Dr. Carlos Chan, Chairman Emeritus of Liwayway Marketing Corporation and Special Envoy of the Philippines to the People’s Republic of China, was the Guest of Honor and Commencement Speaker during the 169th Commencement Exercises of Mapúa, held on February 20, 2017, at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City. During the ceremonies, Ambassador Chan was conferred a degree of Honorary Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) for being an “exemplar of the global Filipino.”
Below is his acceptance speech:
Mr. Reynaldo B. Vea, President and Chief Executive Officer, and members of the Board of Trustees of the Mapúa Institute of Technology, Honorable Senator Franklin Drilon, professors, graduates, parents, my family, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
Good afternoon to you all!
With humility, I thank you for honoring me today with this conferment of an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. Indeed, this is a rare privilege to earn such doctorate degree without having to go back to the university to earn it.
Not even in my dreams did I aim this highest level of education being conferred on me. My simple ambition then was just to earn a degree in Architecture at the prestigious Mapúa Institute of Technology.
I pursued my secondary and university education while working in Liwayway repacking factory, a family owned gawgaw, cornstarch business, founded by my parents, the late Lib Chan and Ying See. As the eldest in the family, it was my primary responsibility to help my parents in the operations of the business.
Education and work were both equally important to me. But it was rather tough and physically difficult to prioritize and manage time, between work and school. I reached the point I had to choose between the two and decided to focus on work and dropped out of college.
Then I concentrated, to help run the family business. After my parents passed away, the burden of operating Liwayway Company rested on my shoulders, with work divided among my siblings. Meanwhile, I got married and had six (6) children.
In 1975, we ventured into snack food manufacturing, which was branded Oishi, a Japanese word for delicious. We built our first factory in Bulacan and eventually transferred to Imus, Cavite.
When I visited shanghai in 1990, I saw the potential and the opportunity to do business with China’s 1.2 billion population. I decided to expand our snackfood business to China. I invested and took over a Chinese-state owned factory. It was a challenge that proved to be a wise business decision.
Inspired by the acceptance and success of Oishi snackfood in china, we decided to scout, invest and build factories in then Asia’s emerging markets like Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and India. Middle of this year, we will start producing Oishi products in South Africa.
Our continued efforts to improve our products with aggressive marketing made Oishi a popular branded snackfood able to compete with the best in international markets.
The company had been renamed Liwayway Marketing Corporation, in keeping with the memory of my parents. Liwayway means “dawn,” while to my father it meant “hope.” In my mind, he truly was a visionary.
Ladies and gentlemen, with great pride, I must share this honor and success with my beloved wife Priscilla. Half of this honor belongs to her. She was my inspiration and my strength.
She worked with me, and stood by me during the most challenging times of our business. She respected and supported all my ambitious ideas and decisions. She still works equally hard as I do, to maintain and provide sound business administration. She is both a dedicated mother and role model to our children.
This achievement I owe it to my parents, for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifices to start our business. I also owe it to my children who unselfishly support and give their best talents and efforts, for the company to grow, to prosper, and to compete in the global market. My wife and children are my priceless treasures, and I thank god for granting me a wonderful family.
This honorary doctorate degree in humanities, renews and strengthens my desire to share success with people and communities as a matter of personal gratitude and corporate responsibility.
We built a building for Polytechnic Institute in Imus, Cavite hoping to train and develop skills of young people to prepare them for future employment.
It feels good that our business provides employment to 20,000 employees in the country including china and Southeast Asia.
We also contributed through Tzu Chi foundation 1,000 low-cost housing units to victims affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Ormoc, Leyte.
Every year we are donating 100 units of barrio schools through the federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to be built in different provinces of the country.
Again, my sincere appreciation to Mapúa, to Mr Vea, to Mrs. Dee, and to Senator Drilon, for the trust and confidence in granting me this honor.
In closing, I wish to congratulate the new graduates for successfully completing your degree. Graduation is but the beginning of another chapter in your life, in your career, of what you really want to be.
Go for whatever dreams and ambitions you have despite the challenges that you may face. Dream big, work hard, be humble, honest, patient, persevering, stick with your values and principles and with faith in the lord, success will be yours.
I also wish to commend the parents for their sacrifices to send their children to school and to the professors, mentors, and teachers, for helping mold the minds of your students… our future.
Maraming salamat po. Mabuhay ang Mapúa Batch 2017. Long live Mapúa. May God bless us all.