Tuesday, July 12, 2005


There are a few people that I have learned to admire over the years and there are even fewer people whom I regard as a mentor in one fashion or another.

One such person is Flor Malong. There are a lot of titles to describe what he has done over the past 40 years, titles like Merchandising Manager, TV Director, Media and Marketing Consultant, entrepreneur, trader, and others.

In recent years, he had gone into all sorts of businesses to augment his income as a freelance TV Director and On-Cam host of a number of TV shows. It was easy for him to make money off deals such as promoting a product or service, reaping commissions from the sale of the items he was endorsing.

About two years ago, he had stumbled upon a business deal that initially had him realizing net profits of 20% a month.

The business had to do with the highly discounted prepaid cellphone cards.

These cellphone cards were a means by which call and text messaging credits could be loaded to prepaid cellphone accounts. Normally, this would sell for denominations of P100 to P1,000 and the business deal that Flor stumbled upon allowed him to buy cards at 20% to 30% below the usual retail costs of the prepaid cellphone cards.

Anyway, after making some money out of the business (which was conducted strictly on a Cash on Delivery basis), friends inquired on how they could also get into the business he was in.

Flor explained the risks and how much it would cost them. His friends studied it and decided to get into the action with him. Soon enough, because of their pooled investments, they were able to make more money. This lasted for a number of cycles of buying and selling the prepaid cellphone cards.... Then the unthinkable happened...

After handing over more than P3,000,000 in cash for the purchase of several boxes of prepaid cellphone cards, the seller who recieved the cash bade leave saying that she had to go to the comfort room as she had certain bowel movement problems... It was a bit unusual but Flor, thinking he was after all in the woman's office and that there was nowhere else she could go, casually let her leave the room they were in with the cash.

Thirty minutes later, the woman had not yet come back with the cellphone cards... After going out of the woman's office and asking other people in the same office where the woman went, he realized that the woman had already gone... Fleeing with the cash.

Flor was in deep trouble and upon informing his friends of the terrible misfortune, he soon found himself being threatened with law suits.

Although he was certain that he was in the clear as far as legalities were concerned, he made a promise to his friends that he would replace what they had lost in the deal if only to preserve their friendship and beyond that, his good name.

So he sold his prized imported European cars (a Volvo and a BMW), 3 condo units where he had hoped to relocate his office in, and several other assets that he owned. With the sales proceeds, he paid off most of the money his friends had lost. He still owed his friends more than P1,000,0000... but he promised to pay the balance bit by bit.... He has kept to this promise to this day, regardless of having to live on much less than he was accustomed to.

Times are hard and money is getting harder and harder to come by as there are fewer and fewer TV Directing jobs or projects coming out... But the man is doing everything he can to repay all his debts.

Its easy to talk about keeping one's honor and protecting one's good name until you find yourself having to endure what this guy is going through these days.

This is why I regard him as my mentor, because what he is doing right now is something everyone should learn from....

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