A Titan in Public Relations
“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.”- Wilfred Peterson
TACLOBAN CITY – During the first Eastern Visayas Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference from August 26-28, 2011, the host chamber Leyte Chamber of Commerce invited personalities to share their success “From Cents to Millions”. The speakers were An Waray party-list Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo; ANDOK’s Inasal and Javier town Mayor Sandy Javier and PR giant Eugenio “Boy” Abunda, Jr.
I wanna share with you the words from Boy Abunda whose talk was interspersed with the lessons he learned from the people he met, people he interviewed in his television talk show “Bottomline” and from the great book authors. “I am a rabid student. I am what I am today because I read a lot. I don’t know anything about public relations work, but I read all books in public relations that I could be a doctorate in it,” he said with a laugh.
“I believe in the “POWER OF NOW”, because tomorrow is never promised, says Boy Abunda. Say I love you to who you are with at the moment, your family and friends. Why wait for a catastrophe to happen before you help others— when you can do it now.
Boy is not an actor but you can see him in magazines, billboard and television. He manages and map the careers of biggest names in the history of Philippine entertainment. He is also a good personal friend of President Pnoy Aquino.
He recalls with deep fondness about his father Eugenio Abunda, Sr. whom he describes as “my rock of Gibraltar.” “My father wanted me to become a lawyer, because lawyers in our province have big signage in their homes and my mother wanted me to study Accountancy for the reason she dreamed of me to become a bank manager because for her a bank manager is “like owning a bank,” his laughter reverberated the rooftop of Hotel Alejandro where the gathering was held. The lesson here he said, talk to your children what they want in life, not what you want for yourself. Engage your children in conversations, unlike in the past, when it’s a mortal sin for kids to join their parents’ conversation.
“Being a “probinsyano” you could just imagine my cultural shock when my father brought me to Ateneo de Manila University and told me to study hard because this is where our national hero Jose Rizal studied. I was different from my classmates, the way I dress and my Waray-Waray accent. I walked in the campus while they have cars. Then my father died, I have to drop out of school and took odd jobs,” he said.
“I tried everything. I sold encyclopedias, became a waiter, a doorman, a cook, then I became a propsman at the Metropolitan Theater (MET) that changed my life. I am the last to leave the theater because I saw to it that all the props are in place and secure. Then maybe someone has told Tita Conching Sunico, the administrator of the MET that here is a boy at the backstage, who spoke good English and very hardworking.
She called me one day to her office. I could never forget her words “I want you to work for me as my PR.” Without batting an eyelash I said yes without even knowing what PR is, he laughed. Then when I reported to her office, I asked her what is PR and she said she will teach me. The lesson here is never say no to an opportunity. Tita Conching is the friend of the who’s who in the Philippine society. I met a lot of important people through Tita Conching that until now are still my friends like the Zobels.
When I opened my own PR company, Backroom, Inc. after several years and I managed my first artist Ariel Rivera and he was a blockbuster hit, the rest is history.
I read a lot. I immersed myself in learning. I became a voracious reader from then on. I made sure I gave my best to everything that I do. I encouraged you to read. I am teaching at the Philippines Women’s University now and I told my students, I won’t fail anyone but I want you to read. So I always give them book reports. Boy became an outstanding teacher of PUP in 2010.
When I interviewed Mina Aragon who is a YouTube sensation with 50 million hits in her Born This Way posting, discovered by Lady Gaga. Mina is a global superstar, I asked her: “Who is Mina Aragon?”. He answered simply, “I am just an 11-year old Tito Boy who wanted to sing.” The lesson I learned here Boy said is to stick your core.
Never forget your core. The only way to blend is to be yourself.
Never forget who you are. As long as I know where I am, I am home in Eastern Visayas, I am safe.
Create a great vision of yourself, because you are. Don’t you know that Barbra Walters, the queen of talk show cannot pronounce her “R”? Oprah Winfrey, used to talk to her chickens and pigs to listen to her debate and speeches.
Boy said he learned from President Noy in his SONA, when he said thank you. From Oprah and book author Mary Angelou that saying thank you is the language of the Divine. Always say thank you because your heart will be open to more blessings.
By: Vicky Arnaiz
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