Marco during a vacation trip with his parents Vicente and Cedie and sister Manna Marco Lopez Vargas, 28, is the son of Lopez Group Foundation Inc. (LGFI) president and Lopez Museum and Library executive director Cedie Lopez Vargas and Vicente Vargas. He is one of the elder grand children of LGFI chairman Oscar M. Lopez and Connie R. Lopez. Marco shares how he grew up in an environment with rather strict parents and a closely-knit clan, and how the Lopez Values have helped him in his banking job.
Can you describe the childhood years of Javier Emmanuel “Marco” Vargas? What were the values you learned? How would you describe Marco then and now?
My full name is Javier Emmanuel Lorenzo Lopez Vargas. There is no Marco in my name.
My childhood can be described as enjoying playing and hanging out with my cousins and friends. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my cousins and that’s why we are very close to each other. My growing up was also a time for learning through mistakes and experiences.
I guess just like anyone growing up, you make mistakes and your parents are there to correct you and explain why it was wrong. I was a very energetic kid and enjoyed playing, running around. I would sometimes get in trouble, so my parents would have to step in to discipline me. Also, if I had problems in school my parents would be strict with me to make sure I did better. My parents were always there for me, whether in the times I was struggling in school or when I did well enough to merit awards. They were proud of me no matter what.
One’s childhood is also a time of experience. You experience some failures but you experience even more successes. Not that you don’t experience these now. It is just that experiencing them when you are young helps make you who you are today. I can say whatever I have experienced when I was young has helped me be the man I am today. I learned to be patient, knowing that things won’t always go your way but to keep going and to keep marching on through problems and struggles with the knowledge that this too shall pass. I learned how to be confident and proud of my achievements but to also be humble about those successes.
Both my parents disciplined me in their own way but there was always a reason. They wanted to teach me what was right and not to do what was wrong. They were instilling these values to make me a better man. They also wanted me to have principles and moral standards, whether they were the ones specifically taught to me or adaptations of their teachings. Learning from my mistakes, being confident and to be humble in success are just a few of the values they have taught me. They taught me to care for others and to value what is important for you in life. To care for someone doesn’t mean to only help them when they are sick but also to give more than to receive. To put someone else’s needs before your own. Being thoughtful to others or, like in St. Ignatius’ prayer, to give and not to count the cost. Another is to value what is important to me in life. It’s not monetary or material objects. I value experiences, knowledge/learning and making time for the people I care about, like family and friends.
I can’t really give a description to compare myself then and now. I can say though that I learned a lot more and am a better person for it. I always like to think that I am a better person than I was yesterday.
What about the schools you attended, courses you took in college and various training. Why did you take the courses that you did?
I went to Xavier School then Reedley International School and university in DLSU [De La Salle University]. My course in DLSU was psychology; the reasons I decided to major in psychology are because I didn’t really know what else to pick coming into college and I also remember liking some books that I read about it.
Psychology is such a wide field of study and practically anything can be researched, from learning about the neural mechanisms responsible for vision and sensation to understanding behavior and how the mind works. But the best thing I learned from the course was positive psychology and how to help people be at their best.
Any hobbies? Favorite sports?
My hobbies include reading fiction novels, photography, playing basketball, building Lego and travelling.
How close were you to your grandparents from both the Vargas and Lopez sides?
I am very close to my Lopez grandparents, I see them at least once a week to catch up or just talk. I never met my grandfather on my Vargas side because he died before I was born. But I was very close to my lola on my Vargas side who I would also see at least once a week before she passed away.
I guess my grandparents taught the usual values—to share with each other, to be one with God, to never argue over money, other values like hard work and respecting one another. They seemed to lead by example and I like to think I embody the values that my grandparents show.
Did you ever work for any Lopez company? If yes, can you describe your years there, your dealings with fellow employees?
I did my OJT with Rockwell Land Corp., I was part of the HR team for recruitment. It was quite an experience working for Rockwell because they treat you like an actual employee and immerse you in real-life situations such as interviewing prospective applicants or helping out during the onboarding of new hires. Rockwell also allowed me to experience more than just their HR activities but also other jobs and their work functions like marketing. The people I worked with in Rockwell were always very helpful and made sure that I was equipped to handle the tasks that they would assign to me. Teamwork was always present when people would need help with difficult tasks or just help make someone’s job easier.
Can you describe your present job? What Lopez Values are you practicing there?
I work in BPI Family Savings Bank. I am involved in the Small to Medium Enterprise sector of the bank. And I usually work with SMEs trying to help their businesses grow.
We value teamwork because you cannot work alone; integrity because as a bank representative you must be able to show your clients that you can be trusted to handle their money; business excellence in trying to embody not only Lopez but BPI values as well in trying to make the best happen for clients. The entrepreneurial spirit comes into my work when I am exposed to the different companies and businesses my clients have. You learn how they started and made their business and I can see how I can do my own thing in the future.
What advice would you tell your younger cousins regarding being a Lopez and its responsibilities?
That they should be grateful for being in a family that gives importance to these values and that they should also embody these values in their own lives.(Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)