While some love stories are built in classrooms, or even written in serendipitous meetings in coffee shops, restaurants and work places, others have found theirs in SM.
Salvador “Mang Ading” Macaranas, 74, wasn’t searching for love when he worked for Mr. Henry Sy as a timekeeper and “bodegero” (warehouseman) in the latter’s residence in Forbes Park. Later on, he worked as a stockman for Mr. Sy at Shoemart Makati where he eventually got to know Leonarda “Nery” De Los Santos, a saleslady he met in school who later transferred there from Shoemart Carriedo.
Aling Nery eventually joined her sister in Shoemart Makati much to the delight of Mang Ading. As an SM saleslady, Aling Nery fit the bill of tall, beautiful ladies handpicked by Mr. Sy who would be the frontliners at the store so it was no wonder that she caught Mang Ading’s eye.
He remembers fondly that as a stockman or one who get the stocks of shoes in the store, he would make sure to rush for shoe stocks when it was Aling Nery’s turn to request for them.
“Pag humingi siya ng stock, mabilis ako. Nasa ibaba kaagad yung mga stock niya kaya madali din siya makabenta (If she were to ask for stocks, I would get them fast and drop them down to her so she could sell them fast too),” he said.
Mang Ading later asked Aling Nery to marry him and eventually had four children with her. At work, he moved on to becoming supervisor and merchandiser eventually getting assigned to store branches in Cebu, Iloilo and then back to Manila. Mang Ading is one of the long serving employees of the store, having spent 45 years with SM.
More than finding their “forever” in SM, Mang Ading and Aling Nery also gained and found wisdom in the words and actions of Mr. Henry Sy, Sr.
One of the most important lessons he remembers from Mr. Sy is to be open about discussing problems with your family.
“Gusto ni Mr. Sy yung mga nakikita mong problema sabihin mo sa kanya. Kapag inilagay ka niya sa magandang posisyon, ibig sabihin may tiwala siya sa iyo. Hindi lang ikaw ang matututo ng solusyon sa problema kundi ang iba na din,” Mang Ading said in the vernacular.
Mr. Antolin Paule, 81, Senior Vice President at SM’s Engineering Development and Design found his fate tied was with SM along with his wife, Erlinda. While they met in high school, their relationship was made even stronger with their ties with SM.
In fact, Mrs. Erlinda Paule was the cashier in the first Shoemart store which sold shoes and bags in Avenida, Rizal. Later on she moved on to the head office of Shoemart doing accounting and eventually became a manager in North EDSA before she retired after 35 years of service.
Mr. Paule on the other hand was with the Bureau of Forestry doing technical work when he was asked by Mr. Sy to be part of a company that will oversee construction of properties he has acquired. This led to a longtime working relationship between Mr. Paule and SM that has lasted for the past 54 years.
Mr. Sy’s fondness for the couple was shown as he even attended their wedding all the way in Pampanga. Mr. Paule also recounts Mr. Sy’s kindness and concern when he helped him find a suitable lot in Paranaque on which to build his house for his new family.
Mr. Paule, or fondly called “Bet” by Mr. Sy was involved in supervising the construction of hotels, stores and eventually SM’s over 40 malls then. More than a mentor at work, Mr. Sy also gave good advice to him as a family man.
“He said to me, if we have a problem, do your best to patch it up, do not stop until you are satisfied,” Mr. Paule said.