustainable approach for the business to grow and last.

Yang, on the other hand, shared his experience working with his father, George Yang. Before the older Yang was able to bring McDonald’s to the country, he trained and worked in a McDonald’s in Hong Kong. He brought along his son, Kenneth Yang, with him. This would be a paramount life experience for Kenneth Yang as this encouraged him to work with his father, help run the franchise, and eventually be it’s President and CEO.

Forming a work and a familial relationship with his father and starting at the bottom of the business, learning everything inside and out, ultimately led Yang to continue the business their family started. He notes that the idea may need some tweaking for smaller companies. He expounded by saying “smaller companies are flexible, larger organizations will find it difficult due to fixed costs. In this situation, you have to take it and just wait, you have to take control⁠ — look and focus on the things you can control.”



Family succession within the business is one thing, but moving the company forward in the economic crisis is another more challenging thing. With the country’s current economic situation, Cecilio Pedro encourages business owners to look at the possibility of new business alternatives and innovations.

The new normal is a different landscape for entrepreneurs. This new world will be a driving force for many to think creatively. For small to medium businesses, repurposing materials, rebranding supplies, or even finding entirely new business ventures may be needed to overcome the crisis.

Yang recommends looking at areas where the business can reduce costs and look for other ways to be efficient in terms of cost and manpower. He also reminds the audience to “stay true to your values.” — just as Lamoiyan Corporation continues to keep its products affordable and just as Mcdonald’s promises to offer quality products at a low price.



Many see that the economy may bounce back through digital means. In the webinar, they discussed how an online transition for businesses has always been an idea that’d come ‘sooner or later’ but now, with the crisis, it is the norm. Now, Filipinos opt to buy their groceries online, to shop for their clothes through apps, and to start their business ventures in social media platforms like Facebook.

As this transition comes into full play, Pedro sees that improvements in online payment schemes (as not every Filipino citizen has access to these), better internet connectivity, and wider access to new technologies will also be on their way.

To grow in the new online landscape, Yang recommends businesses to be present on all online platforms to adjust their strategies to what is most appropriate for their customers. Even in new environments, businesses should always think of their customers.



Of all the ideas and practical advice discussed in the Webinar, both Dr. Cecilio Pedro and Kenneth Yang stressed the importance of valuing employees⁠ — especially in this crisis. “The key is the people…our employees are our lifeline. We take care of them, they take care of our business,” said Pedro. Yang added to this idea, noting how their employees are the company’s most important asset.

For businesses now, whether big or small, both CEOs recommended that entrepreneurs shouldn’t be focused on making a profit this year but rather they should focus on sustaining the business and on the well-being of their employees. A strategy like this may save the business in the coming months.

From family succession to transitioning to the new normal, the webinar gave practical advice to business owners in Visayas. Dr. Cecilio summed it all up with this piece of advice, “If you surrender, you’re done for… the successful entrepreneurs are the ones who hang on in spite of the failures.”


The Visayas Edition of the Modern Tao Ke Webinar is the second out of four webinars of the Modern Tao Ke E-Series! Through the Saludo SMEs campaign, and through this event, Globe myBusiness’ is equipping the Chinese Filipino community with the right knowledge and tech solutions to rebuild their businesses, especially at this time where many Chinoy businesses are in the middle of reopening their business in the new normal.

If you want to hear the webinar yourself, it’ll be available for streaming on CHiNOY TV’s Facebook and Youtube Channel on July 3, 2020.

The third webinar in the E-Series will also be held this July. If you’re a Modern Tao Ke from Mindanao, make sure you keep an eye out for it!

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