What’s more famous than having your name as a building in the university?
Yes, fellow Lasallians, he is THE Gokongwei you’re thinking of, and if you’re from the College of Engineering, you owe him a lot. He is none other than the multi-billionaire, DLSU Business Administration graduate, Mr. John Gokongwei Jr.
“Everything involves a risk. No risk, no reward,” said Mr. Gokongwei in one of his interviews. Gokongwei is a business maven, but even being the third richest man in the country, Lucio Tan and Henry Sy as the first two, Mr. Gokongwei could care less in being famous, saying “I don’t want to be on the Forbes list. What’s the use of being famous?”; the only thing he just wants is to be among the top of the list, and he is.
He knew the very essence of having a successful business, and unlike the conventional, successful businessman, he started out his career from the bottom. “Today we are in eight areas—real estate, food, banking, airline, telecom, retail, publishing and petrochemicals. When I started trading in Cebu, I was the delivery boy, buyer, accountant, treasurer. I had one warehouse man. Now I have over 50,000 working with me.”
He was born in China, but spent all his childhood in the Cebu province. He said in one his speech in the ad congress: “On the day I had to walk two miles to school for the very first time, I cried to my mother, a widow at 32. But she said: “You should feel lucky. Some people have no shoes to walk to school. What can you do? Your father died with 10 centavos in his pocket.” So, what can I do? I worked.”
As obvious as this may seem, John Gokongwei really knew and dedicated himself on every action that he does. Even at the danger of war, the man still sold soaps and other necessities in order to survive, and now look at where he is now.
Mr. John Gokongwei isn’t just some businessman, he is a man capable of helping people through the ways that he can, and simultaneously still ensuring a good future for him and his family. Money is not that important to him, all he wants is to just be one of the best, and make the most out of it. The man is a business legend as he is a heroic, social philanthropist. Animo to you, Sir!