Invitation to the White House, Speaking on Entrepreneurship

“Are you kidding me?”, was the first thing that came to my mind when I received a personal invitation to the White House. “Are you sure you want me?”, was the second. It’s not everyday you get invited to Washington D.C. to speak on entrepreneurship and celebrate Filipino American History Month!

According to the invitation, “a diverse group of 30 prominent Filipino American leaders across the nation is coming together” to discuss the issues of the Filipino American community. Furthermore it was to put together a plan to help build the infrastructure and capacity of this community.

My entire life growing up as a Filipino, I had always been confused about my identity, my roots the direction I should go. I never really had a solid example of what else a Filipino could do outside of the typical doctor, dentist, attorney, engineer, accountant…or a nurse. Many of us were raised that this is the way to “be somebody”. Absolutely nothing wrong with those professions, but being 6’2″ and athletic growing up, I had other aspirations of greatness in mind.

Probably part of the reason was I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school.

Here’s a quick recap highlight video of this Invitation to the White House, kicked off by meeting a favorite comedian of mine who happens to be half Filipino, Joy Koy:

Huge thank you to Billy Dec, Jason Tengco and the White House Initiative AAPI for this invitation to the White House. Plus what a great time to know that this is the first ever, acknowledged by the President of the United States Barrack Obama, Filipino American History Month! What? And do you think it’s going to be hard for Filipinos to celebrate anything? Let’s do this!

Other highlights of this trip where:

Filipino Executive Network

Another diverse group of Filipino Executives was put together initially by friend, Bill Imada. He is a fellow national business plan judge for the Miller Coor’s #TapTheFuture competition and glad he rallied us all together earlier in the year. Bill helped host, with Jennifer Cabalquinto who is the Chief Financial Officer of the Golden State Warriors, the first gathering of the Filipino Executive Network.

Billy Dec, a highly successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner in Chicago, also serves as Commissioner of the President’s Advisory Council of the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI). While many of were in DC, we should maximize our time there with this invitation to the White House and put our heads together. Topics discussed were how we can continue building up the Filipino community, have more of a voice as entrepreneurs, in corporate America and earning seats at boards in both non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies.

Tons of ideas flowed amongst these prominent Filipino leaders and it was good to be sharing how best to serve our community alongside them.


Dinner at the Purple Patch, the only Filipino-owned restaurant in Washington D.C.

Highly suggest by Jason Tengco of the White House, we dropped a visit to the Purple Patch owned by Patrice Cleary. Huge thumbs up for the quality of the food AND the ambience here! Be sure to drop a visit and say hello!


Dinner with Family and a Day-Time Date with Mom

On a personal note, glad to have dinner family in Maryland. Meet Auntie Nena, Uncle Ian and the invited guests to add to the fun shared over food, laughter and experience of having their nephew receive an invitation to the White House. Who knows? Based on some of these discussions…they’re just might be an extension of the MoneySmartMovement brand in the Maryland area! (I’m always on the look out for talented, yet dissatisfied people).


All in all, a very successful time in Washington, DC. It’s not everyday you get an invitation to the White House. As far as souvenirs go, the next time I fire up a Periscope (MoneySmartGuy) live stream on-the-go, you should ask me about it. It will definitely not be something that you think someone would bring back from the nation’s Capitol.

Until next blog, continue to live smart, love smart and be Money Smart, today!