Why PHStocks, and Why Now

There were several factors that led me to creating PHStocks (www.phstocks.com), a news/blog site that provides the latest updates and information on the Philippines’ businesses and stock market. Definitely, fame, fortune and glory are included.

But kidding aside, my so-called reasons outweighed my contradictions, and despite the saying “Look before you leap”, I took the bold attempt to jump into the water to start a news/blog site that will feature Philippine companies – from the smallest to the biggest – that oftentimes cannot be found elsewhere (that is, the leading and big dailies in the country, including Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, BusinessWorld, etc.). This basically is my answer to the first part of my post title here, the “Why PHStocks” portion.

I might seem a little bit out of my mind in doing this, honestly. As I’ve mentioned above, our beloved country already has these dailies, with hundreds of thousands of circulation (in terms of print) and millions of page impressions and visitors online. So where the heck does PHStocks fit in? (That is another question that I can’t find a suitable phrase for to be included in my title post.)

Well, I do not want to compete with these guys. They’ve got like hundreds of reporters and writers and editors, and already had gazillion man-hours in developing their newspapers – print and online. But then again some of their topics (and definitely most of mine) will be related or, in a way, the same because some will come from the same companies and agencies anyway. What are press releases for, if you will not take them into consideration?

So going back to my question as to where PHStocks will fit in? Well I see it becoming a complement to the information that these big guys are providing. PHStocks will also include news and information that might be considered not too relevant to be mentioned in print. But of course, in fairness to them, I don’t mean not important; these news or announcements are just too short (sometimes two to three liners) to be given a space in print. You might think that these really short news will come into online, of course, if they were not covered in print. But then again, news just doesn’t stop happening, so most of the time these tidbits are left elsewhere (mostly I get them from the Philippine Stock Exchange). The long and short of it is that for these bits of information, there is PHStocks, which will cover them and provide them to those who seek them.

Why now, then?

My answers to this second part of my title post will perhaps be among the reasons why I put up this news/blog site in the first place. I’ve definitely got a lot of answers as to why, but I don’t want to bore you as to reading all of them in just one post. I think I will give here the gist of what some of these reasons are, and explain them detail in my future posts.

First it is the timing, and the period we are having right now. And that period began, at least for me, one day in a barber shop in our area in Cavite. I am an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who always include in my itinerary, whenever I go home to my family for my vacation, a trip to the barber. Let me digress for a bit here. A trim or haircut in Singapore (that is where I currently work) costs about S$10 to S$15 (about PhP330.00 to PhP450.00 at an estimated exchange rate of S$1:PhP33), whereas my barbershop only charges PhP40.00 – that is about eight to 10 times cheaper. So that’s why I always have my haircut only when I fly back home. And I just don’t pay the PhP40.00 charge, mind you. If I could pay foreigners so much in their country to cut my hair, I definitely make it a point to give substantial tip to my Filipino barber.

Anyway, as I’ve said, that moment started when I was in that barbershop having a haircut. And what more opportune time than to be there watching Noynoy Aquino take his oath as the 15th president of the country. And what more opportune time than to be there hearing his inaugural speech – IN TAGALOG. I swear after that speech, I know something has been set ablaze in me. It’s as if the words “I am a Filipino” (I thank you Carlos P. Romulo) has added a new meaning. A new hope. A new challenge.

I really can’t explain it. But I honestly know that from that day on, the Philippines has set on a path to light again. I saw hope – hope that the country will rise again, and be a third world nation no more. A hope that soon enough, OFWs such as I will no longer need to go abroad and leave our families behind to seek better fortune. A hope that once again, the Philippines will be the great nation it once has been.

I might be sounding too, for lack of a better word, “cheesy” or “corny” as to my feelings that day. But I was definitely moved. Especially when my barber told me, “Ang galing ng ginawa niya. ‘Buti na lang Tinagalog niya para maintindihan ng lahat.” And he was right. We are Filipinos. Why the heck speak in a foreign tongue when addressing our countrymen in such, if not most, occasion?

Anyway, since then, and after my return to Singapore, I have started to pay more attention to what is happening in our country – the latest political issues, business developments – and has been tracking every news about the current government’s fight against corruption in the country. And since then, the whole world has been taking notice, and has been having more interest in the Philippines. By the end of last year, investor confidence has returned to the country, and President Noynoy (or PNoy to others) announced that investments will start coming in this year.

That was my cue. By the end of last year, I have started PHStocks in time for the coming year 2011. In my mind, I have aligned myself as to PNoy’s goals. And in a way, I have started to “invest” as well, for my part, in my country. I have invested financially in getting the necessary services to put this news/blog site up, and have been investing my time and effort for the past two months now to provide the latest updates and information on the state of the business environment in our country, as well as our capital market. Although of course the fact remains that I am an OFW for nearly five years now. That can be considered an investment as well – working hard in a foreign land to send money to my family to spend back home. I am not sure about the numbers, but I believe remittances from OFWs all around the world are quite a significant amount for the Philippines.

I think I’ve written too long an answer for a question as simple as “why now”. But most of the time you have to cover every aspect, every detail if you want to make something great. Why now? It’s just that the timing is right. And there is definitely no better time to start doing this than now.

By Richard, PHStocks

Email me at richard@phstocks.com.

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