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Books run in the blood.

Books are practically in the DNA of Danda Buhain-Garcia and John Emyl Eugenio.

Raised in families in the book business, both Buhain-Garcia and Eugenio were exposed to the book industry at an early age. It was thus only a matter of time before they stepped up to the plate.

Danda Buhain is a third-generation scion of the Rex Bookstore family.

Her grandmother Jovita Dunca-Buhain founded Rex Bookstore, originally a second-hand bookstore that started to venture into publishing in 1955, when Jovita married Juanito Fontelera, then owner of New Republic Bookstore.

The Fonteleras were able to acquire machines to run a publishing business, starting with law books and eventually books for basic and tertiary education.

Eventually taking the reins in the 80s was the second generation composed of Danda's father Dominador Buhain, uncle Mario Buhain, Teresita Fontelera, and Rogelio Fontelera.

Today, the third generation is comprised of Danda's brother Don Timothy Buhain, currently the chief operating officer; cousins Roger John Fontelera and Jeanne Marie Fontelera-Tordesillas.

Danda is currently the managing director of the Knowledge Group, REAP (Resource for Educators and Academic Professionals) and Rex Bookstore International.

John Emyl Eugenio, on the other hand, is the son of Candida Gomez, who established CandE Publishing in 1993.

Noticing the flourishing photocopying centers along Dapitan St. near UST, Gomez observed that it was mostly expensive medical books that were being photocopied.

This gave her the idea to obtain printing and distribution rights from foreign publishers of medical and allied health books, and grew the business to their current library of over 2,000 titles, including other disciplines such as basic education, senior high school and higher education. CandE has also expanded to e-learning and online library resources for libraries.

Today, John works as the company's chief operating officer, while his sister Mary Anne heads the content development division.

The second generation has also diversified into realty and food.

Both the Rex Group of Companies and the CandE Educational Solutions Group were exhibitors at the 39th Manila International Book Fair.

Danda officially joined the family enterprise after graduating from college in 1998, starting out as a recruitment officer in charge of authors.

'I was the last one to have the privilege of joining the company immediately. My brother and cousins had to experience working outside the company for at least a couple of years to get the feel of being employed. Meanwhile, I learned a lot from experience. We had to go through the process as everyone else, and we're not exempted from company policy. Our positions are hard-earned and we are not given special treatment because of our family name,' Danda notes.

She would soon realize that it is a 24/7 job.

'It's a very challenging industry; we're not just producing simple consumer products. We don't end our workday at 5 o'clock. I don't get to enjoy weekends fully, and we can argue at three in the morning. A lot of things are 'make or break,' and we can't allow complacency and mediocrity to creep in. If we don't roll up our sleeves, we all suffer-the business, and all the people working for it, ourselves included,' she said.

As early as six years old, John was already working for his pocket money.

It was in college when he officially became executive assistant to his mother, who remains CandE Publishing's president and CEO.

John identifies integrity, service, excellence and social responsibility as the values passed on to them by their parents.

According to John, working with his parents and siblings in the family business has allowed them to work not only as a family but also as a team.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 7, 2018
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