The friendship of Alma Alvarez: San Diego’s pearl 

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San Diego: The alpha lunch. The stage setting for our first lunch at the Coronado Hotel was planned as no big deal. It lasted two hours.  “This is good,” she said. I felt an instant spark of connection.

Instinctively, I felt she would not stick to polite comments. It was my first glimpse that spring afternoon into a wonderful ruminating mind that took perspectives seriously. She was not afraid to admit she was on a learning curve. She loomed in my first impression, not as an intellectual know-it-all, but as someone willing to explore a topic in terms other than her own.

The open-mindedness is one of Ms. Alma Alvarez’s great gifts.  It comes more than intellectual curiosity, but from the deep charitable core of a lady CPA, who was in the midst of income tax preparation.

In many ways, the first lunch set the tone of a friendship: vulnerability and trust; a mutual barring, which meant there was a level at which we could be ourselves without softening or embellishments, swapping strength and weakness, exploring minds, as well as our hearts.

She talked about family, the business world, changes and supportive echoes that offered a thought or point of view often unexpected. We offered each other advice, came close to tears, laughed like crazy at some funny or forbidden memories.  It felt invigorating—more than the shared buzz from cherry wine.

Whatever hurt done to each by others, past or present, angered us. We instantly clicked!

Today, Alma copes with work, family and love. She also shares her expertise with the San Diego community—especially to those who have the courage to start their entrepreneurship journey.  She tells them what she thinks of their little or big businesses as she counsels them, in the best way she can.

What do we really know about her? She’s known in San Diego among the Filipino-American community with attributes of beauty, wit, charm, warmth, and the fundamental decency and refinement of a Cavitena. From my research, her credentials, award recognitions, community leadership, organization involvement can only be truly appreciated or admired, synopsized in pen and paper, whether in tone and substance. How alluring she looks when she evokes the accomplishments of her family and friends.

Like most of the young women in the Philippines, she mustered enough courage to start a life here in United States after college. She went to great lengths to support her family here and back home.

I have yet to know and hear of any fine person who has done more than she has done for the Fil-Am Community in San Diego.

People around her agree—her motives are beyond question and her word is gold.

From the time Alma Alvarez settled in San Diego, she felt it was a place to learn where you could experience anything and evolve in it.

“Life is best kept simple, pleasures simple and not measured through possessions,” she shared.

Alma’s formula for success? “I am instinctively guided by the Golden Rule, the value of honesty and hard work, tenderness and fair play, I try to set an example of guidance, make a way out of no way! That is why I love numbers!”

This interview is about a remarkable lady who has found her niche in San Diego through business counseling and entrepreneurship. It is not to praise, but simply acknowledge and share the pride of what it is to be a true human who cares and gives back during these turbulent economic times.

At the 70th Gala Dinner of the Fil-Am Community of LA (FACLA), her contributions to the community will be honored.


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