In a democracy, everyone is entitled to give his two cents on just about anything. Take the sad state of the economy, for instance. There are some who are good at pointing their fingers and pinning the blame on other people, setting off endless debates in the process. But there are those who would rather act and work quietly. They prefer to be part of the solution. Like the Anvil Business Club.
Founded in 1991, this socio-civic group composed of Chinese-Filipino entrepreneurs and professionals named itself after a blacksmith’s tool, which is a fitting symbol for its continued efforts at forging new friendships and business ties, as well as for molding within its ranks future leaders in the business world.
Anvil looks after the personal and professional growth of their members. These are enhanced through the club’s many social activities. One of them is through the Anvil Business Club Exchange, a monthly forum where members get to update each other with the latest business know-how. They also talk about developments in the national economy and the country’s business climate.
Through the years, notable CEOs and executives have been invited as guest speakers to these events. Gonzalo Co, the man behind Green Cross alcohol and Zonrox bleach (two of the most popular household product names in the Philippines) spoke before the club in June 2007. He inspired his audience with stories like how people he cared for turned their backs on him and how he survived that bleak chapter in his life.
A month earlier, Dennis Tan, CEO of Merrill Lynch Asia, sat down with the members of the club. The top man of the international financial management and advisory company came with his Singaporean and Hong Kong team to discuss world economy, investments, and wealth management.
Investments guru Lilia Clemente, dubbed by Wall Street Journal as the “Wonder Woman of Wall Street,” graced the Anvil Business Club Exchange in September 2006. She shared her experiences as chairperson and CEO of Clemente Capital Inc., a global investment and management firm.
JG Summit Holdings chairman and multimillionaire John Gokongwei Jr also accepted Anvil’s invitation and taught them how he juggles and oversees his numerous business ventures.
The Club also played host to some political luminaries. Former President Corazon Aquino, embattled President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senators, Representatives from the Lower House, governors, and other government officials also attended these monthly Anvil exchanges. The list includes Lipa City mayor and actress Vilma Santos-Recto, former RP Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes (he now heads the energy department), RP Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan. (Pangilinan stood out in the last elections for winning his second term despite turning down invitations from both the administration and opposition camps to join their tickets.)
Aside from gaining nuggets of wisdom from their guest speakers, Anvil members also go on tours to local and international manufacturing plants, trade fairs, and institutions. These help them broaden their business perspectives and give them the opportunity to encourage foreigners to invest in the country.
But the club is not all about honing business skills. Part of Anvil’s missions is to cultivate a positive image of the Chinese-Filipino citizens. They want to achieve this by following Confucian morals and observing traditional Filipino values. And the best way to do all these is by helping the less fortunate.
In November 2005, the group, in cooperation with the Manila Chinatown Charity Foundation, went on a medical and dental mission to Marikina City where over a thousand urban poor residents received free medical and dental care, eyeglasses, electrocardiogram exams, and acupuncture treatments. Anvil also supports the Punlaan School, a vocational institution for young and impoverished women who will be trained to become hotel and restaurant employees.
print ed: 05/08