“Ang routine na okay sa akin is work in the morning, ‘pag dating sa hapon, play golf, do boxing, play badminton. ‘Pag dating ng dinner, family time naman,” shares Edwin Arce, Vice President for Marketing of Arce Dairy, the local name behind delectable ice cream formulation that remains unchanged by time. Edwin’s ideal routine is within his reach and some may feel envious of him. However, before he perfected this routine, he had to work while studying and gave up his dreams of pursuing sports as a career. Arce’s family empire stayed in business because of their sacrifices and hard work in protecting what the first generation worked for, and Edwin is part of the force behind it today.
The birth of gourmet-style ice cream Tracing back to Arce Dairy’s roots as the top carabao’s milk supplier to prominent homes, it was transformed by Doña Carmen into an ice cream made by natural ingredients—which led to the birth of Selecta ice cream. In the 1990’s, the family sold Selecta but opted out to bring back Arce’s orginal recipe as Arce Dairy. Arce family’s first generation started out with a carabao farm wherein Don Ramon, Manuel L. Quezon’s secretary, catered the farm fresh milk to the congress.
Untouched by time Fast forward today, 84 years later, the third generation is now in charge—and quality in their products prevails. “It’s quality always. Hindi namin pwedeng i-sacrifice yung quality for the price. So, what we do, when we make ice cream, we only use first class ingredients,” boasts Edwin. “Maybe yung iba they just add fruit [flavorings]—kami we don’t. Kunwari mango, dudurugin mo yung mango gagawin mong ice cream. Kunwari macapuno, kakayurin mo yung macapuno lalagay mo sa ice cream.” In the age of multimedia platforms, shying away from advertising could led to the death of your business. However, it’s a different story when the products speak for itself. “It’s all about quality ice cream. Kaya up to now we are still here. Even if we don’t advertise,” reveals the VP for Marketing.
Journey to winning Edwin grew up with ice cream regularly served in his plate. Thus, he is no stranger to how premium quality dairy is produced. Unlike his business-minded father, he is sports-minded. Thus, when he was younger, he dreamt of pursuing sports. It was safe to say that he was on the right track as he was juggling three sports in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) representing San Beda College (now San Beda University); namely basketball, football, and track and field. “Sobrang hilig ko sa sports, pero ang daddy ko pinigilan ako,” Edwin confesses. “Kailangan namin ng kasama sa negosyo. Bakit ka magtatatakbo dyan? Ano kukunin mo gold medal?” his father said. At an early age, the third generation Arce learned how to manage his time. He would work in the morning to extend a helping hand to the family empire, then attend school in the afternoon until the sun sets. Evaluating his life today, Edwin’s obedience to his father seemed to have favored him, “It’s good that I followed my dad. Kasi kung ‘di ko siguro sinunod, [‘di ko alam kung] ano ako ngayon.”
Mixing work and play To Edwin the secret to living a good life is balance: enjoy your work, and then play. “Mauubos ka ‘pag puro trabaho. ‘Pag puro naman laro, mauubos ka rin,” he claims. Alongside his position in the family business, he plays golf, badminton and boxing, and drives his motorcycle after going to the office in the morning. He recently retired from playing polo to answer his family’s clamor. However, he justifies this as is his means to save his sanity. He sometimes thinks of turning off his phone to maximize his “me time,” but he opts not to as he might miss something big. He was forced to learn to mix business with pleasure. He admits that he is a big spender for his toys, yet, on the opposite, is thrifty when eating out, ‘“Pag dating sa mga laruan ko, I spend. Halimbawa, kotse, motor, yung mga sports ko, I spend. Pero kunwari sasabihin mo, ‘kain tayo dito.’” He abruptly replies, “’Wag na dyan ang mahal naman dyan.” “Kumbaga jinu-justify mo yung gusto mo. Tapos yung ayaw mo, ‘de mahal yan.’” His love for big bikes started at a young age in their farm. At 14 years of age, he found his love for driving cars. He even used his creativity to build his own motor cross track utilizing the equipment they had in the farm. The relationship with motorcycles built during his childhood faded when he had a girlfriend and later on got married. In 2016, it was reignited as his friends invited him to ride again. He bought a small bike because he wanted to get it at a cheap price, but ended up buying the bigger ones after, outlasting his purpose to save money. His advice to those who will buy their toys: “Bili ka na ng pinakamaganda.” If you’re just starting out in the game, he suggests that you buy a smaller one which is lighter to practice with. When asked what he gets from riding his toys he quickly answered: “Happy [ako] dun.” To him, it’s a form of escape or a therapy to be with himself and to be himself. “You, the road, tapos your mind is with you,” he describes. “Hindi yung lagi kang may iniitindi. Umaalis ka don. Pumupunta ka sa kung sino [ay] ikaw. Minsan nag mo-motor ako mag-isa. Iikot lang ako. Halimbawa pupunta akong Pampanga. Para lang masaya.” He even admits spending P1.4 million for a motorcycle. “If you like it, mura lang sayo,” he explains. However, he still sets limits in spending. Everything is planned and organized to a certain budget. “Ang gagawin ko magdadala ako ng cash para ‘pag naubos, tapos na. Ako in-organize ko lahat. Pina-plano ko lahat,” he shared. “Kung pwede lang planu-hin ko lahat pati mangyayare sa mga anak ko. Kaya lang yung [mga] Millennials ayaw sumunod, may sarili silang plano,” he jokingly added. To Edwin, spending money is his stress reliever. He tags it as the “nicest thing on earth.” But he does save money first. “Nung buhay pa mommy and daddy ko, nagbibigay sila ng pera. Ang ginagawa ko tinatabi ko. Kumbaga for the rainy days. So mamaya, ‘di ko alam ang laki na pala ng natabi ko. So, ‘pag dating ko ng spending na, ang dali ko na kumuha kasi ang dami ko na pala natabi.” When it comes to his own hard-earned money though, he is more strategic in terms of spending, “[Pero] yung pinagtrabahuhan mo ang sakit gastusin. So, if you’re working, mas responsible enough ka, hindi mo itatapon.”
Winning mindset “While you’re young, gawin mo na lahat,” he tells young, aspiring entrepreneurs. He assures that there is no regret in missing out on the fun. You will reap what you sow in the end, “Matuwa ka kung marami kang trabaho. Magpasalamat ka kung marami kang trabaho.” He adds, “Habang bata pa kayo gawin niyo na lahat ng trabaho. Once you come to my age, you want to enjoy the fruits of what you did.” For Edwin, there is only two options. “If you don’t like your job, get out. If you love your job, do it right.”