I am privileged to have witnessed the recent inauguration of the Toyota Alabang Service Center in Las Piñas City. I was present during its groundbreaking ceremony two years ago.
So, it is with a sense of pride that this modern and leading edge facility has finally become a reality.
The inauguration was as Toyota Alabang Inc. (TAI) celebrated its 29th year in the automotive business. The Toyota Alabang Service Center is considered as the biggest in Asia with a floor area of 31,602 square meters. It is also the only Toyota service center that will house both general job and body and paint services in one state of the art five-storey building which is structurally prepared to carry three more floors in anticipation of greater things ahead.
Attending inaugurations of new facilities are common, almost expected for growing businesses. This one however, touched my heart because I was part of the pioneering team when Toyota Alabang started its operations almost three decades ago. Witnessing how the company grew exponentially over the years gives me a sense of pride knowing that I was part of the organization during its infancy.
TAI is owned by Cesar T. Lee, known by many as CTL. I have a high regard for this man who believed in me enough to trust me to be in his employ. As a background, I became involved with the car industry straight out of college. I stepped into selling, into automotive financing and with some friends, ventured on a small business of trading used vehicles at the time when most of the car manufacturers closed shop during the economic crisis towards the mid-1980s. With a growing family, I needed a more stable job and that was when CTL took me under his wings to work in Toyota Alabang. I stayed in TAI for almost a decade. My youngest son even thought that TAI meant Toyota Alabang Isla.
CTL encouraged me to keep driving my career without stepping on the brakes at any time.
The rest is history. I changed gears from the Toyota Alabang dealership to move to Toyota Motor Philippines and finally to Lexus Manila Inc. Through the years, CTL remained a friend I have a high respect for.
I take pride in having been a part of Toyota Alabang and I honor CTL for his continuing pursuit of his vision and dreams. As I journey forward, I will never forget to look behind to remember how he jumpstarted my career.
Thank you Mr. Lee and congratulations on your continuing success in Toyota Alabang. I wish you the very best on your new Toyota Alabang Service Center.
Danny Isla is a 30 plus year veteran of the Philippine automotive industry. He began as a sales executive for Toyota Alabang and worked his way up to being the “First vice president for marketing” of Toyota Motor Philippines. He eventually became the first president of Lexus Manila before retiring early 2018. He loves golf, the Beatles and an evening of fun with good friends.