Events, Profiles, Stories, Taoke (Business)

Modern Tao Ke: Tips from the Top Execs of Eng Bee Tin, Sterling, and French Baker

A roster of acclaimed Chinoy entrepreneurs in the local business industry has been invited by Globe myBusiness and CHiNOY TV as part of their Modern Tao Ke campaign of 2021 to participate in Modern Tao Ke Exclusive: Taking the Lead in 2021 and mentor Globe myBusiness’ loyal clients whose businesses were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-day one-on-one consultations have become a huge success as entrepreneurs from Day 1, and that of leading to *insert link once pub* Day 2 were able to impart sets of advice to the clients, most especially digital solutions that would help their businesses thrive and sustain itself during the pandemic. 

Following the second day of the consultation are Gerik Chua, Michelle Gankee, and Johnlu Koa who are successful entrepreneurs in their own field.


Gerik Chua


Royce Gerik Chua balances being General Manager of the well-known Chinese deli, Eng Bee Tin, and the President of Philippine Baking Society. For the latter, he leads an organization that caters to entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of their businesses by helping them become more competitive in the market and innovative as well. 

Through the Philippine Baking Society, he has conducted many seminars and educated and trained aspiring entrepreneurs for their roadmap for success. In mentoring Globe myBusiness clients who have been affected by the pandemic, he imparted the importance of innovation and digitalization through the changing times, culling from his father’s advice and his own experience in the industry.

Sabi ng father ko, ‘In regard to our business, we have to be innovative,’” Chua said. “So yung ginawa niya, we’re the first one who came up with the first modern flavor of Hopia Ube, ‘dun kami nakilala. During that time, hindi pa gaanong ka-adventurous yung mga tao, so even if people were pessimistic about our product, my father pushed through with creating something new in the market. Eventually, it stood out from the rest of the hopia being sold that it gained success in the long run all because it was new and different.”

Hand in hand with stressing the need for digitalization, Chua mentioned the use of social media trends and technology that entrepreneurs must equip themselves with — from data usage to Facebook ads.

“Everything is online na ngayon, so I think you have to focus on that to bring your customers. Halimbawa, ako yung customer ninyo, dala dala ko ang data ko, makikita ko anytime,” Chua advised. “Especially ngayon noh, very important yung being present online. A lot of people get their news from Facebook, from social media. Medyo nawawala na mga broadsheet diba? I think [social media] will be of big help to you. As long as you’ll be able to target your customers. Ang dami kasing target dun e. Kapag na-target mo na sila ng maayos, I think you’ll be able to get a lot of people who will interact with your page or message you.”


Michelle Gankee


The Executive Vice President of Sterling Group of Companies, Michelle Lim-Gankee, has been known to have innovated early before the pandemic struck, venturing into e-commerce with its acquisition of the online shopping website,, and apps development firm, Openovate Labs, to much success.

Sterling has become one of the top manufacturers and distributors of paper products in the Philippines and is also recognized and respected worldwide. And this was all because of the efforts of Gankee to sustain her business through the changing times through innovation and expansion, venturing into different kinds of businesses.

At the Globe myBusiness’ one-on-one consultations, she emphasized the importance of adjusting and gearing one’s business towards the needs of the market based on the trends. 

Gankee also mentioned the importance of maximizing and utilizing digital means in order for business owners to thrive during the pandemic, saying, “If you want your brand to be known, dapat maingay ka, you cannot just [simply] post on Facebook. Sa umpisa palang, dapat maingay ka na. Then after umingay ka na, you just sustain it through other social media.”

According to Gankee, expansion is also crucial.

“You have to maximize or capitalize on other income-generating and whatnot,” shared Gankee. “We are known for being diverse. Sobrang layo ng mga industries that we have from notebooks to agriculture. And besides, we have a call center, we have real estate and even a banana plantation. It’s easy [because] we go where the opportunity is. Anything that we see, we are open.”

Despite businesses being affected due to the pandemic, she remains hopeful that everything will normalize soon. Gankee said, “Starting the fourth quarter last year, we resumed construction already, and we plan to finish this year, yung construction because it is just a waiting game for the tourism business and we are optimistic lalo na when the vaccine came out na. After that, tourism will resume to their normal operation.”


Johnlu Koa


Johnlu Koa, Founder of The French Baker, Lartizan, and Van Laack, has successfully established all three of his business empires. He started out as a self-taught baker who tried French baking in 1989 and built The French Baker from scratch. Since then, the eatery has been beloved in the local market for more than three decades.

Koa has always stood by his belief that “continuous innovation can lead to success,” which has constantly reflected in his business ever since it started. Having been in the local business industry for more than three decades, he has mastered innovation, which initially contributed to the constant success of each of his brands.

In addition, seeing the emergence of a new speciality drink category in Taiwanese-based bubble tea products, Koa bought Chatime in 2010 and launched it together with his nieces and nephews who are familiar with the market for the said product, making it a  success in the Philippines. 

And when the pandemic struck, he was still able to apply innovation and the use of maximizing all the outlets and platforms available.

For the Globe myBusiness’ one-on-one consultations, he shared, “French Baker, on record, never closed. While all the malls closed, we remained open. And you know where? We remained open in supermarkets that did not close. The supermarkets that did not close, they welcomed us because we are the essential suppliers of bread.”

But despite that, he still made sure that he could sustain his business and protect it, exhausting all other avenues, stating, “It was more of how we could deliver: Is it still brick-and-mortar, or is it going to be digitally managed through a website, an app, or a selling platform? We opt for a selling platform. It’s just to keep alive that idea for our customers, that if you’re afraid to come to the mall, we are not afraid to bring it to you.”


Due to the pandemic, entrepreneurs are mostly on their phones and on social media. Entrepreneurs must be able to take advantage of the opportunity to make use of those social media and digital platforms to reach their market. Once they do, they must maximize this opportunity and strengthen digital presence by strategizing well and analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

For more activities and exciting promos of the Modern Tao Ke, stay tuned to Globe myBusiness and CHiNOY TV’s Facebook pages this 2021, and equip yourself for growth and prosperity.

For more business advice, check out our Modern Tao Ke articles here.

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