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Sari Yap on Mega's unlikely road to success

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Sari Yap, the founder and CEO of One Mega Group and Editor-in-Chief of Mega Magazine, was born into a well-off family, had an enviable education, and is now the queen of the country’s pioneer glossy magazine publishing group. However, in a recent interview with the GMA News TV profile program “Powerhouse,” she shared with host Mel Tiangco that the road to success was not easy.  

 Photo from Sari Yap's official Facebook page 
After graduating from college with a degree in Economics in, Sari left the country to pursue a Masters Degree in Spain. There, she experienced difficulties because of the language barrier, as well as discrimination from classmates. However, through it all, she never felt discouraged. Instead, she brushed it off and went back to studying hard, and eventually produced a Sobresaliente Cum Laude thesis.

Upon returning to the Philippines, her entrepreneurial drive led her to launch the first glossy magazine in the Philippines. She hoped that her magazine would show Filipina readers “na hindi kailangan malaswa yung suot mo para maging maganda ka.” She wanted to “impact the lifestyle of society in a positive way and showcase the best of the Filipino to the world.” What was already an ambitious task was made more daunting by the fact that back then, there were no glossies in the Philippines, only newsprint. This meant that the color separation and printing of the magazine had to be done in Hong Kong. However, Sari was not about to let that keep her from her dream. “Nung gusto kong magtayo nito, sabi ko, ‘Anong perang meron (ang parents ko) eh 250,000 lang ang pwede nilang maibigay sa akin but it takes millions to start this. So syempre I with the two hundred fifty thousand, I started. I asked people for help.” She then went on to produce the first Filipino-owned glossy magazine ever to be distributed in the Philippines. The magazine had a very slow start. Sari says, “Palugi kami ng apat na taon.” In fact, the company lost approximately P20 million during its early years, but still, Sari didn't give up. Competition began to sprout in the form of other Filipino-owned fashion glossies. While others may view competition as a setback, Sari realized that this helped her business by creating a larger market of advertisers. “Actually, nakatulong siya kasi when it became a mainstream medium, kasama na sa media plan. Mas madali na ang advertising ngayon.”   Sari admits that even with the success that she’s had, she would still get some sexist remarks from people in the publishing world. In one of the publishing conventions she attended, she recalls “Sabi nila, ‘So your father started this business?,’ sabi ko ‘No, I did.’ They just expected na minana ko lang, siguro walang alam ito.” Today, Sari’s brainchild, One Mega Group, remains one of the country’s top magazine publishing groups. In fact, it has grown immensely and now has 10 titles covering a wide variety of topics, lifestyles, and audiences. As for her personal life, Sari says that she’s happy being single for now. However she also says that she still looks forward to settling down. “I'm very happy now, but I'm sure I will be happier to be able to share this life with someone. But the correct someone.” — Grace Gaddi, PF/CM, GMA News  

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