The history of the company equates to the life story of its founder and chairman, Raul J. Barbasa which started as a dream. Coming from a remote town of Panay in the unpopular province of Capiz, RJ as he is popularly known to his peers had his dream unequivocally postulated early on to become a millionaire as printed in the school's High School Yearbook- D’ Purisimian- only to become the laughing stock of his graduating classmates. Against the ill advice of his father, RJ so determined, had to scrounge every penny he could muster in order to migrate to Manila to pursue his collegiate education. He felt being at the top 3 of his class and having topped the first ever national college entrance exam in his province, his target to invade the University of the Philippines will not be much of a Herculean task. So after selling almost every fruit produce in their backyard, RJ was all set to purchase a boat ride ticket to Manila which costed a measly P39.00 then and his only accouterment was his dream. He was so vehemently serious and passionate of his bidding to his mom of never to make him come home until he makes it. That dream created for him millions many times over and landed him to various tourist destinations all over the world, not to mention his lifelong dream of living in the land of the free, America, if only to satiate his thirst for further knowledge in the spiritual realm.
Back at the University of the Philippines in 1973, when every one is a full time student, RJ would labor it out as a janitor cum stock clerk cum parking attendant at the posh Italian Village Restaurant in Makati just to send himself to college. When his lucky streak strikes again and passed a scholarship grant from Ford Foundation with a monthly stipend of P300, a little higher than the monthly take of an office employee at that time, RJ bid adieu to his mentor/employer, Jack Horrigan to become a full time student. This allowed his extrovert spirit to join extracurricular activities and became Internal Vice President of the UP Junior Executive Circle, Vice President of Psi-Hypnosis Society Inquest, Inc., Elder of the Coffer /Treasurer of his fraternity, Pi Alpha, a member of the Student Catholic Action and the UP Economics Society being an Economics major.
RJ has never lost sight of his dream. While in school he started selling milkfish in his neighborhood at Roxas District every weekend which he has maintained even after graduation. While working two jobs at a consulting firm and the Population Center Foundation, RJ expanded his milkfish business by engaging a partner and supplied wholesale to a number of institutional clients with the convenience of a Toyota Tamaraw service van they purchased to further expand the business.
Moving to a bigger company, the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines in 1979, with a pay raise 5 times his existing paycheck, RJ still finds time to maintain his moonlighting job at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business as Research Assistant of Dr. Jess Gotidoc under the office of the dean, Fr. Robert Bomeisl, S.J. Indefatigable and so passionate, RJ further equipped his credentials towards achieving his dream by pursuing an MBA degree at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. In the presence of the country's top entrepreneurs as members of the Delphi Group and with such connection available to him, RJ spared no business opportunity and enterprisingly captured the occasion to design and develop a business seminar program in partnership with the Ateneo. This window opened another opportunity for him to meet his lifelong friend, Alvin, who enticed him to venture into concert production and promotion. RJ obliged after entrusting his bangus business to his business partner and which he eventually endorsed to his cousin, Samuel as a sign of gratitude.
It was in the promotions business where he eventually achieved his dream at age 28. After 3 years, his luck ran out when his promotions business suffered a nosedive. A huge Typhoon Undang wrecked Iloilo City, Bacolod City and Roxas City where his promo team was scheduled - to complete the leg tour concert of Gary Valenciano with Lou Bonnevie and Willy Nepomuceno in the Western Visayas. While the previous shows in Luzon were blockbusters, the losses in the Visayas were more like a financial havoc to drain the company's coffers.
By some kind of divine design, such adversity turned out to surface as another opportunity. With a few dollars saved in addition to the financial backing of his sister, Cindy, who was working as a nurse in Houston, he used his remaining resources to move to America- to further his dream, which now translates to financial, spiritual and personal freedom. It was in Los Angeles where he finally found his niche as a printing business entrepreneur and operated Filbar's Printing and Graphics for the next 20 years. Significant to note is the role of Filbar's to be the only Filipino-owned and operated company to have clinched federal printing contracts with the U.S. Government. To date, the company still operates but was changed with a new name by its current owner. It was in America where RJ discovered the true wealth in life- the presence of true good friends, the learning curve he had developed and accumulated from having continuously studied in order to satiate his thirst for spiritual knowledge, the tremendous beautiful experiences and opportunities of having traveled and visited other places, the availability of disposable income and the freedom it affords to pursue a rich and relatively lucrative lifestyle, and the freedom of time and opportunity to share his newfound knowledge and modicum of talent in the field of writing as a newspaper columnist, a publicist, a songwriter, a book author, a business consultant, and the concomitant benefits that come with the package.
Coming back to the Philippines, not by choice but by another divine intervention in 2006, RJ initially overhauled the family business, Filbar's, Inc., a company name he created as a tribute to his most beloved grandfather-town treasurer-businessman but was operated by his brother for the next 30 years until he sold it. In another twist of fate, after streamlining the overall operations of FiIbar's, RJ is immersed again of venturing into a new business - FILBARS MARKETING EXCHANGE, INC or popularly known as FILMAX. In two years, FILMAX had only a few cities opened in the Philippines and two Asian Cities- Hong Kong and Macau. The company was already progressing rapidly into profitability considered lucratively significant when a group of ‘inside conspiracy’ attacked the computer system of the company and hacked its operations, causing the company to lose around P30 million in a single day. It was a little late to discover the evil plans and schemes of the technical staff that any future troubleshooting thereafter employed merely proved futile.
As they say, you could never put a good man down, and RJ, despite all the challenges and hurdles, espouses this old adage. Like a Phoenix, after long hibernating from the ashes, it will rise again to finally claim his true blessings, material prosperity and spiritual enlightenment.
Another adage, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything shall be added unto you," finally took its toll for RJ to finally succumb to the calling and understand the true nature of prosperity. For truly, happiness is nothing without someone whom to share it with, he believes. This time, at 55, RJ with his 4th wife was finally blessed with three wonderful sons, and his dream of wanting a beautiful family completed his dream and have all the inspiration and divine afflatus he needs to share his blessings.
In conjunction, the new company, from its original FILMAX is re-organized as a reassertion and continuation of its business philosophy,
"The end and pursuit of true development is meaningful only if it serves to uplift, direct and develop man's quality of life and provide him a means to forge his future". It was established on September 7, 2015 and will soon be incorporated to become PHILMAX CORPORATION.