May 01, 2021 – RCT
images by Oly Ruiz
Derrick Ong studied medicine from the University of Santo Tomas, but these days, he looks inside cars more than he does inside people. “Being a doctor was something that I wanted way back in highschool,” shares the suave six-footer, “I was always the go-to person for my relatives if they have any emergencies or questions with regards to health-related matters.” But at around the time of his graduation, fate, it seemed, had other plans. His father, owner of the venerable Dragon Fireworks, had ventured into other industries with friends. “They went into the battery importation industry,” recalls Derrick, “and since all of his partners were in their 50’s— they needed a young gun who’s willing to give in time and effort to represent the brand.”
Derrick, charged with the prospect of a challenge— slotted right in. Delaying his residency, he found himself as president of Enerprime Incorporated, in charge of sales for Energizer Automotive Battery Philippines. “What I do there is market the products nationwide and look for interested distributors and partners,” he says plainly. He currently helms the company from a store in Timog, serving as the command and control center for distribution and supply for Quezon City— and from where he intends to expand to other areas, especially when things get better.
With the pandemic situation in the Philippines calling for lockdowns— he is caught in an ironic situation of a stressed medical profession and a car industry that’s parked for stretches of time. He shares that medicine is about taking care of your patients and on honing skills, while entrepreneurship is about running a company and managing your staff. “Both are completely different,” he says, “but I’m slowly getting to understand and grasp the concepts of it.” It’s real-life education he tackles with all the discipline of a regimented medical school schedule.
What Keeps Him Going
Derrick starts his day around 8am, sweats for an hour, grabs breakfast then arrives with a surgeon’s precision at the office before 10am. “I also schedule sports throughout the week,” he adds, “Monday used to be basketball nights, Wednesdays for wall climbing or tennis, and Friday was for Golf classes.” Basically energizer-bunny active, he invests in activities to get the happy hormones and endorphins flowing. Diet-wise, he has no hard rules, except to eat his fruits and veggies.
So as not to run himself down, Derrick also relaxes. For him, there’s no better way to disengage from the highs of work than to go down into the deep, through diving. “I have been diving for the past 2 years and there’s nothing like it,” says the licensed diver, “it feels that you’re in a different world and you get to just focus on the marine life or do underwater photography!” He counts Anilao as a favorite dive spot, as the differently-themed resorts there allow him to unwind. The ones he frequents are Solitude Acacia, The Asri Dive Resort and Casa Escondido. “Plus Anilao is only a 2-hour drive away from Manila!”
He shares that his lifestyle allows him to be more consistent and efficient in reaching plans and goals earlier, as well as being adaptive to change. “Everything has become digital,” observes Derrick, “we need to innovate as the market trends continue to change with time.” Considering himself a very flexible person who can get along well with any crowd, he recounts how “teachers always had a hard time finding me a seat in class… because even the silent ones tend to become talkative beside me!” True to form, even now, he makes time to message his friends every now and then— checking up on them to see how they’re doing.
Going Farther, Faster
Currently single, Derrick’s philosophy on love is akin to a pyroshow’s last star burst - you just give it your all. “When you find somebody you love, you don’t hesitate to give it everything,” confides Derrick, “you show her how much she means to you.” He acknowledges that differences and fights are expected, but that the ability to “accept and respect one another is more important.” Much like how electricity requires positives and negatives to flow, Derrick sees conflicts as a way to develop connection. “Although some things may not be compatible— you can always work things out as long as both of you are in it together.” The bachelor also doesn’t believe in gender roles, especially in today’s more open-minded society, and that financial independence for both allows for more freedom within a relationship.
To this end, Derrick focuses on establishing a good reputation for the Energizer automotive brand, growing his other businesses, and hiring more staff before having a family of his own. “My ultimate dream is to have my own family, kids and build a farm for my parents,” he shares, “My mother always tells me that she wants to harvest fruits and vegetables when she grows old.” That, along with a network of a similarly successful barkada— is his ultimate end game.
“Walang iwanan sabay sabay tayong aahon!” he says, adding an ancient african proverb more suited in today’s day and age— “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far— go together.” It’s a mantra that one embedded in the car battery industry, quite understandably, is powered by.