The Young Businessman

Manila to Davao, Philippines

Excerpt from the Book, "My Incredible Life Journey"

[additional writings by Juana and Walden, to our best recollection]

By 1965, we decided to move to Davao. A tough decision to make. It was a choice between the 'easy' life in Baguio, or to continue with "working' life in Davao. Juana played an important role in the decision, she adapts easily to hard work, and she is always willing to sacrifice herself for the family. On a very late evening flight in 1965, we landed in the Davao Airport. [Walden-- I remembered asking my father if we were going to be living in the jungle, I see all the tall trees, muddy soil, dark airport. Papa rented a jeepney, as we pass by the thick fields, the dark highway, into the city. We finally arrived in Anda Street. That night, exhausted, we slept in dusty cutout-torn boxes on the floor. No pillow, no blanket, and certainly - no beds]

The place (Tapia Building) was a 3 door, 2-storey brand new concrete building, right next to the busiest downtown San Pedro Street. I designed the store to my liking and have it built exactly according to my wishes. We now have a 3 door store on the ground floor, and 3 door apartment home in the second floor. It was my dream come true, my home and my store in one location. The store opened in late 1965 (Walden -- must have been November, I remembered all elections posters were showing Marcos).  The opening of the first ever USA Department Store was a runaway success. Although without a business course to my belt, I run marketing promotions over promotions, from Buy-1-Take-1, to Buy-1-Take-All, and giving away cars and appliances. It was something that no store ever offered. All roads lead to our store.

[Walden -- Our parents' decision to move to Davao, at that critical point in time, is the best thing that ever happened for the family. Davao was described as the Land of Promise. Its vast green lands, unlimited fruits and crops harvests, and shorelines that catches enough sea foods to feed not only the region but the entire country. I remembered, frequent afternoon rains, fresh durian fruits, and warm but not hot weather then. Aside from its strange sounding local dialect, which I have a hard time learning, it was a place I would want to be for the rest of my life. I believe my parents and my siblings have the same love for Davao.]

[Walden - My father has always been a "Think Big" kind of person. As the Anda store, Papa hired one of the most popular "tailor" in the country, housed him in Davao, and starts advertising "USA Tailoring". I guess it was to be my parents expanded version of their 2-man factory business in Manila. Although the start of the tailoring business was big, it slowed down when the Chief Tailor, Mr de Leon turned out to be a drunk liability rather than an asset. That did not however stopped Papa from thinking Big... the next few months show him furthering his dreams even farther.]

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