WITHOUT question, this interview is due to a name, to a relationship, to the fact that he is Disodado Banatao’s son. This may sound unfair and discourteous, perhaps it is.
The curiosity and interest he arouse everywhere are also due to the same thing. He is the typical case of a son, who became someone, even if he has not done anything yet. While a lot of people inherit wealth (that’s coming too) or a title: he inherited a surname. When you inherit something, you always pay your duties, the greater the inheritance, the heavier the duties. Even with these duties, there are the advantages, if not privileges.
Rey Banatao seemed to have everything—he is handsome, rich, charming, candid. Candor is a part of him, he could beguile, remove the sting out of any refusal from anyone as he tries to put everything he hopes to build. He participates in many charitable and leadership programs by using his experience and education to help bring technology gap and develop methodology to put things in the right perspective.
The interview was more of a tête-à-tête, a sparkling conversation of casual topics.
MDL: One question, Rey… perhaps indiscreet: have you ever asked for your father’s help? Is he helpful?
DRB: We’re trained and brought up with deep self-reliance, deeply rooted character values. It isn’t just rhetoric, but pride, family pride. He doesn’t interfere with our careers, what we choose to do. He allows each one of us freedom in our every choice. Our mother, she is a saint.
Rey Banatao is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Entropy Resins, a California-based technology company that provides greener composite materials for sports, marine, transportation and building industries. He is currently incubating a new company focused on bringing small, distributable, power systems to off grid rural, undeserved or developing countries around the world. Banatao strongly believes that technology is the answer to solving many of the worlds problem’s, including lowering the carbon footprint, and providing energy and food security.
MDL: I believe your brother is into this too. Why do you all wind up in the founding of these high technology companies? Have you ever thought of trying something different that could spare you the risk of cutting a power figure?
DRB: Because it is in our blood, obviously. It wasn’t only our father, even our mother had something to do with high tech industry. I can’t find any other explanation, seeing it can’t have been the environment that I grew up in that solely influenced me. It is the simple atmosphere in our home, surroundings.
MDL: Comparisons will always follow you , a father who is genius, a marvelous mother, comfortable life, an intellectual background.
DRB: I’ve learned important things about people. If your name is Dado Banatao, people expect a lot out of you. They expect, perhaps too much and you must be good, you have to be. When you excel or deliver, they take it for granted, and whatever happens, whether it is to your own credit or due to your name.
But I am proud of it, obviously, very proud because I am glad to be my father’s son, proud of his impeccable example of hard work, dignity that characters a role model. It gives me this positive obligation to succeed, whether people give you a contract on a silver platter because they think you will succeed or because you are Banatao’s son.
MDL: Does he expect a lot, perhaps too much?
DRB: I don’t know what he thinks. We don’t discuss my career, but you cant argue that he has done so much, and he’s been so good.
MDL: And if you don’t succeed?
DRB: You must not expect to find yourself, or a reflection of yourself in other people. You have to take people for what they are, that is, different from yourself always. And then you can accept them.
MDL: One last question. Rey and I beg you to answer me sincerely, because it is a very important question that obviously concerns your father. Are you afraid of your father?
DRB: Certainly, but in a different way, with affection and reverie to him only because he is so unbending, so disciplined, hard working (his best quality), not only because he always turns out to be right in whatever he says or does, but because I don’t feel this constant comparison, that we his children, never felt we’re in his shadow—never. That is why we are able to do something ourselves. In every accomplishment, he is there, at the end, not to judge, like our mother.
We already know that his father became, a self-made billionaire, who did not particularly value money nor share political ideas of the rich. He was extremely aware of the hardships with which most of the Filipinos are in, which has been a crucial part of his education, reinforced by what he learned about people’s lives in his early childhood.
The sparkling conversation with Rey Banatao makes me remember the young man’s grace, his good manners, his capacity to put everyone around him at ease.
There was his every word, every gesturs. He is exciting, promising in the threshold of great power and accomplishments. His sense of deep moral values, his sense of pride— embodied in his parting words and belief.
Of right men, making the right decisions.