Galileo Enrichment’s Rowie Juan Matti, Part 2

Galileo Enrichment is a popular learning program in the Philippines and last week, we looked at how Rowena “Rowie” Juan Matti, with the help of her family, made it grow.

“It was a blessing,” says Rowie. “Since Galileo is a family business that we run by ourselves, with a philosophy that we believe in, we can more effectively serve the community. We believe that learning should be fun, and that with good teachers, students will realize that learning can be fun. We believe in multiple intelligence, and we teach in different ways suitable for each child.”


Galileo is one of the first in the country to give enrichment lessons on Singapore Math and financial literacy. In summer, Math Art is offered, where basic concepts of elementary math are learned through artistic activities. In English, Galileo focuses on comprehension, the skill that Rowie feels Filipino students need more of.

Galileo hires education graduates and invests in their training. For instance, math coordinator Maribeth Lamis, a master’s degree candidate in Education from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, regularly visits the various centers to update teachers in Singapore Math.


In a country where learning centers are now ubiquitous, the investment of Galileo in its teachers differentiates it from others.

“Some of our present teachers applied in Galileo because they see that we are credible and that what we are doing is right.”

The results are children who do better in school and, more importantly, who grow to love learning.

“We see improvements after six months to a year in the students in our Galileo centers,” says Rowie. “Many make it to the honor roll. Some win competitions. Others make it to science high schools. But what I like most is that our students generally love learning.”

Walk the talk

Rowie sees this in her two children. Bea, 20, and Selina, 18, are both achievers, having been in Advanced Math and Science classes at Assumption in Makati. Bea, who is majoring in Applied Corporate Management, is on the dean’s list at De La Salle University in Manila, while Selina is set to join her sister this coming school year.

“When my girls were growing up, their favorite teachers were those who were competent and who taught well. Selina had a math teacher who was able to make the subject accessible, so she became very interested in the topic and was inspired by the teacher to do well. In the future, Selina also wants to teach in our centers.”


Not surprisingly, Rowie’s nephews and nieces are also doing excellently in their schools.

Many family businesses make the mistake of not exposing their children, while young, to the enterprise. When the children are grown, the older generations despair that the younger ones show no interest in the business.

To give her children a sense of ownership in the family business, Rowie continues the family tradition of having her children help out during summer. Bea checks the instructional materials, while Selina assists the teachers in the centers. They are given an allowance, and take pride in what they do. Selina in particular cannot wait to work in Galileo and Sacred Heart (started by Rowie’s mother Charito and father Sonny) full-time.


As we have seen, Rowie and her younger siblings Rafael, 46, Rommel, 44, and Rosario (“Ria”), 30, are also involved in the family business, albeit in other areas, such as food, manufacturing, social media. Though they now have their own families, friends, and concerns, they remain very close.

The Juan family pray together at five every Wednesday afternoon. “At first, when we got married, we found it hard to schedule weekly prayers. But Dad said that we have been through a lot as a family, and prayer pulled us through. In-laws were not required to join our prayer, but sometimes they drop by.”

The Juan family (this time, with in-laws and children) meet for lunch every other Sunday in the family home in Malabon, where patriarch Sonny would cook tasty meals. They revel in each other’s successes, and comfort each other during times of trial.

Sibling rivalries are the downfall of many family businesses, but because of their upbringing, the Juan siblings have avoided this. “We push each other up. We talk every day, and we get energy from each other.”

How are problems resolved? Of course, not everyone can be in agreement all the time. “When we disagree on a certain matter, we explain our reasoning. We have to research and study why another alternative may be better. But we have to stand by what we say and do.”

“It is impossible to separate personal things from the business, unlike professional corporations. You have to love what you are doing. You have to love your family. You have to respect your parents and your elders.

“Most of all, you have to respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Raffy and I are in operations, Rommel in marketing, Ria in social media. Dad still takes care of finances, though we have hired good people here. Kung saan magaling ang isa sa amin, bayaan mo na siya diyan.”

“Dad always tells us that business is a cycle. May tataas, may bababa. For example, if our education business is down this year, then food business is up. We work hard, we rely on each other, we pray.”

“I feel so privileged to be able to provide employment to many people, and to make our centers not just places of work, but places where people can learn and grow,” says Rowie. The family recently created its family business constitution, with the help of the Ateneo Family Business Development Center.

This year marks Galileo’s 10th year, with 36 centers nationwide. To mark its anniversary, Galileo will offer the 3rd Singapore Math Learning Festival from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4, 2015 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati.

With the theme “Preparing for the Future: Creativity and Innovation Through Singapore Math,” the festival aims to educate teachers, school administrators, parents, students with innovative strategies in using Singapore Math to develop skills needed for the modern world. Disclosure: My son Scott and I are plenary speakers, discussing the foundations of Singapore Math and their place in the Filipino curriculum.

Ann Marie Wongchuking-Pato, Galileo director, is also plenary speaker, discussing the trends in Singapore learning. Parallel sessions are led by various educators from schools and NGOs. Call Galileo at 8451234 or 5536193, e-mail [email protected], or visit

Queena N. Lee-Chua is on the board of Ateneo de Manila University’s Family Business Development Center. Get her book “Successful Family Businesses” at the University Press (e-mail [email protected]) E-mail the author at [email protected]

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TAGS: Business, column, galileo enrichment, queena n. lee-chua, Rowena ‘rowie’ juan matti
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