FEATURE: Engr. Danilo Tamayo

Being underprivileged should never be an excuse to achieve your dream. This mindset pushed Engr. Danilo Tamayo to attain his almost impossible goal of building a construction empire.

A native of Buguey, Cagayan, Engr. Tamayo travelled all the way from the northern part of Luzon to enroll in National U.

“Gusto ng tatay ko, tumigil na ako, magsaka na lang ako sa bukid. Pero ayoko, ang ginawa ko, ibinenta ko ang mga natitira naming binhi at wala silang alam, lumuwas ako ng Maynila, at dito sa NU tinanggap na ako.”

His father wanted him to take up a degree in education then but Engr. Tamayo had other plans.

“Pumunta ako ng Manila just to study in NU. I took up Civil Engineering. Yung mga professor namin dati sina Mr. Segui, Mr. Salumbides, Mr. Lara at iba pa, mga practicing professionals. Kaya kahit magulo nun ang fraternities, hindi ako umalis, kasi bakit ako aalis ng NU eh ang gagaling ng professors.”

Engr. Tamayo entered National U as a scholar after finishing with the highest honors in high school. But soon after entering his sophomore year, he almost stopped studying when he failed one of his subjects.

“Wala kaming Chemistry subject nung high school, so blangko ako at bumagsak ako, nawala yung scholarship ko. Far-flung place kasi kami kaya yung curriculum namin, hindi kasama yun.”

He also admitted that he had a hard time continuing his studies not only because of the wild fraternity situation in the university but also because his father who was at that time a small farmer in his hometown could not support all the education expenses.

“Nag-join ako ng fraternity kasi ang purpose ko nun ay para meron akong mahiraman at mautangan. Kasi yung tatay ko hindi kami kaya (pag-aralin), kaya lahat sila sa frat nahiraman ko.”

Despite the hardships, he pulled strength from the love of his life, his beau back in college and now his wife and business partner Engr. Cynthia Tamayo who also studied in NU finishing BS Civil Engineering. With his perseverance and resourcefulness, Engr. Tamayo graduated in 1978.

After graduation, Engr. Tamayo became part of several construction firms and rose from the ranks as foreman to project engineer and eventually a vice president. Unfortunately for him in 1997, during the Asian Financial Crisis, the company he was working for folded up and he became jobless. Armed with knowledge he acquired from National U and his previous jobs, he and his wife took a leap of faith and used their P50,000 savings to establish DDT Konstract Inc., a labor-subcontracting firm that soon became popular for quality work on small residential and commercial projects.

It was not an easy path but their resilience made them reach the top. For more than 20 years now, DDTKI has become known as one of the country’s biggest companies in the construction industry working with some of the country’s largest real estate companies such as SM Group, Ayala Land, Filinvest Land and Robinson Land to name a few.

While DDTKI is known in the construction industry, it has also set up a foundation and now has around 600 full scholars who are all studying in college.

“We know how it feels to be hungry, we know how it (feels) not to take the exam dahil walang pambayad sa tuition. We also know the feeling of a parent na hindi nya kayang maipadala ang anak nya sa school. Yung foundation, yun ang purpose nun, kasi may mga batang deserving na hindi makapasok. So, I said, this is going to be our core purpose.”

After establishing himself in the construction industry, Engr. Tamayo admits that he owes a lot of his success to National U so he wants to keep inspiring the young generation. At present, Engr. Danilo Tamayo still sits as the chairman of DDTKI and works with his wife who is also one of the pillars of the company. Engr. Tamayo vows to remain hands-on in his business empire while continuing his aspiration of helping students in need.

 

Article written by: AARomero (interview excerpts for Heritage II)

FEATURE: Architect Geremias A. Barcebal

For us to succeed, we must take risks.

This is what Architect Geremias A. Barcebal had in mind when he took the plunge and flew to Saudi Arabia to fulfill his dream of becoming a successful architect.

A native of San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro, Architect Geremias dreamt of becoming an architect even when he was young. And choosing National U is something he did not hesitate to do because it apparently runs in the family.

“My siblings are all NU, my brother who is now in the United States took up Electrical Engineering, siya ang nagdala saken sa NU. Even if my father wants me to go to another school to take up Civil Engineering, ang puso ko art ang passion kaya Architecture ang pinili ko.” All six of them studied in National U taking up Civil Engineering, Sanitary Engineering, Doctor of Dental Medicine and Architecture, respectively.

During his time in the university, Architect Gerry was very active in joining competitions that according to him played a huge part in his career’s success. One of those is the nationwide design competition focused on “Eco-Independence” in 1980 were he was among the winners alongside other National U delegates.

“It became my path to success. Dun nagsimula lahat eh, nakita yun ng mga Arabo, at hindi lang ng mga Arabo, maging ng royal family. “

Barcebal studied hard that he finished the Architecture program for only 3 ½ years. After his graduation in 1980, he immediately flew to Saudi Arabia due to various working opportunities there. One of his first jobs was working for Prince Moteib Khaled Sudairy (Shilia Company) in 1980 to 1984 as an architectural designer. Despite being young in the architecture field, in 1984, he worked as the Chief Designer and Officer-in-Charge of Al-Mahdi Consulting Architects. And in 1989, he became part of the Al-Mutlaq and Bu-Nuhayah Consulting Engineers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. From being the design and technical director, he is now the Assistant General Manager of the firm, the highest position held by a foreign national in a firm ran mostly by Arabians. His work specializes in bank design and project management and he had projects not only in Middle East but also in some parts of Europe and United States of America.

Barcebal shared that it was a mix of hard work and constant prayers that made him survive his college life. He recalled that he would always visit the twin churches located near National U. “I remember then, I will not go to NU unless I passed by the two churches in Bustillos. I will go there at 6 in the morning then 11PM before umuwi. Maaga ako pumupunta sa NU kasi masarap mag-aral sa umaga sa school.”

He also shared that he focused mainly on his studies why he was able to graduate ahead of time. “Noon kasi madaming fraternities sa NU, actually sa lahat ng mga school around Manila, pero I chose not to join. I would tell them; I can help but I can’t join. I put limitations kasi priority ko nun yung pag-aaral.”

And in almost four decades of constant work in the field, Architect Barcebal gives back to National U through constant participation in the College of Architecture’s activities. He also became part of the Don Mariano Jhocson monument project as one of the design donators. Right now, Architect Gerry wants to help teach the aspiring architects through his work ethics. “Lagi (kong) sinasabi na sa bawat gagawin mo, kailangan ibinabandera mo ang NU, hindi mo pwedeng kalimutan, kasi part na ‘yan ng buhay mo.”

At present, Architect Barcebal is still working for the Saudi Arabian company while also managing the PH-based companies he owns – the MB+B Group International Inc., where he acts as the CEO and the GA Barcebal Builders where he is the President and General Manager.

 

Article written by: AARomero (interview excerpts for Heritage II)

FEATURE: Architect Arnulfo “Arnold” De Asis

In 1945, the Architecture degree program was added into National University’s growing number of course offerings. Since then, it has produced thousands of architects who are continuously bringing pride to National U. One of them is Architect Arnulfo “Arnold” De Asis, a proud alumnus from batch 1978 and a co-founder of one of the country’s top construction firms.

While his company boasts of its indestructible foundation having been in the business for 35 years, Architect Arnold De Asis admitted that he had a wobbly start in achieving his dreams.

“I entered NU in 1972, parang naka-one-year lang ako, and then I stopped on my second year because wala akong pang-tuition. My father who has a farm in Samar sinabihan ako na mag-quit ka muna, kasi may bagyong dumating nasalanta ang farm, hindi natin kaya ang tuition.”

He was then asked if he would like to continue studying in the province, but he was already locked on his target of becoming an architect. After stopping for a year, he was able to return and study again in National U. He recalled that one of the most memorable experiences during his college life was the struggle to go up and down of NU’s main building.

“We had to climb 5 floors every day because there was no elevator. Ang architecture kasi was on the 5th floor, the whole architecture, and because of that, I failed some of my subjects.”

Despite the struggles, Architect De Asis worked hard to finish and through his patience and his parents hard work, he was able to complete his tertiary level in 1978. He then entered DMCI immediately after graduation for internship and work. After 2 years, he took the Architecture board exam which he eventually passed and the rest they say is history.

In 1984, he co-founded DATEM with two other professionals he met at work. Right now, DATEM is one of the leading construction firms in the country, accredited as a Quadruple A contractor, the highest rating given by the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board to a construction firm. Some of the prominent projects they worked on are the Ascott Hotel in BGC, ABS-CBN’s ELJ Communication Center, Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig, and Discovery Primea in Makati.

Recently, he was named as the 2019 Presidential Excellence awardee of the United Architects of the Philippines and 2019 Outstanding Professional of the Year awardee in the field of Architecture by the Professional Regulatory Commission, recognitions he would like to share to architects in the construction industry.

But for Architect De Asis, he believes that the setback he experienced in college brought him to where he is today.

“Looking back, I said maybe may kabutihan din na nag-stop for a while, maybe the opportunity of us putting together this company won’t be there diba. It is indeed a blessing in disguise.”

Now at the tail-end of his profession after working for 41 years in the industry, Architect De Asis is proud to be a product of an institution with distinct core values.

“The education I got from NU prepared me for something bigger in my life. Whenever I talk to students of today or the fresh graduates, I always tell them to revisit themselves, see what values from your university you can hold on to. Because you will never go wrong if you have values where you can anchor your practice or profession.”

Now on his retiring age, Architect De Asis is also proud to look back and give back to National U, the place where he started his small dream of becoming big in the field of Architecture.

FEATURE: NU Alumnus is Bureau of Fire Protection Chief

Dream big.

This is what BFP Chief Leonard Ramos Bañago had in mind when he finished his studies in National University.

But it was not at all smooth as the San Quintin, Pangasinan-native did not really know what to do and which course to take. After his sister’s prodding, he decided to enroll in the Mechanical Engineering program in National U.

He realized living in the metro is way different from his province life, so he had to strive to keep afloat with all the demands of college life. “Naalala ko noon, hindi ko alam kung paano pagkakasyahin ang allowance ko. Ang ginagawa ko binabawasan ko ang lunch or tanghalian ko, minsan yung tanghalian at hapunan isa na lang para lang makatipid ako.”

It did not help that it was also a crazy time then as it was the height of fraternity wars in Manila. He recalled that one of the most unforgettable times in his college life was when the university temporarily closed sometime in 1983 due to the uncontrollable fraternity war situations.

But things went back to normal and he finished his course in 1986. Despite being discouraged to take the Mechanical Engineering board exam immediately because he was told it will be difficult to pass, he trusted his learnings from NU and proved his doubters wrong when he passed the board in 1987 as a first-time taker.

While he was lucky enough to immediately pass the board, he realized it was the opposite when he was looking for a job. So, he decided to volunteer in the Bureau of Fire Protection which was in Camp Crame. “I didn’t know before na kailangan pala talaga mga engineer sa BFP, akala ko kung sino lang gusto, pero nung napunta ako dito, talaga pala na technical, like sa design sa building so kailangan talaga mga engineer.”

In his 32 years with the BFP, he rose from the ranks as he was assigned to different stations and regions. From Station Staff to Station Commander, Fire Marshall to Provincial Commander to Regional Director. Now, he holds the bureau’s highest position as the Fire Chief.

He wants to give credit to National U who instilled in him the determination to succeed in life. “Sa NU kasi maganda naging challenges ko kasi madami akong nakasalamuhang ibat ibang tao. Mahirap ang buhay namin noon, so parang nakita ko rin yung hirap ng buhay at naging driving force ko yun para magpursige sa buhay.”

Being one of the country’s top officials, he has some pieces of advice to the young generation. “Ipagpatuloy nyo ang dream nyo, wag kayong magsawa lalo sa pag-aaral. Focus kayo sa studies, pangalagaan n’yo yung sacrifices ng inyong mga magulang kasi pinag-aral nila kayo dapat yan ang maging priority nyo ang maka-graduate kayo para mabigyan nyo rin ng magandang buhay ang future nyo.”

Truly, determination, patience and looking back to where you began are just some of the perfect ingredients of success.

MEET: Engr. Jimson V. Ornido; The Topnotcher Who Dreamt Big

 

He could have chosen another course, but he chose Electronics Engineering. He could have enrolled in another university, but he picked National U. He could have stopped dreaming instead he worked hard to achieve his goal. It could be destiny, but it is also a fruit of his hard work and perseverance.

Meet Engr. Jimson V. Ornido, 21-year old Electronics Engineering alumnus of National U who recently topped the 2018 ECE licensure exam placing sixth.

Who would have thought that a simple dreamer who hails from Valenzuela City would make a name for himself when he never even thought he would be able to study in college.

“I am the third child of eight children. Our only source of income back then was coming from our street food business. And it was hard to budget our very small income to suffice our daily needs. When I graduated from high school, I had doubts if I will be able to proceed to college that time since my two older siblings were still in college. Fortunately, SM Foundation granted me a scholarship to continue my studies at the National University.” Engr. Ornido shared.

After becoming an SM Foundation scholar, Ornido eyed Electronics Engineering since he knew he is good in Mathematics and Physics. But despite knowing where he is good at, he faced several challenges that tested his resilience.

“One of my struggles during college years was that I had to wake up so early in the morning so as not to come late for my classes. And then came the different requirements and projects that needed to be passed. Those were the times that I realized I needed to strive harder.”

Engr. Ornido used these struggles to work harder, not just for himself and to give back to National U but to help his family.

“It was during review that I realized I had a real chance of topping the board exam. Having ranked first place in our review center’s pre-board examination, I decided to master every topic and to give my best for the actual board exam.”

And truly they say that when you believe in yourself, there is no mountain too high to climb, he did not only pass the October 2018 Electronics Engineering Board Examination, he even placed at the sixth spot.

“If I gave up on my dreams, I would not be where I am today. God provided me everything I needed in His wonderful ways.”

And now, after all that he went through, it is time to continue living the dream for Engr. Jimson Ornido.

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