Sir Erning At 68 August 21, 2013
Last Sunday, 3rd of February, Mr. Ernesto C. Tan celebrated his 68th birthday at the newly opened Ariana Hotel's Skyroom. Jumping into my hot pink sneakers, I was ushered in a sea of B&Ps alongside MO's Managing Editor Adrian Michael A. Amatong. Sitting amongst the Bachelors' Klatch, I realized my hair served its purpose well - pixie with an extra hitch of quirkiness. They served cocktail drinks as the guests arrived. Good thing, the hotel was able to provide enough parking spaces.
Sir Erning was busy smiling for the cameras. He looked smart and accomplished in his black suit but nevertheless down-to-earth. Beside every man's success is a woman and behind him will be dozens of far and near relatives and another dozen of comrades. The CEO's wife, a mother to four COO's, the personage of the company's name - Mediatrix Tan or the carefree Medi herself. Drum roll please! She looked fabulous in her 60's, a la Manilyn Monroe in her flowy skirt and black top ensemble. Right then and there, I knew just why and how Sir Erning was captured by such a beauty. Their sons, Erneson Raymond and Erneson Ralph (ER) were as delightful.
More or less 250 guests came, in written (incomplete) attendance: the dashing MHI staff who came extra prepared than me in their stilettos and sleek leather shoes; Sir Erning's high school classmates traveling all the way from Ozamis City and waited 50 years just to sing, well, a Chinese version of the world renowned track - The Birthday Song; Honorable Governor Rolando E. Yebes, Bernadette and Myrla Adasa, Rolando Del Torchio, Pat, Bernad, Covella and Orly Lim, Benny Adriatico, Lynda Bengua, Edna Capili-Chan, Lyndon See Diet; Serafin, Sonia, Maril and Bessie Uy; Aning Sybico; Robert, Alita, John and Kathryn Lim; Remy Mendoza, Raymond Lacaya; Albert and Emelie Lim; Edelburgo and Miguela Cheng; Mr.&Mrs. Bryan Suminguit; Mr.&Mrs. Al Tenorio; Regine Ty, Ann Cases, Marivic Young, Teodoro Ting; Eric and Marla Avila; Merlyn and Henry Uy; Lydia and Nonoy Tiu. These are only a few of those who dazzled the photo wall with the star of the night. Cocktail drinks were served and the atmosphere was filled with laughter, chitchat and — would you like a glass of Margarita?
After a short program, which I will be writing about in the coming week, a feisty four-course dinner was served: Caesar's Salad, the savoury Clam Chowder, Steamed Rice, grilled Asian marinated chicken thighs, mixed seafood linguini, meatloaf with mushroom gravy, the traditional Lechon and deserts - panna cota, crème brulee and fresh fruits. The physical arrangement, the food which by the way is three thumbs up, and the accommodation are just some of the crucial factors in hosting a successful party. But that's not all. How about having fun? After all, it's a birthday party! With this, I have two wishes in mind: I wish you were there and I wish I could dance ballroom.
Ballroom is one of the many things that the couple enjoys doing together. They danced to the sound of "Careless Whisper" and barely left the dance floor after that. But Sir Erning can do some freestyle too, disco style, as his MHI family joined him. Real estate developer and "Mister Groovy" combo. For the party, the family hired for Dance Instructors that their guests might be able to show their moves too. Whoever said that "birds of the same feather flock together" must be right. Next week, I will be writing about the many angles of the man behind Mediatrix Homes Incorported - his humble beginnings, his company and his life which is worth writing and sharing.
I had a reckless situation last week costing me my recent computer files. Served me a lesson: always make sure to back-up your files, using an external flashdrive (USB as we like to call it) perhaps. God is able to turn every unfortunate situation into a blessing! Come to think of it, I don't get to push myself into writing a Valentine's column too. There's just so much to write about it, for sure. Ah, so much love in the air, it's suffocating. Moving on after such a heartbreaking incident, I ought to continue the article I have written two weeks ago. What did they say about being late? Better than never. I did mention it is worth writing and sharing.
The Many Angles of Erning
You might know Mr. Ernesto C. Tan as the Chief Executive Officer of the Mediatrix Homes Incorporated (MHI). Back when I was in high school, I used to walk along the Mediatrix Hills Subdivision on my way home. They had such a great view of the mountains as I gazed through the paralleled metal bars of the main gates. On Christmas' and New Year's Eve, I would watch from our kitchen window the grandiose display of fireworks. I marveled at their luxury as I, too, built dreams of my own. These things, however, are not as impelling as the account of the man who dared to cross the wire.
The Out-Standing Student - Back on his school days, the young Ernesto always finds himself standing outside the classroom as it was hard to keep him out of mischief. He was suspended several times by the school until finally the school was suspended by him. Twenty years later, upon his return to Ozamis, he was welcomed at the airport like he won the Presidential elections - complete with a marching band, banners and his teachers cheering at him. He was then invited as the Guest Speaker for the school's anniversary. He later donated a computer room. Funny as it was, one mustn't think that education is irrelevant to success. Education, in its many forms and instruction, is the fundamental element. However, it shouldn't be limited within the four-corners of white-walled classrooms or merely guided by the K12 principle. "Out-standing," a truth that he seems not to be embarrassed about, that his friends always crack a joke out of. This is simply to emphasize that success does not sprung out of books or bestowed to the academically motivated like an heir. Quoted from the words of his dear friend, his BFF - Mr. Bobby Lim - "His formula for success is 90% hard work and 10% more work."
The General - In an interview with Ms. Marissa Villamil - Sir Erning's consultant slash all-around-lady-buddy who, by the way, is an amiable example of how happy a single woman gets to be - she remarked: "He is the greatest general. His word is everybody's command. He knows what he is doing." But "he is no arm-chaired general," Mr. Manny de Leon shared in his speech at the party, "All day, all night - he is certainly there. He can see, he can feel and he understands any situation that comes along the way." Sir Manny is MHI's Director for Business Development, "the brain behind MHI" as Sir Erning would like to address him. After his retirement in 1990 and upon Sir Erning's plea, the two joined forces: "We've not been studying about real estate but this is the school that we learn so fast."
With Sir Manny and Ma'am Marissa by his side, Sir Erning has this ability to pick qualified people and form them to do the job. Ma'am Marissa discloses: "Being with MHI is fascinating! Every day you get to encounter various challenges. I used to call it ‘hurdles.' Later on, I thought about it positively: ‘What's the challenge for today?'" The General sure has a way of making one believe in oneself with insurmountable confidence. He refuses to believe in the impossible and, with his age, he is never a slow-poke.
Age is just a number, really. With his flick moves, ballroom dancing has got to love him. A craft that he has come to know while accompanying Ma'am Medi on her lessons. Sir Erning is as healthy as a stiff twenty-year old who can't pull-off a decent cha-cha. Health is wealth, indeed. He ensures a good doze of sleep, getting into bed as early as nine and begins the day with a cup of coffee around five in the morning. Ma'am Marissa considers him more like a friend than a boss; they spend such a healthy working environment over table-talks. "We meet at breakfast and we talk about the agenda for the day. At lunch, we discuss about what has happened in the morning. By dinner time, we go over the events of the entire day." He never slows down. In fact, MHI has carefully planned their short-term and medium-term plans for the next ten years.
The Visionary - "Practical, patient, street-smart and very hardworking", Sir Bobby describes Sir Erning. He is also a good listener. Sir Manny notes that he processes everything right. If he were a student, he'd get a perfect grade of 100. I wish I could insert a video on how Ma'am Marissa eyes sparkled as she confided how Sir Erning has this gift of seeing the unimaginable - that he is able to visualize then and there the things that he wanted to put up by only looking at a piece of land. He has the mind and the eye of a real estate developer, without a doubt. "He is what he is because of everything that he has gone through." This is why he has imposed a certain "mortal sin" code in the company which strictly prohibits the employees from smoking, drunkenness and gambling in its literal sense. You may think he is too strict, but trust the man who has gone through it all. He should know, he is 68! Such concern for his employees holds the company altogether, withstanding every "challenge." One mistake is worth millions of broken hearts and, if I should mention, money.
If the Lord may allow, MHI foresees its short-term plans in a future joint-venture with partners from Misamis Occidental and Pagadian City. Plotting the picture, they are planning to connect the nearing provinces through subdivisions. As for their medium-term plans, they are conceptualizing affordable condominium units in Manila, specifically Parañaque, for provincial people who will be crossing the seas for school, work or business purposes. The company lives up to their tagline: "Accomplishing Dreams, Fulfilling Luxury!" They intend to provide homes, not only for the financially capable, for those who have the dream but with limited resources. It won't be too long before we can see the company's flag printed on the national papers. As for now, MHI is preparing for the turn-over of operations and management to the COOs. He is a father after all. And a grandfather to date.
By the end of the day, it's all about for the betterment of his family and the two-hundred families he is indirectly supporting through his employees. And now, there you are, holding a piece of his story in your hands. Though he may not be responsible for your life and your family, he sure has affected a part of you in one or another. As Sir Bobby connotes: "His generosity is beyond question."
Wealth holds a valuable power: influence. We can do so much with influence. And one may start with a simple story. A simple man from Tangub who spends each day in his camiso de chino, he dared to realize his selfless dreams, fought hard, stumbled twice as much but his infinite commitment to pursue keeps him going. If I must emphasize once again, he is committed. So it's not just a contract of some sort. I believe I have not mentioned above that Sir Erning was bankrupt twice. Surprised? With all that he has accomplished, it's a given. However, I must admit that I was a bit shaken. It's true, they say, I have a long way to go. This account may be like a broken sonnet. As much as I would like to put the blame on the limited characters or the time (supposed for writing) not well managed, it should be sufficient for one to get to know and, most of all, appreciate the man behind Mediatrix Homes Incorporated. Salute!