Before he was assigned to head Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corporation (MMPC), Yoshiaki Kato was warned by his friends about the dangers of visiting or staying in the country.
“Before I came to this country, many Japanese or many of my friends in Japan, they warned me the Philippines is a dangerous country. If you walk in the streets at midnight, you can be killed or something like that,” he said.
But after working for a year in the country and traveling to a few tourist spots, Kato has seen a Philippines that is very different from what his friends in Japan has described to him.
“I am now living in Global City, BGC, and it’s a very nice place. Sometimes I go Makati, it’s a very nice city, very safe, and there are many shopping centers, restaurants,” Kato added.
He also said communicating in the Philippines is easier compared to Thailand because there are many English-speaking Filipinos. Also, signages in the Philippines, including those for road directions, are all in English.
“In Thailand, it’s very difficult to communicate in English, it’s also very difficult to read signboards,” he said.
“But in this country, communication is very easy and people are very friendly. From my point of view, the Philippines is easier to live in,” Kato added.
Because his first year as MMPC president and chief executive officer was very busy, Kato has not visited much of the Philippines yet.
“I have been in this country for one year, I have been busy with my work so I haven’t traveled many times,” Kato said.
Among the few places in the country that he has visited is Boracay, Aklan, and Tagaytay, Cavite, that is less than an hour’s drive from MMPC’s head office and manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
“I have been to Boracay twice, one was for APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Conference] it was kind of official business, but I was so impressed [with Boracay]. So a few months later, I brought my wife to Boracay for a private trip,” he added.
Now that he seen a few nice places in the Philippines, Kato said he plans to tour the country more in the next few years including places that are just a few hours’ drive from Santa Rosa.
“I know there are a lot of nice prices that are even one or two hours’ drive from here. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to visit them. But in the coming two years or three years during my stay in the Philippines, I hope to visit many places,” he said.
“I have been enjoying my stay in this country,” Kato added.