Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Power Of Paying It Forward

“I saw that it was very promising because it provides man’s most basic need – food. Even with the pandemic, people still needed to eat.” ~Kono Salinas, a 34-year-old businessman who hails from Biñan, Laguna

In this day and age of growing global skepticism and permeating cynicism brought about by the prevalence of fake news and deep fakes, inspiring rags to riches stories, though not really rare, become harder and harder to believe.

Everything and everyone can be manufactured, created and packaged for the consumption of people willing to buy. One’s public image, history, and life story can be fabricated, making it harder to tell apart the posers and the real McCoy.

But once in a while someone comes a long with a true story to tell, about overcoming struggles and about triumph. Kono Salinas is just that someone. He is a 34-year-old businessman who hails from Biñan, Laguna, and who managed to pull himself up to rise from the ashes of poverty and desolation.

From a very young age, Kono’s father, who worked for the Department of Transportation, and his mother, an entrepreneurial housewife, instilled in Kono the importance of having a business and of giving back. However, they warned him that not everyone he helped would help him had the roles been reversed. “Magtira ka para sa sarili mo,” they would often tell him. 

In 2015, Kono’s daughter passed away because of a congenital heart condition. Penniless and unable to provide the proper medical care for her, Kono vowed that he would never put his family in the same position ever again.

He started with a simple buy and sell business, wherein he would buy and sell cars until it grew and he diversified into farming and agriculture because of the pandemic. Now he owns F2M Agricultural Business or farm to market, which includes a piggery, poultry, vegetable, cattle, and rice farms.

Kono continues to grow his business. However, the driving force behind his ambition is his desire to help as many people as he can. He credits his fraternity, the Tau Gamma Phi, for cultivating in him his love for philanthropy. From the time he became vice-chairman of the brotherhood in 2017 until the end of his chairmanship in 2021, their projects were rooted in community service – from bloodletting to gift-giving and feeding programs.

Tall, dark, and handsome, it would not be so farfetched to mistake Kono for an actor. When asked whom he would like to portray him in a movie about his life, he laughed showing his bedimpled cheeks, and said, “Alden Richards.”

Who knows? Perhaps he will become a famous businessman/philanthropist someday. But for now, Kono is focused on building his agri-business in order to put food on people’s tables, to provide jobs for the loyal people who work for him, and to continue to help and inspire everyone in his hometown and beyond.

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