By Pauline Faye V. Tria
Who says genies only exist in fairytales? Austostrada Motore Inc. president Marc Soong, 38, is just that.
Being in the automotive industry since 2002, Marc recounts the many challenges he faced since then, but his passion for cars remain as the constant thing that helped him through his hurdles.
“It takes a lot of passion to do what you do, and the brands I think are very passionate. So I think it’s a good fit with me. So yes, I am very passionate,” Marc says.
Marc shares how dealing with people has been the greatest lesson he has learned in his career.
“Basically I’m a salesman. You learn how to read people. For me it’s a big tool, socially, professionally, [and] personally,” he says.
He recounts how he lost the brands for his company, and picking himself up proved to be one of the most difficult things he had to encounter.
Marc describes the luxury car market as a growing segment, and despite people telling him not to pursue it, he went for it nonetheless because cars are his passion.
His journey to becoming a real-life genie started unexpectedly when the Yolanda tragedy struck, and he ended up staying for seven days to deliver goods to the affected people.
After Marc’s accidental charity work, he proceeded to keep the ball rolling and helped deliver more goods to the indigenous communities such as the Aetas.
In 2017, Marc celebrated his birthday by partnering up with Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants “wishes” of children with illnesses.
He shares how he granted the wish of a kid called Chan-Chan, and how he wanted a sports car. Marc then took him to the race track and let him ride one of his famous sports cars.
“I was so touched by what happened that since 2017 my friends and I have granted more than 35 wishes,” March shares.
He says some of the children wish for simple things, such as a plastic teacup set, a bike, and others, and it ignited in him an urge to keep doing more charity work.
Make-A-Wish Foundation formed a new format called a “wish journey,” where the child writes a list of some of the things that he or she would like in a journal, and for this year, Marc helped 16-year-old Jhamel Acebo.
Her “wish journey” contained wishes such as a Bible, a laptop, meeting her celebrity idols Nadine Lustre and James Reid, and many more. And Marc made it all happen.
When asked what the most luxurious gift he could ever give is, he says it’s time.
“It’s more than just giving cash here, cash there, to help these charities. What I do personally is, I don’t really give much, but what I do is I give my time,” Marc says.
With everything he has learned, Marc says he would like to be known as someone who has helped people.
“I’m a much stronger person than many. And I’d like the opportunity to share with everyone all the learnings I’ve had. I’d like people to remember me as the guy who was able to make a difference,” Marc says.