University of the Philippines Los Baños

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I found nothing wrong in Maria Venus Raj’s answer to the question that made her lose the Miss Universe crown. Did they expect everyone to have made a mistake in life?

I remember being asked something like that question in an entrepreneurial seminar where I was a panelist. The moderator and organizer Carl Balita was saying that everyone experienced failure before hitting the big time.  But I said no, I did not make any mistake. I did not fail in any business.  And I felt a negative reception to my answer.

I asked my bestfriend if it was boastful of me to say that. Should I have invented something? Should I have said that I made a mistake even if I can’t remember any?  He said no. I am lucky that I have not experienced failure.  Still, it did not feel quite right. I wondered if I just forgot any mistake or failure in running AHEAD.

The day of Venus’ interview, I was being interviewed myself. The questions referred to my childhood: Did I get any business training? Did I have any business ventures when I was young? And then that question, did I fail? And that’s when I remembered: I did!

When I was in my junior year of college, I was a staff writer of UPLB Perspective, the official student organ of UP Los Banos. My editors then were Bayan Representative Teddy Casino and Inquirer senior editor Juliet Labog- Javellana. We hosted the regional conference workshop of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines at Mount Maria Makiling.  I’ve already forgotten who made the preparations but on the first day, we found out that nobody agreed to cater the event because of the long trip to the mountain.

Having various “businesses” already, as well as the money and confidence that comes with running such enterprises, I thought I could “cater.” I volunteered without fear or hesitation.  Everything went well. I got cooked food from the restaurants down the mountain and hired a jeep to bring all the food, drinks, and supplies.  The participants were happy and satisfied.

I was so proud of myself. I did not just “save” the day, I was also going to earn some money in the process.

I was in no hurry to collect. But three days after the seminar, I found out that I couldn’t get paid without an official receipt! I cried and begged and got angry! Even then, our managing editor Christopher Torno could not get UP to pay for what we and our 100 visitors ate.  It was a major, major mistake. I lost big money considering that I was still a student–and a financial scholar at that.

Having been reminded of this incident, I am now happy to say that, yes, I also failed in business but I learned from it! Major, major!

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