Successful Men Share The Best Lessons They Ever Learned from Their Moms

Whoever said that behind every successful man is a woman must have been talking about his mother. In celebration of Mother’s Day, these distinguished gentlemen share the best lessons they ever learned from the woman without whom they literally wouldn’t be where they are today.


FRANCO LAUREL, singer, actor and blogger; on mom, FELY LAUREL


My Mom, Felicia Reyes-Laurel, has taught me a lot of things in life, but the best lesson I learned from her is to love your family unconditionally. She had me at a very young age and she went through a lot in life but despite all the ups and downs, one thing that continues to give her pure joy is to love her children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren with all her heart. Everything I learned from my Mom, I am putting it into good use now that I am a father of four beautiful girls.


RJ LEDESMA, entrepreneur, professional host, author; on his mom, FORTUNE LEDESMA, honorary consul of Monaco to the Philippines

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Aside from drumming into my head that I should brush my teeth before going to bed and that walang nagpapakamatay dahil sa pag-ibig, my mom taught me to be generous with my time and talent to assist others without expecting anything in return, to nurture a prayer life and spend time sharing and serving in our faith community. And to kiss your children like there is no tomorrow.


ALEXANDER DE LEON, Regional Product Manager for Facebook and Instagram; on his mom, LULI HERAS-DE LEON


My mom loves the Maya Angelou quote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The awareness of how I make those around me feel has helped me tremendously in both my personal and professional life. I'm thankful that she taught this to me at a young age.


KEVIN TE, entrepreneur and co-founder of Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings; on mom GRACE TE


My mom lives a life of altruism as she genuinely cares for others. She treats people with respect regardless of their status in life. The most valuable lesson I have learned from my mom is to always be nice and show kindness to everyone around you.



JASON BUENSALIDO, award winning architect; on his mom, JOY BUENSALIDO, founder and CEO of Buensalido & Associates


I used to to walk to my mom’s office right after school, and watching her run her business taught me how to be entrepreneurial. She also showed me the importance of keeping relationships. No matter how skilled you are, you cannot be succesful if you can’t handle or relate with people well. This holds true whether it’s with clients or family. 

She taught me how to enjoy the finer things in life without forgetting to be responsible, like when she would sneak in grocery shopping before taking me to our regular stage play dates. Without the piano lessons and fashion shows she exposed me to, I probably wouldn’t be as passionate about design as I am today.

She taught me to treat other people with respect, to know one’s bounds, and to always be within them. She taught me that above anything else, family is the most important. Stand by them and support them no matter what, as they are the only ones who will also stand by you and support you even in the most dire of times. 


She also taught me about marriage through example, witnessing her and my dad grow together as a couple. Until now, they still have their weekly dates, and they still hold hands. By seeing them love each other and us, their children, I have learned how to love unconditionally, which I hope to emulate in my own marriage. It may be the most important lesson they imparted on me. Not once did they not stand up at four in the morning to give me my baon. Not once did they not pick up my petty calls even if they were in the middle of a meeting. In the seldom times that they would fight, never did they leave it unresolved. 

Above all, she taught me how to fear God and to keep Him in the center of everything. Only through that will anything be meaningful.

Without all these values I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I wouldn’t be here, commiting to strive to live a full life like she is living now.



ARLU GOMEZ, artist; on his mom, DANDY GOMEZ

For as long as I could remember, my mom, Dandy Gomez, instilled in me a keen appreciation for the arts. She introduced me to my first Velasquez painting, taught me a pretty mean swing (ballroom, not golf), and encouraged me to develop a critical eye for detail. Decades later, it was her nurturing of this creative spirit that served as a foundation for my decision to become a professional creative, and for that I am truly grateful. Today, I am happy to call her both my biggest fan and my fiercest critic, effortlessly serving up pearls of wisdom with grace, elegance and wit.



MARC SOONG, Autostrada Motore and Ferrari Philippines Executive Director; on mom, MAUREEN O'CONNOR SOONG

Siblings Louela, Marc, and Jason Soong with mom Maureen in London

My mom, Maureen O’Connor Soong is probably the most generous person I know. Socially, she always makes sure everyone is well-fed and taken care of all the time. She often brings giveaways to simple dinners even when not hosting to the delight of the attendees. My mother—or Tita Maureen to many—also exposed me to charity at a young age and would take me along or send me to outreach programs. Her generosity is the greatest lesson I have learned from her and I continue to pass this on to my twin daughters.



CHRISTOPHER "TOFF" DE VENECIA, writer, producer, director and congressman; on his mom, GINA DE VENECIA

The best lesson I ever learned from mom, which she learned from her mom, is to “learn how to eat with paupers and walk with kings.” More than its obvious meaning, it also instilled in me the idea of compassion as a mantra and the aspiration towards confidence. 



ERIK CUA, entrepreneur and Palace Manila CEO; on mom, NANCY CUA

Erik with his mom and dad Nancy and Mariano Cua

Almost everything I know in business I learned from my parents. Until this day my mom still works harder than me. One piece of advice my mom gave me which is really so simple but so important is to always finish what you start. So if I have a new idea, a new business venture I always see it to the end.



RAIMUND MARASIGAN, artist, producer, singer and songwriter; on mom, MARIE MARASIGAN

(My) mama Marie…taught us kids many things. Since my kid is going to college I remember when Mama showed me how to commute in Manila when I was a probinsyano freshman. “Pag nawala ka just look for Cubao, malamang may jeep dun kung san ka papunta.”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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