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Captains of industry

Jojo G. Silvestre

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While Upsilonians have proven their mettle in politics, diplomacy and local governance, a number turned out to be outstanding in the field of business.

Antonio Rivera Quirino ’26 founded DZAQ-TV of Alto Broadcasting System (ABS), the first television station in the Philippines. Its first airing was on23 October 1953, with President Elpidio Quirino appearing live before televiewers, the first Filipino to do so. Atty. Quirino would sell his shares to merge with another company, thus creating ABS-CBN , which exists to this day as the number one television network in the Philippines.

Norberto Quisumbing ‘49 became a stalwart in the manufacturing sector when, together with his wife, Britta, he founded their first company in 1962 with a total capitalization of Php5,000. Its initial venture was the distribution of motorcycles produced by the Yamaha Motor Corporation.

The couple’s company, known as Norkis (which stands for the first syllables of his first and family names, respectively, although the “quis” in Quisumbing has been respelled as kis) initially imported 11 Yamaha YG-1. The demand soon grew and it eventually became number one in the sales of motorcycles all over the country.

Norkis, since its beginning, has sold over a million Yamaha motorcycles through its 200 branches and 600 dealers across the country. Its 5,000 workers are known as “Norsikans.” The Norkis Group is now composed of four flagship companies and 34 more companies engaged in production, sales and servicing of Yamaha motorcycles, econobikes, multicabs and Filcabs.

Norberto’s other ventures are in financing, metal fabrication and engineering work, agribusiness and real estate, and the exporting of furniture and metal crates.

Although Jorge Araneta ‘53 belongs to a family that has owned lands planted to sugar in the Negros Islands, his interest and involvement in real estate began when his father bought and developed a piece of commercial property in the Cubao area, Quezon City, now known as the Araneta Center.

Araneta is now more focused on urban real estate property development, specifically the family-owned Araneta Center, their centerpiece project where they sell and lease real estate properties. He is also chair of the Araneta Group which is in food franchising (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Dairy Queen). Araneta Center is the venue of shows and events featuring local and international artists, sportsmen and beauty queens. Jorge is a director of Philippine Seven Corporation (Philippine franchisee of 7-Eleven) and co-founder of Medical Doctors, Inc. (owner and operator of Makati Medical Center).

Edgardo Espiritu ‘55 is a known leader in the financial world. He served as President of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., International Bank of California, Philippine National Bank, Westmont Bank and the First Philippine Fund. He has been chairman since 1984 and serves as director of Datem, Inc. He was also appointed as Secretary of the Department of Finance and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Iceland.

Fernando B. Malveda, ’77 is highly regarded in the agrochemical industry. He is the chairman and president of LEADS Agricultural Products Corp. and LEADS Environmental Health Products Corp. He has held top positions in companies engaged in the manufacture of agricultural chemical and agricultural products.

Through his Leads Agricultural Products Corp., he has been able to reach out to Filipino farmers and farming families and respond to their particular needs. Leads’ affiliate companies include the LEADS Environmental Health Products Corporation, and LEADS Animal Health and Natural Solutions Corporation, which produce high-quality and affordable agricultural, environmental, animal health, household and pharmaceutical products.

Claudio Altura ’54 is one of the owners of SKI Construction Group, a construction firm engaged in infrastructure, nuclear, petrochemical, electronics and mass transit projects.
The list is long and includes such names as Pio P. Pedrosa ’22, Roberto S. Benedicto ’36, Pablo R. Roman ’33, among other Upsilonians who have built business empires, developed lands and founded companies that have employed thousands of Filipinos.

Many more Upsilon Sigma Phi alumni belong to the roster of the Philippines’ foremost executives of commerce and industry.

1960s

Some accomplished and prominent Upsilonians from this decade include: Merardo T. Arce ’70 (Commander, New People’s Army), Mel Sadang ’72 (Justice of the Court of Appeals) Jesus Crispin C. Remulla ’79 (Congressman and Governor of Cavite), Rodolfo O. Reyes ’78 (Governor Philippine Red Cross and former Chairman Cagayan Economic Zone Authority), Rey I. Velasco ’74 (Chancellor UPLB), Rico Puno ’74 (Undersecretary DILG), Paolo Miciano ’77 (AFP General, Special Forces),  Jacinto V. Paras ‘71 (Congressman , Negros Oriental), Victor C. Avecilla ’79 (Columnist & Professor), Benjie T. Dimaano ’76 (National Chess Champion), Louis C, Biraogo ’79 (Citizen Barok, Public Interest Advocate), Dr. Teddy Herbosa ’78 (Former Undersecretary, DOH and Executive Vice President of U.P. System) Enrique I. Quaison  ’79 (Corporate Secretary, ABS-CBN), Ding Navasero ’70 (Thespian and Actor), Julius Torres ’72 (Ambassador) Jack Arroyo ’74 (Pioneer of eye laser surgery in the Philippines) Johnny Alegre ’79 (World recognized Jazzist) and Dr. Joy Novero ’78 (Invitro Fertilization Pioneer and head at St. Lukes).

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