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The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25

Book Designer: Eduardo A. Davad Photographers: Nonie Reyes, Rhoy Cobilla, Ramon Jeffrey Florendo Photos from the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. and the Tan Family archives

Š 2011 All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, chemical or mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publishers.

TAN YAN KEE FOUNDATION, INC. Head Office: 7/F Allied Bank Center, 6754 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines Telephone Numbers: (632) 816-5520; (632) 816-5522; Facsimile: (632) 815-3582 E-mail:; Website:

TAN YAN KEE LIBRARY 19/F San Fernando Tower, 514 Plaza del Conde corner Muelle de Binondo Street, Manila, Philippines Telefax: (632) 243-9110; E-mail:

TAN YAN KEE FOUNDATION, INC. Manpower Development Center 504 Padre Faura corner Adriatico Streets, Ermita, Manila, Philippines Telefax: (632) 527-6682; Telephone Number: (632) 528-1634 A certified donee institution duly accredited by the Bureau of Internal Revenue

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The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25

Contents Prologue...............................................................................................................................................................................................1 From the Chairman: Pursuing A Meaningful Life...........................................................3 From the Editors: A Job Well Done............................................................................................................11

Chapter 1 The Silver Ore Education: At the Heart of Tykf................................................................................................21 Dr. Panfilo O. Domingo: A Lifelong Interest in Education...........................69 The Saga of Balete Primary School. ............................................................................................70

Chapter 2 The Silver Catalyst The Environment............................................................................................................................................................90

Chapter 3 The Silver Healer Medical Assistance.......................................................................................................................................................116

Chapter 4 The Silver Standard Disaster Relief........................................................................................................................................................................138

Chapter 5 Sterling Silver His Father’s Son.................................................................................................................................................................158



ince ancient times, silver has been regarded as one of the noble metals, together with gold, copper, lead, tin, iron and mercury. Silver, a cool color as opposed to gold, is closely tied to the goddess Isis and all things flexible and creative. Early Romans referred to silver simply as luna, owing to its brightness that mimics the moon. Valued as a precious metal, silver then and now is used to create ornaments, jewelry, coins and utensils. In our daily lives silver makes up the gleaming décors in our living spaces, creates the sparkle in our tableware, and reflects our images in mirrors.

The earliest known references to silver as symbol of the 25th year or 25th anniversary appear to have originated in the Germanic region of Middle Europe. This involved the symbolic giving of a husband to his wife of a silver garland or wreath to celebrate marriage for 25 years. The year 2011 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc.—established with that rarest of vision: caring for and commitment to the Filipino nation. In many ways, silver – its properties and symbolism—reflects and clarifies the work, mission and values of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation.

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2 Silver Reflections

From the Chairman

Pursuing a Meaningful Life


uccess does not simply end with wealth. It may appear so, because the need to survive is priority. But, as we achieve measures of success and material comfort, we also begin to remember lessons of sharing and helping out. I learned this early as a very young child on our way to the Philippines. We were immigrants who knew the value of hard work, patience, dedication, and living and sharing with others—many of whom we were not even acquainted with. These are lessons we bring with us especially when we reach the top and we no longer need to keep piling for survival. Then we look at what needs to be done; not for one’s self but for others. This is also the time when one looks back and sees better the lessons learned from difficult days. People say that building character always deals with hardships. I am one of those who had to face difficulties at a young age to survive and to pursue a meaningful life. Despite being poor, I was blessed with parents who taught me the value of filial love and support, faith in myself and others, and consistent hard work to achieve what I sought to gain. My parents showed me and my siblings that the most worthy success is one that provides other people with better lives and purpose. This is what my vision for the Tan Yan Kee Foundation is all about. In our small way, we reach out to make lives better through education, health services, a better environment and other social-welfare concerns. I am particularly concerned with education, knowing that this is the first and most important tool toward improvement of individuals, families

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and an entire nation. Knowledge is truly powerful. I had to work through most of my school days, so I understand the difficulties of getting a formal education. This is what drives the Foundation’s scholarship and educationrelated programs. Going beyond education, we also address immediate and urgent needs for health and social welfare. This brings the Foundation even to very far areas where medical equipment, medicines and health services are most needed. This is also why we respond with speed to victims of calamities with much-needed basic necessities, especially clean drinking water through our mobile water-purification stations. In today’s environmentally challenged world, I have spent nights thinking of water, food supply and livelihood for the majority of our countrymen. I think of my own grandchildren and the coming generations who may not have enough of all these. Through the Foundation and our member-companies, we try our best to restore and maintain existing dams for our farmers to ensure a steady supply of water for irrigation during the long dry spells; conduct crop education and provide seedlings; and educate people on and provide a system for water recycling and purification. I am grateful that in our small way, we help narrow the gap between lack of knowledge and a good education; between lack of medical treatment and access to equipment and better health services; between a decaying world and a healthier environment we can leave to the next generations. On our 25th year the Tan Yan Kee Foundation looks back and is thankful for the many individuals and groups who have made it possible for us to reach out. We look forward to many more years of being able to address the vision of caring for and commitment to the Filipino. I sincerely believe that our reflections on our 25th year carry the sterling qualities of silver and, put very simply, our desire to help when and where most needed.

Lucio C. Tan

8 Silver Reflections

All The Kapitan’s Men Dr. Lucio C. Tan and Mrs. Carmen K. Tan, with the board of trustees, officers and staff of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation

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Harry C. Tan Vice Chairman

Lucio C. Tan Chairman of the Board

Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J. Trustee

10 Silver Reflections

Frank C. Chan Trustee

Shirley T. Chua Trustee

from the editors

A Job Well Done


man will be known by his works, not by his origins. Dr. Lucio C. Tan has humble origins: when he was four he came with his father, Tan Yan Kee, from Fujian in the southeastern province of China and began life in the Philippines in most difficult circumstances that migrants, uprooted and confused in a foreign land, would inevitably encounter. His eventual rise to wealth, fame and philanthropy is the stuff of great lessons and legend. It is the story of the man himself, who has been written about in books and countless newspaper features. In this anniversary book it is the story of the emblematic foundation that he has created and named after his father, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. (TYKF), which also speaks a lot about the man and his corporate conscience. Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate citizenship, has not been fully defined yet, but according to one CSR analyst, Tracy Lord, in an article published on June 6, 2009, it usually “refers to the business approach where operational decisions are made after considering the economic, social and environmental impacts.” The concept of CSR, says another analyst, “is underpinned by the idea that corporations can no longer act as isolated economic entities operating in detachment from broader society. Traditional views about competitiveness, survival and profitability are being swept away.” The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


Andres R. Narvasa Trustee

Marixi R. Prieto Trustee

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Christopher J. Nelson Trustee

Gabriel C. Singson Trustee

Washington Z. SyCip Trustee

In the practice of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies, through the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, CSR is seen as giving back to the community what it has received from it. Beyond being an accepted concept, CSR is part of the Group’s strategic and day-to-day business operation. This means that the various companies address not just the needs of their communities but more so the call for doing business within parameters of sound environmental practices and good governance. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation and the members of the Lucio Tan Group, simply put, live the message of reaching out, of wanting to give not just material aid but compassion, as well. Tracy Lord has summarized the main tenets of CSR as follows:

Environmental Sustainability

This refers to ensuring that business-operation decisions are not harmful to natural environments and ecosystems. These assurances can include recycling where possible, reducing the carbon footprint of the operations, using technology that is friendly to the ecosystems, and using energyefficient production methods.

Social Impact

Business is not an island by itself: it is part of a wider society, both locally and globally. Social impact refers to the business’s human-resource policies, its approach to human-rights issues, and the relationship the business has with the people living in the area.

Economic Impact

Business operational decisions have an economic impact on both the business itself and the community wherein the business is situated. This also means that a business that expands its operations in a certain area should also potentially increase the f low of money into the economy of that area. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


Carmen K. Tan Trustee

Tan Hui Bin Trustee

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Tan Eng Chan Trustee

mariano tanenglian Trustee

Cesar E. A. Virata Trustee

Corporate Governance, Ethics, Transparency A company must abide by the laws and regulations of corporate governance, as well as its own policies. Ethics ensures that the practices of the business are not deliberately harmful to any person or the environment. Transparency refers to the openness and willingness of a business to show stakeholders details of business practices and transactions. The concept of corporate social responsibility is now deeply ingrained in the agenda of global business. CSR analysts, however, point out that many obstacles have yet to be hurdled to move from theory to concrete action. These obstacles, in particular, include the need for more reliable indicators of progress in this field and the dissemination of CSR strategies. TYKF, though, has been moving into concrete action, driven in its CSR projects by the perceived or actual needs of the local community and the people, in general. And these needs are almost always urgent and immediate. Disaster reliefs. Impounding rainfall for the seasons of drought. Medical succor during outbreaks of diseases. Keeping gas emissions from escaping into the air. Building schools in poor areas and providing books to young students. And so forth. In other words, the agenda of TYKF is profoundly simple: Do what its founder, Dr. Lucio C. Tan, strongly recommends it does. And TYKF goes by his recommendations with efficiency and dispatch, because Dr. Tan has an almost infallible pulse and heartbeat about the people and the country—its economics, culture, society, even politics. He’s been doing his philanthropic work for 25 years now and he knows where he is needed or, more important, what is truly needed.

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Jaime J. Bautista Treasurer

Fe Chen-Urdaneta Chief Administrative Officer

16 Silver Reflections

Juanita Tan Lee Corporate Secretary & Assistant Treasurer

Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco Legal Counsel

Wilson T. Young Project Director

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation has been approaching CSR from a holistic commitment framework targeting education, culture and sports; health and social welfare; research; and manpower development. The Foundation cannot address all the needs of the people, thus it adopted a unique, creative approach: Provide the tools to equip beneficiaries with the capability to achieve, make a difference and share with others. Running the Foundation is a very tight and well-knit group, counting only four regular staffers who organize, mobilize, coordinate and supervise the participation of the different companies of the Group and document and attend to the implementation of the events and activities, with as little wrinkle or headache as possible. The TYKF staff and personnel have been doing this very well, indeed.

Getting It Done:

The TYKF Working Team (Standing) Jonathan Anuma, Christopher Sioson, Philip Sing; (seated) Dareene Malinao, Flora Lim, Elizabeth Alba.

Let this book then be also a recognition of the officers and people working in the Tan Yan Kee Foundation. The key personnel are the following: Philip Sing, Elizabeth Alba, Christopher Sioson, Jonathan Anuma, Flora Lim and Dareene Malinao. They deserve all the thanks and congratulations for a job well done.

Abe Florendo Cynthia J. Gruet

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Chapter 1

The Silver Ore At the heart of the metal silver is the ore from which it was formed—rare, strong, malleable. The story of the patriarch Tan Yan Kee and the Foundation named after him is reflective of the attributes of silver ore: malleable beginnings and a strong faith in the Chinese ethos and tradition of hard work and community connectedness. This rare ore is also descriptive of his son, Dr. Lucio C. Tan, whose strength of vision and mission transformed the patriarch’s legacy into an “empire.” The silver ore would also represent education for the malleable youth, the bedrock upon which the Tan Yan Kee Foundation was built.


At the Heart of Tykf

22 Silver Reflections

The Scholarship Program


N her address to the 10th batch of Tan Yan Kee Foundation scholars, AY 2007-2008, University of the East (UE) president Dr. Ester Garcia said the university considers the TYKF scholarship program “both a privilege and an obligation. A privilege, because through this program the university is attracting graduates of high schools throughout the country; an obligation, because it requires of the university to improve its admission processes and enhance the quality of its curricular offerings.” The program is offered to students and faculty. Admission standards are high and rigorous. Explains Dr. Garcia, “Student scholarship applicants must pass the college entrance examination, with a weighted average of not less than 85 percent, and when accepted must maintain a cut-off score in academics of 1.75 GPA [grade point average] for scholars and grantees. Grantees are mostly the poor students from the Sisters of Mary school in Cavite and Cebu [formerly Boystown and Girlstown]; they are also often the high scorers, probably because they try harder and aim higher. You become an honor student and full scholar if you maintain a grade of 1.5.” Scholars and grantees receive free tuition, stipend and allowances. “Free tuition is not enough for studying in Manila,” says UE vice president and chief administrative officer Carmelita Mateo. “You spend for books, uniform, transportation, food and boarding-house rent. TYKF has made allowances for these.” TYKF scholars, Mateo adds, are definitely “betteroff” than government scholars.

Trying Harder and Aiming Higher

Education needs tools and

resources such as those provided by the Adopt-a-School program.

The UE-Tan Yan Kee Foundation scholarship program covers accountancy, biology, mathematics, psychology, computer science, information technology, predentistry, dentistry, engineering, English and communication arts.

The scholarship program started in AY 1998-1999, and since then

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


A Garden In The Heart of The City The Tan Yan Kee Garden in the University of the East offers students respite and serenity. Occupying a large tract of land, it was a clear choice for environment over profitability (it was originally meant to be a mall).

24 Silver Reflections

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


26 Silver Reflections

The Best & The Brightest

The TYKF scholars, on this page and succeeding, from UE Recto and UE Caloocan, come from all over the country and enjoy free tuition, stipend and allowances.

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until AY 2009-2010 it has had 840 recipients, and of these 121 passed with honors (2 summa cum laude, 58 magna cum laude and 61 cum laude), while 16 were board placers. Among these honor graduates, most recent were Jeffrey C. Cimagala, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, College of Engineering-Caloocan, who graduated summa cum laude in 2007 and was his school’s official nominee to that year’s Search for Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines; Dr. Arjay Nino S. Dulay, who placed second in the dentistry licensure exam in 2009; and engineer Ian Wildon A. Dizon, who placed 10th in the mechanical engineering licensure exam. These are highly motivated young people, many of them from low-income families, with big dreams matched only, as scholar Josefino V. Palermo said, by “the big, big heart” of Dr. Lucio C. Tan. “The TYKF scholarship program is a privilege because it attracts high school graduates from all over the country, and an obligation because it requires us to enhance the quality of our curricular offerings.” —UE president Dr. Ester Garcia

Palermo, a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy scholar at the UE College of Business Administration-Manila, touched the hearts of his audience in his little speech at the TYKF Scholarship Recognition Day in February 2008 at Century Park Hotel. He remembered the day his mother, a single parent, said to him, “Son, I will beg and borrow and crawl on my knees if that’s what it takes for me to put you through college.” Then he heard about the scholarship program of Dr. Tan and his fondest dreams came true—and spared his extremely sacrificing mother the embarrassments of borrowing and crawling on her knees. “Each time I count my blessings,” Palermo said, “I count Dr. Lucio Tan not once, not twice, but as many times as the thought comes to my mind.” Palermo also said: “My stay in the university is…a distinct privilege. Good facilities, state-of-the-art computer laboratories, an excellent library…. The thing I love most is its set of good and competent professors. I am who I am because of them. My favorite lessons are [their] admonitions about life. They teach us not only how to make a living, but how to live.” At the same recognition day for UE-TYKF scholars, Wilfredo P. Tablante, a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy student at the UE College of Business Administration-Caloocan, recounted how his hometown high school, where he graduated with honors, withheld his report card because The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


Mind Is Might The Kapitan poses with scholars of the UE-Tan

Yan Kee Foundation whose scholarship program covers accountancy, biology, mathematics, psychology,computer science, information

technology, predentistry, engineering, English and communication arts.

30 Silver Reflections

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32 Silver Reflections

his mother could not pay the remaining balance of his tuition. After a year of bumming around, he said, a friend of his encouraged him to take up the UE-TYKF scholarship exam. “The rest,” he said, “is history.” He also said, with disarming honesty, “My dad doesn’t actually care about my education and my beloved mom is always crying and apologizing to me for not being able to provide for my [school] needs.” At UE Tablante turned into a devout Christian: “I am now ardently involved in the ministries of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said, addressing his recognition-day audience. “This young man before you…used to not go to church nor prayed.” And he shared with his audience a verse from the Book of Romans which says, “All things will work together for good for those who really love the Lord and who are really called according to His purpose.” “TYKF scholars are definitely better-off than government scholars.”—UE vice president & chief administrative officer Carmelita Mateo

Parents would also be invited to the recognition reunions and asked to share a thought or two. Gregorio C. Foronda, father of six, thanked God and the philanthropist Dr. Tan for the “luck” of poor students like his son who, like thousands of other students, are “yearning for assistance” in their studies. “I myself come from a poor family,” Foronda said, “and I know firsthand what poverty is. Ours was a hand-to-mouth existence and the next meal was not certain.” His son, Jeremiah Foronda, was a College of Engineering scholar at the time he delivered his short speech. The frail-looking but vivid Mona Lisa Sabanico, a grantee from the Sisters of Mary high school in Cebu, was a full scholar of TYKF in UE-Manila, where she finished, in 2009, her bachelor course major in mathematics, magna cum laude. She passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers the same year. She had her sights on working at the Central Bank, which gave her a good offer. But she was convinced by one of her mentors in UE, who knew she would be an asset to the school’s teaching staff, to give teaching math a try in UE. She did and she has not regretted it. She now handles a first-year high-school class of boisterous and hyperactive youngsters who are nonetheless eager to learn math from her. “It’s a challenge for me,” Sabanico says. “Most of my students are supposed

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34 Silver Reflections

to know the rudiments of math from their grade school, but they only have the faintest grasp of the simplest addition, multiplication and division. I have to find ways to keep them interested in the subject and make them comprehend the logic and appreciate the beauty of mathematics.” Sabanico confides that her choice for a college course was physics or chemical engineering; mathematics, she says, was a “close second.” But being the ambition-driven young woman that she is, she’s doing her Masters in Arts in teaching mathematics, also in UE, and she intends to later apply for a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholarship to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. Sabanico comes from a young family of six children in Minglanilla, Cebu: her father is a construction worker and her mother a housewife. After finishing elementary in a public school, Sabanico was taken in as a scholar by the Sisters of Mary, who were impressed by her grades, her strength of character and her determination to study. “The TYKF scholarship was indeed a godsend to me,” Sabanico says. “It has helped me realize my dream to finish college and work and build a career for myself. I have a sister who’s working in the export zone in Cebu while trying hard to finish her schooling. I’ve been lucky, and I wish all my siblings will be as lucky in their lives. And I wish TYKF will be there forever helping young people.”

(Opposite page) The 2011 scholars recognition day at Century Park Hotel.

“Twelve years ago, in 1998,” narrated Cielito Tamban at the scholars’ recognition day on September 17, 2010, at Century Park Hotel, “when I was with the first regiment of TYKF scholars, I felt very blessed because at last I would be able to achieve my dream—to become a doctor.” He was a consistent scholar from college to medical school; his mother, a vendor and part-time tailor, was very proud of him. He challenged the students in the audience. “This is the time to ask yourselves. Who are you? Why are you here? What are you living for? Why do you wake up each morning?” He himself may have the answers. During a conversation with Allied Bank chairman P.O. Domingo, where Tamban was holding a summer job, Tamban asked: “How

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36 Silver Reflections

can I reciprocate the kindness of TYKF?” And the venerable P.O. Domingo simply replied: “We would be happy if after helping you, you’ll help someone else.” P.O. Domingo called it the “Pay It Forward Principle,” says Tamban. Harold Cortero told his audience at that same recognition day: “I stand here in front of you for two reasons…one, because I have achieved; two, because I believe I can achieve.” He added: “As I learned from Po, the unlikely hero in the movie Kung Fu Panda, there is no secret ingredient. We just have to believe in ourselves.” He had grit and determination stamped into his belief. He traveled a long way from Bicol to take the UE college entrance exams, which qualified him for the TYKF scholarships. He admonished students and scholars to confront every obstacle or challenge: “Pressure,” he said, “helps in the formation of diamonds.”

(Opposite page) Dr. Lucio C. Tan addressing the scholars: “Be grateful for what has been given to you and when the time comes, pass them on to others. Sharing what you will eventually achieve is the best way to express gratitude.”

Genalin Colina, 21, was happy enough to find work as student assistant at UE, but when she espied a brochure of the TYKF scholarship program and saw that Dr. Tan was the founder of the Foundation, it roused in her greater aspirations. Colina went up to the Kapitan and boldly introduced herself, “I am the granddaughter of Romy Ordinario, your former driver. I want to try for your scholarship program.” She got it, but not because of the Kapitan’s recommendations or because her grandfather was indeed the Kapitan’s driver; it was because she was a bright and driven student. In 2009, when she was 19, she graduated with a BS in Information Technology, summa cum laude, from the UE-Caloocan College of Engineering. Colina was a natural for her chosen course in UE: she was a product of the Marcelo H. del Pilar Science High School in Malolos, Bulacan. Says the pretty Colina, whose father is a janitor in an elementary school in Caloocan City and whose mother is a home-service beautician, and who has one younger brother: “Without the scholarship, it would have been very difficult for me to go through college. Aside from free tuition, I was getting a stipend of P16,000 per semester for books and uniform and other expenses. My parents could not have afforded that.” TYKF understands the plight of poor young people who have the

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38 Silver Reflections

(Opposite page) TYKF scholars Mona Lisa Sabanico (magna cum laude) and Genalin Colina (summa cum laude)

talent that needs developing and nurturing. It’s not the number of how many scholars it has had; it’s that one individual, one of many, whose scholarship has made a difference in his or her life and who now wields the power to change the lives of others. Colina now works as systems support associate assisting information-technology users of Philippine Airlines (PAL). She has her career path mapped out: She loves her work at PAL, but five years from now she sees herself as a full-time teacher at UE-Caloocan. Teaching is her childhood dream, and she sees it as her way of giving back to the university, the Foundation and the community. When Colina spoke at the 2009 UE-TYKF recognition program on behalf of her fellow UE-TYKF scholar-alumni, she shared with her audience her formula for achieving success: “You cannot go anywhere if you do not know where you want to go.... With goals we create [our] future. With goals we create our destiny. [These] are rather compelling goals or goals that will drive you to grow, expand and develop yourselves toward what you want from and for your lives.” She ended her speech like the computer whiz that she is: “Remember,” she said, “life is like a computer. When it fails or hangs…just restart!”

Medical Scholarships

There’s No Stopping A Good Thing “Not too many people know about what we’re doing; we don’t advertise,” says COO Michael Tan of Asia Brewery’s medical education and social work.


T makes sense to do these things,” says Michael Tan, COO of Asia Brewery, referring to big-industry social conscience. “Not too many people know about what we’re doing; we don’t advertise. But we’ve been doing it properly, documenting it. We’ll try to get better in the future in terms of communicating what we’re doing.” Why is CSR so important to Asia Brewery? Because it increases its profitability? Because it enhances its public image? Replies Tan: “It is a boost to our business partners and employees, but, more important, it is

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40 Silver Reflections

our way of giving back to the community.” Quite a cliché that, but coming from Tan it is sincere and, as he puts it, it makes sense. Asia Brewery’s medical education and social work are best known for their medical scholarships and the medical forum for laymen that Asia Brewery has been conducting every month for 17 years now (as of December 2010). There’s no stopping a good thing.

Dr. Karen Reyes Every year three general practitioners are sent for subspecialty studies in the US or Europe. After their studies, they are required to practice in the Philippines for at least three years. They may also be asked to give lectures at the medical forum.

The medical forum, sponsored by the Association of Asia Brewery Medical Specialty Scholars (AABMSS), in partnership with TYKF, and held at Century Park Hotel, is designed to update people on the latest medical issues and trends and available treatments. In these monthly forums, Asia Brewery invites its medical scholars and other resource speakers from here and abroad to discuss, in layman’s language, patients’ concerns, from liver cirrhosis, diabetes management, osteoporosis, cancer pain, sleep disorders, tuberculosis to such hush-hush matters like erectile dysfunction. After the forum, Asia Brewery’s medical scholars render free consultations for the laymen attendees. Asia Brewery’s medical scholars are its jewels. “Every year,” says Tan, “we send three general practitioners for subspecialty studies in the US or Europe. We take care of their airfare and allowance during their studies. We only require our scholars to come back to the Philippines after their studies to do their practice here for at least two years. We may also ask them to give lectures at the medical forum.” Aldrin Joseph R. Gamboa, 33, a full scholar of the Asia Brewery Medical Specialty Scholarship Foundation (ABMSSF) and the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, pursued at the University of California a fellowship in laparoscopy, a minimally invasive urological surgery. At the university, Dr. Gamboa was also involved in a major research project studying renal pelvis pressure and the effects of various forms of stents on that pressure. Dr. Gamboa earned his degree in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). He has published several of his studies in his field and has been active in medical and surgical missions in many parts of the country. Dr.

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Reaching Out On-Campus, Off-Campus


WENTY YEARS ago,” said Dr. Lucio C. Tan at the 2009 recognition day for scholars, “we came to UE not to make money; we came in to restore its old glory [as a] university…. Our efforts to upgrade the standard of education are paying off.” And he counseled the scholars: “As you seek a better future for you and your families, don’t forget your social responsibility of giving back and sharing with society a part of your success.” The university itself is not forgetting this sharing with the community, and is doing its work on-campus and off-campus. UE has programs on livelihood, literacy, health, nutrition, sanitation and the environment, according to the UE Office of Extension and Community Outreach (OECO) for both the Manila and Caloocan campuses. According to a spokesperson from this office, “We are conducting these programs in coordination with UE stakeholders, adopted communities and partnerinstitutions—among them, nongovernment organizations and civil-society groups.” A computer-literacy program run by the UE Alternative Learning System (ALS) centers targets out-of-school youth from the partnercommunities and students from adopted public schools with no or inadequate computer facili-

42 Silver Reflections

ties and who, thus, miss out on valuable learning experiences. ALS has also partnered with the Tondo and Tinajeros national high schools for the community-literacy programs, while providing a mobile-teachers program for teachers of out-ofschool youth and daycare centers. Adds this same spokesperson, citing OECO reports: “Two major sustainable community-outreach programs are the Go Negosyo for the Manila campus and the adopt-a-daycare center for the Caloocan campus.” OECO is bolstering its Youth Legal Aid program which requires skilled volunteers. To help in urban renewal, both campuses are continuously carrying out a solid waste-management program in preparation for the construction of a materials-recovery facility for more efficient garbage collection and disposal and, at the same time, generating income for the people in the barangays around both campuses. Manila and Caloocan campuses have consistently launched missions such as supplementary feeding, bloodletting, medical and dental outreach, tree planting, coastal cleanup, Brigada Eskwela, Oplan Damayan, and even sign-language classes.

Gamboa has vowed to “continue work [in the Philippines] and share [my] knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the community.” Dr. Michelle Aventura-Isidro, through ABMSSF, was accepted as an international clinical fellow at the Shiley Eye Center of San Diego, California, in the field of cornea and refractive surgery. “You have to have your own funding for this international fellowship,” says Dr. Isidro. “Thank God for ABMSSF. It’s probably the only one in the country providing this kind of assistance. This has inspired me to help in the community in any way I can.” Also through ABMSSF, Dr. Karen Reyes spent time at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital for her subspecialty in neuro-ophthalmology, whose usual patients were those whose eyesights are impaired by strokes. She has continued to participate in medical missions in marginalized areas as her way of “giving back to Philippine society,” and she intends to provide assurance to striving young doctors.

The Volunteer Brigade & Adopt-a-School Program

Drs. Marion Patriche Bonoan and Carmi Angeline Alas belong in that privileged group of medical scholars of the Asia Brewery Medical Specialty Scholarship Foundation. The association of these scholars, in partnership with TYKF, sponsors every month forums designed to update people on the latest medical issues and trends and available treatments.


HE above-mentioned Brigada Eskwela is the Department of Education’s (DepEd) nationwide campaign to involve the private sector in supporting public-school education (there are, by latest count, some 51,000 public schools in the country). Concerned groups are asked to adopt a public school and spruce it up, with repairs and a new coat of paint, and make it more welcoming when the children troop in. Responding to the DepEd’s call, TYKF would put together a team of volunteers culled from the Group’s various member-companies, each one with a specific task, for instance, Grandspan Development taking care of the paints, brushes and rollers; Fortune Tobacco the transportation needs; and Pan Asia Securities the food and water for the volunteers. It’s a dream teamwork.

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All Hands on Deck A familiar sight at the TYKF office before book missions

The beneficiaries are both the schoolchildren and, truly as well, the volunteers. “Being part of the Brigada Eskwela was a great experience for me,” said a Philippine National Bank (PNB) officer. “It allows everyone to share his/her time and energy for something selfless,” said another. And, he may well add, see for themselves how the “other half ” of their world lives. After taking arduous hours-long drives, their one reward is to see children waving little rectangular paper flags; and, cheered by the sight, the volunteers plunge into their work—mending decrepit elementaryschool buildings and giving out books and school supplies. Former PNB president Omar Byron Mier says that once work was done, “the team of volunteers, among them middle-management officers, take the ride back to Manila to be able to report for work promptly on Monday morning. It’s quite an experience for city people like many of our people in PNB are.” Besides wielding paintbrushes, TYKF has channeled its resources to ­­­­­­support the DepEd’s larger Adopt-a-School agenda; assisting in the construction of school facilities; upgrading or rehabilitating existing ones; providing books and other instructional materials; and, more important, modernizing the methods of instruction.

Frigates of the Imagination The Storybook Drive reaches public schools in far-flung places, especially those tagged by the DepEd as lagging behind the national average of 59.94. (Pictured, top, opposite page) A young boy strikes a broken steel “gong” to summon the children to school.

Storybooks and Educational Dvds


losely related to the Adopt-a-School Program is the “Sa Pagbasa May Pagasa” Storybook Drive, yet another weapon in the educational arsenal of the Foundation. Meant to foster a culture of reading among publicschool children, in an age when children would rather play Nintendo than leaf through The Little Prince or The Legend of LamAng, the program seeks to fill the shelves of school libraries, or set up the library itself, with books to capture their attention and imagination.

The Storybook Drive was initiated by the League of Corporate

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Boost to Traditional Tools (Opposite page) Books usually come in tandem with the Educational Television Infrastructure Project package consisting of a TV set, DVD player and volumes of DVD instructional materials.

Beyond the Basics (Opposite page) A classroom, a teacher, students—and a poster—make a vivid picture of the potential and promise of even the most rudimentary education in the remotest of places reached by the Tan Yan Kee Foundation.

Foundations (LCF) and was adopted by TYKF, which is an active member of LCF. Launched in 2004, TYKF would partner with a Lucio Tan Group company to raise the books earmarked for preselected public schools across the country. In cooperation with Allied Banking Corporation in 2006, the drive logged 21,000 books. The next year, in cooperation with PNB, the drive raised 18,000 storybooks in just five months, which TYKF matched so that the number rose to 36,000. (PNB employees were enjoined to raise three books each; when the participation became proactive, they knocked on neighbors’ doors, went to secondhand-book warehouses, pestered friends with IPs and e-mails.) In succeeding years these early efforts were consistently outdone by other collaborative drives. The books usually come in tandem with the Educational Television Infrastructure (ETV) Project package, a partnership with ABS-CBN Foundation, containing a television set, a DVD player and volumes of DVD materials on English, science, math, values education and history. The project provides an alternative teaching-learning method that uses instruction through interactive methods. The Storybook Drive brought these “frigates” of the imagination to public schools in far-flung places, especially those which were tagged by the DepEd as lagging several points behind the national average of 59.94. An example is an elementary school in a third-class municipality of Nueva Vizcaya named Aritao, meaning “tribal chief ” in the Isinay language of the aboriginal people, which received 500 storybooks and the ETV package. The DepEd district supervisor, Esteban Tucay, remarked that the Storybook and ETV projects were “more than just a leverage for the academic performance of pupils, [but also] an edge over the fight against poverty while, at the same time, ensuring a better future for the children.” Another dramatic story is the Wawa Elementary School in Mindoro. In 1994 a 7.1-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Mindoro triggered a huge tsunami that hit the northern and eastern shorelines of the island. One of the hardest hit was Barangay Wawa; the tsunami wiped away many of Wawa’s old and young people, their homes and their only school. Relief The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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Books & History (This page and opposite) TYKF Trustee Cesar E.A. Virata (fourth from right) with Kawit officials; the historic Aguinaldo Shrine, where Philippine Independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898. TYKF marked the day with book donations to the Kawit public library.

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and rehabilitation came to Wawa eventually, but the school was totally forgotten—until 2008. An initiative by community leaders and an Armed Forces of the Philippines team slowly rebuilt the school, a task which was rounded off with the arrival of the Storybook Drive’s books and ETV package. In Kalabaylabay Elementary School and El Salvador Central School, in Misamis Oriental, the schools not only received the storybooks and ETV package, but also a renovated library and a clinic equipped with furniture, a bed, a medical kit and a nebulizer, as well as various vegetable seeds (for the TYKF Vegetable Garden project) complete with planting calendars and planting guides. TYKF always looks at the broader angle: The children need the books and the medical kits; but they need the seedlings perhaps even more.

The Tan Yan Kee Library/ The Special Chinese Connection


Seeds of Knowledge

(Opposite page) TYKF

staff help the schoolchildren in Misamis Oriental with planting the vegetable seeds (for the Vegetable Garden project). Children hold up planting calendars.

special project on the educational agenda of the Foundation is the TYKF Library, at the San Fernando Tower in Binondo, Manila, which now houses close to 40,000 book titles, ranging from philosophy, religion, science, history, geography, language, literature and the arts. A recent addition was the children-and-youth section, which contains a wide selection of children’s books, audio and video materials, and Internet-ready PCs installed with the latest educational software. For the playful rompers there are makeshift swings and fruit- and animal-shaped chairs and stools. At the onset the library was meant to address the lack of Chinese books and journals for reading and research. The library has not veered away from this worthy undertaking. Today the library has evolved into a veritable resource center for scholarly Chinese materials on literary arts, classics, entertainment, health and other topics. For a couple of years now, TYKF has been sponsoring a China-visit program for kids, whereby they spend a part of their summer vacation in Xiamen and other places. Observes Michael Tan, COO of Asia Brewery: The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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Keeping the Legacy Alive The TYKF Library in Binondo hopes to keep the Chinese historical and cultural legacy alive among Chinese-Filipinos, in whose blood course the strength and romance of these two peoples.

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A Fusion of Professionals FUSE pushes for the development of science, physics, chemistry, mathematics and English—the courses that the country needs today.

“These visits encourage them to learn more about the Chinese people and their culture, and to speak Chinese. They get to interact with Chinese children. In many Chinese homes today, children don’t speak Chinese. Unfortunately, there are not many Chinese schools in the country, nor are there sufficient Chinese teachers.” Chinese schools and Chinese teachers are being subsidized by Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chinese-language teaching, now adopted worldwide, is based on the simplified pinyin system of writing and pronunciation. TYKF ruefully does not see the rise of more Chinese schools in the future. But the TYKF Library hopes to keep the Chinese historical and cultural legacy alive among Chinese-Filipinos, in whose blood course the strength and romance of these two peoples.

Teacher Training/FUSE


significant step in TYKF’s professional training program for public elementary and high-school teachers and principals is its partnership (together with Fortune Tobacco Corp.) with the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE), Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. FUSE, says its president Salvador H. Escudero III, “pushes for the development of science, physics, chemistry, mathematics and English. These are the courses that the country needs today. We already have an oversupply of computer technology, accountancy and liberal-arts graduates”—leading to a floating market of graduates who are jobless or underemployed. Through the Science and Engineering Education Project, select public high-school teachers will study full-time for 12 to 14 months either in Ateneo or De La Salle. FUSE, located at 12A Floor, Pearl of the Orient Tower Condominium, Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila, was put up by Dr. Tan in 1994 , with Escudero, then House of Representatives education committee chairman, now FUSE president; and Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, then Senate education

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committee chairman, now FUSE chairman. Dr. Tan is chairman emeritus of FUSE. Said Angara at one of the FUSE assemblies: “This commission was established due to [findings] that in the whole education chain, science, technology and mathematics are our weakest links.”

Working Within the System Project Citizen believes in responsible and proper democratic action, as against “noisy street action,” and working within established institutions and systems to create desired change. (Opposite page, below) TYKF Trustee Harry Tan gets a Project Citizen shirt and cap from the Center for Civic Education’s Bill and Carol Hatcher.

In FUSE’s workshops to upgrade teacher competency, participants undergo training in television-based Continuing Studies via Technology (Constec); in its regular forums, participants listen to deans and professors of Ateneo, the University of the Philippines, UST and other major schools expounding on their best practices and approaches in teacher training. FUSE has so far trained some 15,000 public-school teachers.

Project Citizen


roject Citizen is a practical firsthand approach to learning about the Philippine system of government and how to monitor and influence it. The project starts with a teacher-training program that targets social-studies teachers who will be moderating the student team. The training includes modules about civic education, policymaking in the Philippine context, Project Citizen as a pedagogy and, finally, a hands-on session on the steps in Project Citizen. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, in 2007, partnered with the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy to create a responsible citizenry in the country through the educational system. Licensed by the Center for Civic Education in the US that operates in the entire USA and in more than 80 countries globally, the program goes through training to actual practice of teacher-moderators, students and stakeholders in the private and government sectors within the community. Project Citizen believes in responsible and proper democratic action, as against “noisy street action,” and working within established institutions and systems to create desired change. Project Citizen awards given yearly include the Tan Yan Kee Award for Best in Showcase, the Lucio C. Tan Award for Best in Science and the Chua King Ha Award for Women Development. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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Mind Museum


nderscoring the thrust of the Foundation for the Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE) toward science and technology, TYKF sponsored the Theater of the Mind Museum, a project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, which started construction in 2009 at the Bonifacio Global City. “We need science for progress,” said TYKF chairman Dr. Lucio C. Tan when he signed the memorandum of agreement with Bonifacio Art Foundation chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala. “We need art for the human spirit. But first, we need to provide a door for people to begin learning and loving art and science. The Mind Museum is a door.” The museum, a visual feast and mind-stimulating exhibit realized by an expert group of scientists, artists and engineers, consists of five main galleries, namely: 1) the Life Gallery, which features Earth life in all its forms, the various habitats hosting countless organisms, an awesome map of the human brain, and a voyage into the inner spaces made up of DNA; 2) the Universe Gallery, which shows, in amazing 3D, the birth and majesty of outer space; 3) the Technology Gallery, which occupies a whole floor, showcasing technology not only as a tool for industrial advancement but as a means to help people become better individuals; 4) the Atom Gallery, which explains the forces of gravity and electromagnetism, as well as the unseen quantum world that manifests itself in today’s computers and mobile phones and many medical technologies; and 5) the Earth Gallery, which features billions of years of natural evolution and history, including the popular T. Rex exhibit. “This is education in visual and creative form,” said Dr. Tan. “And education is at the heart of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation. [The museum] opens knowledge and appreciation in young minds.”

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Ust Student Activity Center, Saidi


ontributing to the flurry of activities and preparations of the distinguished University of Santo Tomas (UST), one of the oldest universities in Asia, TYKF donated generously for the construction of the Tan Yan Kee-UST Student Activity Center. The amount donated by the Foundation was half of the estimated cost needed to finish the construction of the four-story building. The new center can now accommodate the needs of extra space for the growing number of student activities. The admissions office of the university and various student organizations have been relocated to the new center, which stands across from Miguel de Benavides Library. In another project close to its heart, in this case, in recognition of the need for more leaders and experts in enterprise development, TYKF donated for the construction of the Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Institute (SAIDI), along Taktak Drive in Antipolo City. SAIDI is a graduate institute catering to professionals from both academe and industry interested in improving their organizational skills. Its graduate-course offerings include organizational development, enterprise leadership, microfinance management, and instructional development and technology.

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Tykf Manpower Development Center


he Manpower Development Center (MDC) of the Tan Yan to





employment opportunities

aims or for

the marginalized sectors by

equipping them with useful skills. Those who have undergone training with the MDC include out-of-school youth, housewives, informal settlers and others who need additional skills to find employment. MDC courses include basics of computer use and commonly used Microsoft Office applications, English proficiency, food processing, and other useful knowledge and skills that provide broader possibilities for livelihood and productivity. Sessions are handled by trainors from the UE Management Information System Department and from other specialized fields; they conduct training with intensive lectures and hands-on exercises.

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TYKF Vice Chairman and Executive Director, 2001-2008

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A Lifelong Interest in Education


r. Panfilo O. Domingo, more popularly known as P.O. Domingo, was a well-known banker who shepherded the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. from 2001 to 2008 as executive director.

P.O. Domingo, who made his mark in the banking industry for the most part of his life and especially as president of Philippine National Bank, took the mission of the Foundation in caring for the less fortunate as his personal commitment and dedication. Despite age and illness, P.O. Domingo religiously kept track and provided direction to the various projects of the Foundation.

His lifelong interest in education gave him an even deeper kinship with the Foundation as he emphasized the priority for educational programs such as scholarships, continuing education and alternative-learning methods, as well as skills and livelihood training. His work in the Foundation, his commitment to education and his position at the University of the East (UE) were, in fact, a perfect combination. In his eulogy, Dr. Lucio C. Tan credited P.O. Domingo with having put UE back on its feet. “He did a fantastic job. He devoted the best years of his life saving UE from bankruptcy. He did not stop until it was back on its feet. And he succeeded. Much of what UE is today, we owe to P.O.” Dr. Tan saw in P.O. Domingo a kindred spirit. “He loved the job [at the Tan Yan Kee Foundation] because he shares with us the same passion for helping the poor and the needy.” Dr. Tan further called him “a visionary, a leader, a tireless worker…a good man, a wonderful friend.” The officers and staff of TYKF fondly remember the regular Wednesday lunch meetings they had with him: “Beyond the exchanges of agenda and reports…we learned life’s lessons that went from the arts to philosophy and governance practices to parenting and marriage. His repartee [was] quick and wholesome.” They remain awed by the fact that in his 80s he went for his MBA and graduated with distinction, and that he knew how to keep his hope and zest for life alive, dying young at 83 instead of being jaded at 20. Dr. Panfilo O. Domingo died on June 26, 2008. On its silver anniversary, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation hopes that P.O. Domingo’s dedication and tireless efforts for the Foundation will continue to reflect on its work.

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The Saga of Balete Primary School The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25



N ITS 25th year the Tan Yan Kee Foundation is taking bolder steps in pursuing “uncharted� paths. Barangay Balete in Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, is one such path, the breaking ground for the construction of schools in farflung places. Here, in a barangay of Santa Fe, the site of the historical Dalton Pass, now known as the Balete Pass Shrine and Marker, at the foothills of the Sierra Madre, the Foundation has constructed the Tan Yan Kee Primary School.

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The school, which was inaugurated in March 2011, also benefits adults

and out-of-school youth beyond elementary age because the school rooms are used as venues for the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS). The Tan Yan Kee Elementary School is a model of an environment-friendly and technologically

A TYKF staff van bogs down in a muddy footpath in Barangay

enabled facility. Solar power runs needed electrical and utility needs. Computers

Pinugay in Kayapa; (opposite page)

and Internet connection keep the students abreast with the rest of the world—

in contrast, a boy and his dog, also

all these in partnership with corporations whose core businesses provide the knowledge, skills and equipment of the Tan Yan Kee Elementary School in Balete, Nueva Vizcaya.

The Balete primary school is typical of the difficulties and sacrifices

involved whenever TYKF undertakes a project in remote places like Barangay Balete. Here are the accounts of our photographers who accompanied TYKF staffers to Balete—and to an adjacent barangay named Buyasyas higher up the mountain.

Muddy Roads, Green Fields

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in Kayapa, have a whole grassy field to themselves. (Succeeding page) A man and his dependable sled and carabao cross a rock-strewn stream to transport the books and goodies to the school site in Balete.

Nonie Reyes, who is staff photographer of the BusinessMirror, took the

Victory Liner bus in Pasay City that left at 11 in the evening for the six-hour travel to Santa Fe in Nueva Vizcaya, going north along the Northern Luzon Expressway, past Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. “I was asleep all throughout the journey,” says Nonie. “As we were entering Nueva Vizcaya the morning sun hit my eyes and woke me to a beautiful landscape of lush green rice fields.” It was his first time in the province. He got off at the last bus stop in Aritao, where he was met by Philip Sing and Jonathan Anuma, both of TYKF; then they all climbed into a 4X4 pickup and set out for Balete. (When the team was coming from Ilocos it would travel to Nueva Vizcaya via the Benguet-Vizcaya road.)

Along the way Nonie casually asked why the Foundation chose to build

a school in Balete in this mountainous province, and Philip said, “Just see for yourself when we get there,” and gave him a smile. He was riding comfortably in the pickup and he began checking his equipment for the photo shoot. At Balete

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The Tan Yan Kee Foundation at 25


they were met by the barangay captain, some members of the barangay council, and DepEd officials and teachers. “Wow, everything’s fine,” Nonie thought. What he could not understand was why a carabao sled was being loaded with the goods from the back of the pickup. “Where are they bringing the goods?” he asked. Jonathan replied, “Up the mountain, that’s where the school is located.”

Asking around, he came to know from the locals that to reach the Balete

At the Christmas party in December 2010 given by TYKF for the children, teachers and DepEd officials in Balete, the children were so excited at their first taste of French fries. When told

school one had to climb 45 degrees up a footpath, while the carabao sled had

that the fries were made of potatoes,

to plod through a river whose waters are fed by the mountain. “Hiking up the

they exclaimed, “Patatas lang pala!” It

mountain was just the start of the fun,” says Nonie drily. “A six-year-old pupil

was also the children’s first encounter

overtook us on the steep trek and he smiled at us like it was no effort at all for him. I waved and smiled back at him.”

After an hour’s walk they reached the school and the pupils were all

smiling as the TYKF people gave every child some goodies, as well as supplies of pencils, notebooks and slippers that could last them for half a year or so.

Clowns and French Fries

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with live clowns.

Frisky Kids The Balete schoolchildren walk to the school every

Freelance photographer Jeff Florendo was assigned to Balete for the

school’s Christmas party. He left at dawn in the second week of December 2010 with Chris Sioson and two clown actors on a Mitsubishi Strada 2008 pickup. In

day, walking and running

the back of the pickup were goodies for the children and their teachers, including

up the steep hill with the

two lechon and packs and packs of pancit bihon. The same old reliable 4x4 pickup

greatest of ease.

took them to the old site of Balete primary school, high up the jagged mountain range, reached by a hanging bridge crossing the river, and then a half-kilometer footpath. The new site of the school, bigger and with more rooms, is lower down the hill and may be reached from the Santa Fe main road by a motorized steelcable tramline, with a capacity of some 300 kilos, stretching a kilometer across a panorama of river, fields and hills. The tramline was built by the local government for farmers to transport their produce to the market in Santa Fe.

The Christmas party was held at the barangay hall (where Grades 3 and

4 temporarily held their classes while the classrooms were being constructed),

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from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, and the children played games and were given toys and other presents. But more than these presents, recalls Jeff, “The children were so happy to be seeing clowns in person for the first time.” Guests were DepEd assistant division superintendent Reynalda Bangunan, DepEd education supervisors, Mayor Teodorico Padilla Jr. and LGU representatives. The TYKF staff was in full force, in a strong gesture of support, and to see for themselves what still needed to be done: Beth Alba, Flora Lim, Jonathan Anuma, Philip Sing (they had come to Balete earlier) and Chris Sioson, of course. Jonathan comes from these parts; his father is pictured here driving his carabao along the footpath.

After the party, it was decided to have a look-see of the proposed Buyasyas

school site farther up the mountain. The intrepid Ma’am Beth and Philip, together with Mayor Padilla, clambered into the old and reliable pickup, while an escort car, an old, mountain-worthy Mazda B2550, trailed behind them.

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Get High on Education The mountaintop in Buyasyas, with a commanding view of the Sierra Madre, will be the new site of Buyasyas Elementary School, to mark yet another landmark in the continuing educational projects of TYKF.

“The pickup was crazily bumping up and down and sideways and we were

clutching on to whatever we could grasp,” observes Jeff. “Ma’am Beth bumped her head and Mayor Padilla caught a splatter of mud in his face. He just wiped the mud off his face laughing. There were cemented road tracks on the sharp turns but otherwise it was deep mud all the way, aggravated by rains the night before.”

Adds Jeff, “I came to recognize in Ma’am Beth, Miss Flora, Jonathan and

Philip and Chris what TYKF is all about—an eagerness, a commitment, to do the work of helping others. They appear even to have fun doing it.” Commitment is a tired and overused term, but it holds true and fresh for the TYKF team.

After 45 minutes of arduous uphill drive they reached the proposed site

of Buyasyas Elementary School. The site commands a splendid view of verdant plains of rice fields and the Sierra Madre, marking yet another landmark in the continuing educational projects of TYKF.

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Opening Doors

The daycare center near the barangay hall in Balete. TYKF hopes to be able to open more classrooms for these children in far-flung provinces.

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Scenes from Nueva Vizcaya

(Opposite page) The tramline built by the local government to transport farmers’ produce; a mother and child in Barangay Balete belonging to the Kalanguya, a subtribe of the Igorot; children leave their shoes and slippers outside the door of their classroom; a tent for visiting education officials at the foothills of the Sierra Madre.

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Tykf in Ilocos

Happiness for children is the world opening before them through education.

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Chapter 2

The Silver Catalyst A soft, white, lustrous transition metal with high electrical and thermal conductivity, silver is often at the core of production and usage both for aesthetic and industrial needs. Because silver naturally occurs with other metals, future production is linked to the production of copper, lead, gold and zinc. Spurred by its own initiatives, or partnering with international environmental agencies, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation has been acting as a catalyst for change in people’s thinking and government’s policies on protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and ensuring the survival of this and future generations.

The Environment

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The Models of Environmental Stewardship Clean Air The challenge for Absolut Chemicals is solving the environmental problems posed by methane-gas emissions into the atmosphere and how to harness organic waste to productive and environmentsafe uses. (Opposite page) A laboratory technician; a trellised walkway with a luxuriant vine, fertilized by Absolut Chemicals’ organic liquid fertilizer, of course.


EFORE ecology became the watchword in these times, even before former US Vice President Al Gore raised the “inconvenient truths” that galvanized legislators and concerned citizens, the distilleries of the Lucio Tan Group were already environment-aware—and laying down the standards for cleaner air. “Our waste is organic, like the manure of cattle, chicken and pig; like decomposing leaves and barks of trees,” says Gerardo Tan Tee, vice president, general manager, PCO of Absolut Chemicals Inc., a subsidiary of Tanduay Distillers, Inc., in Lian, Batangas. “Everything that decomposes will emit methane gas in different proportions. The problem with methane is it’s very dangerous; the good thing about methane is that it’s a very good alternative fuel.” That’s the double-barreled gun that Absolut Chemicals has pointed at solving the environmental problems posed by methanegas emissions into the atmosphere and how to harness organic waste to productive and environment-safe uses. Distilleries, according to Tee, have one of the biggest greenhouse gas-producing load among manufacturers. (Organic waste causes 15 percent more emissions than transportation.) The situation was so bad that in the late ’90s the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) started clamping down on distilleries, tightening its regulations on pollution, to the point that some distilleries had to close shop for failing these regulations. “Global warming was already there, but it was not yet in the consciousness of everyone,” says Tee. “The problem was if you were treating your wastewater by 80 percent, you were still left with a lot. We

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started looking at other countries and their best practices. And we found out that our wastewater would make a very good fertilizer.” Tee had very good support from the Tan Yan Kee Foundation and Lucio Khao Tan Jr., who challenged him: “What do you see in the future? What do we have to do with the waste? I will only look at it on a macro level; I want to see how you talk to the people. I will support you as long as what you’re doing is for the benefit of the company and the community.”

Friends of the Environment Lucio Khao Tan Jr. (opposite page, above): His vision is to build the very first “green dam” in Nueva Vizcaya. “You can picnic here,” says Gerardo Tan Tee, GM of Absolut Chemicals, shown with authors Girlie Gruet and Abe Florendo. “The air is fresh and clean, no foul smell, no harmful fumes. And it’s peaceful and quiet.”

That started the ball rolling for Absolut Chemicals: its resulting liquid organic fertilizer supplemented or took the place of artificial fertilizers, which the country was importing from oil-producing countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East. “The use of artificial fertilizers over time makes sugar farms acidic,” explains Tee. (The raw material of distilleries is molasses produced from sugar cane.) It was another thing to convince farmers to use the liquid organic fertilizer: they’ve been so used to artificial fertilizer they felt a so-called organic fertilizer could not do any better. But it could do better, according to Tee. “It could improve their productivity by as much as 50 percent,” Tee says. “Besides, we do the spraying and applying ourselves.” Today Absolut Chemicals is distributing its liquid organic fertilizer to some 3,500 hectares of sugar-cane farmlands in Lian, Batangas. “We only have so much wastewater, we cannot distribute to everyone,” says Tee. “But we’re actually coming full circle: from sugar cane to sugar cane.” He adds: “We continued improving our waste-treatment system by coming up with the sequential batch reactor and an updated aeration system. We maintained zero discharge into rivers or waterways. We’re doing 900,000 liters a day, we’re now practically a fertilizer plant. We could actually sell the liquid organic fertilizer but the Kapitan is not thinking of making money from the operations; he wants to help the farmers to become more productive, to have a better quality of life.” The liquid organic fertilizer can also fertilize orchids and ornamental plants; it also works as a pesticide.

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Lucio Khao Tan Jr., or Bong, is the 45-year-old president and chief executive officer of Tanduay Distillers, Inc., among a number of other directorships and officerships in companies of the Lucio Tan Group. The young Tan Jr. is armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with specialization in Sanitation Engineering from the University of California Davis, as well as an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University and the School of Business Management of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Bong Tan recalls his early kinship with the environment. “As a young boy, my grandfather Tan Yan Kee would bring me to the backyard and ask me to help him with his gardening, while telling me that we need this for balance in our world.” His grandfather’s early lessons and the close kinship they had eventually became the groundwork for his choice of a college education and specialization in what was then called Sanitation Engineering, now Environmental Engineering. Today Tan Jr. constantly invokes like a mantra, “If we don’t start in earnest now, nothing happens,” in reference to serious efforts for the environment. That starts with the management of waste from companies with the Lucio Tan Group. He is naturally proud of the many affirmations from environment bodies, particularly for the work that Tanduay Distillers and Absolut Chemicals have done and continue to do. Explaining what spurs his singular commitment to environmental stewardship on behalf of the LT Group, Tan Jr. explains: “Mankind takes everything from and depends on nature. To ensure equitable share of the resource, we should also take a greater part in the protection of the environment. Taking from nature is an opportunity loss for other people’s use of resource, hence it is only right that we enhance the environment and share the benefits of a healthy world to the community. We are also not just responsible for the present, but we owe much to the future generation, as well. This serves as my simple advocacy in proposing and establishing environmental programs for sustainable development.” One senses the fire in Bong Tan as he outlines his belief that the sta-

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‘Taking from Nature,’

says Lucio Khao Tan Jr., “is also an opportunity loss for other people’s use of resource, hence it is only right that we enhance the environment and share the benefits of a healthy world with the community.”

bility of all production lies in the stability of the pool of resources, which can only be ascertained by a protected resource—the environment. Thus, his management of business is anchored on strategized environmental programs as a principle of sustainable development combining business with environmental protection. It is against this well-thought-out framework that Bong Tan plans to build the first “green dam” in Nueva Vizcaya. This is envisioned as a total ecotourism/environmental program that will not only conserve and provide critical supply of water but will enhance and protect the environment, as well as create an entire community. This community will be self-sufficient with basic needs of food and shelter, as well as education, all the way to university level and health. The dam may be on blueprint right now but is projected to be operational in four to five years. Lucio Khao Tan Jr. says his programs are strongly connected to the CSR works of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, believing that the latter “enables the Lucio Tan Group of Companies to coexist with the community by taking part in the communal responsibility to improve the welfare of the people.” In more ways than one, the grandson sees the Foundation as a living legacy to the grandfather whose unwavering belief in “hard work as key to sufficiency and success” continues to guide the Tan generations after him. In 2006 the Lian plant became the first, and largest, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in the Philippines in the private manufacturing sector. The CDM project was undertaken in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, a global agreement to reduce greenhousegas emissions. The CDM project, a collaborative effort of Tanduay Distillers, Inc., Absolut Chemicals, Inc. and Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan, saw the construction of a high-rate thermophilic anaerobic digester and a covered lagoon intended to catch methane gas from the wastewater discharged by Absolut Chemicals. The plant occupies 8.5 hectares, bigger than the international standard which stipulates that 5 hectares should be dedicated to wastewater treatment.

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Green Excellence This alcohol distillery plant has been awarded, among others, the Industrial Ecowatch Green Rating for its pollution prevention and cleaner production implementations: slops reuse, Clean Development Mechanism, organic liquid fertilizer-conversion program, and carbon-dioxide recovery plant. Pictured in opposite and next pages are the Lian, Batangas, plant’s sequential batch reactor, thermophilic anaerobic digester and wastewater-treatment lagoons.

A most remarkable thing about the Lian plant is the series of wastewater-treatment lagoons lined with high-density polyethylene: they make a serene view of placid waters, with no foul smell. “You can actually have a picnic here,” says Tee, as he brings his guests to a thatched-roof bamboo resthouse in the midst of the treatment lagoons. “The air is fresh and clean, and there are no harmful fumes. And it’s peaceful and quiet.” Students and foreign visitors are frequently given tours of the plant. Absolut Chemicals’ leadership in providing high-quality technology products for a cleaner environment earned the highest awards of the DENR—the Revised Industrial Ecowatch System (RIES) and the Philippine Environment Partnership Program (PEPP). Absolut Chemicals was rated by RIES, a public-disclosure program, the highest color-code Silver in 2010 for “environmental efforts that go beyond compliance of legal requirements.” PEPP, which encourages the private sector to voluntarily devise environmental management strategies and adhere to environmental laws and regulations, cited Absolut for its initiatives toward a resource-efficient and low-carbon environment. “Absolut now also boasts of a Green Rating and Track 1 Award, the first ever given for the distillery sector,” says Tee, who is also VP-operations for the Center of Alcohol Research and Development Foundation. Soon after the successful experience of the Lian plant, other distilleries followed. Other plans down the road include a third-party investment in an electric plant using biogas. “The future of the distillery industry,” adds Tee, “is the use of sugar-cane juice, not molasses.” As a parting shot, Tee says, “The environment is not the problem of the government, but the problem of the whole planet. We have only one planet, we share the same atmosphere. We all have to be stewards of the environment.”

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Tanduay Distillers, Inc.


anduay Distillers, Inc., of which Absolut Chemicals is a subsidiary, has the wastewater-treatment system similar to that of Absolut Chemicals in a smaller scale. “The methane gas,” says Wilson T. Young, Tanduay president and TYKF project director, “we use to power our facility, and this contributes to 30 percent of our power needs. Our digester is actually a composting facility: We digest the waste through agitators and, in the process, we collect the methane gas. We burn it, we do not throw it into the air. We reduce the biological oxygen demand by 80 percent; the rest can be fairly absorbed by the environment.”

Good Neighbors “Tanduay Distillers observes the very Filipino cultural practice of pakikisama. It gives us a good feeling of belonging [to the community]. Belonging is what CSR is all about.”—Wilson T. Young, Tanduay president and TYKF project director

Tanduay Distillers registered its clean-air project with the CDM of the United Nations (UN), the second such project approved by the UN. Tanduay Distillers had signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese giant Mitsubishi Corporation for the greenhouse gas-reducing project of Tanduay’s subsidiary Absolut Chemicals, which produces alcohol for its mother company. The joint commitment is a response to the Kyoto Protocol (adopted in 1997, which came into force in 2005), a global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. “Tanduay now is crossroading,” says Young. The distillery, for more than a century-and-a-half located in the old Quiapo district, has plans to relocate to Cabuyao, Laguna (to augment its existing plant there; the other plants are in Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro). “The plan,” Young says, “is to convert the Quiapo site into a students’ dormitory, a mixed-use mall or a museum.” When they do move out of Quiapo, the neighborhood will surely miss them. “We’ve been sponsoring the tuition of poor students around us, especially from Arellano High School and a public elementary school here. Tanduay has been contributing to Dr. Tan’s renovation of school buildings and construction of new ones. Tanduay has also been hiring TYKF scholars in engineering and accounting—a link between the University of the East The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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and the Lucio Tan Group.” Equally important for Tanduay in Quiapo is its relationship with the barangay. “We’re responsive to their needs,” says Young. “Sponsorships during a fiesta or Christmas, the construction of a basketball court or a barangay center, we’re always there.” Beyond the clean-air project, Tanduay has been observing that very Filipino cultural practice: pakikisama. “When we do our neighborhood pakikisama,” Young says, “we get this good feeling of belonging. Belonging is what CSR is all about.”

Foremost Farms’ Porkies (Opposite page) The hog-feed plant in Barangay Santolan, Pasig City, which operates with very minimal waste and dust. (Next page) Foremost boasts an efficient wastewater treatment and wastewaterrecyling plant in the hog farm in Baras, Rizal.

Tanduay Distillers, through the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, can always be depended upon to participate in pooled efforts of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies to rehabilitate school libraries and clinics in the provinces, donate school equipment (especially the ETV Package), lend a helping hand in massive calamity-relief efforts, and so forth.

Foremost Farms


E have 100,000 hogs at any given time,” says Isidro S.D. de Guzman Jr., the multitasking personnel, security and external-affairs manager of the 240-hectare Foremost Farms Inc. in Barangay Pinugay, Baras, Rizal, 30 kilometers east of Manila, a sow farrow-to-finish operation. It is the biggest of Foremost’s two other hog farms, one in Teresa, Rizal, and the other in General Santos in the South. One hundred thousand hogs means incredible mess and smell. “What do we do with all the effluent?” de Guzman asks the question himself. They do it with a most environment-friendly wastewater-treatment and wastewater-recycling plant. In fact, today Baras is called “the municipal capital of organic farming” (possibly also in the whole province of Rizal). The pig pens are cast-iron stands elevated over deep lagoons which directly receive the feces and urine of the pigs. A biological treatment,

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including disinfection, removes the pollutant content of the wastewater, and the treated water is pumped into overhead pumps for reuse for washing the pig pens and watering plants, while the collected solids are further processed to convert them into organic fertilizer that is donated to farmers in the area to enrich their vegetable farms. “Neighboring farmers are benefiting largely from this organic fertilizer,” says de Guzman. In 2006 Foremost negotiated with the Japanese company Mitsubishi to conduct the CDM project. Foremost has since infused multimillionpeso capital investments in its wastewater and recycling facilities. Foremost has a wastewater laboratory to monitor the quality and right color of its wastewater, and a team of pollution-control officers who are deployed to oversee correct environmental practices and enforce regulations.

Effluents to Fertilizer There are as many as 100,000 hogs at any given time in Foremost’s sow farrow-to-finish operation in Baras, Rizal, known as the “municipal capital of organic farming,” possibly also in the whole province of Rizal. (Above) Says Isidro S.D. de Guzman, personnel, security and external-affairs manager of Foremost Farms, “Our neighboring farmers are benefiting largely from our organic fertilizer.”

Barangay Pinugay in Baras was a squatter resettlement area during the time of President Joseph Estrada. “When Kapitan [Dr. Lucio C. Tan] decided to put up the farm in this resettlement, other settlers began coming from the provinces and they set up their homes and livelihoods in Baras. That was when it became a community.” The community continues to grow, adds de Guzman, “but there’s still a large portion of land suitable for agriculture. We are encouraging the farms in the neighborhood of Foremost to plant corn so we could at least get our supply of corn from them, or to plant alternative crops like cassava [which can replace rice]. This year we’ve been encouraging them to do fruit-tree planting.” Baras, lying in a deceptively serene valley, is also called dagat-dagatan, because it turns into a sea of water during heavy rains. Trees, says de Guzman, will help reduce floodwater and top-soil erosion. Foremost runs a hog-feed plant in Barangay Santolan, Pasig City, which operates “with very minimal waste and dust,” says de Guzman. “Hog feed is 70-percent corn, with infusions of soya and multivitamins. Corn production in the Philippines cannot support the demand for livestock feeds in the country. But as much as possible, we buy our corn from corn farmers here, especially in Isabela and as far away as Mindanao.” That’s a CSR project in itself. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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Practical Solution to Perennial Problem

(Opposite page, top) Kapitan receives EcoAward from Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands for his pioneering efforts in constructing and rehabilitating small water dams for irrigation. TYKF has built or repaired dams and water-catchment basins in the north of Ilocos (Opposite and following pages) to irrigate the thousands of hectares of rice and tobacco farmlands during the long and dry summer months, especially during the dreaded visitations of El Niño. Its impounding projects conserve the water during the rainy months that would just flow out to the sea.

It goes further than that. In coordination with TYKF, Foremost regularly supports the Foundation’s book drives and medical missions. “We are not really sure how many people live in Pinugay, but at one medical-dental mission we serviced around 500 people in half a day,” says de Guzman. “Summer is a busy day for the medical team, when young boys come for Operation Tuli [circumcision].” Foremost employs people from its neighborhoods in the farms and plant: 600 regular employees and 400 daily employees. The barangay leaders are encouraged to approach Foremost and offer to cooperate in projects like bloodletting and others that they feel their community needs. Foremost is not thinking of branding its meat product. “The Kapitan is more concerned about serving the people at prices affordable to them. In the pork industry, 70 percent of the meat is provided by small and backyard farmers, 30 percent from companies like us. If you brand your product and sell it in meatshops, the prices go up; maybe even beyond the reach of the common people. We supply public markets instead, with instructions to the vendors on how to handle the meat with great attention to sanitation and consumer safety.” (Tip to buyers: When buying pork in the public market, ask for the Foremost product!) To safeguard its customers, Foremost is also inflexibly strict about “double dead” meat. Sometimes pigs collapse in the heat of summer, de Guzman says, and traders would say “puwede pa ’yan, but we don’t ever give in to them. Instead, our dead pigs go through a process of autopsy to find out why they died, and then we cremate them.” Foremost can sufficiently supply the local market, particularly in Luzon, and is applying for certification to export, in compliance with international safeguards against swine flu and foot-and-mouth disease. In the meantime, says de Guzman, “we are focusing our internal CSR on our commitment to our employees, like projects for our retirees. These are projects that we are handling on our own, kami-kami lang.” TYKF, indeed, strongly encourages self-motivated and self-initiated projects like these.

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Water-Impounding Projects for Farmers


OR farmers in Northern Luzon, visited by seasonal extremes of weather, monster typhoons or relentless droughts, the TYKF water-impounding projects are a blessing to their sustenance and livelihood.

TYKF has built or repaired dams and water-catchment basins in the north of Ilocos to irrigate the thousands of hectares of rice and tobacco farmlands during the long and dry summer months, especially during the dreaded visitations of El Niño. The work is never done. Early in 2010, for instance, TYKF restored the minidam in the Casilagan Norte, Banayoyo, Ilocos Sur facility, which is capable of storing 60,000 cubic meters of water and irrigating 120 hectares of rice, corn and tobacco farmlands through the dry summer months. During that same period TYKF, through Fortune Tobacco, dispatched soil and water experts to inspect or build more dams and water-catchment basins in the north and south of Ilocos, and study more effective ways to prevent water seepage and minimize evaporation. TYKF has eight impounding projects so far in Cagayan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. Water impounding is a key agricultural initiative of Fortune Tobacco and TYKF, duly recognized and awarded by the Asia-Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, a body that addresses pollution, development problems and solutions within the region. Impounding projects are a practical solution to a perennial problem: How to conserve water during the rainy months that would just flow out to the sea. The old and heavily silted irrigation dams built by the government in the ’70s could no longer effectively hold the rainwater for use during dry spells. Fortune Tobacco is continually studying soil types and conditions and chemical compositions in the different areas to prevent or minimize water seepage. In the summer of 2010, when El Niño parched farmlands and triggered power failures across Luzon and Mindanao, a well-read Inquirer columnist, Federico Pascual Jr., commended Dr. Tan for “building and repairing small ponds for irrigation [in the Ilocano regions] to conserve water, improve yields and upgrade the livelihood of the farmers….[He’s] a chemical engineer…and expert on applied agriculture.”

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Chapter 3

The Silver Healer Among the ancient Vedas all illness is rooted in an imbalance in the human energy system, and pure metals in precise combinations are used to help restore a state of equilibrium. In the Ayurvedic system, silver was known to be a liver and spleen detoxifier. In mythology, Apollo, teacher of medicine, carried a silver bow. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, believed silver had healing and antidisease properties. In modern times, diluted silver-nitrate solutions and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides.

Medical Assistance

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TYKF’ trustee Tan Hui Bin with four-year old patient Herbie Guting, whose eye was poked with a sharp object.

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Medical Assistance


EALTH CARE in the Philippines is nowhere near adequate or satisfactory; in many far-flung provinces people can barely expect the most rudimentary of health services, in poor and remote areas often none at all. The national problem is still malnutrition and endemic diseases like dengue. But a note of grace and irony: The country is one of the best health-care providers in the world. Tan Yan Kee Foundation medical missions target people who have little or no access to basic health care. These missions have touched people, especially children, in incalculable ways, although measurable figures may be provided by TYKF—and these are quite impressive in terms of private initiative.

Consider TYKF’s Project Asthma: Nebulizer Distribution Program. Five years after it was launched in 2003, the program was benefiting an average of 6,495 patients daily in hospitals, health centers, school clinics and orphanages, with 548 nebulizer units and 5,470 nebulizer kits.

Lifegiving Nebulizers

TYKF’s Project Asthma on Wheels conducts visits to rural health units and municipal and city health offices serving poor areas, and makes on-the-spot donations of nebulizers if such a need is perceived.

The benefits are more greatly appreciable when you consider the people with respiratory disorders for whom the nebulizer is nothing less than a lifegiver. Nina, an asthmatic three-year-old with a mental disability, a ward of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, has to be given her daily bronchodilator medication through a nebulizer to be able to breathe properly. Asthma, which in severe cases may cause death, is reported to be on the rise in urban areas due to worsening vehicular pollution; its symptoms are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Imagine the poor child Nina, without a nebulizer at hand in the orphanage of the Sisters of Mother Teresa, gasping for breath and dear life. The Foundation has also implemented the innovative Project Asthma on Wheels, wherein nebulizer-distribution program personnel conduct unannounced visits to rural health units and municipal/city health offices serving poor areas, and make on-the-spot donations of nebulizers The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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Bless the Children TYKF’s medical missions have helped especially infants and children with heart ailments or physical deformities (opposite page) get needed surgery. Through Philippine Airlines’ Medical Travel Grants, severely ailing children are connected with hospitals abroad with the available medical resources and flown there by PAL.

if such a need is perceived. The recipient institutions have to commit to taking good care of the nebulizers and provide regular reports to the Foundation to help in the monitoring, evaluation and further improvement of the program. Through Project Asthma on Wheels, the Foundation hopes to saturate the country’s 81 provinces, one by one. Not the easiest thing to do, but the Foundation is getting there. More than 20 patients needing open-heart surgery have so far been beneficiaries of TYKF’s Cardiovascular Surgery Mission, a partnership with the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills, San Juan, where the operations are performed. In separate groups the beneficiaries are chosen for their inability to pay for the expensive surgery, which often spells the difference between life and death. For all groups who underwent the free heart operation in 2007, the renowned US-based cardiologist Alex Yap was flown in to head the team of 10 surgeons.

Philippine Airlines


PAL president and COO Jaime J. Bautista

hildren who have heart ailments, on the other hand, have a friend in Philippine Airlines (PAL), the nation’s f lag carrier. PAL Medical Travel Grants f lies these children to where they can have the free medical care they urgently need. In the Philippines there are a few hospitals that have free heart-surgery programs for children with congenital heart problems. And there is a waiting list of over a thousand children in these hospitals, according to Legacy, the official newsletter of TYKF. Moreover, charity patients in the Philippines have to pay for all the supplies and tests; only the bed and professional medical services are free. Families of patients coming from the provinces have the added burden of supporting their long stay in the city where these free medical-specialty services are found. PAL Medical Travel Grants helps connect the ailing children to possible medical resources abroad and guides them through the application

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


process. To fly them PAL does not use donated miles from its customers: “It comes straight from the heart of the airline’s service culture,” said Legacy. It was from the heart that eight-month-old John of Zamboanga was flown to the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital for a complex heart operation, care of Mending Kids International. The child was hosted by a Jewish-American family who continues to send financial support for John and his brother. Another remarkable and heartwarming story of a PAL Medical Travel grantee is that of Suzzane, a teenager who had extensive reconstructive surgery for burns she suffered in infancy. Her left ear and the scalp above it were seared away and her left hand was completely dissolved. Thanks to the Rotary Gift of Life International, Suzzane now has a new ear, smooth skin grafts on her scalp and arm, and a prosthetic hand. Wonders never cease: a Baptist congregation in Brevard, North Carolina, and a Knights of Columbus chapter have also put up a college fund for her. The stories of these grantees all began with an angel of steel who flew them to a new life, a new beginning. Philippine Airlines, founded in 1941, has the distinction of being the very first airline in Asia, but 50 years after its inception it lost its glimmer and glamour to other Asian airlines. The Asian financial crisis starting in 1997 broke its back, worsened by a crippling strike by pilots and ground workers in 1998. That same year it closed down; a national embarrassment, an industry tragedy. Then came a knight in shining armor and a satchel filled with US$200 million in capital infusion for a 10-year rehabilitation plan. That was Dr. Lucio C. Tan, whose skillful management, marketing alliances, and consolidated domestic and international operations, which saw the rise of the imposing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3, made possible the turnaround of PAL, an industry legend and an inspiring story, like the stories of the PAL Medical Travel grantees. In 1999 Dr. Lucio C. Tan took control of Air Philippines, four years after its creation as a Subic Bay Freeport enterprise. It is yet another vehicle for TYKF’s wide-ranging social-responsibility work.

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Philippine National Bank


n a notable project to mark its 90th anniversary in 2006, Philippine National Bank (PNB), hand in hand with its branches in Cagayan Valley, collaborated with TYKF in a cataract surgery-dental mission for residents of Ilagan, Isabela, and neighboring areas. During the three-day mission, the ophthalmologists and dentists treated some 263 patients, ranging from little children to doddering old men in their 90s and prison inmates. A number of them underwent eye surgery for cataract and pterygium. A celebrated case was that of a five-year-old boy whose right eye was poked by a barbecue stick.

Former PNB president Omar Byron Mier

PNB is always responsive to any call for help from TYKF’s medical missions and its social, educational and disaster-relief programs. PNB has donated land in Tarlac for Gawad Kalinga and, with donations from its employees, has built a school, town hall and houses in the community. Says former PNB president Omar Byron Mier, “The bank plans to get further involved in Gawad Kalinga projects.” In 2008, in one instance, bank employees voluntarily donated the Christmas party fund to charity. During the disastrous typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, donations from PNB employees again funded the help for victims. “It’s our way of giving back to the people who have been loyal to us and made PNB what it is today,” says Mier. PNB was established in 1906 to serve as a pillar for the country’s development. But after long years of government stewardship, marked by economic and political upheavals in the ’90s, the revered institution wrote off huge losses. In 1999 the Lucio Tan Group of Companies stepped in as majority stockholder of the bank, nursed it back to financial health, and brought it to the globalization era. Says Mier, “We’re no longer government-owned or -controlled, but PNB remains as proudly and truly Filipino as when it started.” Every loyal client of PNB knows that, especially small and medium agribased entrepreneurs and overseas Filipino workers, who find PNB the most reliable channel for their remittances into the country. Rack that up for great community service.

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Asia Brewery, Inc.


esides its very commendable scholarships for doctors wanting to take subspecialties in their fields, Asia Brewery is also quick to respond to TYKF’s calls for help in times of disaster and to adopt environment-friendly programs. Asia Brewery contributes to the acquisition of such medical hardware like the CT scan and lends a hand in medical and relief missions in disaster-stricken areas. Asia Brewery is also actively involved in TYKF’s environmental concerns, especially in the wastewater management in its plant in Laguna de Bay—“We are one of the first in the country to use the green technology of anaerobic wastewater system in the country”—and the adoption of the CDM espoused by Tanduay Distillers in Lian, Batangas.

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Asia Brewery, Inc.’s anaerobic and aerobic used-water treatment facility in Laguna de Bay.

Serving Scholars & Student Trainees Century Park hosts the monthly AABMSS medical forums; its doors are open for studenttrainees in hotel and restaurant management and service-oriented tourism courses.

Century Park Hotel


entury Park Hotel in Malate, Manila, a member of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies, has become the monthly destination of laymen and medical practitioners participating in the A ABMSS medical forums. It has played host to visiting dignitaries including President Jiang Zemin of China and the entourage of Pope John Paul II, and boasts of a heliport able to accommodate three choppers at a time. Since the 1980s the hotel has opened its doors to student-trainees in hotel and restaurant management, and tourism and other service-oriented courses—the hotel’s distinct service to the youth.

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Santa Ana Hospital


ANta Ana Hospital—a modern and fully equipped district hospital—serves the needs of some 200,000 residents of the Sixth District of the City of Manila. It stands on more than 8,000 square meters of prime property owned by Dr. Lucio C. Tan, which he donated to the city so that the district hospital can serve people and save lives.

TYKF’s Other Partners Grandspan Development Corp.


randspan Development Corporation (GDC) does more than CSR projects: its operations contribute significantly to nation-building.

“We do our part in contributing to the many projects of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation,” says Alfred Tiu, president of GDC. “Our CSR projects started with schools—the construction of classrooms and donations of books. Now we’re helping TYKF in its medical missions and assistance to farmers and the eradication of diseases. Our own employees are deployed to help in assisting people struck by floods and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. We always take part, tulong sa kapwa ’yan. “But we also see to it that the assistance goes to the right people,” he adds. “Like during the Ondoy calamity, we screen the people who are lining up for the help. Sad to say, people who are not victims, people who are not even from the area, take advantage of the situation. I think that if you want to help, do it properly.”

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“We’re not simply doing infrastructures,” says Alfred Tiu, Grandspan

president (opposite page, above). “We are helping build the nation, we are laying the groundwork for the country’s progress tomorrow.”

On its own, outside of TYKF, Grandspan—which has its head office and steel, tube and trailer assembly plants in a 33-hectare compound in Barrio Tagpos, Binangonan, Rizal—can always be counted upon to help in such community projects as the construction of a basketball court for the youth, the lighting up of streets, and activities for the Fire Prevention Month. Grandspan does not initiate projects in the community, “but if you have a project tell us and we’ll help you,” says Tiu, an industrial engineer who’s been with Grandspan since 1992, after putting in 10 years in Fortune Tobacco as auditor.

Now, if it’s steel bridges that you want, you go to Grandspan.

Inarguably the industry leader in steel fabrication in the country and one of the most equipped steel-fabrication plants in Asia, Grandspan, established in 1979, has been making not just bridges but also high-rise buildings, power plants, transmission towers, ground-level and elevated tanks and pressure vessels, warehouses, malls, airport terminals, hangars and stadia. “We give them the best quality and services at our disposal,” says Tiu. Grandspan did the Edsa-Crossing Flyover in Mandaluyong; the bridge diverting from Edsa to Rockwell coming from Ayala; all the bridges (a total of 18) on the North Luzon Expressway from Clark to Tarlac; Naia Ramps 2 and 3; the Light Rail Transit stations; and several other significant infrastructures. “All our projects,” boasts Tiu, “are solid and enduring. Even after how many years, maganda pa rin, walang dugdug-dugdug. They are marked by Grandspan’s highest standards of materials, services and technical competence.” Tiu adds: “We are not simply doing infrastructures, we are helping build the nation, we are laying the groundwork for the country’s progress tomorrow.” Unknown to many people, Grandspan built the special structures for the Makati Stock Exchange, the dome of Glorietta Mall, the Naia Terminal 2 and the Bacolod-Silay Airport. Gransspan did the spectacular steel structures of the 72-story Land Development Corporation in Hong Kong, the 66-story UOB Plaza in Singapore, the 52-story Jing Guang Centre in Beijing and the Lamma Power Station in Hong Kong.

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Outside of the Southeast Asian region, Grandspan has also been exporting to India, Sri Lanka and Micronesia, and even as far as Uzbekistan, once part of Soviet Russia, where Grandspan provided the fabricated-steel structures in the middle of a desert. Grandspan usually gets subcontractual work for Japanese companies, also called “packagers,” a testimony to the sterling reputation of Grandspan in its line of work. “We export the steel components—the skeleton—according to specifications of our clients, from plates or I-beams or H-beams. And like Lego, they just assemble them. They send their supervisors or engineers to oversee the work on the specifications and to discuss problems when they arise. We don’t send problems there, we solve it right here. And we don’t export Filipino labor. It’s

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Solid & Enduring Grandspan has built some of the major flyovers, diversion bridges on the North Luzon Expressway, Naia ramps, LRT stations and other significant infrastructures in Metro Manila, all of them marked by Greenspan’s high standards of materials, technology and services.

not what we do right now.” But what Grandspan is doing for the Filipino, its long and wideranging CSR, is promoting long-term partnerships with suppliers, customers and the community, as well as “providing a safe and environment-friendly atmosphere, a working environment conducive to growth and industrial peace.” And that has as much far-ranging community benefits as building basketball courts for young people and lighting up streets.

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Lufthansa Technik Philippines


‘There are more things that need help in this country than anyone could ever imagine. And you realize that you could only do so much. We’re doing what we can, in the best way we could.”—LTP president and CEO Bernhard Krueger Sprengel

N August 2000 Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) and MacroAsia, a member of the Lucio Tan Group, partnered to service the maintenance needs of the airlines in the Philippines. MacroAsia is a diversified company engaged in mining, catering, ground handling, and engineering and maintenance services to local and international airlines. Seven years later, when Lufthansa Technik Philippines had established itself in the industry, the imperative of “giving back something to the country” began to inform the operations and the business approach of the company. “There are more things that need help in this country than anyone could ever imagine,” says LTP president and CEO Bernhard Krueger Sprengel, “and you realize that you could only do so much.” Sprengel adds, “We are doing what we can, in the best way we could.” Focus became the operative word for LTP’s corporate social responsibility undertakings. Says Sprengel: “Mr. Washington Sycip [member of the TYKF executive committee] gave us the idea of focusing on basic education. He told us, ‘The population is growing, but the education sector could not keep pace with the growth.’” From the start LTP has not only been constructing school buildings and comfort rooms and donating classroom chairs, but also, in collaboration with Synergeia Foundation, improving teachers’ training in English and mathematics and teaching parents how to inculcate in their children the importance and value of education (the directives of Synergeia). Lufthansa Technik Philippines, in recent years, provided F. Ubay Elementary School with bigger rooms that are well-ventilated and equipped furthermore with ceiling fans, new study desks and f lush toilets; in the aftermath of Typhoon Pepeng in 2010, which devastated fragile school structures in some parts of Northern Ilocos, LTP purchased 2,000 Monoblock study chairs that were distributed to 44 public schools in Ilocos region. Beyond these, Sprengel hopes to “create The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


a more conducive learning environment and bring hope to the students and teachers of the school.” Because in the Philippines disasters like fires, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are a fact of life, LTP has also made relief a focus of its CSR operations. And no more urgent an emergency there could be than the thousands of families displaced by these disasters. LTP has even enjoined Lufthansa Technik Germany to extend help in these emergencies; Lufhansa Technik Germany raised substantial donations during its Christmas party for the Marikina Hospital badly damaged by Typhoon Ondoy in 2010. TYKF, says Sprengel, has opened a broader window for the CSR projects of LTP. “It is our employees themselves who are very much involved in these projects,” he says. “Our CSR system works on an employeeguarantor system. Our employees choose the area where to focus our

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help. And the help is properly managed: on-site inspections are made, local contractors are engaged.” (The chosen beneficiary areas are usually where one or two LTP employees come from or where they have friends or relatives. This helps in better monitoring; it also boosts the reputation of the employee, who would receive a hero’s welcome when he comes a-visiting his ravaged hometown—thereby further solidifying LTP’s employeemanagement relations.) “CSR is a reflection of Lufthansa’s high standards of management and principles,” says Sprengel. “In fact, Lufthansa Technik Philippines supplies our worldwide network with skilled and professional Filipino workers.” Practically speaking for the other sister companies of the Tan Group, Sprengel says that “CSR equals reputation. Profitability is not an aim. CSR is rather driven by the spirit of altruism.”

Allied Banking Corporation, Macroasia, Allied Savings Bank


epending on the CSR focus and resources of companies, members of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies have unselfishly reached out to different communities in partnership or with the support of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation.

MacroAsia, for instance, has been at the exploration stage of possible mining in Brookes Point, Palawan. While being focused on the project, lawyer Marivic Moya, vice president for legal and human resource, says that building a strong community is paramount. This involves a number of interventions that connect them with residents in and around the more than 1,000 hectares of MacroAsia. Included here are medical-dental

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missions primarily for the indigenous people of the area. Efforts in the field of education include a library (said to be the most modern in Palawan), which has become a hub for students. MacroAsia provides basic school supplies and raincoats. Every year the company sends 100 full scholars to high school and college (as of 2010, 17 have graduated from college). MacroAsia also spearheads Impok Kalikasan, an environmenthealth exchange that provides insurance medical cards to residents that can be used in MacroAsia-accredited hospitals; piggery livelihood projects; and alternative power source to run computers. Moya tells the story of a little girl who came bright and early on her first day of elementary school. She was dressed so well, she was asked why. Her reply: “Para malaman nila [referring to MacroAsia] na nagpapasalamat ako at pagbubutihan ko hanggang sa makatapos ako [So they will know that I am grateful and I will do my best until I finish my studies].” Allied Savings Bank president Jaime del Barrio and assistant vice president Florence Parker aver that their people’s volunteerism in TYKF projects has revived their sense of concern and sacrifice. Both recall how they all pitched in to help calamity victims in Tarlac province. “Our people eagerly hopped onto the Hope Caravan organized by Tan Yan Kee and raised funds on their own to be able to contribute in kind,” says del Barrio. The savings bank has also done a storybook drive in Masbate. Del Barrio says that all their efforts are in coordination with TYKF, adding ,“When the need comes, we will always be there for the Foundation.” Allied Bank’s CSR projects are coordinated and spearheaded by its corporate affairs and product development and marketing departments, focusing on uplifting the standards of education, improving social welfare and promoting health awareness. For more than a decade Allied Bank has also been an active constituent of Books Across the Seas (BATS), a book donation project which in 2010 saw some 9,200 elementary and high school textbooks and reference books distributed to 24 schools and libraries all over the country. Since embarking on this project, BATS has given away 13

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Macro Missions MacroAsia sends scholars to high school and college, and spearheads Impok Kalikasan and livelihood programs. (Above) Marivic Moya, MacroAsia vice president for legal and human resources.

million books to 50,000 beneficiary schools nationwide. Allied Bank believes in empowering the youth through reading.

Coordinating with TYKF “When the need comes, we will always be there for the Foundation.”—Jaime del Barrio, Allied Savings Bank president

Starting as an oratorical contest, a pet project of Dr. Lucio C. Tan who has a life-long passion for learning the English language, the Voice of the Youth (VOY) is a now a much-awaited national impromptuspeaking competition open to high school students from public and private schools nationwide. Spearheaded by Allied Bank, VOY seeks to develop the student’s ability to form a point of view on a particular topic—fast, practically within minutes before coming out on stage—and to clearly enunciate his thoughts, in English, on the topic before an audience. VOY aims to foster among youngsters a proficiency in English in furtherance of universal understanding. At the 11th VOY national competition held in February 2011 at the Philamlife Auditorium in Manila, 20 students from various high schools, selected by Rotary clubs on district levels, competed for the honors. Germaine Erika Kaw of St. Jude Catholic School Manila emerged the champion. VOY 2011 national chairman was Dr. Jose Paolo E. Campos. Allied Bank, which started operations in June 1977, has been doing great service to Filipino overseas workers in the Middle East through its remittance desks in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

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Chapter 4

The Silver Standard Up to the 1800s the silver standard was used by many nations. While silver was never equated with gold in value due to silver’s greater abundance, throughout the first 2,500 years of silver production, its status as “money” never diminished. In the context of TYKF, the silver standard refers to its valuable— and incalculable—work to improve people’s livelihood and productivity, and its readiness to help victims of calamities. For 25 years the Tan Yan Kee Foundation has held up the silver standard for succor and compassion. It will continue to do so.

Disaster Relief

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Responsiveness & Quick Mobilization


OTHING more quickly mobilizes TYKF than disasters—typhoons, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires and others caused by Nature’s rage or man’s neglect and carelessness. And with a swiftness that only a Kapitan of a well-knit and socially concerned group of companies could inspire, the Foundation would organize these companies’ offers of help and move into the disaster areas, trucks plodding through mud and floodwaters, choppers whirring, and people sending up their prayers of thanks for the godsend Samaritans.

The Kapitan himself orchestrating the operations and lending a hand at the sites characterizes the disasterrelief assistance of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation. (Above) Two little girls high and dry in a relocation center inside Fortune Tobacco Corporation during a Marikina flooding. (Preceding page) Thousands of repacked goods at Fortune Tobacco’s Tan Court.

A measure of his concern, the Kapitan himself would be present at these relief operations—bringing along with him some powerful friends who could be of help. After the damage wrought by Typhoon Reming upon Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and other Bicol provinces, Dr. Lucio C. Tan and his wife Carmen flew to Daraga, Albay, where houses were swept away or buried under mudslides from Mayon Volcano, and brought with them volunteers and doctors from the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwanbased international relief and humanitarian-aid foundation, of which the couple are major benefactors and volunteers. When Typhoon Frank hit in 2008, leaving a swathe of destruction and flooding across Panay Island, including the whole province of Iloilo— said to be the worst flooding in Iloilo’s history—the Kapitan clambered down from a special PAL Airbus flight with his colleagues from the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and set about helping the thousands of families rendered homeless by the floodwaters.

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Dr. Tan also donated P10 million to the then-National Disaster Coordinating Council and turned over 10,000 bags of relief goods to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for distribution in the other affected provinces of Aklan and Antique. In an unexpected act of helpfulness, emergency loans and cash assistance were also extended to families whose houses were destroyed or swept away by the typhoon. These are examples of the heart that goes with the muscle of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, as masterminded by the Kapitan.

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Truckload of goods & hope The Hope Caravan lumbers through a typhoon-ravaged barangay in Rizal, bringing rice, instant noodles, canned goods and bottled water. The Hope Caravan often has to brave alternative rough roads and rampaging floodwaters.

Fortune Tobacco’s Hope Caravan


mighty hero in these disaster scenes is Fortune Tobacco’s Hope Caravan. Typical of its work was its relief missions in Panay following the destructions of aforesaid Typhoon Frank. The Hope Caravan brought truckloads of relief goods—rice, noodles, canned food, bottled water—lumbering through alternative rough roads, as vital bridges had been destroyed by the raging floodwaters, to reach the outlying municipalities which were in most need of the help of the Hope Caravan team. The Hope Caravan would reach its targets way ahead of the US Armed Forces team carrying its own relief goods.

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one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country in 2006, swept through Bicol all the way to Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. In Metro Manila flash floods brought traffic to a standstill and gale-force winds blew off building roofs, toppled giant billboards, uprooted trees and turned over vehicles. The devastation was felt more severely in the provinces, where people lost homes, property, crops, livelihood and lives of loved ones. The Hope Caravan focused its series of relief operations on three hard-hit locations—Cavite, Rizal and Bicol—and enlisted the assistance not only of Fortune Tobacco, but also Allied Bank and Grandspan Development Corporation. The caravan distributed thousands of packs of food, beddings and purified drinking water; in Bicol a water-filtration system was loaned for two weeks, and people lined up with their free water containers to be refilled with free purified drinking water. And, as is often the case in TYKF’s operations, teams of volunteers, from the rank-and-file to high-ranking officers, would be mobilized by the Group companies—a responsiveness and responsibility that goes beyond their call of duty. This responsiveness—“where needed, when needed”—was also brought to the fore after Typhoon Ondoy, at the close of 2009, devastated practically the entire province of Rizal, the worst hit being Marikina, Pasig, Cainta and Biñan, Laguna. The calamity could only have been fully grasped by those who were there to help at the earliest possible time. And that was TYKF. Choppers and the Hope Caravan trucks brought thousands of relief goods to the victims, especially in inaccessible areas; medical missions went to disease-ridden barangays; and a mobile water station provided clean drinking water, provided by Agua Vida, of course.

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Agua Vida


Clean water to drink When people are displaced by a disaster, the very first things they need are shelter and water to drink. (Above) Says Henry Armada, GM of Agua Systems, “We bring to the site a mobile water station inside a van with a generator set, and stay in the disaster site until the community can take care of itself.”

herever disaster strikes and people are displaced, the very first things people need are a sheltering roof and water to drink. Water to drink is what TYKF will ask Agua Vida to provide on such unfortunate occasions. It’s not a simple operation. “It involves,” says Henry Armada, general manager of Agua Vida Systems, Inc., on C. Raymundo Avenue, Barangay Maybunga in Pasig City, “bringing to the site a mobile water station inside a six-wheeler aluminum van with a generator set, and staying on the site until the community, with the help of the government, of course, can take care of itself.” During these operations, Agua Vida’s mobile water station has the cooperation of the local government in sourcing electricity and raw water. The mobile water station began as a trailer carrying pumps and tanks, and first saw action in 2004 in Bicol with the Hope Caravan when Typhoon Reming wreaked havoc in that region. Agua Vida now has three of these six-wheeler mobile water stations on the ready to respond to disaster calls. One cannot measure the help of Agua Vida even outside of disaster operations. Agua Vida produces drinking water under the brands Absolute (distilled water), Agua Vida (purified) and Summit (mineral), and is franchised to community-based water-refilling stations. “We pioneered water-refilling stations way back in 1994,” says Armada. “With franchising we can maintain quality and assure people that they are drinking clean and pure and healthful water.” Agua Vida was originally owned by Max’s Fried Chicken. It may be noted that food is not yet on the service list of the Tan Group, but drinking water, such as Agua Vida provides, is as basic and urgent a need as food, more so among victims of calamities.

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Where Needed, When Needed (On preceding and succeeding pages) Photos of the aftermath of devastating typhoons that hit the country in recent years. Typhoon Ondoy, which occurred at the close of 2009, left a swathe of destruction across Marikina, Pasig, Cainta and Bi単an. TYKF brought countless relief goods, by chopper and Hope Caravan, and medical missions to the victims, especially in inaccessible areas, at the earliest possible time.

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Chapter 5

Sterling Silver Silver has always held a value above material and economic considerations. Gifts of silver jewelry in many cultures are given as a symbol of trust, truth, excellence, wisdom and love. Sterling silver is harder than pure silver or pure copper. Dr. Lucio C. Tan and the Foundation have been generous with these gifts and, over and above all these, with the invaluable gift of oneself.

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His Father’s Son


The Future Industrialist & Philanthropist

Lucio Tan (extreme right) with a smaller sibling and taller cousin.

HE Tan Yan Kee Foundation was set up in 1986 by Dr. Lucio C. Tan, who named it after his father, Tan Yan Kee, who passed away in 1993. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation was established on the principle strongly held by the taipan son that “what is taken from the people is to be used for the interests of the people.” TYKF is his enduring tribute to the old man who had instilled in him the value of hard work, concern for the Filipino people who have adopted him, and respect for Chinese culture and wisdom. Absorbing all these at the feet of his father, the son could not have been better equipped for his becoming one of the most famous and wealthiest industrialists in the country, and a philanthropist of note. Tan Yan Kee came to the Philippines with his wife Chua King Ha and their four-year-old son Tan Eng Chay (Lucio Tan)—one of the countless sojourners (hia ch’ao) from the province of Fujian in search of a better life. Tan Yan Kee’s last known work was as Cebu branch manager of Cheng Bak Yeng Company. He passed away in 1994.

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The Revered Patriarch Tan Yan Kee (opposite page) took Confucian lessons and Chinese culture and traditions to heart. Says son Harry Tan: “Father was very honest and strict in accordance with Confucian teaching, and he put a very high value on the family.”

When his father fell critically ill, Lucio Tan (as he is more known among the people, without the honorifics), ever the dutiful son, renovated his father’s house in Qingyang in Jinjiang and brought his father there to spend his remaining days among his folk in the old neighborhood. He took care of his parents to their last days: when his mother also fell ill after the death of her husband, Lucio Tan always took time from his busy schedule to be with her and, holding her hands, they would together recite Zhuge Liang’s “Tribute to the King on Dispatching Troops,” which he learned from her when he was young. His mother died in 2009. After the deaths of their father and mother, Lucio Tan practically became head of his family of younger brothers and sisters. When his business prospered and expanded, he recruited his brothers and his brothers-in-law for responsible positions in his companies. He could have had no better officers: they have proved themselves capable, innovative and creative associates. And for the work of TYKF, they couldn’t be more reliable. Younger brother Harry Tan, who, aside from being involved in a number of companies in the Group, is also vice chairman and trustee of the Foundation, says, “Lucio was the one who was always with Daddy.” Harry Tan recalls that their father believed in and practiced the tenets of Confucianism, as well as Chinese culture and traditions. “This means that my father was very honest and strict in accordance with Confucian teaching, and he put a very high value on the family,” Harry Tan recalls. “Father took the Confucian lessons to heart.” Tan Yan Kee’s lessons to his children emphasized the importance of what Harry Tan puts as “thinking always in terms of what is right and wrong. Father believes that following what is right against what is wrong extends all the way to business concerns.” For Harry Tan, the 25th anniversary of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation “moves us to keep on going, especially in education, because it is the foundation of people and the nation.” He also emphasizes that education

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Filial Devotion Lucio Tan took care of his parents to their last days. He brought his father to their old hometown in Jinjiang where he spent his last days among his folk. At the bedside of his sick mother, he would hold her hands and together they would recite “Tribute to the King on Dispatching Troops.”

is “not just acquiring skills and knowledge but also forming a strong sense of morals and ethics.” The younger Tan also recognizes that people’s needs will always be much, much more than what TYKF is able to provide, so it is his view that the Foundation should attract other institutions or groups “to network with us in order to contribute toward dealing with these needs.” It was his father Tan Yan Kee who instilled in the young Lucio an enduring love of traditional Chinese culture, history and literature. The young Lucio studied at Hua Eng High School in Naga City whose principal, Hwang Ce Ci, taught Chinese history that introduced the young student to the historical heroes Liu Pei, Zhuge Liang, Cao Cao and others from the “Three Kingdoms” classics. These heroes caught his imagination and he idolized them long into his adult years. In the book Lucio C. Tan, a compilation by Xinhua News Agency, it says: “Mr. Tan can recite Sun Zi’s ‘The Art of War’ and ‘The Confucian Analects’ chapter by chapter. He can arrange all the signs of the hexagrams in ‘The Book of Changes’ correctly, without missing a stroke. He has a strong faith in Confucianism, which takes virtue as its core, and follows the principle ‘The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.’” He actually began studying Sun Zi’s The Art of War when he was 35, under Prof. Chen Wei Shen, his history teacher in Chiang Kai Shek. “After 50 lectures in half a year,” wrote Xinhua, “Mr. Tan came to understand and feel the disposition of China’s original military strategist, in whose eyes ‘the mountains around and below are no longer intimidating.’” He also regularly invites professors to teach him economics; to his mid-60s he had continued his lessons on Pilipino from Prof. Onofre Pagsanjan of Ateneo de Manila University and his English from Dr. Rosalina Oraa Fuentes. His love of learning extended to getting a knowledgeable hook on his new businesses: becoming a connoisseur of cigarettes and liquors, understanding scientific pig farming, knowing how to check the thickness and quality of steel products, studying the geographical distribution of mineral-water resources, and so forth. His voracious appetite for learning has meant a lot to the success of his business ventures.

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Best Brothers When his business prospered and expanded, Dr. Lucio Tan(pictured opposite page with his younger brother Harry Tan) recruited his brothers and his brothers-in-law for responsible positions in his companies. Harry Tan is a vice chairman and trustee of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation.

Learning, he believes, can never be overemphasized. “A country should be founded on education,” he has said, “an individual should be trained through education.” He backed his words with action with his purchase in 1990 of the University of the East in Manila, a venerable institution of learning founded in 1946 that was going to sink under insurmountable debts, but which Dr. Tan revived with massive capital infusion. Dr. Tan has since brought about a new life for the University of the East, a feat of redemption that he also accomplished for two national government institutions—Philippine Airlines and Philippine National Bank—which he brought into the era of globalization. His passion for education may be said to be the foundation upon which the Tan Yan Kee Foundation was established. Since its inception in 1986 TYKF has given great importance to better classroom teaching through further training of teachers and proper school structure and facilities, and to scholarship programs to students and teachers, as well as professionals in the medical field, another of Dr. Tan’s interests for the greater benefit of the people. His filial devotion to his father, who as a young father from Qingyang brought with him to the Philippines his cultural upbringing and the language of his people, spurred Dr. Lucio Tan strongly enough for him to realize the importance of Chinese-language education in invigorating the Chinese community in the Philippines. In the Philippines the third and fourth generations of Chinese families do not know how to speak, much less write, Chinese, and the few Chinese schools are private institutions dependent on funds from the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and concerned families. Worsening the situation is the dire lack of teachers in the Chinese language in the country. Many Chinese schools here hire Chinese-language instructors from Taiwan. (In the ’60s the Philippine government, confronted by an almost insurmountable problem of illegal Chinese entries in the country, aggravated by the scare of Mao Zedong’s communism, instituted Filipino-First policies which curtailed Chinese-owned businesses, shut down Chinese schools, and

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Like A Licorice Root Dr. Tan (opposite, with wife Carmen and his parents) has pure Chinese roots— he became a naturalized Filipino in 1960—but he likens himself to a licorice root, an herb that works as a catalyst among different herbs in Chinese medicine, in the same way he has worked for a harmonious and lasting FilipinoChinese relations.

required long-time Chinese residents in the country to acquire Filipino citizenship. The government has relaxed its edicts since then.) Dr. Tan has launched a series of “rescue operations”: he has sent teachers and students from universities for training and study in Xiamen University; he has also sponsored 100 outstanding high-school students for five weeks of study at Xiamen University. He has also put up a Chinese library in Chinatown for children to acquaint themselves with the language and ways of life of their ancestors. But he has not downplayed the learning of the Filipino language, or English for that matter, which is practically the second language in the country. Dr. Tan himself studied Tagalog long and hard under Professor Pagsanjan. Both learned from each other and the relationship between student and mentor became blurred. “I didn’t know anymore who was the teacher and who was the student,” Pagsanjan once said. Pagsanjan best remembers a quote from Dr. Tan: “Hard teeth fall, soft tongue stays.” It speaks well of the persona and manners of Dr. Tan. Dr. Tan became a naturalized Filipino in 1960, and by then he had done for the country more than most other Filipinos could have. He has today major companies spanning different industries under the Lucio Tan Group, employing thousands. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation has probably done more for the education, welfare and succor of the people during disasters than most other privately founded and run foundations. As president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he worked hard to strengthen Filipino-Chinese relationships. He has likened himself to “a licorice root, a Chinese herb which works as a catalyst among different herbs in Chinese medicine,” in the same way he has worked for a harmonious and lasting relations between the Philippines and China. At the end of the Ming dynasty poor people from southern Fujian started migrating to the Philippines. They worked hard and, over time, they contributed tremendously to the country’s economic, social and cultural development. Today they are the elite industrialists. Dr. Lucio C. Tan (bestowed by the University of Santo Tomas and other educational institutions in the Philippines and abroad), 77 years old The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


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on TYKF’s 25th anniversary in April 2011, is not your typical image of a taipan. His office is neat and spartan, no ornaments at all except for the displays of samples of his products. He may be flying on his own helicopter to important meetings, but then he would do so only to beat Manila’s traffic jam and get to his numerous appointments on time; or he may have the country’s foremost airline at his disposal to get to where he wants to be. But you can never tell him from any other businessman on a plane, or an ordinary Chinese merchant for that matter. His “fashion statement”: trousers, comfy long-sleeved shirts—and white socks. He likes his socks that way, or he only has two pairs of these socks and the garters have loosened from much use. His food tastes are not that much sophisticated either: he loves nothing more than siomai, siopao and taro-flavored ice cream, according to Philip Sing of TYKF in Taipan: Stories About Lucio Tan (Saidi Formation Center, 2007). When he’s on trips abroad, there’s no knowing if on official functions Dr. Tan would be wearing the suit or barong Tagalog especially made for him for the occasion. And for all the technological and digitial advances that he has at his disposal for his many businesses and philanthropic projects, digital for him still means fingers. He likes to say that “with a brain and 10 fingers, one can earn a living anywhere in the world.” He does not own a BlackBerry: he still makes his daily appointments writing with pen or pencil on square pieces of yellow and red paper—yellow, legend goes, for urgent and important matters, red for minor matters. Knowing and observant of this “crude” method of the busy taipan, clients and visitors would know where they stand: Are they red or are they yellow? Their prospects hang on this color code. A simple man that he is, Dr. Lucio Tan can understand with greater empathy the needs of the simple man. He is a friend in their need. “Most of the programs of the Foundation are inspired or suggested by the chairman,” says Michael Tan of Asia Brewery. “He sees which company is suited for what program.” What the chairman is doing is giving direction to charitable works and logic to logistics. He’s not building a large foundation, he’s rather

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. at 25


investing in people he trusts and projects he believes in. And he believes in farmers who will raise the crops for people’s food and their own sustenance; he believes in educators who can improve the minds of the youth, in scientists who can develop better ways to clean up the environment, and in doctors and health workers. He’s not out to be Superman swooping down from his rarefied aerie to save the nation from the immense problems of poverty and disease. He’s simply responding to people’s needs with utmost practicality and dispatch, and meanwhile finding longer-term solutions. His awards and commendations are too numerous to mention here: he has received them from prestigious national and international bodies, for his initiatives and creative approaches in the education of the youth and teachers, in medical education, in environmental protection and preservation, in calamity relief, in world peace and humanitarianism. Dr. Tan’s most important legacy to the country will be his example and practice: that wealth binds the marriage of responsibility and opportunity—responsibility to the community and opportunity to do good for others. He still has his hard teeth and his soft tongue—and his almost childlike innocence and attitude. Recounted his friend Dr. Ramon Ongsiako, in Taipan, who had spent with Dr. Lucio Tan and their families a vacation in Canada: “One time I saw him sitting on a swing in a park. He was like a young boy, careless and free. Perhaps, it was his way of relaxing from all his chores.” It also makes for the iconic image of the businessman and philanthropist, Dr. Lucio C. Tan, swinging his way through life with an open mind, an open heart and open pockets.—Abe Florendo

172 Silver Reflections

Partner Institutions Lucio C. Tan Group of Companies

Silver Reflections: The Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc. at 25  
Silver Reflections: The Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc. at 25