Karlo G. Magpayo

Business + Trends + Things

Entrepreneurial Wisdom

I’ve spent more than a decade being in corporate but did dabble in a few businesses in between and over the years. None so significant that I went full on towards being a entrepreneur, doing what I a really good at. Presently, I sussessfully manage Mother Teresa Crematory and Columbarium in the Philippines with expansion projects in various parts of the country.

1. The most valuable asset is time.

Once time passes it’s lost forever. Personally, time or the lack of it is the greatest resource that an entrepreneur or businessman has in his arsenal. Prioritization is the key! In the years being in corporate, I have seen many of my colleagues and staff who confuse activity with progress. They mix up the less important parts with the important ones that clearly need the utmost attention. Many, too have simply over analyzed situations only to miss the important thing, which is action. As my father in law one the Dean of Ateneo Graduate School called it “analysis paralysis”.


Nothing gets done with over thinking. My former boss Ernesto Santiago of St. Peter Life Plans constantly would remind us to start ahead which is always the hardest thing to do then have enough room for adjustments.

2. Stay curious.

I’m not quite sure how curiosity can be learned but what I do know, curiousity is the framework for innovation. At this day and age where we work at a frantic pace, today’s news is tomorrow’s history, a curious mind builds the best and brightest products/services we know and use as exemplified by the great Steve Jobs. Moreover, being a one trick pony is so old school equated to bell bottoms that can never be worn ever. As a rule, listen to trends – take small data by heart. Another is to embrace novelty and create you make opportunities for yourself. Novelties, are precursors to trends, once it clicks it gets sticky then you have yourself a market to play with.

Years back, I would often remind my managers to expose themselves to the world and not be confined to what they are used to. Curiosity takes a certain amount sacrifice as well being exposed to the unknown and using that to ones advantage. Conversely, if you always have your blinders on, your perspective becomes too narrow and you miss out on promising opportunities.


A decade ago I was so immersed in advertising that anything with numbers let alone the death care industry was too out there for me. However, curiousity enticed me to learn and master all about the memorial business and preneed/ insurance game from which I created the most powerful brands in the industry to date. In the same manner, the idea of bringing in traffic and general content to Yahoo! Philippines opened the floodgates to content and information supply in the Philippines.

Take the time to learn about new ideas or even entirely new businesses. By staying open and curious. Remember, if ever curiosity killed the cat, the cat had nine lives to spare.

3. Master your thoughts and emotions.

The most challenging in my career and perhaps my personal life was or I’d about controlling my emotions. By nature I wear my emotions on my sleeve like a billboard telling everyone, this is me. However, it was also my waterloo and cause of my disasters and troubles.

We often hear that failures, setbacks, and defeats make us better. Although painful, we have developed self-awareness to grow and learn forcing us to spend time on mastering our own thoughts and emotions.

The Godfather (1972)

I’d often like to think and emulate the character of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone when addressing the heads of the five families. You can see his coolness under stress quite the opposite of  his brother Sonny who got the worst end of the stick after a knee jerk reaction from a call from Connie. Being emtional is then being predictable. As Don Vito said to the young Santino “What’s the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft with all that comedy you are playing with that young girl. Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again”.

It takes a lot of discipline to be a calm and collected operator. Becoming the one who takes decisive action while others get emotional at the push of a buttongives you the unfair advantage.

4. Intuition and vision.


It’s one of those things that’s difficult to define and place into context. Intuition or gut feel is unmistakably esoteric that comes from a higher plane. Intuition comes often than most would think off, Malcolm Gladwell easily pointed out in his book Blink that is the first reaction, the first instinct that we should listen to. The problem lies in between and when rational thought enters our sensibilities. Since we do have a combination of both rational and irrational behaviors, training our heart and mind makes way for the decisive moment of trust. Trusting a vision that takes a successful entrepreneur to making things happen. Economists, accountants and finance folks rely on statistics or historical data forecasting decisions of the future. That is all fine if your desire is to go on cruise control. To be pioneering, creative and a game changer, metrics and scale at times should take a backseat.

5. To be the best, employ the best.

Life and business is about getting to point A to point B in the least amount of time efficiently and effectively. As the top honcho, boss, CEO your job dictates you to be the dreamer, visionary, the person who creates opportunities and makes it happen. Leave the small things to your employees but hire the best ones to do the job.


Top talents are means to end and reward them appropriately whenever’s there’s a reason to celebrate. By creating a championship worthy environment the under current for inspiration and motivation would manifest itself in more ways than one could imagine.

6. Be unpredictable, don’t assume you know everything.

Many have compared business to war, if this is the true then it’s better to unpredictable with your actions. Being level headed and not assuming you know everything opens alot of opportunities to made. Thoughts and comments like “I’ve done that before” “I tried that” have no place in the curious mind if a successful businessman. Much of my success and favor in the business community came from my ability to listen and taking the finer points into problem solving and challenging opportunities that are game changers or first mover endeavours. I truly belive that nowadays people are smarter and more opinionated than before, by using such with a sprinkle of patience can lead to your next big idea.


8. Toast small wins.

The wisdom here is to keep the ball rolling for longer periods of time rather than having dry spells and lulls for periods at a time. To start a company is harder and its even harder to keep it in the black for the first few years. Statistics show that 80% of all start-ups fail during its first two years for a variety of reasons. 

The above are some simple lessons I’ve learned and applied over the years including some hard experiences that made me who I am and what I am made of. I am not saying that these are fool proof lessons as nothing is really. Even up to this point, I am still trying to learn and hone my skills even further to be better and sharper than before.


“Hard decisions are easier made when your own values intact”

Character and Dignity

If you want to see a person’s character, look at what he or she does with power. If you want to see a person’s dignity give him wealth. Nowadays, many have power and wealth combined without Character and Dignity.

Radio Guestings on Business Strategy

Radio guesting on DZME 1530am am radio. “We are in the era of individuality, almost all goods and services are customized to a certain degree based on our own preferences – needs, wants and usage. Successful companies tend to adjust to this trend and adapt to the situation which can be used as a competitive advantage or a feature to set you apart from the rest” #business#strategy #marketing #individuality #customization #competitiveadvantage

DZME 1530 Radio Guesting

Social Acceptability of Cremation and Columbary use in Modern Times

Source: Social Acceptability of Cremation and Columbary use in Modern Times

Social Acceptability of Cremation and Columbary use in Modern Times

Published for the Philippine Star Newspaper, November 1 2017, Section B-8 Business Section.

Philippine Star Section B-8, Nov 1 2017

Back in 2008, the number of cremation services in the Philippines was only 14% with concentration in Metro Manila primarily. Most Filipinos back then were still fixated with traditional means of burial and burial services such as the use of a memorial lot and a wake or burol (sometimes more than 4 days). Tradition and culture mostly dictated this method but as society evolved with time, money and views took center stage, cremation jumped from from 14% to 51% in Metro Manila as the preferred choice among Filipino families and the Baby Boomer generation when it comes to death care.

Cremation is a relatively new trend in Philippine history as we have been accustomed to the ways of the Catholic Church and the Muslim tradition mostly in the south of the country. However, in the lifetime of a single generation, cremation went from an alternative to the most popular choice. What changed to make cremation so popular and accepted so quickly?

The changes can be tied to three major factors: (1) cost & time (2) religious acceptance of cremation, (3) social factors – changing role of cemeteries in family life and rise of environmentalism.

Social Factors

The popularity of cremation has grown alongside the environmental movement and greater awareness for the need to protect and appreciate nature especially among the modern age we live in.

Part of this has been a move away from traditional burial practices because they are seen as damaging to the environment, with more than 827,000 gallons of embalming fluid and 1.6 million tons of concrete being buried each year.

Hardly a place for paying respects and being environmentally concerned

Another important factor is the increasing desire to be a part of nature. Though we are still far from the ideals of most western countries such as the United States and some parts of Europe, some Filipinos have become more focused on nature and the importance of protecting the environment, more and more want their ashes to be a part of nature and the ongoing cycle of life.

While more traditional burial options focused on the preservation and protection of the body separate from the Earth, today more people want their ashes or body to return to nature and the Earth.

Many Filipino families in the 19th and 20th centuries lived in the same towns and cities for generations. Because cemetery land, unlike today, was inexpensive, families owned large family plots where generations of the family could be buried together or were placed in the local or municipal public cemetery. Later generations could visit and connect with their family’s permanent place in the world knowing there would always be a place for them to join their family.

Present day, these family places became less common because many of the family plots ran out of burial space and the land around those plots had either been sold or become too expensive to purchase. Moreover, more Filipinos have given up local dreams in exchange for a life outside the country. Today, family cemetery plots for 10 or more people in larger cities are over crowed with multi-layer death dwellings or are too expensive to purchase.

As family members spread to new cities throughout the country, it also became harder for the children to visit their family burial plots. Parents often struggle to decide if they should be buried near their own parents or their children. When multiple children have moved across the country, it becomes even more difficult to find a family place.

Religious Acceptance

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and earth to earth” is a commonly used [phrasing] in many religion’s funeral rites and cremation is central practice of many religions. In Christian doctrine, Ecclesiastes 12:7 refers includes the passage, “and the dust shall return to the Earth as it was, and the soul shall return to God who gave it.” 

Up until 1963, however, cremation was banned by the Catholic church and very uncommon in other Christian denominations. Once the ban was lifted, many denominations quickly began to approve and in some cases promote cremation as a simpler alternative to traditional burial.

However, the Catholic Church endorses the use of cremation provided that the cremains are brought back to earth or be kept at columbary vault such as the Mother Teresa Columbarium located at C3 Grace Park La Loma Caloocan which stands on the property of the (RCBK Office) Roman Catholic Bishop of Kalookan.22141125_516134492070934_7957890997473028062_n

Cost and Time

As the role of the family cemetery declined, many families began to focus on keeping the ashes of their loved ones in a place of significance to the family or to them personally at home or at preferred columbary like Mother Teresa in Caloocan.

On an average it costs about P50,000 for a modestly priced lawn lot (2 bodies) outside Metro Manila and about P150,000 in the city compared to a columbarium vault of P46,000 only that can fit 6-8 urns. For an average Filipino family such cost can be prohibitive considering living expenses and other costs.

On the mortuary side, a typical wake service either pre need or at need, costs about P65,000.00 inclusive of 4 days viewing and a complete memorial service. Since majority of planholders who have pre need plans tend to pay (upgrade) more upon utilization of the plan.

Mother Teresa Crematory in C3 Ave. Grace Park Caloocan City

Cremation on the other hand is much cheaper with price ranging from P16,000 (Mother Teresa) up to P60,000 or more with the same burning time and end result. Time as precious as it is, is better spent with cremation and aids better on the acceptance and moving on process.

  1. Traditional

Memorial Service + Memorial Lot = P115,000.00 (average)

  1. Modern

Cremation Service + Columbarium Vault = P62,000.00

Personally, social change and acceptance will dictate the death care industry without losing our own Filipino identity and culture, a mix of the old and new so to speak. Numbers alone, the modern age is here with us with cost, time, social influences and service quality being the foremost needs of the new age Filipino family.


A special kind of Crazy

When does one decide to change career paths, not necessarily a change on how business is done but the method on which to earn a living? This is the classic case of being an entrepreneur with all the risks and perks versus having a stable corporate life with internal battles of office politics and limited earnings.

I’ve always wondered if I’ve lost the entrepreneurial spirit, the gut feel of what works and what doesn’t, the passion to work relentlessly “just because” and more importantly to have your own principles and integrity intact and not compromised.

Business owners are truly special. They are special gems that are willing to toss what is measured and quantifiable to what makes a heart beat. Admittedly, they are admirable in many ways but for some perhaps crazy risk takers venturing to the unknown without giving a fuck.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed and surrounded by crazies who take life by the horns and ride full throttle when it comes to career paths. These guys truly deserve a salute.

The Pool Man


Met this guy through another good friend Kuya Kim Atienza who I’ve known for years. Alvin Edrosalam gives you a heavy dose of someone who lives life to the fullest. They say, people gravitate towards those who reflect themselves with people close to them or fill that unfulfilled void that they lack or wish they could accomplish, I’d like to say the former works for me. Alvin, is a triathlete, a good father, a motorcycle rider and the premier leading swimming pool developer (ACE POOLS) in the country. Talk about a niche business! Say the name of any of the top developers and he’s set his own wave on water.

The Magician aka Doc Yappy


If there is something common between Dr. Eric and myself it would be that we both have a fondness for scalpels, him being a beauty doctor and myself a mortician. Dr. Eric Yapjuangco has a long storied past worthy of an MMK program. As of late Doc Yappy , a name he is known for, has been storming the news about his work done for Marlou aka Xander Ford who he beautified into a stud almost overnight. During one of our motorcycle breakfast rides, I asked him how does he manage to do all the clinical works in a given work period,  Doc Yappy, enthusiastically said that he starts early in the morning and ends almost midnight but I’m not complaining.

Honestly, this is a guy who not only transforms people to desirable specimens but he transformed himself to a successful medical doctor and businessman who has a real  innate talent on marketing and public relations. A true Icon in every sense of the word.

Kuya Kim Atienza


How can you not know Kuya Kim Atienza?

Kuya Kim or Kim as I call him is a person who knows what he wants and knows how to constantly evolve through the years. My personal deals with Kim stems from 20 years back from smoking cigars, to cycling and triathlons and nowadays motorcycles. Kim is also my spiritual adviser who sends his wisdom every so often and I am grateful for that. Like a true friend, he says the truth and given the you the down low on how he sees things.

In all the years, he has shared inputs from transforming an image to whats suits a person inside despite the financial sacrifice. As he put it, sooner or later you’ll reap the rewards and sleep better, “konting sacrifice muna”

These folks are just a few inspirational people close to me that somehow provides that push and “oomph” to carve ones own path, to be a captain of your own ship, sink or swim doing it your way on your own terms.

Call them brave, strong or forthright but deep within they are a little crazy, which we all are.

Golden Haven Memorial Chapels

Final golden haven (1 of 1)-17Golden Haven Memorial Chapels and Crematorium recently opened its doors to the public with its latest business into death care servicing with its flagship funeral home in Las Pinas City as an addition to its development and memorial parks across the country.

Final golden haven (1 of 1)-30

GHMCC features elegant interiors and an exterior of old world Spanish influence complementing the ambience and architecture of the surrounding structures. The funeral home has 12 rooms of various sizes complete with family or resting rooms for each. Moreover, for clients whose last wish is more of a modern approach, there are 2 state of the art crematory machines with a service time of 45min.

Aside form spaciousness and luxurious surroundings, Golden Haven prides itself with the service quality that it gives to its clients, visitors and friends at any moment of each day. Our focus to be the foremost quality service provider in the industry while respecting the sensibilities of culture, situation and tradition of our clients such as in the way of any loving family.

golden haven 2 (1 of 1)-10

Memorial packages are available upon request from our Family Care Associates. To know more about our facility please visit us at Golden Haven Memorial Chapels and Crematorium


Corporate Culture, We and I.

Co-workers collaborating on sofa in creative office

In this age of limitless possibilities and an ever changing landscape, corporate challenges seem to face a new dilemma. Pure management management strategy (operations, marketing and finance) coupled with short, medium and long term planning are inadequate and lacking in most parts. Diversity with the age of millennials (youth who comprise 70% of the PH workforce & population) give medium and long term goals a an unrealistic view, often and not too far off from the target. Constant job changes, boxed up responsibilities and endless explanations of why, why not give top management a babysitter mentality that’s time consuming and costly – only for the millennial work for to leave a few months or years after.

I remember in the past company, my colleague merely wants only one ideal trait on potential new hires -“those who are just willing to stay” . Companies nowadays face the highest attrition number  in past years. The new workforce have more options more than ever!


In order to adopt to the times, I firmly believe that companies should enhance and change each strategic planning session towards addressing/adding and adopting Corporate Culture, Team Work and Adaptation. Normally, HR was was regulated outside the strategic planning endeavours deemed to be a support team rather than an integral part of corporate affairs often dominate by Finance and Marketing. Nowadays, every planning session should address short term goals, medium being the longest of 5 years.

Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is so distinct and unique that it acts as the finger print of each company and brand. CC is built over time (lots of it) comprised by its founder, officers, board, stockholders etc. It has an adaptive and reactive nature over the years on every success and failure that the company was found on. I normally find it difficult and almost improbable to change the CC altogether. New employees or new team members find CC as the make or break, stay or leave reason. Personalities and beliefs often clash favouring one side while comprise is rare.

  • Adaptation for each obstacle, challenge should be address as a group and how CC views it as whole vis a vis a view from a personality and leadership standpoint. Separation of personal and CC views should be discussed thoroughly and extensively
  • Outside in and Inside Out. Should take a major role and be taken seriously.  Normally, millennials a greater and broader view without succumbing to the local CC. New trends on small data by Malcolm Gladwell may point out and solidify this important detail on better understand market, trends, buying circumstances and others.

Team and I

In the age of selfies and social media, the “I” acts as catalyst for most decisions, rational or irrational. Emphasis on team work with rewards on both team and individual are vastly important in this day and age. Gone are the days of “WE” though ideal, it is not as common as before. Society in general has changed and evolved and in order to facilitate the “I” which has its own burdens, “I”and “WE” should be interconnected. As an example, the Chicago Bulls are the best TEAM (WE) in world it weren’t for MICHAEL JORDAN himself (I).

  • Rewards, incentives and set horizons for teams, departments and divisions with individual recognition for exceptional players.
  • HR involvement is very strategic to set the bounds and parameters for the course.


It’s always best to enhance and innovate each process of the business while involving key people in the entire process. In any case, most corporate objectives can be summed up in one word, success.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”. – Benjamin Franklin






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