Sunday, October 7, 2012

In God we trust (and also in stocks)

Sunday Inquirer Magazine/FEATURES/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Vintage Bo Sanchez discourse: 

“Why is Facebook so big today? 

“Because deep in our hearts, our most basic need, found in our DNA, written in our genetic code, is the need to belong to a community, a friendship, a network, a club, a family. 

“Forgive me for being flat-out corny, downright mushy, but whether you know it or not, whether you admit it or not, you have a desperate need for LOVE. 

“You were born with it. 

“Everybody has it. 

“Male or female, you need love.” 

So why do people follow him on Facebook, in public events and in various media through his blogs, books and other publications? Why do thousands here and abroad listen to his preaching and follow his advice on how to pray, how to love God and neighbor, make things work and live happy, progressive and successful lives? 

The answer is simple: Sanchez says things simply and makes them look and sound easy. And most of all, he shows us why something-like making money, for example-could be good and godly. 

For “If God is with us, who can be against us?” 

Eugenio Isabelo Tomas Reyes Sanchez, a.k.a. Bo Sanchez “the preacher in blue jeans,” is not the fire-and-brimstone kind of preacher who shakes the ramparts to mesmerize followers. Unlike many breast-thumping Bible-quoters, he does not try to impress his audience by rattling off Biblical verses and scriptural passages from memory.  For him, one or two verses could be enough to fill a Feast. 

Bo’s own personal life could explain how the guy can speak to everyone like he finds God in their most mundane everyday concerns. 

Born on July 11, 1966 in Caloocan City to Eugenio and Pilar Sanchez, Bo is the youngest and only boy in a brood of six. He recalls with great humor how he was “the most ungifted kid in the whole wide world.” He was poor in math, among other things. But at a young age he opened himself to grace.

In his easy-to-read “My Conspiracy Theory: A Brief Autobiography at the Middle of my Life” Bo begins: “I wrote my first book at age 20. I led the first prayer meeting of the Light of Jesus Family at age 14. I began preaching at age 13. I had my conversion at age 12. I was toilet trained at age 1, but that has nothing to do with this book.”

It is amazing how Bo has been able to sum up his life story into a booklet of 97 pages. “Chapter 1: My Childhood: Being the Most Ungifted Kid in the Whole Wide World” is as hilarious as it is heart-tugging. “Chapter 2: My Conversion—How God Became More Real Than the President” is just as interesting.

But the whole point of his autobiography is his warning “that there is a conspiracy of grace at work in this universe and heaven is scheming to bless your life.”

Now 46, Bo has been married to Marowe for 14 years and has two sons, Benedict and Francis.  He is the author of 25 books, many of them best-sellers-that are inexpensive, easy to read and understand inspirational and how-to books. The preacher, Catholic lay evangelist and entrepreneur was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in 2006.

“We now have 110 small Light of Jesus (LOJ) communities all over the world,” he delights in saying. “We want to have more Feasts all over.”

The Feasts are regular weekend gatherings that begin with a Mass, followed by inspired preaching and other sharing activities. Bo visits each LOJ group every chance he gets. LOJ Feasts are held in such diverse places as the US, Canada, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Hong Kong.

The founder of a spiritual movement and several charity institutions is careful to separate his spiritual life from the material, and is scrupulous about donations.

“I have been told to get an allowance like our other preachers but I declined,” he says. Contributions go directly to LOJ activities and projects such as the Feasts and their venues, two orphanages, a home for pregnant women in crisis, and Anawim, a home for the poor elderly, some of them abandoned. In Metro Manila, the Sunday Feasts are held at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Sunday Inquirer Magazine visited and featured Anawim, a sprawling haven of rest located in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal, some years back. Generous donors have made Anawim flourish to a point that the LOJ is planning to put up spiritual retreat facilities there, Bo reveals.

But Bo has no qualms about being in media.  “Media for the Soul” is LOJ’s foray into broadcast media, with Kerygma TV on IBC 13 and TV Maria, the Archdiocese of Manila’s cable channel.  There is also Gabay sa Bibliya sa Radyo on Veritas 846, Nakita Ko, Mustard TV and Inside the Fish Bowl, also on TV Maria.

LOJ’s Shepherd’s Voice Publications publishes K-FAM-Kerygma, a Catholic inspirational magazine, Fish (“the zany side of loving God”), All Stars and Mustard (“sowing seeds of fun and faith”)—all very youth oriented.

On the personal side, Bo has his home schooling project (with 200 enrollees), his books and other business investments. He also lectures on how to make money in the stock market. His book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market and Why You Should Too” is the number 3 best-seller in National Bookstore’s Top 10, and can now be downloaded for free as an e-book (

He sees no contradiction between his good deeds and his business savvy.  “Do you think the stock market is for billionaires only? A lot of people think that way,” he says.

“I teach people how to be wealthy over time,” he adds, referring to his “How to Make Millions Through the Stock Market” seminar (see sidebar) that, he says, is not a get-rich quick scheme. Many people lose money in stocks, “but if you follow the specific investing method that I will teach you, you’ll be able to create your millions for your future.”

Misery and poverty, he says, should not be our lot. It should not be a choice between being poor and being corrupt. For Bo, there is such a thing as “holy money” just as there is “holy sex.” All for the glory of God.

So how did he come to this?

When he turned 30, Bo decided to plot his life’s direction.  He was an experienced preacher by then and joining the priesthood was an option. “I finished Philosophy at the Ateneo,” he says, adding that it was some kind of preparation in case this vocation was for him.

But, he adds. “It became clear that I should remain a lay (person). Priests focus on the spiritual. As a lay person I could show people how to be good Catholics in the world.”

Summing up his goal, he says, “I want to speak to the un-churched.”

Having decided that, Bo found himself falling in love with Marowe who was with the LOJ staff. Marriage and family, he realized, were indeed for him.

Looking at this happily fulfilled husband and father, one can easily forget that he had experienced sexual abuse as a child. It is something that he has mentioned a few times in his preaching to convince people that there is hope for healing, and that a person should not wallow in victimhood but instead strive to be happy.

But Bo does not rely mainly on personal experiences for his preaching. “I do research, I read books. I write down everything that I intend to say and this may take several hours. Then when I am out there preaching, I do not carry notes.” 

His life story is proof that “Grace happens every day,” he says. “Open yourself to extreme, excessive, extravagant grace.” 

If that’s not enough inspiration for you, you can get more of God’s “unique, inspiring, powerful, personalized message everyday” by signing up at •

Four Rules for Getting Rich 

Brother Bo Sanchez never tires of quoting Proverbs 21:20 in the Bible: “Precious treasure remains in the house of the wise, but the fool consumes it.” 

Definitely no fools are Bo’s maids—Gina, Weng and Maricel—who have invested in the stock market and have since watched their investments grow. Hearing them rave about their earnings, Bo’s skeptical driver bought stocks as well and is now convinced that his boss’ “The Truly Rich Club” is for real.

The four helpers’ good fortune is an affirmation of Bo’s belief that everyone ought to be rich-not only spiritually, but also materially. And the Catholic preacher in blue jeans unabashedly tells one and all that there is a right way of doing it. For money is not evil; it could, in fact, bring much good.

Bo’s book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market” is a runaway best-seller. Just as numerous as the readers of his books are the active participants in his regular weekend spiritual Feasts here and abroad.

Many of those who heeded Bo’s Bible-based spiritual exhortations are now as gung-ho about achieving material wealth, while those who were initially attracted to his talks on material prosperity have begun working on their spiritual lives as well.

But Bo does not only preach or write about material wealth; he actually shows people how to do it through well-attended seminars, where financial experts walk wide-eyed beginners through the step by step process of making millions.

Bo’s “How to Make Millions Through the Stock Market” seminar two weeks ago at the Philippine International Convention Center drew about a thousand participants.  Coaching them on the so-called easy investment plan (EIP) were experts from, and the head of, online stockbroker Col Financial.  A disclaimer from Bo: He is a believer of Col Financial, but does not work for it.

Not a get-rich scheme, the seminar was about investing “the right way to create your millions for the future.”   To do this would require discipline and resolve as wealth happens “over time,” the participants learned.

This is not about the frenzied buying and selling of stocks, nor gambling-style trading and hard-to-decipher figures and graphs, Bo said. It’s not about trading to make a fast buck but long-term investing; there is a world of a difference, he added.

Mid-lifers and senior citizens who listened to the talk are now asking: “Why didn’t anyone tell us about this when we were in our twenties or thirties?” Parents who put in and lost their money in educational plans that went pffft could very well ask the same question. But it’s not too late, if the financial coaches are to be believed.

The gospel of EIP is about investing in publicly-owned or Philippine Stock Exchange-listed companies, thus participating in their growth and earnings. The investor makes money through price appreciation and dividends. Investing this way is a hedge against inflation.

At the seminar, one learned new terms and stock market jargon like peso cost averaging and strategic average method, current price, buy below price and target price. Presented were four rules in making money through EIP in the stock market, or ways to accumulate, upon retirement, P10 million (or much more) that one cannot earn through one’s savings in the bank.

Here are the four rules to getting rich through the EIP:

1. Invest small amounts (P1,000 and up) at regular times (say, weekly , monthly, or quarterly) without fail for 20 years or more.
2. Invest even when there is a crisis.
3. Invest only in giants.
4. Invest in a number of giants.

Other tips to remember: Never sell for 20 years, just keep on buying. You can sell at a certain point, but buy below price.

Perhaps one of the best things about this EIP investing scheme-for both the young once and the young ones-is that they can do it online. But one needs to be computer literate to navigate the online platform. (Visit One can also do it on one’s feet, minus the computer. Bo’s provides regular stock updates, suggestions and, of course, inspirational messages.

As the preacher has stressed again and again, the goal isn’t to become multimillionaires. “As I teach (people) to build their financial wealth, I also teach them to build their spiritual wealth. They need to grow in their character to handle big money, or it will destroy them. I remind them that the purpose of wealth is to love others. Use your wealth to serve God,” Bo said. CPD

Bo Sanchez is inviting the public to the Kerygma Conference 2012, the biggest Catholic inspirational conference in the country. Now on its fifth year, the conference offers two whole days of inspiration with 14 streams to choose from on Nov. 24 and 25. This will be held at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. For tickets and inquiries, call 725-9999 or visit