Story of My Light

My lighting design firm, Toespin, turned 12 years old yesterday, March 3, 2022. It is truly a delight to celebrate these years, but the years before that were not all bright and sunny — far from it.

That day, 12 years ago, is still fresh in my memory. From our house in Caloocan city, our first home, I walked several blocks to register a business name at the nearest government agency for business registrations. My first choice was Luxoré — playing on the word lux, meaning light and the letters R and E, my initials. When read, the last syllable should sound like ‘ray,’ thus the acute accent. The letter “O” is there to bridge the two to sound fancy and sophisticated. My pinkies were raised as I handed over my application form to the public servant at the counter.

It was denied. Somebody else had previously taken the name. They were selling furniture, I think. Or was it salted eggs? I can’t recall anymore.

I had to come up with another one fast. The first thing that comes to mind when push comes to shove is one’s name, right? Because if you can’t remember your name, you are not in a position to introduce yourself.

So here is Toespin’s etymology. Its first two letters are the last two letters of my first name and the last five are the first five letters of my family name. If that sounded like I was talking from a speeding roller coaster, you’re not wrong. It’s probably the same way Google, eBay, Yahoo and Youtube got their names, too. Their names suggest absolutely nothing of the nature of business they’re in —my inspiration, exactly.

After a few minutes, Toespin was born. I had to do something to make sense out of what appears to be a senseless name taken from the dark by shedding some light into it. And oh, that light came. It came at a time when all the money I had in my bank account was just enough to pay for penalty for not maintaining the required minimum balance. I remember pulling up a gas station and told the attendant:

“Fifty, please.”

“Fifty liters, sir?”

“No, fifty pesos.”

True story. Not joking. I wasn’t bald yet.

And so as I look back, I do so with awe and wonderment. As Rafael Nadal would say it —unbelievable! It’s only through God’s grace that we have a business that has survived the years. That, and despite the fact that I started this when I was already 50 effing years old! That just proves that you can’t be too old to think young.

God favors the old and the balding. I’ll take that anytime of day. 

Story of my light. Cheers!


If you’ve been touched, amused, or entertained by this post, or it put a smile on your face, please favor me with a cup of coffee. I will continue writing.

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