Our continuing journeys

By: Peter Angelo V. Perfecto

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

I was certainly swept off to the Makati Business Club without my realizing it. Without my ever imagining that I could take on the role in January 2011, when the then chair, Ramon del Rosario, asked me to fill the big shoes of Bill Luz and Bertie Lim. And not many know the story that it was a CEO wife that asked, “Why not, Peter?”

That quote from “Lord of the Rings” and the story of how I found myself in MBC have been recurring in my mind since I first agreed early this month with the current MBC chair that this may be a good time to end this journey and move on to my next adventure. And what a great 7-year adventure MBC was! My being able to write about my experiences and stories in no less than the Philippine Daily Inquirer is testament enough to how truly amazing my journey has been. And I thank Ed Chua that he has allowed me to continue writing for this column together with the other CEOs in this pool. I hope this historic paper will continue to make room for this opportunity to advocate, educate and share.

I never imagined that I would be writing for the Inquirer one day, and I have to admit that to this day, I remain feeling inadequate as a writer when this very same page is filled with the wisdom of the likes of John Nery and Rina Jimenez David.

My 7-year journey was filled with overflowing wisdom from captains of industry in the Philippines and in numerous other countries (or economies, as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or Apec prefers to call them), government ministers, ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries, academics and economists, civil society movers and shakers, media practitioners, and religious leaders. Such wisdom and wonderful insights were imparted in board and membership meetings, joint business luncheons, roundtables, integrity summits, bilateral trade and investment missions, state dinners, workshops and consultations, and in so many different kinds of meetings and events.

I was part of thousands of these, and I estimate that I probably did an average of one every day as there could be as many as five in a day.

These events and meetings, beyond just gaining calories from food and drinks (good wine once in a while), provided the opportunities to build partnerships for nation-building initiatives. A few opened the doors for funding opportunities so that we could do more. Most just helped us understand a little better our options forward, to make our country better, often rekindling hope and dousing growing frustrations.

At the MBC Secretariat, our team often says, “Para sa bayan!” For the country! And, indeed, love of country drives the selfless dedication to work of our lean and mean team at the Secretariat. When there is project funding we grow to as large as a 20-person team, but for our base operation we shrink to about 12 warm bodies taking care of members and their needs, organizing the meetings and events, churning out research output, and building networks for advocacies and initiatives with the government, civil society and other key sectors and stakeholders. There are many late nights and even weekend catch-up work for the staff. They, too, get swept off every so often. One team member is now part of Ayala’s innovation team, while another is with Her Majesty’s Embassy at Mckinley Hill.

Although my personal journey with MBC has ended, its journey continues.

Coco Alcuaz will now lead the “company of the ring” as it forges onward as the forum for constructive ideas. That will be a challenge in today’s more complicated sociopolitical environment where constructive ideas can be quickly drowned by political noise, fierce trolling, and fake news.

As for me, I am eagerly waiting to be swept off to my next adventure!

Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is the outgoing executive director of the Makati Business Club.

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Posted on 24 February 2018 under Business Matters section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer