The Trailblazer: Dr. Alfonso Uy

Dr. Alfonso Uy is the Trailblazer of the La Filipina Uygongco Corporation.

It must have been difficult for Alfonso Uy when he heard that the family could no longer support his high school education and that he would have to help keep it alive. The business had already been painstaking with the following support of relatives and trusting rebuilding following the devastation of World War II and was bravely soldiering suppliers. But still, the threat of bankruptcy seemed imminent. The year was 1954, and Alfonso was 15 years old.

Dr. Alfonso Uy

“I was ready to accept any assignment, and I made sure that I did my best,” Alfonso recalls. Armed with little but sheer determination, he quickly rose through the ranks from janitor, laborer, salesman, collector, buyer to manager while voraciously keeping abreast of business news and trends through reading till he graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree at the Central Philippine University (CPU). “My education at CPU instilled in me my faith in God, and through His grace, I was able to transform our small wholesale business into what we are today.”

Under his leadership, La Filipina Uygongco Corporation has become a conglomerate of successful businesses spanning such industries as farming, milling, processing, distribution, trading, real estate, banking, transportation, livestock, and most recently, energy. But according to Alfonso, “There has been no real secret formula to our progress. We simply develop, diversify, and expand as we identify opportunities, while maintaining the highest integrity and responsibility to our suppliers and customers, plus a prevailing attitude of being always willing to learn and work.”

Alfonso has since retired from active management, choosing to take a more advisory role in the family businesses while keeping active in social and economic organizations. As the first Ilonggo president of the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he has vigorously promoted business development and social responsibility projects while helping promote solidarity among Chinese entrepreneurs. And as chairman of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF), he has aggressively campaigned for the promotion and marketing of Iloilo as an investment destination.

“The power situation in Iloilo has been addressed, Now we have set our sights on the water supply problem,” he explains. We at ILEDF have already identified the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose project as a long-term solution. We are grateful for the continued assistance of national and local government, but
we need the support of all Ilonggos to realize this.”

“You see, its all about the basics,” he adds. “Once we solve the problems of power and water, investments in health, sanitation, tourism, agriculture, business, and industry are sure to flow in . “The development of lloilo will surely take off.”

The media have dubbed him “The Quiet Taipan,” whose soft-spoken, unassuming insights belie his many achievements. Yet the simplicity of Alfonso Uy’s words carry with it an undeniable wisdom, and hopefully, the promise of a brighter, more progressive Iloilo.

Source: Ilonggo Initiatives published by Iloilo Business Club (2011)


Sheila is a digital marketing enthusiast. She is a kdrama fan, a dog person and a certified foodie!

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