Inaugural Speech

(Below is the speech I delivered last Sunday as my welcome remarks/inspirational talk during my husband's birthday party doubled with the inauguration of our warehouse and offices. I chose to deliver it in Taglish, because part of the audience were our employees who are not English speakers. I had to use English too, on the other hand because we had Chinese and Taiwanese guests.)

Good afternoon. Magandang hapon po sa lahat. What’s better than a good speech? A short one. So I’d keep this short -- Welcome to Frontier’s double celebration – the blessing of our new offices and warehouse, and the 41st Birthday of our dashing CEO and General Manager, Mike Kaquilala.

Thank you.

(At this point I turned my back and began to leave the stage. The audience, mostly staff and friends were surprised. They were not used to less than a hundred words from me. There were murmurs, "'Yun lang?"

So I went back, said, "Joke lang!" and continued my speech.)

We are very happy to have with us today our friends from China, representing Tianjin Lovol engines, Mr. Liu, and our very good friend, the Overseas Marketing Manager of our principal Camda Generator Work Co., Ltd., Mr. Song Gang Xu. Let’s welcome them with a warm round of applause, please.

We’re also joined today by members of the Kaquilala family who have flown all the way from Mindanao for this occasion. We have Mike’s youngest sister, Harpy, his cousin Robert Palmones, and Ms. Malou Sevilla, a friend of the family. Most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge the presence of the lady without whom Mike will not be with us today – Mike’s dear mother, my lovely mother in law, Mrs. Fulgencia Kaquilala.

And of course, Mike and I are honored to have all of you with us today. You could have spent this time on rest and leisure, with your family and loved ones, but you have chosen to come, some of you braving traffic and a long commute, just to be here and to celebrate with us. We truly appreciate this. Thank you for the gift of your time. Salamat at pinili nyo’ng makasama namin ngayong mga oras na ito.

Today we celebrate the birthday of Mike Kaquilala, whom you know as the Owner and General Manager of Frontier. However, I wish to give you a glimpse of the Mike that I know.

Mike was born in Kawayanon, Makilala, North Cotabato, an area that is up to this very day, still very remote, isang gubat, walang kuryente, walang nakatira. As a child he worked with his brothers in the family land, planting rubber and banana trees – not one, but thousands of them. I still cry whenever he recounts the times when nagkakasugat-sugat ang mga braso at kamay n'ya sa pagtatanim, at sa pagtutumba ng ekta-ektaryang mga talahib na mas matataas ng di hamak sa kanya. There were days when he would climb coconut trees to get the fruits for their water, or to dig the ground for water, in order not to die of dehydration under the extreme heat of the sun, in the middle of nowhere.

When he was sent here for college, he didn’t know anybody, at dahil Bisaya siya, hindi siya marunong mag-Tagalog. Forced by circumstances, sa sementeryo sya tumira, kasama ng mga hoodlum – mga magnanakaw, snatcher, hold-upper, mamatay-tao. But as you can see now, he managed to rise out of those circumstances and prevail.

In the first year of our marriage, Mike was a mobile subscription salesman. He would earn only P300.00 from every approved application, and with a wife and a baby to feed, kulang ‘yon, so he braved every office in Makati, pumapasok kahit wala naman siyang kakilala doon, para lang makakuha ng isa o dalawang applications in order to make a living.

In 1998, he made a leap of faith and began Frontier Technologies. Gaya ng kahit anong pagsisimula, it was not easy for him, at siya lahat -- kolektor, technician, forklift operator, truck driver at janitor kung kailangan. Nagtrabaho siya sa bundok, sa loob ng barko, sa minahan, sa pansitan, sa banko, sa mall, sa sinehan. Kahit ano, ginawa nya, kasi kailangan.

Now, 12 years hence, iyan na siya, heto na tayo. As we celebrate Mike’s 41st birthday, we celebrate 41 colorful, fruitful, productive years. We celebrate his tenacity, his determination to succeed, ‘yung kagustuhan n’yang makatulong sa mga tao at sa bansa by generating jobs. On a personal level, I celebrate on his birthday for the kind of husband and father he is to us. I know that all this hardwork is because he wants to leave a legacy to his children. Labs, thank you so much.

Now Mike begins another year in the wonderful book that is his life, and we are happy to be part of that journey. As we celebrate the accomplishments of Mike and Frontier Power Technologies, we know we’re there – nag-level up na tayo. Sama-sama tayong harapin ang lahat – maganda o hindi masyadong maganda of what’s in store for us. But we know, with Mike leading us, we’re bound to scale new heights. Mas malayo pa ang mararating natin. Naniniwala ba kayo doon?(Thankfully, the crowd replied,"Oo!"and applauded.)

Before I close I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who made this, all this possible.

First, the Lord Almighty, for all the blessings. Salamat sa Panginoon for everything that led us here, to this moment.

I want to thank the people who worked on the building and construction of all you see now:
Mang Homer and his team, for all the masonry, carpentry work. Thanks too to our very own welder, Danny Valencia and his team for all the steel structures involved in making these buildings a reality.

Thanks too for the help of Arch. Bob Buenaobra, for design services sa presyong halos bigay na lang; to the electrician, Mang Ruben and the rest of the construction team.

I want to thank as well the people who worked during the move – 'yung gumawa ng paglilipat ng lahat ng laman ng dati naming office and warehouse, pagi-impake, paglilinis at paghahakot. Salamat kina Rommel, Mafe, Raquel, Jay, Jerry, Novie, Renz, Krizia, Jhen, Michael and at iba pa na tumulong.

Thank you din sa suporta ng iba pang miyembro ng Frontier family – ang lahat ng employees na hindi nga kasama sa paglilipat – but who continued with their work assignments, to ensure no disruption in our operations – ang mga technicians, mekaniko, steel fabricators at welders, mga pintor.

And lest I forget, thanks too, from the bottom of my heart, for the support of friends from the banking industry – Sir Chris Mantillas and his staff at Chinabank SM City Sta. Rosa; the Exportbank San Pedro team headed by the Mr. Tony Manilay. We feel so loved by both banks, sobra kaming spoiled, salamat sa sobra-sobrang accommodation you extend.

Our special thanks go to BPI, represented today by Ms. Nympha Cruz and Ms. Pinky Hernandez, who provided us the loan that allowed us to buy this land and construct these buildings. Salamat sa pagtitiwala ninyo sa aming credit rating. Puede bang umutang uli? (Laughter from the crowd.)

To all of you, major, major salamat for making this (motioning to the buildings and around) possible.

And now, it is time to enjoy ourselves in this celebration. Welcome everyone and we hope you have a lovely evening with us. Thank you.

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acastudillo said...

So impressed with our blog..what an inspiring story to tell right from the bottom of your heart..kala ko sa ingles mo lang ako ma-iimpress--- you really delivered it with justice! sana marami pang makabasa nito para malaman nila na success is not a privilege but something to be earned..ako nga pala si armando friend ng bro-in-law ninyo na si Rieno..I wish more fruitful years ahead for Frontier and the Kaquilala clan, you deserve it all!

acastudillo said...

So impressed with our blog..what an inspiring story to tell right from the bottom of your heart..kala ko sa ingles mo lang ako ma-iimpress--- you really delivered it with justice! sana marami pang makabasa nito para malaman nila na success is not a privilege but something to be earned..ako nga pala si armando friend ng bro-in-law ninyo na si Rieno.

acastudillo said...

Your speech is so inspiring and I can tell that it was all straight from your heart. I was already impressed with the way you delivered in Kitchen Conjugations but your speech was all the more impressive: colorful and dramatic and so candid with heartfelt goodness. I wish Frontier and the Kaquilala clan more fruitful years ahead---you deserve it! Ako nga pala si Armando, friend ng brother-in-law ninyo na si Rieno..

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