He would rather stay on the sidelines, taking photos instead of being in them. He would also prefer not to be written about as he found it self-promoting. But after a lot of convincing and prodding, and finally telling him jokingly that he was holding up this month’s issue of LopezLink, Jose Eugenio Martin Lopez Vargas, 35, finally—as in “photo finish”—gave in and agreed to be interviewed. “Oh boy, am I in trouble?” he anxiously asked. “Yes, you are in trouble if I don’t submit this article on you in a few hours,” I said.
The eldest of the four children of businessman Vicente, fondly called “Enteng,” and Lopez Museum and Library executive director Cedie Lopez Vargas, Martin comes from a line of prominent Filipino families—Soriano, Rufino, Vargas (grandson of President Quezon’s trusted adviser Jorge Vargas) and Lopez. He grew up not being conscious of this aspect of his family lineage and would just humbly shrug it off. He is also the third greatgrandchild of Lopez Group cofounder Eugenio H. Lopez Sr.
Importance of unity
Martin early on realized the importance of family closeness and unity, as can be seen by their regular family dinners and trips. He reiterated that he would prefer to spend time with his family instead of always going out.
He is a marketing graduate from the College of St. Benilde. He now makes use of his degree as a member of the Creative Communication Management group of ABSCBN, tasked with coming up with enticing promo materials for the network and its subsidiaries.
His specific job is motion graphics. To those not familiar with it, it involves “putting color onscreen” and requires a lot of creativity and tons of patience.
Martin has always enjoyed computer graphics,
taking various courses on its different aspects. In truth, doing animation and design was just a hobby for him until he found that he could translate it to work, which he enjoys tremendously. He believes that he gets his ideas by being extra observant of his surroundings.
For a while, Martin was involved in Vargas Kitchen, doing everything and anything there for the experience of running a business.
OML’s eldest grandchild
As the eldest grandchild of Oscar M. Lopez, he was happy being the favorite for four years, until his brother Miguel came along “and I was forgotten.” He recalls growing up being given an allowance “just enough to feed myself.” But he adds: “That was okay because I didn’t need much.”
Since Martin spent more time after school with his grandmother, Connie Rufino Lopez who lives just a few houses away from them, he was taught by her to be honest and fair in all his dealings—integrity, in other words.
Initially, he found it tough to be the eldest, especially on the Lopez side.
“I was the older one and would rather keep to myself until the rest came along. But I am actually close to all as we treat each other like really good friends, and my grandparents also keep us together. One thing my Lolo and Lola instilled in us is to treat everyone like family, treat them how you want to be treated.”
Pride in Filipino culture
He enjoys and appreciates the arts which accounts for his spending time at the Lopez Museum and Library in Benpres Building, helping in any way he can. He feels pride in Filipino culture and makes it a point to attend all museum events.
When asked who he admires the most among his elders, Martin diplomatically replies: “Let’s just say everybody has got good qualities and I admire them all!”
Working in a Lopez company gives him a sense of belonging plus a bit of pressure as he realizes that he is part of working with others to fill up a greater whole.
For his advice to his younger cousins, Martin tells them: “If you believe in something passionately, no matter what, just work on it.”
True to his nature of remaining on the sidelines, Martin humorously ended the interview by saying, “Oh gosh! Why are we doing this? Can you just skip me?” (Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)