Take an adventure that makes you MAD!

If you were too caught up trying to live and put food on the table, would you still sing and dance?

The Aeta community was hit with extreme poverty when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. Left with infertile soil, damaged crop lands, and the will to survive, the Aetas in Yangil stopped singing and dancing so they can focus on making it in life. Traditions can wait; hungry stomachs cannot. Forced to look for other means of livelihood, they resorted to kaingin (slashing and burning of trees that are turned into coal), which left the mountains barren.

Now, one seedling at a time, trees are being replanted in the Aetas’ ancestral domain, and in the process, plants seeds of hope for the community.

MAD (Make A Difference) Travel organizes Tribes and Treks tours, which take local and foreign tourists to more meaningful travel adventures off the beaten path. In Zambales, its main goal is to help reforest the 3,000-hectare ancestral lands of the Aetas. The eco-tour social enterprise goes “MAD” because it believes that travel has the potential to change perspectives and inspire others to build a kinder world.

Tribes and Treks Zambales takes its guests to Sitio Yangil where they get a glimpse of the Aeta way of life. They also plant seedlings for them. I joined a group of nine trekkers composed of guests from Sweden, France, Germany, and Manila. The day started with a briefing at The Circle Hostel in Liwliwa, where we were taught how to properly interact with the Aetas. We were specifically told not to engage in “poverty porn” – photographing or filming the dire conditions (i.e. crying children, hunger, poverty) of the community to elicit sympathy. Instead, we were encouraged to portray them in a positive light by showing them happily interacting with each other as they go about their daily lives. After the orientation, a 45-minute jeepney ride took us to the jump off point, where the trek began.

The trail was flat, but the open space was unforgiving. We did the trek when there was a looming typhoon in the Philippines, in the cool December climate. While the cloudy weather was a welcome alternative to a sunny trek, the winds brought in “sand storms” that pierced through our skin. We learned to take cover in patches of tall grass when available. If not, we would shield our eyes and offer our bare skin for the sand to pound on, until it passed. We had to change our course because the winds were so strong, that the local guides felt it was not safe to bring us to the nursery which is in an exposed, open area. We crossed a few calf-deep rivers, but according to the locals, these can swell during rainy season, so big that the Aetas are not able to cross lest they’ll be swept. Children who go to school in the lowlands need to walk this trail and cross these rivers everyday.

Tree-planting is the first agenda of the day as soon as we reached Sitio Yangil. The Aetas readily welcomed us with big smiles and warm greetings, as if we are returning members of the community. We were taught how to properly bury seedlings in little packets of soil. Our group was able to plant close to 300 seedlings, which will then be transferred to the nursery and will be cared for until they are ready to grow as trees. The reward after was a simple lunch of local Filipino fare (tinola, adobo, fried fish, locally grown fruits, and ice candy – yes, possibly your childhood favorite treat!), that was made special by sharing the meal and exchanging stories with the Aetas.

After a short rest, we were ushered to the community hall for cultural exchanges of singing and dancing. Mt. Pinatubo eruption hit the Aetas hard; when they were too busy looking for livelihood, they almost lost their heritage when they stopped celebrating in their traditional songs and dances. Now, the younger Aetas can freely and easily perform these traditions, and we had the honor of singing and dancing with them. The highlight of the day for most of us was learning traditional archery from Lolo Doyong, the resident super-archer who hunts wild animals for food using their bamboo bow and arrow. Aim, point, and shoot! It sounded easy but it was actually hard to hit the target.

Because MAD Travel promotes creating livelihood instead of encouraging dole outs from the guests, the locals showcased their produce and handicrafts for sale – honey, organically grown fruits, bamboo straws, handmade bracelets, bamboo whistles, and mini bow-and-arrow sets. The company also helps the community get access to the market, especially in reaching corporate accounts for their bamboo straws, which provides steady source of income for the community. The day is capped with a dinner at the home of the head chieftain of all nine tribes.

The experience definitely seared into the memory of the guests. We planted seeds on that day – seeds that will someday turn the barren mountains into a lush forest; seeds of hope for the Aetas who can look forward to life in abundance; and seeds of responsibility in everyone, making us realize that our small ways can have big impacts in shaping our future world.

It’s amazing how one small company is able to provide an adventure that matters, one seed at a time. It’s time to be MAD – it’s time to make a difference!

The trek involves walking through lahar covered valleys and rivers

The first activity once reaching the community is the planting of seedlings

Guests are taught native archery using bamboo bow and arrow. Aetas are hunters and foragers and use the bow and arrow to catch wild animals.

The chieftain shares the tribe’s music with the guests

Guests from France, Baptiste and Aya, share a French song with the kids

Aeta kids mingling with the guests

Aeta kids teaching the guests a traditional action song

Jonna Baquillas is a Doctor of Business Administration student at the De La Salle University. She takes adventures with a purpose – earlier, to discover the world, and lately, to make a difference. She currently engages in research on sustainable tourism and green consumption. She can be reached at jonna.baquillas@gmail.com.

Organizing in Disaster-Vulnerable Environments: Emerging Role of Grassroots, Entrepreneurs, and Corporate Players in Resilience Building

To create resilient communities in disaster-vulnerable environments, the ‘big vision’ for the research community is to tell the multiple narratives of the private actors helping make the Philippines resilient. The goal is to have an organic interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder, and representative network of private actors who can openly exchange knowledge and collaborate on impact-oriented projects on disaster resilience through research, capacity building, mentorship, and/or white papers.

This is the core discussion during a round table discussion in the 6th National Business and Management Conference.

The main objective of the round table discussion was to bring together various stakeholders beyond the academia to discuss the ongoing efforts of private actors in resilience building, and consequently to identify areas of collaboration between the academia and the private actors.

Representatives from the government, the civic community, private sector, and the academia were present, with the following members leading the discussions:

  • Angelo Hernan Melencio, Consortium Manager, Tuklas Innovation Labs PH
  • Carl Vincent Caro, Geo-Hazard and Spatial Information Manager, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation
  • Veronica Gabaldon, Executive Director, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation
  • Trina Aspuria, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation
  • Edwin Pasahol, Senior Trade and Development Specialist, Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development
  • Rachel Quiero, Associate Professorial Lecturer, Management and Organization Department – De La Salle University
  • Raymond Paderna, Assistant Professorial Lecturer, Decision Sciences and Innovation Department – De La Salle University

There is an increasing need to highlight the self-organizing capacity of communities during disasters. The ability of communities to address their constraints and come up with innovative solutions during disasters have been highlighted in management and disasters literature. This is further reinforced by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (2015-2030), which highlights the importance of a systemic approach to DRR with emphasis on the take-up of responsibility of all stakeholders beyond national and local government. The core rationale for the round table discussion is that while the government is responsible, it is not solely responsible for making the country resilient to disasters.

The tangible target is to create a sub-center on resilient organizing under the Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD). The sub-center will be focused on knowledge creation that is grounded on the experience of private actors. To begin the work on creating the sub-center, the round table will serve as the impetus for engaging the stakeholders.

The key questions for the round table discussion thus center on: (a) who the private actors are, (b) what their respective roles are, (c) how their role may be leveraged in making the country resilient to disasters, and (d) what themes the research community should be tackling to help them in their respective roles.

The representatives surfaced the insights below, which are deemed to be actionable items from the side of the research community:

  • It is important to clarify that there is already an existing platform that already allows an exchange among the non-government sector (note that instead of using the term ‘private actors’, ‘non-government sector’ is the current nomenclature used to describe non-government actors that are engaged in DRR. An example of the platform is Connecting Business Initiative (CBI). On that note, there is no need to make multi-sector platforms redundant. Instead, it is highly encouraged to use existing platforms, which the research community can join.
  • Another non-government actor that can be included in the discussions is the media.
  • The non-government sector possesses rich data which may be made accessible to the academia. The private sector specifically hosts data that is largely available to the academia. The research community, however, can leverage its position by subjecting the data into analysis, and consequently contributing to the generalization of findings at both the data and analytical levels. To this end, the non-government sector expressed the need to go beyond descriptions and existing indicators.

The most critical point that was raised includes an identification of research themes that the non-government sector deems most helpful for their existing initiatives. The following are the themes/topics identified by the non-government sector:

  • What new designs can we contemplate for greater magnitude of hazards, i.e. earthquakes?
  • What kind of ‘futures’ should the community anticipate, and how can that knowledge be used to prepare for resilience?
  • What is the media’s role in the post-truth era? How can the role of media be leveraged to safeguard the truth?
  • How can we continue to close the gap between the existing disconnection between practice and theory in disaster management?
  • How can we espouse culture-sensitive interventions in disaster management? An example raised in this regard involves the ‘death of bayanihan’ due to incentivization/monetization of volunteerism in local communities.
  • What is the role of innovation in disaster resilience, and how can the Philippines leverage the transformative capacity of innovation? This relates to the position of the Philippines as continuously being ranked within Top 10 of most vulnerable nations to natural and man-made hazards. Can the Philippines move back on the vulnerability scale if it can harness its innovative capacity?
  • How can we understand better the ‘resilient-seeking behavior’ of policy-makers? What goes into the policy formulation, community-level interventions, and business continuity initiatives? How do we understand them beyond the policy rhetoric?
  • What are the implications of existing regulations, e.g. Safety Law, in resilience building?
  • Considering that the Philippines is a religious country, faith-based organizations have played a role in disaster management. On that note, it would be interesting to explore the role they play in resilience building.

The roundtable discussion concluded with notes on the plans to establish the sub-center for Organizing in Disaster Environments under the institutional umbrella of CBRD. Exchange of contact details was also encouraged, so that whenever there are events or opportunities to collaborate, every member can reach out. Likewise, if the non-government sector finds the need to commission studies, they can contact CBRD.

People, Planet, Profit: On the economics of sustainable tourism in Asia

Last November 10, 2018, the AIM-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism conducted a round table discussion (RTD) during the 6th National Business and Management Conference  titled “People, Planet, Profit: On the economics of sustainable tourism in Asia”.

The RTD covers the initial research work done by contributing authors to the book project initiated by the AIM-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism entitled, People, Planet, Profit: The Economics of Sustainable Tourism in Asia. The editor of the book includes Dr. Maria Cherry Lyn S. Rodolfo, Dr. John Paolo R. Rivera, Dr. Fernando Martin Y. Roxas, and Ms. Eylla Laire M. Gutierrez.

This book deals with the contemporary theoretical, conceptual and empirical issues faced by economic agents in their pursuit of sustainable tourism.  The role of tourism economics has become more pronounced with the growing significance of tourism as an economic activity today especially in Asia, home of major tourism generating markets such as China, India and major destinations such as the ASEAN economies for tourists and investments. The economic opportunities from tourism and the ongoing regional economic integration are driving changes in the behavior of national tourism organizations, policy makers, destination managers and business enterprises including the micro, small and medium enterprises. The book aims to serve as key resource material in achieving a broader and deeper understanding of the current opportunities and challenges of sustainable tourism in the Philippines and in Asia.

The RTD started with the presentation of Ms. Jonalyn Baquillas (De La Salle University) on Sustainable Consumption and production: Passport to greening the tourism value chain.  She is writing this chapter with Dr. Raymund B. Habaradas (De La Salle University). Their study highlights the intricacies of the tourism value chain and sustainable consumption/production by using a multiple case study design (4 cases – Kinabalu National Park, Zero Carbon Resorts Project, Indochina Junk, and The Circle Hostel) and a macro level and organizational level assessment on sustainability initiatives.

The second presentation by Mr. Christopher Ed C. Caboverde (AIM-Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness) entitled Promoting sustainable tourism through E-Commerce focuses on addressing the question: “How e-commerce promotes sustainable tourism, specifically in increasing value chain efficiency?” This study is co-authored with Ms. Eylla Laire M. Gutierrez (AIM-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism). Their study aims to highlight the critical role of e-commerce in sustainable tourism.

The presentation of Dr. Daryl Ace V. Cornell (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) with Ms. Luzviminda O. Tugade (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) entitled Urban attractiveness of smart city as a framework for emerging demand and supply of tourism products and services showcased the emerging demand and supply components in a smart urban tourism setting.

Dr. Reil G. Cruz (UP-Asian Institute of Tourism) presented his chapter on Instruments for Sustainable Tourism. The study will survey the different policy and economic instruments for sustainable tourism.

Ms. Eylla Laire M. Gutierrez (AIM-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism) presented her chapter with Dr. John Paolo R. Rivera (AIM-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism) on Establishing cointegration between outbound tourism and economic growth in the Philippines. The study addresses the question: “How can we establish long run relationship between outbound tourism and economic growth?” and “What are the implications of the existence of this long run relationship?”

After the presentations, Dr. Maria Cherry Lyn S. Rodolfo (The Asia Foundation) discussed the common thread of all presentations – creating a strong network among tourism stakeholders and multiple disciplines as the book can serve as a reference material for students (tourism, economics, urban and regional planning, business and the social sciences), policy makers, and business enterprises. She encouraged authors to emphasize more of Philippine and Asian issues in the country and the region.

Playing with FIRe: Dr. Teehankee highlights responsible business and management research in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, consisting of many promising emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, to name a few, has also brought a different level of complexity to the world today. One of which is the conduct of business and management research in the era of the FIR.

During a plenary session in the 6th National Business and Management Conference, De La Salle University Full Professor Dr. Benito Teehankee highlights responsible business and management research in the era of the FIR.

The FIR is a confluence of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and robotics, among many others. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, emphasizes that “the Fourth Industrial Revolution will affect the very existence of our human experience”.

Following this fast-paced development, Dr. Teehankee elucidates that a “responsibility turn” or shift in the conduct of business and management research must take place. In a position paper titled “A vision for responsible research in business and management: Striving for useful and credible knowledge”, Dr. Teehankee shares several challenges that need to be addressed, as well as the solutions and current initiatives taking place.

To move forward, Dr. Teehankee suggests prioritizing research that enable business practice to be a positive agent for human and social development and look at how benefits from the FIR can be optimized and its potential harms mitigated. Promoting a critical and ethical view towards big data and business analytics are also suggested by Dr. Teehankee.

DLSU VCRI discusses research trends in the digital economy during 6NBMC

The digital economy is already here, and it’s a matter of tapping and maximizing its potential. During the 6th National Business and Management Conference, De La Salle University Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Raymond Girard Tan delivered a keynote address on research trends in the digital economy and what this development means for multiple sectors particularly the academe.

Among those discussed by Dr. Tan include the current landscape of the digital economy, research and innovations as drivers for growth, and its implications to higher education in business.

The digital economy

Dr. Tan highlights that technology firms are now a dominant global force. With the likes of Facebook, Google, Adobe, and Twitter, among many others, these firms are leading the growth of the digital economy. “Technological innovations will change the global business landscape”, he adds.

One of the most cited business articles of the decade entitled “Business intelligence and analytics: From big data to big impact” further implies the rapid pace by which the digital economy will trailblaze in the coming years.

Dr. Tan states one part of the article: “Business intelligence and analytics (BI&A) has emerged as an important area of study for both practitioners and researchers, reflecting the magnitude and impact of data-related problems to be solved in contemporary business organizations”.

In the Philippines, information technology, business process management, and e-commerce were identified as one of the top 12 priority areas by the Department of Trade and Industry. This signifies the Philippine government’s focus on taking advantage of the opportunities brought by the digital economy.

Research and innovation

According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, the Philippines ranks 73rd. The country was further ranked as follows: 86th in human capital and research, 44th in business sophistication, and 49th in knowledge and technology outputs.

Considering this development, Dr. Tan emphasizes the need to establish interdependencies between the government, researchers, industry, and general public to maximize the innovation opportunities. According to him, among the tools that will be required to implement these interdependencies include research and development support, policy-making, and goods and services, to name a few.

In the country, the Department of Science and Technology has developed the “Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda” for 2017 to 2022 that indicates the government’s support for technology-based innovations. The agenda also emphasizes emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, and focuses on knowledge transfer, commercialization, and utilization in the technology industry.

Implications on the academe

Given these developments in the digital economy, Dr. Tan enumerates three main functions of the academe: transmitting knowledge, creating knowledge, and acting as a public knowledge resource. He furthers that one of the ways to do this is through extensive research and innovation.

Dr. Tan lists down several benefits with undergoing research in the academe: contribute knowledge as a societal good, provide solutions to complex issues, enrich the national talent pool, and enhance the university’s international reputation.

Moreover, these developments have further implications to individual faculty members in the Philippine academia. For instance, a shift in career identity from teacher to a teacher and researcher must be embraced by current faculty members. Moreover, developing a global mindset, career planning and time management, and shaping institutional processes and cultures are also important considerations.

“Business schools need to strengthen research to empower students and faculty to succeed in the digital economy”, Dr. Tan concludes.

BanKo president highlights financial inclusion, SEMEs during 6NBMC talk

Financial inclusion for the unbanked and underserved”—this is the highlight of BPI Direct BanKo Inc., A Savings Bank President Mr. Jerome Minglana’s keynote address during the 6th National Business and Management Conference

Mr. Minglana talked about the products and services of BPI Direct BanKo, Inc., which offers mostly financial solutions to the unbanked and underserved. It brings with it the “goal of bringing the benefits of financial inclusion to many Filipinos”.

According to data by the World Bank Global Findex 2014 in the Philippines, there were over 50.2 million Filipinos in 2016 who were “unbanked”. Mr. Minglana emphasizes how access to credit and savings and payment solutions are among the initiatives that can help address this challenge.

Moreover, Mr. Minglana explains the massive size of the micro, small, and medium enterprises in the country, comprising of over 99.57% of all businesses. Of this percentage, 89.63% are microenterprises—these are the enterprises that BPI Direct BanKo, Inc. is focusing on. Specifically, the company targets self-employed microentrepreneurs (SEME) coming from four main industries: wholesale and retail trading, manual services, food services, and agricultural livestock.

As of October 2018, the company has now over 150 branches. Its end goal is to be able to support SEMEs financially in term of credit, savings, payment, remittance, and protection.

DLSU CBRD, PAoM hold 6NBMC

The DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD), in partnership with the Philippine Academy of Management (PAoM), held the 6th National Business and Management Conference (6NBMC) last November 9 to 10 at DLSU – Manila.

The theme for the 6NBMC is “Sparking a digital economy: The use of technology in business and management for innovation, inclusivity, and integration”. Its main goal is to discuss and assess recent developments in technology and how this impacts the conduct of business and management.

Apart from the digital economy, other themes and areas were also included in the conference such as social entrepreneurship, new business models, resilience building in disaster-vulnerable environments, and sustainable tourism. These are conducted through plenary sessions with industry practitioners and the academe, research parallel sessions, capability building sessions, and round table discussions.

Among the distinguished speakers during the keynote address and plenary sessions include DLSU Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Raymond Girard Tan, BPI Direct BanKo Inc. President Mr. Jerome Minglana, DLSU Full Professor Dr. Benito Teehankee, Hungry Workhorse President Mr. Reynaldo Lugtu Jr., and Grab Philippines Country Marketing Head Ms. Cindy Toh.

On the other hand, among the professors who conducted the capability building sessions include Associate Professor Dr. Gerardo Largoza for “Experimental Design for Business Research” and Asia-Pacific Social Science Review Editor Dr. Romeo Lee for “Effective Work Habits in Research and Publishing”.

Now on its sixth year, the NBMC serves as a platform for faculty members and graduate students of Philippine business schools to engage in scholarly research and undergo a presentation and critique of their ideas. It also attempts to establish linkages and networks so as to spur collaboration in different areas such as humanistic management, social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial leadership, and disaster resilience, to name a few.

CBRD, BDS conduct sharing session on case study research

The DLSU Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD) and Business Doctoral Society (BDS) held a sharing session on case study research by Ms. Bianca Villar on November 20, 2018. Villar presented her dissertation titled “Architecting purpose-driven improvisation towards organizational effectiveness in extreme environments: Case narratives from organizations during Typhoon Haiyan”.

The dissertation positions itself within the scholarly conversations on organizing processes in disaster environments. In particular, the main research inquiry is ‘how does the interaction of individual and collective level attributes among improvised actions of the organizations explain how they can realize their goals, i.e. be effective, in extreme contexts?’. Using a case strategy approach, it surfaces narratives of two profiles of organizations that were critical to the response and recovery phase of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.

Bianca Villar is a PhD Candidate and an EU Marie Curie Fellow in the Group of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management (GREITM) at La Salle – Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain. Her current research lies at the intersection of organization studies and disaster science, where she is primarily interested in exploring organizing processes in disaster environments.

The sharing session was attended by doctoral students of DLSU and by faculty members from Holy Angel University and the Asia Pacific College.

CBRD-SERN head wins best business column award from Catholic Mass Media Awards

Center for Business Research and Development – Social Enterprise Research Network (CBRD-SERN) Head Patrick Adriel Aure recently won the Best Business Column Award from the Catholic Mass Media Awards for his Manila Times business column titled “Social entrepreneurship as a solution to the drug problem”. The news was released by the Manila Times last November 20.

In a Facebook post, Aure, a faculty member of the Management and Organization Department, cited how it was unexpected that he was given the award. “I did not receive any notification that my article on how social entrepreneurship may perhaps be used to solve the drug problem in the country has been nominated. When I mentioned this to my parents and [my girlfriend], I was skeptical, but being featured by the Manila Times made the feeling of winning sink in”, he adds.

The business column talks about “challenging the illegal drugs industry not in terms of attacking the suppliers, but redirecting demand from the drug users.” In his article, Aure enumerated three potential solutions to the drug problem. “The social entrepreneurship challenge is this: can we develop and innovate ‘products’ and ‘services’ that will disrupt the ‘illegal drugs industry’ and render them obsolete?” he highlights.

The business column was uploaded last March 7, 2017 in The Manila Times’ Managing for Society column.

CBRD-SERN attends knowledge sharing event on IIX Foundation’s “Roadmap for Strengthening Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines”

The DLSU Center for Business Research and Development – Social Enterprise Research Network (CBRD-SERN), represented by Patrick Adriel Aure and Ian Benedict Mia, attended the IIX Foundation’s knowledge sharing event on the proposed “Roadmap for Strengthening Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines” on November 20 at the Asian Development Bank.

With the roadmap, IIX aims to help “drive inclusive growth and meet the national and sustainable development goals” in the Philippines. It proposes several solutions on several issues including limited access to capital, lack of innovative financial products, knowledge gaps, and data gaps. The roadmap was created and presented by IIX Foundation, an organization that focuses on the development of “impact enterprises” and other social innovators.

Following the presentation of the roadmap, the panel discussion talked about the insights and experiences of three guests coming from the public sector, civil society, and social enterprise sector. They are Office of Senator Bam Aquino Programs Head Mr. Karl Satinitigan, Bayan Academy President Mr. Eduardo A. Morato Jr., and BagoSphere Chief Executive Officer Mr. Zhihan Lee, respectively. The panel discussion was moderated by IIX Foundation Chairperson Ms. Durreen Shahnaz.

One of the main points of the discussion was on how social enterprises can be taken to the next level and become sustainable businesses. In the Philippines, one of the main challenges of social entrepreneurship highlighted is on financing and investment-readiness. The discussion also highlighted the ongoing definition of social entrepreneurship in the country, and how the sector can move forward despite the ongoing debate.

CBRD-SERN is looking forward to attending more policy and industry-related events on social entrepreneurship.