SGV Founder turns 88, urges people to focus on basic values

SGV & Co. partners and principals, led by SGV Chairman and Managing Partner Cirilo Noel, hosted a celebration for SGV Founder Washington SyCip on his 88th birthday. Leaders in business, civil society, government and the diplomatic corps joined Wash SyCip’s family and friends to honor him.

At the celebration, SyCip was described as “a man of boundless vision and hope for the Philippines and the Filipino people. With his phenomenal role in local business and management, we would like to think that Wash SyCip has made – and continues to make – the Philippines a better place for all of us. In the recent years, Wash SyCip has devoted much of his time and resources to pressing issues that have become his passions – education, microfinance, rural health and housing for the poor. Ever the optimist, Wash SyCip is confident that poverty in the Philippines can be solved. He will never give up on the Filipino people.”

Later in the program, Chairman Noel announced SGV & Co.’s pledge in honor of SyCip to build a Gawad Kalinga village with an initial gift of 88 houses in Camarin, Caloocan City. Tony Meloto, adviser and founder of Gawad Kalinga, joined Noel in presenting SyCip with a miniature house to symbolize the gift. Noel noted that Gawad Kalinga “places a strong emphasis on values, particularly in the restoration of the poor’s dignity, which directly addresses the core of poverty. Gawad Kalinga has sparked a spirit of optimism that the Philippines can overcome poverty, the same advocacy Wash SyCip espouses.”

In his response, an emotional SyCip shared with his guests the lessons he has learned in his years in business. “In these eighty-eight years, global and local events that have shaped our lives have made me realize that it really is the simple things that are the most meaningful. People seem consumed with the need to acquire more wealth, more power, more positions of authority, society seeing them as benchmarks of success. But as I see it, what endures are the basic values that provide the framework for a long fulfilled life… fairness, honesty, decency, transparency, accountability, happiness, humility, charity and may I add my personal favorite, integrity.”

Notable guests who attended the dinner were former President Joseph Estrada, Secretary Arthur Yap, Senator Manny Villar, Senator Franklin Drilon, Representatives Jose de Venecia and Cynthia Villar, former Finance Secretary Jose Pardo, former Senator Jovito Salonga, and former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban. The big names in the business community also came in full force such as Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Henry Sy, Sr., John Gokongwei, Lucio Tan, Tessie Sy-Coson, George S.K. Ty, Lance Gokongwei, Oscar Lopez, Jose Concepcion Jr., Manuel V. Pangilinan, Jose L. Cuisia, Oscar Hilado, Ramon del Rosario, Jr., Andrew Gotianun, George Yang, Luis Miguel Aboitiz, Alex and Marixi Prieto, Edison Coseteng, Ricardo Delgado, Stephen Roxas, Ambassador Jesus Tambunting, Antonio Cojuangco, Aurelio Montinola and Vicente Paterno.