Baguio Chinese tycoon bares secret for success

BAGUIO CITY — Not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Some would literally need to invest money and work decades to build a successful business. But the Chinese’ age-old training to their children, to manage even a small business, to devote their time to helping their source of income works well up to the present.

An evident example of a successful Chinese businessman in this city is Peter Ng, president of the Baguio-Benguet Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCCI), who used to be a taxi operator and now a big-time real estate owner and hotelier. He owns Hotel Supreme, including the adjacent properties. He has also recently purchased one of the biggest prime lots on Baguio’s main thoroughfare, Session Road.

He said the training they received as young teenagers, tending to the family’s business and being smart, had always been the formula that the Chinese business people believe works up to the present.

Ng said he was not born rich, but was educated. Finishing college, he went to Manila to acquire work experience. But after his parents passed away and he was left to tend to his younger siblings, his primary concern then was what they would be eating in the coming days. And this led to his business venture.

He related the life he was leading as a young “master of the house” that made him want to start a business.

Ng started to operate and drive a taxi named Road Runner. Unfortunately, he had difficulties managing his employees, as the operation is out of his sight, being a transport business.

He thought of something that he could monitor and was invited by a group of friends to venture into a hotel business. At that time, he was appointed as a manager. He was not skilled to manage a business, but what pushed him was the thought of making the business successful.

Being a former taxi driver, he used the formula talking to taxi drivers – offering commissions in exchange for the customers they bring to the hotel.

“Because of that, araw-araw (every day) we were fully booked some hotels were not happy with me na (already),” he recalled. He related that together with another Chinese friend, he started another business by borrowing money from the bank. He and his friend then established their joint business, which turned out to be popular. Now, he owns one of the biggest and most popular hotels in Baguio.

It was friendship and trust that allowed things to happen, he said, expressing much gratefulness.

“If it were not for the late Mr. Abnir Pangilinan, I will not have this business,” he mused, saying his late friend had confidence in him that he would do good in business.

Many of Baguio’s big establishments now are owned and operated by Filipino-Chinese families, who have been born and raised in the city. They are in real estate, hotels, restaurants, groceries, department stores and others.

Ng said he is amazed by how hardworking the Chinese are, as they can spend 18 hours a day working. The Chinese’ culture, especially their mindset, is to do business, he said. The Chinese have been exposed and trained to manage their businesses even as young teenagers.

Ng guessed the Chinese gene has been developed as such, that is why they seem to be smarter than other businessmen.

“Today, hard work is not enough, you need to be smart as well,” he said. “And If you are really in love with the business, there’s always a solution to (any problem it faces).”