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Bienvenido R. Tantoco Sr. at 100: Life lessons from a centenarian

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Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. portrait by Betsy Westendorp de Brias

 

An exemplary life is what Bienvenido R. Tantoco Sr. and members of his household rejoice right now as he marks his a centesimal birthday.

As the patriarch and founding father of the Rustan Group of Companies, he collectively together with his late spouse Gliceria is rightly credited with creating the luxurious retail trade on this nation, a legacy he has handed on to 2 succeeding generations of the Tantoco clan. Under his visionary management, Rustan’s grew from a single division retailer to the multifaceted conglomerate it’s right now.

Like few different captains of trade, nevertheless, his has additionally been a lifetime of reflection on the deeper which means and objective of life—a aspect of his nature that blossomed in his later years together with his appointment because the nation’s ambassador to the Holy See in Rome.

This twin focus allowed him to refine a philosophy of enterprise and life that has printed on the company tradition of the Rustans Group, and which nonetheless guides his heirs of their selections right now.

Despite the current constraints posed by the quarantine and his superior age, Tantoco continues to be eager to share together with his fellow Filipinos the lessons he has taken to coronary heart all through the course of his life.

Lifestyle: You have been blessed with a lengthy and fulfilling life. What core values helped information you alongside the best way?

Bienvenido R. Tantoco Sr.: Enthusiasm will carry you far, however you need to match it with persistence. From day one, my spouse and I had enthusiasm. We believed in what we had been doing. At first, it was she alone who thought of retail, particularly bringing in high quality and first-class items from overseas, however as quickly as I noticed what she was doing, I gave her my complete religion and confidence. She knew what she needed, how might I not be satisfied?

Through the years, I’ve at all times been looking out for one thing new, what’s related, what’s going to promote. This isn’t just about enterprise. It is about dwelling one’s life. One ought to at all times be related and helpful. You turn out to be ineffective and that’s the finish for you. You refuse to do higher, you refuse to adapt, and that’s nearly as good as saying goodbye.

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Tantoco and eldest grandson Donnie on a go to to the Subic Duty Free warehouse, round 1993-94

What are crucial traits or persona traits that a younger particular person must make a success of him or herself?

Faith in God is essential. An adolescent ought to consider in a energy larger than something and anybody else on this planet. I grew up with out questioning the religion that had been handed on to me by my mother and father. And time has proved them proper. It has not been a straightforward life all the best way, however in instances of want and wrestle, God was there with me, my household, my spouse and our household, our companies and my profession as a diplomat.

Honesty continues to be one of the best coverage, whether or not one is transacting enterprise or coping with one’s family members. No one is ideal but when there may be one advantage that one can not sacrifice, it’s being truthful. You can not mislead your self. Your conscience will at all times let you know the reality, why trouble to lie at all? Besides, to make use of an previous expression, reality will set you free and that has been the case with me all my life.


You have typically spoken in regards to the pivotal position schooling has performed in your individual private success. What are your ideas on schooling now? How can we adapt it to satisfy altering wants?

Education stays No. 1. I labored to have the ability to end school. I used to be fortunate I had a job with the Rufinos and I used to be given a scholarship grant by the Fabellas of Jose Rizal University. But I knew it in my coronary heart that schooling was what I wanted to have the ability to assist my household and to advance in life, and even get again what my mother and father misplaced throughout their tough instances.

That is why I’ve at all times emphasised schooling in my philanthropic actions. I’ve tried to assist the colleges that I attended in Bulacan. I’ve at all times believed in primary schooling as a result of that’s the place the whole lot begins. But equally essential to me is the schooling of the educator, that’s the reason I put a robust emphasis in empowering our public faculty academics, arming them with graduate schooling that might give them the experience of their respective fields.

I’ve lent my title to the Graduate School of Business of the Jose Rizal University, however my emphasis is the creation of professorial chairs to have the ability to give the scholars that first-class coaching that they will have from one of the best colleges within the nation and the area.

I’m not one for memorializing myself in an edifice. I’m extra desirous about contributing to the event of the human mind and his sensible information important to the engagement in enterprise enterprise and fields the place he’ll be capable of contribute to society.

As I’m an entrepreneur, I consider that enterprise will carry improvement to our nation.

Retail will at all times flourish however we have to educate our would-be entrepreneurs the abilities that they want to have the ability to adapt to the altering instances.

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Tantoco (left) on his eightieth birthday at the National Shrine of Sacred Heart, 2001

You’ve typically spoken of Filipino household values. What does this imply to you?

Family is No. 1. That is why to this present day I discover the time to be with my youngsters, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and their spouses as a result of the one approach for a household to stay and survive is to speak, to share and for the elders to share their information and their experiences.

At the identical time, I be taught from them. We are collectively in lots of new pursuits. I used to be with my grandsons after we had preliminary talks with Starbucks. And the founders selected us to do enterprise with within the Philippines as a result of they noticed that we had been a united household.

Families ought to stick collectively at the same time as they welcome new blood as a result of it is usually the one strategy to develop and adapt to the altering instances. Someone new within the household brings a new thought; he ought to be entertained, welcomed and believed for his value.


Rustan’s stays robust and No. 1 in luxurious retail as a result of as a household, we perceive what we would like.

The Filipino household, any Filipino household, ought to first be united, after which, it ought to be open to adjustments and to adapting to the wants of the instances.

We got here into the scene when it was tough to have imported items of excellent high quality and we introduced them to the Philippines. We have since expanded to different ventures, however once more, we’ve got stood by our dedication to present solely one of the best. High high quality runs in any enterprise of the household, whether or not this be a golf membership or a retailer or a espresso store or a meals outlet. We cater to the Filipino, to the patron who needs solely one of the best for themselves and who’ve excessive respect for themselves.

Respect is essential. We as a household respect ourselves however we don’t take ourselves too critically. We have time to chuckle, socialize and benefit from the good life that we espouse. But when it’s time to work, we work. Dignity of labor or administration experience runs in our blood. We work arduous. Every member of the family works arduous. There is not any Tantoco who shouldn’t be working.

How did you stability your corporation life and your religious life?

God is foremost. You do your responsibility to God and also you do your responsibility to your loved ones and your nation.

As an envoy, I served each God and my nation.

Religion shouldn’t be tough to follow if one truthfully lives it. Have religion in God it doesn’t matter what. If you do fallacious, make an apology and make up on your errors. Someone does fallacious, you forgive him and provides him a likelihood.

Honesty is No. 1. You can not profess to consider in God and shortchange your neighbor. You promise your clients first-class items, give them first-class items. You promote as a first-class institution, go first-class all the best way. From the façade to the backroom. From the ground to the ceiling. From combs and followers, to pendants and watches. From colognes to fragrance, from shirts to baggage value P1 million.

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Gliceria and Bienvenido
Tantoco, early Nineteen Eighties

As far as your legacy is anxious, what position ought to the corporate play in the way forward for the nation? What rules ought to it proceed to stay by, no matter how conditions change?

The firm was at the forefront of bringing in high quality items for the discriminating Filipino. It ought to stay dedicated to bringing in solely one of the best, even because it must also carry to the world one of the best that this nation can provide.

Rustan’s believes in first-class service. It ought to proceed to supply that service that, to this present day, stays unmatched.


The future has many challenges and Rustan’s ought to be consistently conscious of what individuals need. Who would have thought that espresso would click on in a scorching nation? We introduced in Starbucks and other people love their espresso much more.

Natori is a Filipino worldwide model. Rustan’s ought to guarantee that the Filipino model takes middle stage on this planet of first-class retail.

The pandemic will finish. Rustan’s ought to be prepared. It was based proper after the battle, went by way of upheavals in politics and financial system, and it’s nonetheless right here.

We have at all times catered to the aspirational solely as a result of we consider that those that aspire will lastly attain the highest and we can be there nonetheless with them, helping them, serving them and giving them what they need.

Rustan’s has its many social duty efforts. We are No. 1 in cultural improvement help as we attempt to broaden the cultural schooling of the Filipino, and with us on this worthy endeavor are worldwide manufacturers who see the worth of working with us in our efforts. Rustan’s, particularly by way of the Tantoco-Rustia Foundation, will stay robust in and dedicated to the search for a higher life for the Filipino.

What private habits helped you obtain a lengthy and wholesome life, and the way did you find out about them?

I take pleasure in consuming however I eat reasonably. I transfer round a lot. I used to play golf. Now I train.

I additionally consider in having a objective in life. The thoughts needs to be energetic as a lot as one’s physique is. They must go collectively.

A wholesome life is one that isn’t solely environment friendly the place one’s bodily colleges are involved, and never simply the place mind is anxious. One needs to be accountable and one has to constantly make a distinction in individuals’s lives. He who stops being related has no place on this world.

Any different ideas you want to share with our readers?

Rustan’s is about household—the Tantoco household, its administration, its workers, its shoppers and clients and its model companions.

We have completed our greatest to assist our workers in these attempting instances. We will proceed to take action. We consider in relationships and we consider in sharing.


Foremost in my thoughts, even at this age, is my spouse Glecy. Rustan’s wouldn’t be right here with out Glecy. She thought of all of it, she began it, and I did my finest to help her. Rustan’s grew to become my profession and I don’t remorse a single day.

Glecy was a pricey spouse and she or he knew her retailer, her individuals, the merchandise that she offered. She was liable for its turning into the No. 1 luxurious retail institution within the nation. Her inspiration and her path proceed to outline our path. Even our imaginative and prescient lengthy after she was gone has her imprint solely as a result of she appeared past her time. It is true that she was approach far forward in thought, phrase and deed. To this present day, she propels us to maneuver ahead due to her instance and her legacy of arduous work, dedication and dedication. She knew what she needed, and she or he knew find out how to get them. No secrets and techniques there. She labored arduous, interval!



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