Miguel Lopez Vargas
As the fourth eldest greatgrandchild of Eugenio H. Lopez Sr., Jorge Ernesto Miguel Lopez Vargas, 31, is pretty sure he gave his parents a hard time growing up, as his candid and humorous answers show.
He is a successful entrepreneur in his own right, setting up and running the popular Bucky’s, a “delicious and continually evolving but definitely not a brownie” bakery/restaurant/café (“Bucky” was his old nickname before he wore braces). He grew up being shown the values of putting family first and being innovative.
How was Miguel “Miggy” Lopez Vargas raised, being the second grandchild of Oscar M. and Connie Rufino Lopez? As the second son of Enteng and Cedie Lopez Vargas?
I’m not sure I remember that far back but what I do remember is always putting family first. I definitely grew up with my cousins as more like brothers and sisters. We all lived in such close proximity it was hard not to.
I’m pretty sure I gave my parents a hard time. I was not one to keep still. We used to have a flagpole in the garden. It was my favorite thing to climb. One day, I think my timing was wrong and as I got up the pole, my mom spotted me right by the second-story window. Soon after, I didn’t have a pole to climb. I must’ve been three or four years old and already extremely devastated.
What values were taught by your elders as you grew up until you became an entrepreneur?
Never really analyzed the values but I do hear the voices of my parents in my head. Up to now they still add to the voices I hear. A lot of times as I have to make decisions I go to a highlight reel of these voices in my head. I’m not saying I listen to them all the time, but more often than not, I do.
If there’s one voice that probably put me on the path that I’m on now, it was when I was 11 or 12. I wanted to become a marine biologist. I told my mom that’s what I wanted to become and she was like, “How are you going to make money as a marine biologist?” So I was like, “Okay, at 12 years old, looking for something to do to make some money.”
Did you ever work for any Lopez company?
I did an internship in FPH [First Philippine Holdings Corporation] in 2006, did the groundwork for a structured internship/mentorship program with my cousin Dan Layug and Ailee Canlas.
Tell us a bit about your educational background and why you took the course you did in college.
I did two years in AdMU [Ateneo de Manila University] till they and I mutually realized we didn’t fit together. Then I took my time in DLS-CSB [De La Salle-College of St. Benilde]. I took up marketing management.
Did you really like baking? What other things did you do or dabble in? Do you like spending your time in the kitchen?
Yes, baking was definitely something I’ve always enjoyed even as a kid. Cooking, too. I guess some of my earliest memories are with my mom in the kitchen making something. There was definitely a point where I considered going into culinary arts but my dad was like, “How are you going to make money being a chef?”Let’s just say I want to have the last laugh.
How did Bucky’s come about? Is it a sole proprietorship?
Bucky’s is currently a corporation. It started in 2012. I had gotten married that year and “needed money.” I told my mom I’d make something for her to give as gifts to all those on her long list and she agreed. Eventually, I did all the costing, product testing and all that, so my wife Raisa and I decided we should try selling it to other people as well. It was well received and I haven’t stopped since.
What advice would you give your younger cousins regarding upholding Lopez Values of innovativeness, integrity, business excellence, employee health and welfare, etc.?
I would tell them those are all great values but to carve their own path. Decide what their own values are. Just because it works for some doesn’t mean it will work for all.
I understand you were part of Madrid Fusion. How was it?
Yes, we did Madrid Fusion as part of one of the regional lunches. The third day was curated by Alicia Sy and the theme was corn. So we did a corn parfait. It was quite the experience, hard to not enjoy the atmosphere and being around some really great people in the industry. (Story/Potos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)