A woman entrepreneur’s pandemic journey to digital media

Published March 4, 2021, 10:29 PM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

Pen De Leon Manahan

Orange County based businesswoman Pen de Leon Manahan talks about publishing Spotlight Media Magazine for Asian Americans and her values in life

Pen de Leon Manahan is the epitome of success in the businessworld.

She has  all the elements – smart, beautiful, fashionable and very elegant. 

Highly successful as a health professional and  as  an entrepreneur since emigrating to the USA,  Ms. M , as she is fondly called by her followers and staff,  is also known to venture on new and exciting trades.

Show business called on her and she tried  concert promotion as she launched Spotlight Media Productions in 2019. She was able to bring forth sold-out concerts with the likes of Kaye Brosas and Angeline Quinto, and while sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic foiled the rest of her plans in the pipeline in terms of musical events, she managed to come up with something greater, a way to reach out to the rest of the world:  the digital Spotlight Media Magazine; a toast to her  relentless enterprising spirit.

“I am always willing to try new things and am not afraid of challenges. I always trust my instincts in the changing marketplace.

I thought a digital publication is perfect for a market of readers which is multiplatform,” she explains.

Since launching in September of 2020, Spotlight Media Magazine has already released three well-accepted issues, in both print and digital formats and is gaining much followers online. In fact, rockstar Arnel Pineda was even part of this mesmerizing Journey, gracing the festive cover of the Winter 2020 issue!

“The magazine aims to illuminate the the triumphs of Asian americans as they migrate to the US and live exemplary good lives. This reading material becomes inspirational to all immigrants. I want to make this as a bridge of hope as we provide Asian Americans their stories, their struggles and their successes.”

Ever-elegant, Ms. M is beyond  a business maven who takes the needs of those whom she serves, planting them as seeds while infusing them with her own creative ideas into life, writing out what it means to “bloom where you are planted.”

“I formed a formidable team of creative  writers and designers  at time where starting a  new business in a very unstable time is very challenging. But I am looking forward. The digital media arts is the way to go in these pandemic times and beyond.” she adds.

With this digital publication’s noble intentions, Ms. M was also able to share much of her style and practical views.

Most notably her fashion sense through the highly-followed Fashion segment; her heirloom recipes that readers have fun replicating in the comfort of their own kitchens and most of all, her gracious advice to readers struggling to cope with a personal issue through her very own advice column, “Dear Ms. M,” touted as a heart-to-heart talk with someone who truly cares, and hopes the best for those around her, especially for Spotlight Media Magazine readers.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Pen De Leon- Manahan’s story harks us back to 1987 when she first emigrated to the United States of America.

Such a bold, and daring move of course, takes a lot of might and courage. Pen states that she was “lucky enough,” to have a good start in the USA, thanking her educational background as the compass that set her first steps in this country, when in truth, her origins as an immigrant is already a glimpse of her might as a person! It is never easy to move to another country, to be far away from your comfort zone and everything you had ever known, but Ms. M, clearly, the writer of her life’s story, was able to ease so gracefully, even through the daunting waters of uncertainty.

Filipino First

Pen speaks proudly of her roots, “I will always be thankful for my Filipino upbringing. I believe that being a Filipino is the foundation of my success here in the USA, or anywhere I may be, for that matter.”

While she may be a proud and successful American citizen too, she is certain that being a Filipino is the reason that she has been able to not only assimilate with life in the USA but in fact conquer all her dreams, at every point in her life.

“You cannot expect me to just sit around and be contented. I am contented in the sense that I am so grateful for all the good things that God provides me, my family, my employees and community, but I always am looking for more, and through my latest endeavor, Spotlight Media Productions with my flagship entity, Spotlight Media Magazine (www.spotlightmediamagazine.com) I am able to do more, and touch so many more people’s lives in the process! And this engagement, this dynamic is what propels me to keep doing what I love; knowing that I somehow help inspire and motivate others just keeps driving me forward!”

On her friendship with Ruffa Gutierrez

Her foray to showbusiness enabled her to forge new bonds with other achievers, such as with celebrity, beauty queen and socialite, Ms. Ruffa Gutierrez. Of her friendship with Ruffa, Pen recounts, “I met Ruffa through two of my dear friends, when we all had brunch together at the Beverly Hills Hotel. What made me drawn to Ruffa was how she is both a glamorous and low-key personality.”

Adding that she was pleasantly surprised about how down-to-earth Ruffa Gutierrez is, Ms. M states, “But what I love most about her are her social grace and her intelligence. I feel lucky  knowing Ruffa Gutierrez, and also her beautiful daughter, Lorin. She even offered to host me when I come to visit the Philippines so we can have dinner with her parents too.”

Ms.M’s Beauty Secret

She speaks of  her beauty secret as putting kindness, love and gratitude on the forefront. “I believe in the basics: drinking plenty of water and eating healthy, but most of all, good vibrations and having a better outlook; staying away from all the negativity of life.” She further adds that she doesn’t hold any grudges with anyone. Indeed, all those blessed enough to work with Ms. M on a daily basis definitely agree that her beauty certainly comes from within.

Dear Ms M  advice column

 “Dear Ms. M is my advice column  and here I am  speaking not so much as a psychology expert, but just as a friend who will   listen,understand and help my friends – readers – make the right choice, the right steps toward becoming better.”she  further adds.

 The unstoppable Ms. M  at the end of the day reveals that her motto in life is to share. In all her endeavours in life, she has always shared.” Share your passions, share your skills, share your wisdom and when you share don’t do it because of the returns. Share because this is what links us together as people.When we are linked together, the world becomes a better place”  she closes. Indeed, Ms M , with people like you the world becomes a better world, even in this pandemic time.