Maritess Pineda has lived a life of success, all attained with guidance brought about by her devotion to God. Through the many experiences she's faced in her 79 years of living, one thing has always kept her chin up and her head high— gratitude.
What do you do for a living, and what are the things that make you feel more alive?
I have a comfortable life, thanks to my supportive husband, our family businesses in real estate, and several investments in both stocks and the arts. What truly invigorates me, however, are my engagements with NGOs and charitable projects. This is my way of giving back at this stage of my life. I hadn't realized how my lifetime experiences in work and business have equipped me for my current role in helping NGOs thrive and succeed, especially in raising funds for the sustainability of the projects we support, particularly in the fields of arts and women empowerment. As I dedicate myself to these projects, my energy never wanes. The most crucial factor keeping me motivated is my prayer life. Everything I do is anchored in the priority I place on my spirituality and my deep relationship with the Lord. Relying heavily on Him and His guidance is what sustains me and gives me the assurance that I can fulfill my duties and always stay on the right path.
How old are you?
I will be turning 79 this October.
I am most known for ________
Since 1972 and continuing to this day, I have been most recognized for my involvement in the arts as a collector. It brings me immense joy and has become an integral part of my life. Collecting art fills me with pride and relaxation, considering the extensive collection I've amassed over the years, spanning nearly a lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Philippine Star
I am most proud of ________
Beyond all the art I've collected and my personal accomplishments, I take the greatest pride in my 55-year-old, happy, and united marriage. I cherish my four children, their spouses, and my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They bring us immense pride and joy as they are all God-fearing and share deep bonds of love. I hope that these values of a loving and united family endure beyond my lifetime, becoming my greatest legacy, even more significant than material wealth. Being centered on God is essential, and no amount of success can replace a loving and united family. My ability to organize events effectively has allowed us to not only benefit the beneficiaries but also support those in the creative field who have found their place in the sun.
What do you think is the biggest challenge, and the best thing, about being your age?
The greatest challenge I face at this stage of my life is preparing to meet my creator while maintaining good health on Earth. Maintaining good health enables us to serve others better, set an example for my children, loved ones, and future generations, and fulfill my role in nation-building. I hope to demonstrate fairness, honesty, and trustworthiness to my family so that they continue these values beyond my lifetime. At this age, focusing on my prayer life, physical and mental health, fostering peace within the family, and enjoying the company of like-minded friends who share our values are paramount. Bonding with friends contributes to our overall well-being.
How have you grown wiser in the past two years?
The past two years have been challenging due to the pandemic, but it has underscored the importance of our spiritual life, sensitivity to the needs of others, especially the marginalized, and placing God at the center of our lives. It has made us acutely aware of life's fragility, particularly after losing many loved ones and friends. This realization has reinforced the importance of our souls and the need to prepare for the inevitable. Our prayer life, both for ourselves and for others, takes on added significance. It's essential to prioritize relationships with family and those who care for us, considering their well-being, as they make sacrifices for us.
What are the best pieces of life advice you have ever received?
The best pieces of advice I can offer in life are: We cannot always obtain everything we desire in the exact manner we wish, and life is inherently imperfect in terms of fairness. Therefore, we must be prepared to experience victories and defeats. Additionally, our faithfulness to God is reciprocated with His faithfulness to us. Keeping these principles in mind helps us appreciate what comes our way as a blessing, rather than dwelling on what we may have missed. Gratitude is key in all circumstances. Maintaining a positive outlook on life, focusing on the positive aspects of others, and cultivating an attitude of appreciation can enrich our lives. In essence, having a positive perspective and counting our blessings are essential.
Who are the women you look up to and how have they helped shape your life?
The woman who has had the most profound influence on my life is my mother. She instilled in me the values I carry today, including my strong connection with the Lord and Mama Mary. Her devotion and prayer life have become integral to my own. I also learned practical life skills from her, which include adapting easily to life's challenges, finding positive solutions, and deriving happiness from what I have and enjoy. Additionally, two of my best friends, who became Carmelite nuns, have been part of my life for half a century. They have served as my guiding lights and prayer warriors throughout our lives, offering strength during difficult times.
Why is empowering other women entrepreneurs important to you?
Empowering women entrepreneurs holds great significance for me, which is why I am a member of the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs. It provides an excellent platform for me to contribute to empowering women. Empowerment gives women a better chance at success and equips them to face life's challenges independently, protecting them from unjust treatment and building self-confidence. Empowered women can pursue their careers and resist abuse from their life partners, becoming self-reliant. I believe that every woman deserves this privilege, and empowering them opens doors to numerous opportunities.
Photo courtesy of Interaksyon
What's something you'd like to tell 20-year old Maritess, if you could?
If I could relive my twenties, I would still pursue my education. I graduated from St. Theresa's College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and obtained my CPA. However, I would focus more on marketing and creative courses. Later in life, I discovered that marketing was my true passion. I enjoyed meeting people and effectively communicating with them, especially in the context of marketing our products in the export business. While I initially pursued a career in accounting, I found my niche in product development and marketing during my 20 years in the export industry, dealing primarily with artificial trees and flowers. Now, in my role in event management for NGOs like Artefino and FilipinaZ, my focus has returned to the creative and marketing aspects, which bring me immense joy. At my age, with good health, energy, and determination, the results of my hard work make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve and the women we empower. It's a way to give back for the blessings we've received in life, and I'm proud of what we've achieved with Artefino. It's a fulfilling opportunity in this stage of our lives, driven by pure intentions, and we treasure every step of the journey. Thanks to the cooperation of dedicated individuals, especially the trustees of Artefino, we've come together to create something that makes a significant difference in our communities and in the lives of the brand partners and entrepreneurs we've supported in their development. This is our greatest accomplishment, and we consider it our way of paying forward the blessings we've received in life.