When “Taxation” is brought into the equation, one name always springs to mind: Rex Banggawan.
At first glance, he may seem uptight, serious, and even intimidating, but he is humble, innovative, and passionate about what he does best – teaching.
While there are some people who try to drag his name down and dismiss his success, this does not stop him from proving that nothing can stop a man who is fueled with passion.
Get ready to learn more about one of the country’s most renowned tax authors – Rex Banggawan.
The Renowned Tax Author
We’ve all read and heard inspirational stories of people who worked their way to the top.
It might not be common knowledge to some, but Rex Banggawan is one of the success stories many people would be able to relate to.
Being a renowned Tax author and the CEO of the REO Group is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath it all are the struggles, challenges, and obstacles he went through that made him into the man he is today.
Who is Rex Banggawan?
Rex Banggawan is a Certified Public Accountant, tax author, a CPA-Reviewer (Taxation), the co-founder and chairman of Northern CPA Review (NCPAR), the founder and president of Real Excellence Publishing, the founder of Real Excellence Online Review Center, and the CEO of the REO Group.
He ranked 6th on the October 2006 CPA Board Exam and has been moving all over the country throughout his entire career, teaching in various provinces, including Davao, Cebu, Zambales, Bataan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Manila, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region, and the Cordilleras.
This alone is a testament to his passion and dedication to sharing knowledge and reaching as many students as possible.
Before he became the renowned Tax author everyone came to know, he had his own share of ups and downs.
Some of it even seemed insurmountable, but his grit, dedication, and perseverance were far greater than the challenges he encountered along the road.
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Dodging Life’s Challenges
Rex Banggawan was born a farmer, and at the early age of 4, his family was displaced by the battle between the military and the NPAs.
They had no choice but to leave all their belongings behind and start a new life in a small village near the town.
He studied under the small light coming from a lamp or a torch because they had no electricity to power even a small light bulb back then.
He would go to school barefoot and enter the school with his muddy feet. During weekends or vacations, while other children were busy playing and enjoying their free time, he and his siblings would work on the farm to earn a small amount of money for allowance.
Life was extremely hard for him – but even as a child, he knew this was the only way for his family to survive.
His parents always reminded him and his siblings to take their education seriously because it was the only way they could get through life.
They would also be constantly reminded that education will be their only legacy because they don’t have any properties to inherit.
In college, he did construction work to buy books and have an allowance, and his brothers even worked as security guards.
Rex always understood that there was no room for their wants – every penny must be spent on their family’s needs.
As if life’s hardships weren’t enough, Rex Banggawan also experienced one failure after another in his quest to give his family a better life.
In 2011, he made the first big investment of his life and put their family’s money into the mining business.
The profit was initially enormous, but due to unfortunate events, he lost his family’s savings and declared bankruptcy in 2013.
While this was a hard time for his family, he still viewed this as a blessing as it taught him a valuable lesson: there is no such thing as a “perfect opportunity,” no matter how profitable it is.
Aside from entering the mining business, Rex also invested a huge sum of money in commercial piggery. Since he loved farming, he knew that this business had huge potential.
It was all going well for him until the African Swine Fever (ASF) came into the picture. Once again, his business sustained heavy losses, and they had to put all operations to a halt.
This event helped him realize that he could not venture into a business he had no full knowledge of or control over, no matter how profitable it may seem.
When asked what he learned about these failed ventures, he said:
“I went through numerous ups and downs, but, despite all, I realized there is no fatal error in business if you are persistent enough to withstand the challenges.”
“There are no sweet guarantees of success, but you will grow financially if you know how to control your losses while maximizing your gains,” he continued.
“It’s always best to have numerous sources of income but move with calculated risks when diversifying.”
The following are some of the answers Mr. Rex Banggawan gave us during the course of our interview:
If you would face your younger self right now, what would you like to tell him?
Jobs will give you financial stability, but a successful business could give you financial freedom. Study to get a job to be stable but learn the arts of business to be free.
What advice can you give to start-up founders and aspiring entrepreneurs?
You can be a jack of all trades in identifying opportunities, but you must specialize once you identify the true ones. Scout within the area of your passion.
In business, focus on high-demand products or services and innovate to scale up.
Business is about fulfilling customers’ needs. Competition is a matter of how well you excel in fulfilling those needs and is not all about price.
“An opportunity is lost the moment you get cozy with it.” – Rex Banggawan, Founder and President of Real Excellence Publishing, CEO of REO Group
(This is the first of the two-part article series we’ve prepared about Real Excellence Online. Stay tuned for our next article focused on REO – how it came to be and how it became one of the biggest review centers during the COVID pandemic.)