RCBC Plaza and the Alfonso Yuchengco Legacy

It was less than a month ago, to be exact on April 15 which was Black Saturday, when news of Alfonso Yuchengco’s death thrust the country’s business community in greater mourning since the passing of Mercury Drug’s founder Mariano Que the previous day.

Alfonso Yuchengco (photo courtesy of Alchetron)

Unlike many of the country’s taipans, Alfonso Yuchengco, known to many as AY, was born to an already prosperous family, thanks to the efforts of his father Enrique Yuchengco, a Fujian-born immigrant who managed to establish some thriving businesses, notably the China Insurance and Surety Company which became the leading non-life insurance company in the country. But to his credit, AY managed to grow the insurance business, evolving into what is now Malayan Insurance and expanding into other businesses such as life insurance with Grepalife (which eventually entered into a partnership with Sun Life to become Sun Life Grepa Financial), banking through Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), and education through his purchase of Mapua Institute of Technology.

In addition to being a businessman, AY also served as a diplomat, having served as ambassador to Japan, Korea, China, and even the United Nations. Not to mention having served as special envoy for a number of diplomatic missions.

Alfonso Yuchengco’s legacy, both positive and negative, is very much visible with the presence of his businesses in different parts of the country. But perhaps what stands out the most as far as his legacy is concerned is the iconic building at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue: the RCBC Plaza. Continue reading


Manila1945: Death at De La Salle

As the Battle of Manila raged on with bombings and killings happening around the city, some people sought refuge at the campus of what was then known as the De La Salle College. Throughout the war, the school was allowed to operate despite the fact that a portion of the campus has been taken over by Japanese forces, thanks in part to its location which at that time was already considered the city outskirts, away from the activity going on in Intramuros and Downtown Manila. It also helped that some of the Christian Brothers were of German nationality, whose country is allied with Japan, giving them and the school a safe pass.

When the battle first began, the Christian Brothers (the Catholic teaching congregation that runs De La Salle) gladly took in some families who hoped that being in the campus would insulate them from the bloodshed and destruction going on outside. They, as well as the Christian Brothers, believed then that given the free rein the Japanese gave to De La Salle throughout the war, the campus and the people taking refuge there would not be touched. Sadly, that would not be the case.

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at the Philippine Bar Exams 2009 (Day 2)

Outside collegiate sports, I cannot think of any event that makes a show out of academic pride and spirit other than the Philippine Bar Exams. (those who disagree with this are welcome to voice their opinions though)

Held on four successive Sundays of September every year, hundreds of law graduates take (or retake) the bar exams, hoping to make the cut and become a full-fledged practitioner of law here in the country.

Traditionally, the exams were held at the De La Salle University campus in Taft Avenue, Manila since the school is one of the few universities before that did not have a law school. But with the news that DLSU plans to have its own law college, the holding of future bar exams there seem uncertain at this point. For now, this year’s bar exams are still held at the DLSU campus.


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