Book Review: Undaunted (The Lopezes Legacy 1800-2010) by Raul Rodrigo

There are a few words that I would use to describe to what Undaunted  meant to me after reading this book. Never faltering,  never daunted,  never hesitating because of fear or discouragement, never undismayed and forever intrepid. The book “Undaunted” tells the story of the family that has always been proud to be undaunted.
The Lopez Group story has been written by the historian Raul Rodrigo (Firebringer and Kapitan).  The Lopez family is far from being the perfect family and that is what I admire from their family.  They openly talked about the tragedies that the family has gone through.
This book has a historical account of the lives of  great men from their ancestors to their successors.  Oscar Lopez (He spent seven years of his life putting together their family history) He believed in the power of DNA and how they always find themselves in their roots.
Benito Lopez y Villanueva  who was the governor of Ilo-ilo was assassinated [ who happened to be their Jalandoni relatives ] while in office in 1907.   Which totally changed everything with the Lopez Clan.  Ening and his brother Fernando were then brought up by their uncle, Don Vicente Lopez, who sent both to the best schools in Manila.  Ening was sent to Ateneo to be educated by the Spanish Jesuits under Fr. Villalonga, while Nanding studied in Letran and then UST.  Ening spent 7 years living as a boarder and subject to the same strict discipline as the Jesuits were in Ateneo from 1912 to 1919, finishing his A.B. degree (cum laude) and then going to the University of the Philippines, where he finished his Law Degree in 1923.   After passing the bar exam,  he decided to spend one year doing  post-graduate work at the Harvard Law school in Cambridge, Mass.  Ening and Nanding was conscious of the importance of education and he always never failed to impart this attitude to their children and even to the society that they lived in.

With the declaration of Martial Law in September 1972, the influential Lopez family was targeted for its denunciations of the corrupt regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.   In retaliation, Marcos shut down the family’s media outlets and arrested Eugenio’s eldest son, Geny, on fabricated charges.  With his son held hostage,  Eugenio was forced to give up his holdings in a group of companies worth several hundred million dollars. Marcos failed to release Geny, and Eugenio Lopez died in 1975, his son still imprisoned.

In November 1974, Geny Lopez  he embarked on a hunger strike along with his cellmate, Serge Osmeña to protest the unjust detention of thousands of innocent Filipinos.  This resulted in the release of 1,022 political prisoners in December 1974.  Defiant to the very end, Osmeña and Lopez escaped from their maximum security prison cell in Fort Bonifacio in 1977.  This exploit was enacted in the 1995 movie, Eskapo.  After the 1986 People Power Revolution, he re-acquired ABS-CBN and re-established it to become a prominent media conglomerate in the Philippines.
He died of cancer in the morning of June 28, 1999 in Quezon City.  Leaving the legacy as the “Father of Philippine Broadcasting”.  One of the buildings inside ABS-CBN was named after him as to show how much people from ABS-CBN pay tribute to the once known for them as “Kapitan”. His son, Eugenio Lopez III became Chairman and CEO after his father’s passing.

What really struck me about this book and this family are their Core Values.  Particularly when it comes to their Humility.   They knew that when they need to do something, they do it at whatever cost.  A great example is giving up a controlling stake in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power retailer, was painful and difficult for the Lopez clan, but it had to be done out of necessity. Given how Meralco’s history has been intertwined with their family, acceptance of this sale was not easy.

This book represents the family values of which Oscar M. Lopez is proud to tell, were the life work of Oscar M. Lopez ‘s father, Eugenio “Ening” Lopez Sr., and  his Uncle  Former Vice President Fernando Lopez which have been heralded as a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit, business excellence, nationalism,  team work,  strong work ethic,  integrity,  social justice  and concern for employee welfare and wellness.

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