Success Story: Anton Mari H. Lim


By Alpha Miguel-Sanford


As the chief dreamer and implementer of the Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids, Anton Mari Lim, dreams not just for himself but for the good of others. He makes it his mission to help make people happy and also to support the needy. Aside from being involved with the Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids, Doc Anton is also the coordinator of Tzu Chi Foundation in Zamboanga City, co-founder of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc.

He hopes, dreams and envisions a community where all people are inspired to do great work in building a better community to live in.

This is his story:

AMS: Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.

Anton: I’m Anton Mari H. Lim, DVM, married to a very supportive CPA Marie Joyce Go-Lim and blessed with a chosen daughter  Isabelle Rose and son Jan Carlo Anton.  I’m a doctor of the nobler species.  I got my Veterinary Medicine from University of the Philippines-Diliman and my Masters in Business Administration from Ateneo de Zamboanga University.  I am the coordinator of Tzu Chi Foundation, Zamboanga Liaison Office since its inception in the year 2000. 

Tzu Chi Foundation is a humanitarian organization founded by Dharma Master Cheng Yen inTaiwan.  I’m a Catholic in a Buddhist organization. We run two centers:  the Tzu Chi Great Love Physical Rehabilitation and Jaipur Foot Prosthesis Manufacturing Centerand the Tzu Chi Great Love Eye Center.  These two centers are dedicated to alleviating the suffering of those who can be helped by Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation and those with eye problem but can’t afford the treatment.   I am also the past president of the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City,  and a co-founder of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc.   I am the chief dreamer and implementer of the ZAMBOANGA FUNDS FOR LITTLE KIDS.

AMS: Tell us about how you become involved in your current project and its mission?

Anton: I became involved with Tzu Chi Foundation when our principal fromManila came to Zamboanga City to conduct a large scale medical, dental and surgical mission benefitting over 5,000 recipients. After conducting two missions a year apart with still a lot of people needing help, I was challenged by Tzu Chi Manila to establish a liaison office in ZamboangaCity.  After involving myself in the two missions, I saw how hard the Tzu Chi volunteers work and witnessed their happiness in serving others, I hesitated for a few months but eventually gave in.  As they say the rest is history.

As for my involvement in the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation,  it started with my friend Jay Jaboneta who was then working as the head of the Social Media under the Office of the President of the Philippines. Jay Jaboneta came to Zamboanga City as a resource speaker of the Mindanao Blogger’sSummit.  During the summit, Jujimar Gonzales  told him of what he witnessed during one of their campaign sorties in Layag Layag where they chanced upon school kids with one school bags on one hand wading and swimming their way to school. 

After the summit, he relayed to me the story.  My initial reaction was of suspicious disbelief!  Tzu Chi pride itself of having extensive network of volunteers and supporters and in my eleven years of serving the nooks and crannies of Zamboanga City, I have never heard of kids swimming to go to school!

Although walking 2-3 hours to reach one’s school is fairly common event, Jay was disturbed by that thought and so was I.  Tzu Chi has ingrained in me for years to react with every event with compassion, to treat the pain and the happiness of people around you who have less in life as your own.  Putting myself in the shoes of those kids, I dreaded the thought of the cold water every day and swim to get to school!  For me it is an incredible and impossible thought at this age and time!

Since the  incredible story of the swimming kids was mentioned to me in jest,  It stopped with that conversation although I felt embarrassed not to have known about the story and told Jay Jaboneta that I will try to look for the unheard community and check the veracity of the story.

I spent the next few days asking around to no avail until a chance meeting with an old family friend yielded positive result.  In the meantime, Jay Jaboneta upon his return to Manila posted in his FACEBOOK wall about the story of heroic kids in Zamboanga City needing to swim to go to school and Marketing Guru Josiah Go commented “What will we do about it?” and what happened next is now known as the miracle of the Yellow Boat Project which became a FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE  later known as Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids, which was then chosen by the FACEBOOK Admin as one of its MOST INSPIRING STORIES and by then Associated Press, Jim Gomez. 

Since then it has grown into a national movement in five communities with little funds their own serving their YELLOW BOAT COMMUNITIES.  It is now a registered foundation named YELLOW BOAT OF HOPE FOUNDATION.

AMS: What is your vision of these projects?

Anton: Our vision for these yellow boat communities and those that will come after is for us to empower them enough, provide them with lots of love and usher in a sense of renewed hope by giving them the necessary tools to succeed so that they won’t need us anymore.

AMS: Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?

Anton:  My parents Antonio and Maria Yu Lim Bo are my role models.  I grew up witnessing my parents helping other people without much fanfare at crucial junctions in their lives, but it was not after meeting the founder of Tzu Chi Dharma Master Cheng Yen that I got to learn from her boundless compassion, positive energy and wisdom that made me realize the true meaning of success in life is.

I learned from her that it is in the little things we do with great love that will amount much to others.  After that meeting, I vowed to treat other people’s sufferings and happiness as my own.

The Yellow Boat Project is our first try to restore hope and empower a whole community.  We are still learning every step of the way aided by a wealth of talent of volunteers reading our daily FB posts!

AMS: What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?  Who are/were your motivators?


Anton:  I honestly and humbly feel that the greatest achievement in my life is still forthcoming.  In the meantime the sincere smiles and gestures of love, trust and support from friends and selfless army of Tzu Chi volunteers and donors plus the beaming smiles of those whose lives we have touched and hope restored are what keep us motivated and going.

AMS: If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they?

Anton: Living a grateful life with compassion, sincerity, trustworthiness and lots of prayers (not necessarily in that order) are the ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life.

I equate happiness and fulfilment with success!
AMS: What are your next goals for yourself?

Anton:  I truly believe that they are no accidents in life.  We are living our lives according to HIS plan.  I have stopped setting goals for myself and focused on setting goals for others especially for the communities we are helping.  I treat each day and the challenges and opportunities that come with it as life’s lessons in order to become a better person. 

I would like to inspire more people to change their definition of success by example.  It’s a scary thought and responsibility but I feel it’s the only way to go since alone we can only do so much.  Master Cheng Yen has shared with me this thought: “To help one person, do it by yourself but if you want to help a community you inspire others!” 

For me, inspiring them with words can only awaken them; it will take action and call to arms that they will forever be motivated and become inspired to become nation builders!
AMS: What is your definition of success?

Anton: SUCCESS = HAPPINESS!  If you are happy with what you are doing you are already SUCCESSFUL! 

This quote by Brian Tracy sums it all “Successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking “What’s in it for me?” 

Are you successful or unsuccessful? God greatest gift to us is FREEDOM… get to choose whether you want to be a SUCCESSFUL or UNSUCCESSFUL.


To read other inspiring Success Stories, click here.


About the Author: Alpha Miguel-Sanford, is the founder and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed, a personal development website, with the vision of educating and inspiring individuals in their pursuit of happiness and success. You can contact her at, follow and like her on Facebook Page AMSDaily and be friends with her on Twitter @identitysolved.