SISTERS are always fun. They can get mad at you, get sore at you, but in the end it’s because they love you. I have three sisters who I will pay tribute to through this column.

Chronologically, starting with the one closest to me in age, I wish to share with you my stories about these sisters of mine.

She was my roommate for a long time. We shared stories and “growing up” pains while in college. We took turns being nurse to our Dad as we had to take his vital signs while he was recovering from a heart condition. We learned how to use a sphygmomanometer and could take his pulse manually, during the days when digital technology was still unheard of.

She was my mentor, and my first employer. I worked summers counting baskets that were delivered to her warehouse. Another summer I became a salesperson in her store which she put up at the young age of 21 years old. She mentored me about money, she sold me insurance at 18 years old and she taught me about exports.

Today, she is my biggest “rahrah” girl. She often asks where I am headed, what event I am attending or speaking at and she also promotes all my businesses to friends here and abroad. That is my sister Tessy.

She was my boss when I was in college. I drove for her one summer (as a summer job) and I got paid for it. But she also taught me the finer things in life. We went to patisseries and beauty bars even during my stint as her driver. What a boss.

Today, she still assists me in business as she did over 20 years ago, is my problem solver and my “Alibaba”, Amazon and Ebay all rolled into one. She is also hot on Viber, Facebook and Instagram. She is the ultimate source of anything you need. That is her talent and her gift.

She is my travel agent, my concierge and my biggest supporter abroad. Beth drives for me, shops with me and has been my most involved sister when it comes to business matters.

Ate Mina
She is my Mom reinvented. She learned all of Mama’s recipes and brings me my favorite dishes from Mama’s extensive recipe bank. She is our cool sister who went to concerts at a young age. She had a phonograph player when I was this high, she had phonograph records or vinyl and knew the concert schedules of singers of her time.

She crocheted even when “handmade” was not yet in fashion. She made straw bags for all of us that we all loved. She made sweaters and beany caps, too. Despite her physical constraints, she learned how to drive first among all the girls. Just like our Mom, she knew all our relatives and would visit them even if it is not Christmas.

Today, she is our Ate (oldest sister). She is the eldest but has kept a youthful spirit ever since. She cracks jokes, breaks into song and otherwise hums her way through traffic. She really loves music and loves to share her cooking prowess with the rest of the family including the next generation. They, too, learn of the family recipes through her cooking.

My sisters are part of what I have become. They are also the reason why I am who I am now because they have been so supportive of all my plans and dreams. During Christmas, I reflect and count my blessings and these three are definitely part of the blessings I thank the heavens for.

Happy New Year to my Ates!

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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at


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