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Gil “Bong” Abela (PH): An International Business Consultants Guide to COVID-19 Affected Local Businesses

Last Update: Sep 18, 2023 @ 10:26 am

As COVID 19 continues to affect the global health emergency personnel, it is also causing an economic slowdown. Investments, trade, growth, employment, and businesses are all impacted and halted with the current pandemic.

In this episode of Virtualpreneur Summit of 2020, we have Gil “Bong” Abela to provide insights and guidance to small businesses and owners who are searching for ways to cope with their affected operations generated by the pandemic.

The Speaker: Gil “Bong” Abela

Gil “Bong” Abela is an international strategy and management consultant. Coach Bong is also well known as the first General Manager of Hotel 101 and the Mang Inasal Franchise. He is currently the CEO of IMC.PH which is an Integrated Marketing Communications Agency based in the Philippines servicing multiple international, regional and local clients.

What Can You Learn from the podcast:

  • Shifting your perspective towards the two sides of COVID 19 (00:53)
  • Restrictions of COVID 19 towards business (2:03)
  • The positive side of COVID 19 (3:09)
  • How to take care of your employees during COVID 19 (4:27)
  • Assessing what works and doesn’t for your business(6:16)
  • Improving your branding (7:14)
  • The negative side of COVID 19 (9:27)

Connect with Bong Abela via FACEBOOK, and LINKEDIN.

COVID 19 is a Double Edge Sword

Coach Bong launched the discussion with how the government imposed community quarantine has affected the businesses from different regions.

He mentioned that while the novel coronavirus has brought a lot of stress and anxiety into the economy it has also provided some positivity. 

Coach Bong further went into the details mentioning that the situation has allowed business owners and leaders to look into their business from a new light. It has raised plenty of what-ifs and concerns that are pushing us to act on what is necessary.

We asked the experienced manager and CEO how his business was affected by the coronavirus. 

He responded with how he could no longer travel. It was also impossible to meet his clients in person as we needed to observe social distancing.

However, these restrictions don’t necessarily mean that he was unable to continue to do his consultancy. He is still able to reach and connect with his clients through the digital platform or video conferencing.

Coach Bong also sees to it that he isn’t just doing work but also checking up on the mental health of his clients and employees.

“It is a privilege and an opportunity to check on my own team and my clients. To be able to give them encouragement and assistance is a reminder that Life is not just about work,” says Coach Bong.

Life is not just about work

Gil “Bong” Abela believes that COVID 19 has allowed the people to look into their origin. Or rather to look into what is urgent and understand what is important. The situation we are in has enabled us to put a balance between earning money and spending time with our family. 

“This pandemic has allowed us also to look into better things like how spending quality time with your family cannot be canceled. Or how reading good books and thinking about the right thoughts can be what’s best for us. To never forget to appreciate what you have,” says the CEO.

READ ALSO: Betty Kempa (US): An International Career Coach’s Perspective on the Impact of COVID-19

How to survive the COVID 19 pandemic

Although there have been numerous startup and local businesses affected, Coach Bong shares the things that business leaders must prioritize in order to survive this pandemic is to:

1. Support your employees

He believes how business leaders and owners should never forget to support their employees.  As soon as this blows over, it is your employees who will help you rise again. 

The pandemic is also one of the great opportunities to take good care and build a relationship with them. It doesn’t have to be drastic but rather to reassure them that they have something to come back to.

2. Study and remaster 

For entrepreneurs and business owners who really can’t do anything about their operations. The coach suggested studying and remastering the subjects they are interested in and are related to their business. 

You can also take the time to read your books and take notes. For the CEO, he mentioned how he is currently reading up on character improvement books. And if those don’t work, you can always come up with an assessment of what works and doesn’t for your business. 

“I think this is an opportunity to keep yourselves busy because I believe that an idle mind is the workshop of the devil” ends Coach Bong.


Gil “Bong” Abela shared the leading thoughts that I have learned during this quarantine and he mentioned how the sowing and reaping principle is absolute.

The pandemic has given me an opportunity to understand that what you are really sowing right now, you will reap in the future.

So as business owners if you have the privilege and opportunity to sow, to instill, to provide and give inspirational words for your employees do it now because they need it now.

Coach Bong mentions how he lives in a building and if he has the privilege and opportunity to share whatever extra he has. Whether it be extra masks, extra alcohol you sow, you can share. 

It’s not all about the mind or your body but how you can look into your heart and spirit.

He asked us how we need to question what is in our hearts. How should you respond to the problem and help out the community. 

“I believe also that the virus has exposed so many things in our lives it has exposed our weak sides,” says Coach Bong. 

The pandemic has tugged on our dark sides. It has exposed our desire to protect ourselves and take for granted the way we are able to protect ourselves.

The CEO hopes that the situation will allow you to see things with clarity and then it will also allow you to look into your heart. He closed his discussion reminding us to not forget that there is still hope. God can heal and God can protect and He can be our reference. (A. Menchavez)

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