Filipinos Success’ Stories:
Kaya Ko, Kaya Mo!
If I can, You surely can!
Far from the bright-eyed engineer he started off as, Aurelio Sumalinog did not expect to end up in the industry that he is in. To him, becoming a childhood educator is simply a response to his current stage of life as a senior citizen, where the pressures and toll of working in the oil industry may be too demanding to handle. Becoming an early childhood educator, though very far from engineering, came as an opportunity to find some correlation for his newwork/life balance once he went into retirement, along with his lovely wife Virginia Sumalinog. Aurelio now sees work as rewarding because he can apply his skills and expertise to touch lives and benefit the next generation.
Aurelio is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Philippines. He also completed a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Philippines and passed the Professional Mechanical Engineer Board Examination in 1986.
Aurelio is the only Filipino in Canada to be conferred with the title, Power Plant Engineer I. The National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) gave him an award of Best Manager for saving 5.5 million US dollars that would have been spent to repair a power barge. I can appreciate this award being bestowed upon him, having worked at Power Barge in Mindanao myself for 12 years.
These days, Aurelio need not worry about calculating partial differential equations. Nowadays, his concerns involve what letters come after A,B and C as well as what comes after 1, 2 and 3. For him, working with very young children has ultimately become his biggest accomplishment because he is working with children who, someday, will remember Aurelio as one of the people who shaped their social and emotional development.
He takes pride in his work and is appreciative of the gratitude he receives from the children’s parents. Their feedback about the care Aurelio and his wife, Virginia, give is being passed from family to family by word of mouth. This gives them the energy and the motivation to improve the quality of service they provide to the children they look after.
As a business man on the other hand, Aurelio has learned to adopt a more holistic view, and that is the “customers are always right.” This is a motto he acquired through his 10-year experience working part-time at the Canadian Wholesale Club.
His advice to any kababayan who wants to start in the rewarding daycare business is “to assess and gather resources, first and foremost. Read the materials and especially the government regulations about starting a business, and the regulations and standards related in particular to early childhood development and care.” Aurelio states that it is better to start small while learning each trick of the trade than going big and subsequently facing a bigger risk and a bigger loss.
Aurelio and Virginia Sumalinog are large investors in the community through the time and effort they put into community events. They are both model examples that success isn’t always quantified by dollar signs, but by the rewarding smiles and gratitude that people give them back in turn. Currently, Aurelio is one of the directors of the newly organized Philippine Business Society of Alberta and is actively involved in Couples for Christ.
Aurelio and Virginia are blessed with four children namely, Miguel Aurelio an Aeronautical Engineer, Mabelle Sumalinog Fawcett an International Teacher in Gwanzhou China, Elvira a Petroleum Engineer based in Paris, France and Rafael Aurelio a medical doctor practicing in Canada.