Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

3/01/2003

Playing Games

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

published March 2003

BEFORE there were any PS2s or Game Cubes lying around, there were board games. Harking back to a more innocent time when families could sit down and play, these games have stood the test of time. Through their seemingly simple rules, they are able to educate and enhance a child’s development, promote his competitive spirit and enhance family bonding. In the Philippines, one man has made it his business to keep these benefits of board games alive.

Beginning as a Chemistry major in Ateneo de Cagayan, Pacito (Chito) Madrono eventually found himself taking up a Master’s degree in Management at the Asian Institute of Management where his graduate degree requirement would unexpectedly blossom into 13 P.M. Enterprises. The company’s name carried his lucky number, aptly followed by his initials alongside the challenging history that goes along with it. Initially, manufacturing Brain Twister, a simple game based on the Chiense Tangram, he saw profits in hundreds of thousands of pesos within six months. Who knew that this humble endeavor would continue on developing more lines of board games and grace such storefronts as those of Podium, Greenbelt, and Powerplant? His now numerous games have reached all the way from Tuguegarao to Zamboanga and Davao.

A Winning Strategy

When asked about the secret of his success, Chito cites his company’s strength in product development and innovation. Though they also produce more familiar games such as Word Factory, which adapts the basic principles of Boggle, they are also constantly improving other games. As an example, his ingenuity led him to the innovations of the conventional chess set. It was traditionally manufactured from wood, whose board also doubles as the case for the chess pieces. To make it more user-friendly, they have manufactured it in plastic and changed its case to a cylindrically-shaped sling type making it lighter and handy. Also, by adding a swivel beneath the Crossword Plus board, he has made playing more convenient for Scrabble addicts as they take turns in adding their own inventive words onto the board. His wife, Aida, is also developing a line of children’s games called Kinder Kits. Adapted from Netherlands, this game helps children learn on their won. Suitable for these times when most families are of dual-income parents, children effectively teach themselves basic associations. Innovation is definitely the key for this blossoming company.

Looking at Pacito Mandrono, it is no wonder that he has attained his successful status. Though unassuming in appearance, this man from Misamis Oriental reveals a critical and intelligent mind that is constantly attuned to the details. He has received such awards as the Presidential Award for Excellent Service and special grants from the Philippines government enabling him to study abroad. Over 90 awards, plaques of appreciation, and commendations have been conferred on him by various professional, civic and business organizations. If that were not enough, his pictures have also graced the covers of books published by Anvil Publishing Company not to mention magazines, commercial post cards and calendars. Chito’s practical wit coupled with his unrelenting spirit has propelled him to such great heights.

A Team Player

Anchoring a great chunk of his production by subcontracting the services of marginalized families, 13 P.M. continues to provide many of them their means of livelihood. His is a drive for excellence that is also blessed with a conscience. His business sense does not merely look out for his own interests but also takes care to take others with him on his road to success.

Together with his wife and three children, he is now looking to the future of this company. What was once a single-proprietorship will now grow to accommodate the new generation of Madronos. Expansion, a look into e-commerce, and even exporting to the whole of Southeast Asia are not too far way for this company and its humble beginnings. 13 P.M. proves that there remain a citadel of hope for those who have the courage to go after their dreams.


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