Bong Guerrero – Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf
However, passion is not the be-all-and-end-all to Bong’s secret recipe for success. This self-made man shares that some key elements can be traced way back from his childhood. His parents gave him good support and education, sending him to reputable schools, specifically the Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines, and a college in California, and allowed him to travel around the world. He says his character was built upon these good roots, paving the way for personal development and a future of opportunities.
Bong’s go-getter attitude had led him to the shores of Dubai, where his entry was more priviledged than others. His college friends, who happened to belong to elite families in the UAE, invited him to check out the emirate right after graduation; and that was how it all started. For twenty years, Bong has known people from various segments in Dubai, either through his work or personal affiliation.
“I’m very cosmopolitan, definitely. I am Indian because I have many Indian friends. I am local because I have lots of local friends. I can be Lebanese because I know a lot of Lebanese. I’m Filipino because I’m Pinoy more than anything else,” he quips, trying to explain how he maintains a tight bond among his peers and friends. This loyalty with friends, acquaintances and colleagues has helped him in bringing the right mix of people to his events and parties which give proof to his amazing network.
More than just the personalities he’s connected to, what give him that extra special touch? Bong answers, “I’m not sure, but I think it’s the energy that extends and goes beyond. I am also blessed with special clients, a great team and reliable suppliers.” Then, he adds, “In working with a project, I totally immerse myself in the brand, that’s first and foremost. One day I’m Puma, then, I’ll be Chivas the next couple of days. I let myself become that brand, and I put my personality to that brand.” And, he shares, “I’d like to think that my personality is a factor as to why they rope me into the equation.”
True enough, the events Bong has worked on embody not only his sophisticated flair but his natural ability and savvy for his line of business. He declares, “Modesty aside, I can say that I have an eye for things. I see things – how they will unfold, I can anticipate them coming. I cannot say I’m ahead of the game – I have so much to learn – but I’ve learned how to do things better, and I think I have a pretty good track record.” With a glint of pride in his eyes and a quick smile, Bong muses, “Whenever I finish an event, I quietly tell myself ‘that was a good one’.”
As exciting as it appears, Bong ascertains that his “no-rocket-science-job” sometimes takes a toll in his daily calendar especially now that he has just opened a live marketing company called Brag. With his new company up and running, Bong feels quite fortunate to be busy despite the economic slowdown. He has always been his own boss, and it works for him to have a small team. He declares, “I don’t believe in having a number of managers working on things that I can do myself. In my company, I can be the decision-maker yet I don’t care to do menial things, to the extent of mopping the floors.”
Though work keeps him busy all the time, Bong regards the obvious as a matter of fact, “My job does not give me the chance to switch off and go to my domestic life after 5pm or 6pm. My work day ends the moment I hit the bed at midnight.” He even shares a half-meant joke, “I try to find a balance because obviously I need that. But, for the past years, it’s them [family and friends] who almost always had to find the balance.”
The man behind companies such as Prime Venture, the uber cool 9714 and, now, Brag, however, knows how to take a break from working too much. Bong has regularly scheduled short breaks to visit his brother in Manila. Though Dubai seems home as of now (as his mother and three siblings are already based in the US), he makes an effort to be with his family – whether by visiting them or asking them to visit him once or twice a year. He realizes that as years pass by, spending time with his family is just priceless.
Indeed, Bong has a life away from the limelight. To a lot of people in his social circle, he is “Mr. Party.” To his family and friends, he is simply just Bong – the Bong who never kept photos of himself with the A-listers because for him it was just work; the Bong who never watched TV shows for years, and who does not know about the series “Friends”; the Bong who had to be threatened by his visiting brother to install cable and internet, otherwise, the latter would fly back to Manila. Evidently, for those who are in his inner circle, the name Bong Guerrero means a whole lot different.
Yet fret not. Bong seems to have aced compartmentalizing his public and private lives making sure that they are distinctly separate. Without injuring his nonpublic alter ego, he continues doing what he is best at, and that is serving Dubai with more never-seen-before special parties, events and corporate affairs. As the man himself affirms, “There are events in my mind which I have not had the opportunity to produce yet. Maybe someday, maybe never…” Getting privy to his thoughts, Bong concludes with one awesome revelation that he is certainly up to preparing the “must-be-invited-to,” “must-attend bash” of 2010. With this in mind, social bees will now be in wishful thinking mode, fingers crossed, while the elusive Bong Guerrero readies to put out, yet again, his exclusive and prized guest list.