Onwards to the 90s
Manila to Hongkong
Excerpt from the Book, "My Incredible Life Journey"
[additional writings by Juana, Walden, Walter to our best recollection]
In 1985, together with my wife, Walter, Winston, Wilhelmina and WIlda, we moved to Manila. We stayed in a 450 square meter 2-storey building in BMA Avenue, Quezon City, Manila. The building served as our home, our buying office and our warehouse and shipping.
Hearing very depressing news about my sons, William and Walden, being held up at gunpoint in Davao, sealed my decision to depart from the Philippines. [Walden -- One night, around past 10pm, 14 armed "Akyat-Bahay" Gang members took one of our manager to gain entrance to our Matina house. About a year before the incident, I intentional hid P35,000 cash - wrapped in paper bag with a bank deposit slip waiting for this incident. Surely it did, happened and we were saved! But it was not after one of the robbers, tried to grab me as a hostage. I owe my life to William, for if it were not for his intervention in stopping the .45 pistol wielding robber, I would not be around writing this memoir.]
In 1985, I traveled multiple times to Hong Kong and found a small Flat at the Ming Yuen Garden, North Point. [Walden -- I recalled the flat with 2 bedrooms, master room was like 8'x10' size while the small bedroom was 3'x8']. I later (a few months) moved to a much larger flat in Elizabeth House, C1, 13th Flr, 254 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. By 1986, I secured a lease for the adjacent Flat C2. Now with the larger living space, I asked Walter to join me in Hong Kong where he practiced his profession as an Architect.
It was during one of our travels to and from Manlia to Hong Kong in 1985, that I bumped into my old friend, Mr Lim Yu Khun. I recognized him instantly. I looked into his eyes, and I knew then that he recognized me. We were 2 long lost friends of Forty Years! I learned that he left Manila and settled in Hong Kong, and his son and daughter were enrolled in schools in the United Kingdom. He was making it good in the jewelry business, both domestic and international, and he owns a factory with a good number of employees working for him.
Old times talk led me to reveal my intentions of working in the real estate business. I have, in fact, been talking to a local agent into acquiring a lease of a commercial space in North Point District. My friend, Mr Lim, strongly opposed, and lectured me that the real estate business is going downhill, the impending discussions between China and United Kingdom about the Hong Kong Turnover (by 1997) may bring the real estate business further down. He convinced us (Juana and myself), that it is a good time to invest in the jewelry business. And the things became even more attractive to us was not the glamour of the jewelry business, but that he was willing to turnover the business to his long lost best friend. He wanted to retire from the business. I jumped into the business at the first offer.
Now seriously in business, I leased a space in Honghum, applied for a factory license, took over his inventory, hired a number of his employees and opened the factory with its glittering showroom. I proudly named it Lima Jewelry. In fairness, Mr Lim, did his best with a "technology" transfer, showing us the tricks and tips of the trade. In return, he asked for a HK$50K fee. At that time, I felt very uncomfortable but did paid off, and maintained friendship.
In the first few months, I slowly learned and realized that the jewelry business model I got into seems to be going downhill. Not giving up easily, we (Juana and Walter) continue to operate the business. In 1987, trying to give it one last boost, together with Juana and Walter, we went to the New York Jewelry Show.
I do not easily give up -- the New York show, however, reinforced my belief that I need to move on. In 1988, I decided to shut down the business for good. It took me almost 3 years to finally decide. We took inventory of all unsold jewelries, accounted the loses, packed up and and moved to California.