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Published by v4vishal12, 2019-07-26 07:18:45

JSLA_Book

JSLA_Book

D O I N G I T H I S WAY

ARCHITECT JOSE SIAO LING:

35 YEARS OF PRINCIPLES AND INTEGRITY

他用自己的方式做事

建築大師凌雲山:
有原則和正直誠實的35年





D O I N G I T H I S WAY

ARCHITECT JOSE SIAO LING:

35 YEARS OF PRINCIPLES AND INTEGRITY

他用自己的方式做事

建築大師凌雲山:
有原則和正直誠實的35年

DOING IT HIS WAY

PUBLISHER  OLIVIA LIMPE-AW

PROJECT MANAGER ANA MANGALINO LING
ASSOCIATE EDITOR (ENGLISH)  ALYA B. HONASAN
ASSOCIATE EDITOR (CHINESE)  ZHUANG MING DENG

EDITORIAL OPERATIONS MANAGER  JOSEPH UY
GRAPHIC ARTIST   PAUL FABILA

PROOFREADER  BERNIE LIZARDO
PRINT AND DIGITAL COORDINATOR  ARRIAN GUEVARRA

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
REGINA ABUYUAN, JOY ROJAS
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
PAULO ANTONIO VALENZUELA
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD  BENNY Y. AW
PRESIDENT  OLIVIA LIMPE-AW
AD SALES AND CIRCULATION MANAGER  ALMA SAN BUENAVENTURA
AD SALES ASSISTANT  REY QUIZANA

Published by Foresight Books Publishing and Distributing Co., Inc. for Jose Siao Ling & Associates Inc.
with address at Destileria Limtuaco Building, 1830 Edsa, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1106

Tel. nos. 361-7491-98 loc. 811, 845
e-mail address: [email protected]; website: www.lifestyle.asiandragonmagazine.com

Copyright © 2018 Foresight Books Publishing and Distributing Co., Inc.
All rights reserved. Printed in the Republic of the Philippines

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without written permission of Foresight Books Publishing and Distributing Co., Inc.

ISBN: 978-971-0316-11-3

4   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD: Only the best 6
by Hans T. Sy

The Siao Ling way 8
by Regina Abuyuan

Tony Ang 26
Businessman

Atty. Joseph Emmanuel L. Angeles 28
President, Angeles University Foundation

Carlos ‘Charlie’ Rufino 44
CEO, The Net Group
Elpidio ‘Pidi’ Barzaga Jr. 30
Mayor, Dasmariñas City, Cavite

Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia 46
Founder, Mang Inasal
Sr. Epifania ‘Eppie’ Brasil, OP 32 Chairman, Double Dragon Properties Corp.
Founder and Superior General
Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii

Hans ‘Chico’ Sy Jr. 48
President, SM Engineering Design
Edgar Coronel 34 & Development Corp.
President, Panorama Development Corporation

Frederick Go 36 Steve Sy 50
President and COO President, Focus Global Inc.
Robinsons Land Corporation Lolita Sy
Faraday Go Executive Vice President
General Manager, Robinsons Land Focus Global Inc.
Corporation Office Buildings Division

Caroline Tanchay 52
Chairman, President,
Francisco Tiu Laurel 38 and CEO, Oriental Peninsula
Founder and Chairman Resources Group Inc.
Frabelle Group of Companies

David Leechiu 40 Eusebio H. Tanco 54
CEO and Co-Founder Chairman, STI Education
Leechiu Property Consultants Systems Holdings, Inc.

Yolanda David-Reyes 42 Delfin C. Wenceslao 56
Commissioner Chief Executive Officer
Professional Regulation Commission; DM Wenceslao and Associates, Incorporated
National President, United Architects
of the Philippines (1998-2000) Arthur C. Yap 58
Robert Sac Third-Term Representative
Chairman, Board of Architecture, of the Third District of Bohol
Professional Regulation Domingo H. Yap
Commission; National President, President, Federation of Filipino-Chinese
United Architects of the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
(2002-2004)

Milestones 60

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   5

‘I’ve had the
opportunity

to work
with a lot of
architects,
some of them
well-known,
too, but I feel

that Joe’s
group knows
how we, as
the owners,
think about
our project’

6   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

FOREWORD

Only the best

  IT WAS MY FATHER, Henry Sy, Sr., who “That’s why I picked the best,” I’d say
introduced me to Joe sometime in the 1980s. to him.
He’s younger than me, but had already been
doing business for us for quite some time. The SMX Convention Center, also by
My father described Joe as very articulate, Architect Siao Ling, was another challeng-
and good at what he does. I’d say that’s a ing job because it had very few columns
very accurate description. and a lot of cantilevered beams. But Joe’s
design maximized the use of space and
Through the years, he’s done so many made the exhibition areas flexible for our
projects for us that I must admit I’ve lost exhibitors’ needs.
count. The most memorable one for me is
SM Baguio. I recommended him for the I personally tapped him to handle the
job because I felt he could handle it, and expansion of National University (NU) be-
as you can see, my father approved. It’s cause he had completed Asia Pacific College,
an iconic design with a few modern lines, and was familiar with the traditional designs
yet still blends with the trees. It also has a and elements needed in a school. We’re
lot of wide, open spaces that bring in the already done with our second structure; very
fresh mountain air. We were very happy soon, we will be building a third structure,
about that. and the school should be able to accommo-
date 15,000 students.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a
lot of architects, some of them well-known, It was during this time that I really got
too, but I feel that Joe’s group knows how to know him. NU was founded in 1900, and
we, as the owners, think about our project. when we took over in 2010, it had a very
It’s made things easier for us, and that’s small student body of 1,000. One of the first
why he’s been handling our malls, one after things I did was to revive the name of the
another. The design that we’re always after school through sports, and I requested a few
is one that, at first glance, attracts your close friends of mine, most of them from
attention. We want a design that is not the construction industry, to help me out.
intimidating, that welcomes the general Joe was one of them, and when I presented
public. We’re not a luxury brand or a mass him with options, he chose to become the
brand; we’re an upscale brand that’s invit- manager of NU’s taekwondo team. I know
ing to people from all walks of life. When he wasn’t into sports and from the look of
people come to our malls, we want them to things, I don’t think he had ever managed a
feel like they’re rewarding themselves. sports team before. But he consulted a lot of
people and struggled through a lot of techni-
Another project he handled was the cal issues. After that, he pulled through,
Mall of Asia Arena, where he and his firm and produced one of the best performing
served as architects. The design, chosen by taekwondo teams in UAAP history.
my father, looks like a giant eye, because
he wanted it to serve as a reminder that he That’s Architect Siao Ling for you: he
would always keep an eye on us. But it was can face any challenge and make sure he
a structurally challenging job, and Joe used achieves his goal.
to tell me, “Hans, it’s not only an iconic proj-
ect, it’s the hardest project!” Architect Joe, Happy 35th Anniversary.
I know you’ll have 35 more years ahead of
you. Work hard and enjoy life.

Hans T. Sy

Chairman of the Executive Committee,

SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   7

Jose Siao Ling has always
chosen the path less
traveled—from going against
his father’s wishes for him to
take up agriculture, to being
one of the first successful
Chinese architects in the
country, and incorporating
innovative HR practices
in his company.

8   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

THE
SIAO
LING
WAY

How Jose Siao Ling did things his
way—from making a name for himself,

finding a life partner, and raising a
family, to upholding a business that
has made him a pillar of excellence

in Philippine architecture

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   9

  ON RECORD, Jose Siao Ling and Ana no fighting over roles or positions.” JSLA prides itself in
Mangalino Ling have six children—Joan, Aside from the basic benefits, employees the warm but highly
Jonn, Jesi, Jeni, Joel, and Jaye. Unofficially, professional manner it
though, it’s come to be accepted that they at Jose Siao Ling and Associates get extra treats its employees.
currently have over a hundred. Make that P50,000 medical insurance if they stay for ‘When you treat
600, if you count the ones they have had two years, P100,000 if they stay for five them like family,’ says
since Jose Siao Ling and Associates was years, and up to P300,000 if they stay for 25 Ana Ling, ‘they’re
founded in 1983. years. The architects have car privileges— better motivated.’
not car plans—and the car is theirs if they
When the couple says that their com- stay for 10 years. In the meantime, gas and
pany is like one big family, they mean it. Jose maintenance expenses are covered by the
Siao Ling occasionally slips and says “mga company, and they get to bring the cars
anak ko” instead of “mga empleyado ko.” There home—provided they don’t come in to work
is a beautiful, copper-colored tree in the late. After a certain number of instances of
waiting room of their office, its branches fes- tardiness, the car is garaged in the com-
tooned with delicate brass leaves bearing the pound, but the employee is still allowed to
names of all their employees, past and pres- take it out on site visits. There is a dorm
ent. “We wouldn’t have this if it weren’t for where employees can snatch power naps, a
them,” says Jose. “So all of them are there.” gym, an “Our Store” co-op where snacks are
sold below retail price, and big incentives
Even at the interview stage, Ana already for those who always come in on time and
talks to them like family. “I make them feel have stellar attendance.
na may nanay sila sa akin, at tatay kay Siao
Ling, at mga kapatid sa mga officemates This utopia of a workplace comes at a
nila. When you treat an organization like a price, though: Siao Ling is known to be an
family and less like a corporation, things are exacting boss. But he implements disci-
more flexible, there is more understanding. pline and respect for the profession from a
When there is love among siblings, there is place of hard-earned expertise, uncompro-

1 0   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

mising principles, and an almost tangible stores was in its nascence. Nevertheless,
desire to leave a legacy of excellence, seeing he couldn’t change his son’s mind, he
honesty, and humility. paid for Siao Ling’s tuition at the University
of Santo Tomas—and that was it.
An unorthodox courtship
Siao Ling made Dean’s List in his first
The story of architect Jose Siao Ling year, with no outside guidance or support.
and how he and his wife built their com- He only got his drafting table in his fifth
pany began when he graduated salutatorian year. “But it was my passion. I studied hard
from Aquinas High School in 1975. “I just for all my subjects, but there were some is-
wanted to become an artist, do some paint- sues that I didn’t agree with,” he recalls.
ing,” he recalls.
He noticed, for instance, that the
But he was dissuaded by his advisor, Ho- lessons tended more towards theory and
nesto Almonte, who told him that—with his design—and not if a building was practical,
talent in math—“I think you have a better or “profitable, sustainable, or buildable.” He
chance at architecture.” also noticed that his professors tended to
give good marks or be more forgiving of stu-
His father, Ling Haw Kee, an immigrant dents who were children of architects. These
from mainland China who came over dur- observations were to form the decisions he
ing the war and put up a successful rubber would make, and the approach he would
plantation and manufacturing business in take in his work in later years.
Zamboanga, wasn’t happy. He wanted his
son to take up Agriculture, as he needed “I hated it. I hated that ’di kami patas.
technical help. “Grade 2 lang yata si Papa But it made me stronger. So I told myself
sa China, so talagang masipag lang siya, at that, if I have children, I will not give them
nakilala siya sa rubber industry,” Siao Ling special help, or if I have a wife or girlfriend,
says. One of his father’s closest friends was I will not do her plates or her home-
Henry Sy, whose SM Shoemart chain of work”—as was customary in the Colleges of

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   1 1

Siao Ling and wife Ana began as college Architecture and Fine Arts in those days.
sweethearts in the University of Santo Tomas As it so happened, Siao Ling had his eye
College of Architecture, built their careers
together, and stuck together as colleagues on a particular lass as a potential girlfriend:
and lifelong partners against all odds. Ana Mangalino, a pretty batchmate who was
conservative and demure.
1 2   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y
The feeling wasn’t mutual, as Ana barely
noticed him in class, what with her being
always late due to a three-hour commute
from their family home in Parañaque. Ac-
cording to Ana, they first met when she was
a registration assistant, and she had to close
a section on them. “Kaya raw nagka-watak-
watak ang barkada,” she recalls, laughing.
“Ako naman, galit ako sa Intsik.” Ana even
remembers scoffing when Siao Ling curled
his hair to look more “Filipino.”

By the time they were in fourth year,
however, they were going out on group
dates, and Ana had found out why Siao Ling
took so long in asking her out alone. “As if
’di ko kayang gumawa ng sarili kong plate!
Even in math, ’di kami magkalayo, pataasan
kami ng grade! It was friendly competition.”

One night, he finally proposed in the
indomitable Siao Ling way: “I love you,
gusto kitang maging asawa. Pero ang mother
ko, ayaw sa Pilipina. And I’m giving you 30
minutes to answer.” Other women would be
miffed, or pressured. Ana saw it as a chal-
lenge. “Sabi ko, ikaw kakaiba, hindi pa ako
nakikilala ng mother mo, ayaw na niya sa akin,
ayaw niya sa Pilipina, dapat kayo, nasa China!”

(Ana and her mother-in-law have since
grown close over the years; it was the birth
of Ana’s firstborn that made the old woman
cave in. Now, Mrs. Ling lives with the family.)

This is Siao Ling’s version: “‘Sinabi ko
na sa ’yo gusto kita, if you like me, on na
tayo. If you don’t like me, okay lang.’ Eh
naguwapuhan siguro,” he jests. “Siya, very
popular and pretty. Ako, Intsik na Intsik, pero
confident naman ako na I could give her
a better life. Sometimes, it’s not all about
love and looks, it’s about how the man can
sustain the woman.”

‘Takot sa Intsik’

Siao Ling would’ve taken up a master’s
degree after graduation, but his father
didn’t have the money for his further stud-
ies. He tried applying at different local
architectural firms, but was rejected by
all. Siao Ling chalks this up to discrimina-
tion. “Ayaw dahil Instik.” Because of this,
he resolved to never discriminate against
would-be employees, if ever he would have

Mighty things come
in small packages.

Ana Ling’s childlike
demeanor belies
the strength and

enormous heart she
puts in her role as
‘mother of JSLA.’

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   1 3

Joan Adda, the eldest
of the Ling children,
is a senior architect in
the design department.
She checks all projects
before presentation to
clients, and mentors the
staff on doing things
the ‘Siao Ling way.’

the good fortune to have his own company.
And so he ventured to Hong Kong, to

work for the famous architect and designer
Tao Ho—surely more illustrious than any
other architect in the Philippines at the
time. Among Tao Ho’s iconic creations: the
Hong Kong Arts Centre, North Point Quay,
the Bauhinia emblem and flag of the Hong
Kong Special Administrative Region.

Ana says Siao Ling only had P500 in his
pocket when he left. “I wanted to estab-
lish my family there with Ana,” Siao Ling
reveals. “My parents didn’t like it that I was
getting serious with Ana. Sabi ko, agricul-
ture, ayaw ko. Chinese na girlfriend, ayaw ko.
So alis nalang ako.”

Ana then followed to work for Ronald
Poon Associates, and on their third year,
Siao Ling decided he was ready to marry
Ana. He called his parents and said, “Kung
tanggap n’yo si Ana, balik na ako sa Pilipinas.
If ’di n’yo tanggap, I’ll die in Hong Kong.”

Tao Ho asked him to stay, and even of-
fered Siao Ling to start up his new office in
Singapore, but Siao Ling’s mind was set. He
was going back home.

His parents welcomed him and his
fiancée back by giving them a space in the
old Ling residence on Lozada in San Juan
to serve as their office. Things were up and
running by July 1983. This was to be Jose
Siao Ling and Associates’ home for the next
30 years, bearing as its logo the chop seal
that Tao Ho, and his associate David Lung,
had given to Siao Ling. “Since I cannot
stop you from leaving, I give you this,” he
remembers his former boss saying. “This is
my Chinese name, Ling Yin San—it means
we parted on good terms.”

Siao Ling, ever the emphatic, resolute
decision maker, formally asked for Ana’s
hand in marriage in December, saying he
wanted to be married by February. Ana
laughs at the memory. “But I like that about
him, because he is stronger than me. In the

1 4   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

family, I’m the strongest, so I need someone
stronger. Ayoko ng lalakeng nauutusan ko—
nate-turn off ako!”

It takes a delicate, conscious, deliberate
dance for a partnership like Ana and Siao
Ling’s to last. With two strong personalities,
one has to give way. “We had to be extra
careful. So we agreed that we can both agree
to what the other is saying, and she can
advise me, pero may isang piloto,” Siao Ling
says. “Ako ’yon.”

How did the strong-willed Ana come to
terms with these conditions? “I prefer him
being in the limelight and I am the sup-
port,” she says. “I also really pushed for it,
kasi isang apelyido lang ’yan e, apelyido rin
’yan ng mga anak ko. We are already partners
in life. Man and woman are created equal,
yes, but we have our own role. We have our
own gifts; we are made to complement each
other, not compete with each other.”

Siao Ling laid down the rules before the
wedding: “I will hold the money. And she
has to learn how to speak Chinese.” The first
condition was so they could avoid accusa-
tions of stereotyping—that Filipinos expect
their spouses to support their immediate
and extended family—and so that the young
couple could ensure the growth of their
savings. He acquiesces that Ana had it tough
during their first few years of marriage.
“Pero ’pag may kailangan ang pamilya mo, ’pag
kaya ko, tutulong ako. ’Pag ’di kaya, walang
samaan ng loob. She agreed. And up to this
day, she has never broken this agreement.”

The unbending, highly principled Siao
Ling didn’t even accept a blank check from
his father for a wedding gift. “Sinauli ko. Sabi
ko, ‘Your blessing means more than this.’”

When to be rigid, when to relax

The Lings lived way below their means.
Even if they could afford a 24-inch color TV,
says Siao Ling, they would be content with
a 12-inch black-and-white one. Why buy a

Also a senior architect, but in
the construction coordination

department, Jonn Aldo is
second among the Ling siblings.

He supervises and visits
project sites, and presides
over management meetings.

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   1 5

Joining his ‘Ate’ Joan in
the design department is
Jesi Alec. Another senior
architect, he likewise takes
care of design projects
and meets new clients
for presentations.

Mercedes-Benz when a Toyota ran just as
well? “I would rather saved up for some-
thing, like a piece of land that my children
could use later on,” Siao Ling says.

His formula for investment was daunt-
ing: Of his and Ana’s earnings, 50 percent
was set aside for the future (“which I really
didn’t know what for, yet”), 40 percent went
back into the business, and 10 percent was
left for the family.

The first few years were a struggle.
Aside from the meager returns, Ana and Siao
Ling were at loggerheads about design. “The
first few years, kulang na lang magsuntukan
kami,” Ana says. “But later we agreed that if
it has something to do with the facade and
circulation (a vital element of feng shui, of
which her husband is an expert), it will be
Siao Ling’s. Akin ang colors, furniture. It’s
really hard to argue with him because he
doesn’t back down.”

“Our little savings from our Hong Kong
work got drained,” Siao Ling adds. “Some
clients didn’t pay. Nagkasakit ako—I went
down to 80 lbs.”

Ana remembers those days. “He used
to get sick when we’d lose projects. Dinad-
amdam niya. Nag-alala ako. I told him, ‘Pag
ganyan ang attitude mo, mamamatay ka agad.
Biyuda ako agad.’” She assured him, “Wag
kang mag-alala. Siguro pag may nawala na
project, may mas malaking babalik.”

To add to their income, Siao Ling kept
some of his Hong Kong gigs, going there
twice a year, and taking on some Taiwanese
clients. Losing hope in his own startup,
he went on his yearly visit to the Taoist
temple in Cebu, and sought guidance from
an elder on whether he should continue
with Jose Siao Ling and Associates, or go
back to Hong Kong.

This was the interpretation given to
him: “The first scenario is, I’m aboard a boat
headed for Hong Kong. The boat has a motor,
a sail, and oars. From afar I see Hong Kong
shrouded in crystals and promises. But no

1 6   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

matter how hard my motor works, the wind
keeps pushing me away. And when I reach the
shore, I find that the crystals are just shards
of glass. The second scenario is if I stay in
the Philippines; I have a boat, a sail, a motor,
an oar. But I don’t need to use any of these.
Because I have the wind blowing to bring me
to the right island.” Torn between believing in
this “prophecy” and doing the practical thing,
Siao Ling nevertheless acted on faith.

But it didn’t get any easier. Meetings
with clients sometimes extended to 1 a.m.
When the beeper came into vogue, he would
have to get up and use the phone in a nearby
sari-sari store to return messages. While
everybody was doing blueprints, Siao Ling
made drawings on bond paper, which he had
photocopied in a nearby market. “Makikip-
ag-away pa ako sa tindera dahil balu-baluktot
ang pagka-Xerox! Hay!” Then he’d take the
copies back to the office, where he and Ana
would color them in.

(This in itself was a low-tech but
brilliant solution to the unwieldy and
monochrome presentation of blueprints. By
presenting smaller, color-coded sketches,
Siao Ling’s clients could take in the designs,
and carry them around more easily.)

“This was not taught in college,” Siao
Ling says. “So naghirap kami. We tried to make
our projects perfect—although there is no
such thing as perfect—because if you don’t
make it perfect, what happens to the errors?
They will be much harder to fix. Much harder.
This is what I tell my people, till this day.”

Honor and integrity

Many principles and practices that have
made Siao Ling and his company successful
were not gleaned from the four corners of
the classroom.

The primary principle that upholds
everything else is, of course, his sense of
honor and integrity. “It took me 30 years
to build this building,” he says of the five-

Jeni Alys works in the production
department. She also trains
staff in the ‘Siao Ling way’

and checks working drawings
for contrast documents.

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   1 7

Joel Aron goes to
school in the morning
and works alongside
his brothers and
sisters in JSLA in
the afternoon.

year-old LHK Square Building in San Juan.
Named after his father, the building has 12
floors and infuses all of Siao Ling’s beliefs
in design and feng shui, using only the finest
materials, and incorporating sustainability,
practicality, and profitability.

Forty percent of wastewater in LHK, for
example, is recycled—but 100 percent of it
is cleaned. “It goes down, gets cleaned, then
goes back up again. Wala naman akong naku-
kuha dito, but my conscience is clear that if I
throw water out, to the drainage, it’s clean.
Hindi kulay brown at walang amoy. Malinis
pupunta sa creek, papunta sa Pasig River, mali-
nis ang konsensya ko na ang mga anak ko, hindi
sasabihin na nakadagdag ako sa pollution.”

There are commissioned works by Mi-
chael Cacnio and Ed Castrillo in the lobby,
there is smart use of windows (for lesser
energy consumption), and the halls, meeting
areas, and offices with provisions for natural
light and ventilation are lit like museum
galleries. The top two floors are occupied by
the Ling family—a breathtaking residence
with an infinity pool, an indoor pool with
koi, another pool for Ling’s turtles, and a
vast entertainment area with more artwork
and a baby grand piano.

“Some architects take only 15 years to
build a building, but that’s because of the
commissions they get from the contractors
and from cutting corners. Some might be able
to build 10 of these. Ako, kaya kong isigaw sa
buong mundo na ni isang kusing, wala akong
tinatanggap na komisyon,” he says, proudly.

If there’s one thing that irks Siao
Ling no end, it’s how some unscrupulous
architects and contractors collude to fool
the client and fatten their pockets. “Galit na
galit ako sa mga architect na may commis-
sion,” Siao Ling declares.

In a recent speech to newly licensed
architects at the Professional Regulatory
Commission, Siao Ling quoted two of the
men he respects most: Henry Sy, Sr. and the

1 8   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

late Arch. Engracio L. Mariano, with whom
he collaborated for Fontana Leisure Park,
and who designed Enchanted Kingdom,
Bank of the Philippine Islands on Ayala
corner Paseo de Roxas, and the old Insular
Life building.

“Henry Sy, Sr. said, ‘Don’t be in a hurry
to be rich. Just develop your ethical prac-
tice, and prepare to be rich.’ And Architect
Mariano told me once, ‘Siao Ling, I want
to share this with you, and you can share
it with our colleagues, new or old: Do not
prostitute our profession.”

Siao Ling has had to turn down—and
lose—clients because of low-balled fees.
He’s told them he could earn what he’d
lose from commissions from contractors,
but he’d rather not. “Out of 10 na sinabihan
ko r’yan, walo ang mawawala. But the two
that are left become 20. It multiplies. I get
good clients because of my honesty.” Again,
this is something he tries to inculcate in
his employees.

The second (and third) principles are
captured in two prized sculptures that Siao
Ling keeps in the same room where the cop-
per tree with the brass leaves is found.

Made by German architect and designer
Rainer Lagemann, one is entitled Fair and
Square, a 3-D human figure made of metal
squares. The other is Rock Climber Pablo, a
headless 3-D figure climbing a rock face.

“The first one is a reminder to treat ev-
eryone fair and square,” Siao Ling explains,
“and the second means you cannot rest, but
you can’t let anything—fame, possession,
riches—go to your head.”

Walking through the Jose Siao Ling and
Associates offices, it’s easy to feel a sense of
pride and ownership of what the company
has achieved. There’s a mural of projects
past and present—their first school, Asia
Pacific College; their first Robinsons, Rob-
insons Cybergate; their first SM (they’ve
built 37 out of the 70 SM projects so far

Jaye Anjo, the youngest in the
family, is a junior architect

in the design department. He
checks if projects meet JSLA
standards, and if they comply

with the country’s current
building codes and ordinances.

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   1 9

including SM Mall of Asian and SMX Con- itation, one of the very few architectural firm Uncompromising
vention Center). to do so. This leap into the bigger leagues values, discipline,
calls for a change in name: after it marks its zeal for learning, and
Check their roster, and Siao Ling’s name 35th year on July 23, 2018, Jose Liao and As- a whole lot of love:
is on projects in New Zealand, Nigeria, sociates will be known as JSLA Architects. this is the winning
and China. It’s not about to stop; as of this formula that binds
writing, the firm is hiring more and more “Before, dalawa lang kami ni Ana,” Siao the Ling family and
architects to keep up with clients’ demands. Ling says. “Now, it’s my children and my company together.
associates. The J can be anybody, S can be
By sharing this sense of satisfaction and anybody, L can be anybody—there will be
fulfillment—and by attuning himself to what no weak link in the company. My dream
each and every employee might desire or before was to be a respected and success-
need—Siao Ling is creating the next chapter ful architect, which I think I am now, so
in the story of Jose Siao Ling and Associates. it’s time to give back. In the industry, I
have proven that honesty, integrity, wealth,
All his children are architects them- rewarding people well, and respect are pos-
selves—and with their own specializations. sible. This corporation will be a legacy. My
Joan, Jonn, Jesi, Jeni, and Jaye are all Reg- dream now is that JSLA will be synony-
istered and Licensed Architects. Joel, who mous with a reputable, respectable, honest
has Down Syndrome, is also in the family architecture and design practice. That, if
business. Ana says she trained him like all her anyone from all over the world wants to
children, bringing him to jobsites, architectur- come to the Philippines and look for a legit
al tours, and exposing him to the profession. practice, they will say: JSLA.”

While the next generation is readying
itself, the company is undergoing ISO accred-

2 0   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

凌雲山的方式

凌雲山如何按照自己的方式做事——從為自己命名,尋找生活伴侶,
養家餬口,到維持一家讓他成為菲律賓建築業卓越支柱的企業

據官方記載,凌雲山(Jose Siao Ling)和凌安 親,同事就像兄弟姊妹。當你視一個組織為一個家庭而
娜(Ana Mangalino Ling)育有六個子女——雲 非企業,事情就變得更靈活,也會有更多瞭解。當兄弟
娜(Joan)、倫強(Jonn)、倫崇(Jesi)、雲妮 姐妹之間有愛時,就不會有角色或職位的爭奪。」
(Jeni)、倫建(Joel)和倫偉(Jaye)。然而,非正
式地說,他們現在已超過100人。如果你計算從凌雲山合 除了基本的福利外,如果他們任職兩年,凌雲山建
夥公司1983年成立以來,可以將這個數字定為600人。 築師事務所的員工將得到額外的5萬披索醫療保險,如
果他們任職5年,將獲得額外的10萬披索醫療保險,如
當這對夫婦說,他們的公司就像一個大家庭,他們 果他們任職25年,則獲得30萬披索醫療保險。建築師
是認真的。凌雲山偶爾會說出「我的孩子們」而不是「 有擁有汽車的特權——不是購買汽車計劃——他們任
我的員工們」。在他們辦公室的等候室裏有一棵美麗的 職10年,汽車就送給他們。與此同時,汽油和維修費
銅色樹,樹枝上掛著精緻的黃銅葉子,上面寫著過去和 用由公司承擔,他們可以將汽車開回家——但他們上班
現在所有員工的名字。凌雲山說:「如果不是為了他 不能遲到。若多次遲到,汽車會被令停在公司的停車場
們,我們不會有這個。所以他們全都在那裏。」 內,但員工仍然被允許在實地考察時將其開出。公司也
有一個宿舍,員工可以午休,有一間健身房,一個「我
即使在面試階段,安娜已經像家人一樣和他們說話 們的商店」的合作社,裏面的零食價格低於外面的零售
了。「我讓他們感覺我是一名母親,雲山就像一名父

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   2 1

價,並且對那些總是準時上班並有出色表現的人,會得 弄捲來,以看似「更菲律賓人」,卻遭到安娜的嘲笑。
到大獎勵。 他們進入大學四年級時,一直都是群體約會,安娜

然而,這個工作場所的好處並非沒有代價:凌雲山 發現為何雲山那麼久都沒有提出跟她單獨約會。「就好
被認為是一位嚴格的老闆。但他以辛苦累積的經驗、不 像我無法自己繪畫一樣!就連數學,我們的成績不相上
妥協的原則和渴望留下優質、誠實和謙遜的遺產,對這 下。這是友好的競爭。」
個行業注入自律和尊重。
有一晚,他以不屈不饒的方式求愛:「我愛你,我
非傳統的追求 希望你能成為我的妻子,但我母親不要菲律賓女子。我
給你30分鐘時間來回答。」其他女子肯定會惱火或受
建築設計師凌雲山和他的妻子一同創立他們的生 到壓力,但安娜認為這是一種挑戰。「我說,你與眾不
意,要追溯到1975年他從阿奎那中學以全校第二名畢 同,你母親都還不認識我就不要我了,既然她不喜歡菲
業。他回憶說:「我只是想成為一名藝術家,塗塗畫 女子,你們應該住在中國!」
畫。」
(多年來安娜和她婆婆關係融洽;是安娜生完第一
但他的導師洪尼斯道·亞蒙地(Honesto Almon- 個孩子後,老太太才改變她的態度。現在凌老太太跟他
te)勸他不要這麼做,並告訴他,由於他有數學天份, 們住一起。)
「你在建築行業會有更好的機會。」
而雲山是這樣解釋的:「我已經告訴妳我喜歡妳,
他父親凌孝梗(Ling Haw Kee)戰時從中國移民到 如果妳喜歡我,我們就開始。如果妳不喜歡我,也沒關
菲律賓,並在三寶顏建立一座非常成功的橡膠種植園和 係。可能她覺得我很帥吧。她很出名,也很美。我是百
工廠,但他並不快樂。他希望他的兒子攻讀農學,因為 分百的華人,但我有自信可以給她更好的生活。有時不
他需要技術上的幫助。雲山說:「父親在中國好像只讀 是愛和樣貌,而是一個男人如何養活一個女人。」
到小學二年級,但他刻苦耐勞,因此在橡膠行業內頗有
名氣。」他父親的好友之一是施至成,當時他的SM鞋子 「害怕華人」
連鎖店剛剛創辦。然而,看到他無法改變兒子的想法,
他支付了雲山在聖托馬斯大學的學費——就是這樣。 雲山本來想在畢業後攻讀碩士,但他父親沒錢讓他
繼續讀書。他嘗試到本地多家建築設計公司應徵,但遭
雲山上大學的第一年就進入系主任的榜單上,他沒 到拒絕。雲山認為這是歧視。「他們拒絕我是因為我是
有任何外來指導或支持。他到大學五年級時才有了自己 華人。」因此,他下決心如果有幸自己開設公司,他不
的繪畫桌。他回憶說:「但這是我所熱忱的。我努力學 會歧視任何來應徵的員工。
習所有科目,但有些問題是我無法同意的。」
他前往香港並在著名建築設計師何弢的公司工
譬如說,他發現課程傾向於理論和設計——而不是 作——他比菲律賓任何建築師更勤奮。何弢的標誌性建
大樓是否實用,「可盈利、可持續或可建造」。他還注 築是香港藝術中心、北角碼頭以及香港特區政府使用的
意到,他的教授傾向於給予好評,或者對建築師的孩子 區徽和區旗。
更寬容。這些觀察形成他將要做出的決定,以及他在晚
年工作中所採取的方法。 安娜說,雲山離開時口袋裏只有500披索。雲山透
露:「我希望能和安娜在那邊建立家庭。我開始跟安娜
「我討厭它。我討厭不公平。但它讓我變得更強 認真交往時,我父母不太喜歡。我說,建築設計我不喜
大。所以我告訴自己,如果我有孩子,我不會給他們特 歡,華人女友我也不喜歡。我只好離開。」
別的幫助,或者如果我有一個妻子或女朋友,我不會幫
她繪畫或做她的作業。」--正如當時在建築和美術學院的 安娜進入潘祖堯顧問有限公司(Ronald Poon As-
慣例。 sociates)工作,他們交往的第三年,雲山決定娶安娜
為妻。他打電話給父母並說:「如果你們接受安娜,我
正好雲山看上了一個潛在的女友:安娜Ana Man- 就回菲律賓。如果你們不接受,我會死在香港。」
galino。她是一位漂亮的同屆同學,保守又嫻靜。
何弢要求他留下,甚至提議讓雲山前往新加坡設立
但這種感覺不是相互的,因為安娜在課堂上幾乎沒 新的辦公室,但雲山決定回家。
有注意到他,因為他從巴蘭玉計的家中搭車三小時到學
校,他總是遲到。據安娜說,他們第一次見面時,她是 他父母歡迎他和女友回家,並在凌家位於仙範市
一名註冊助理,她不得不把一個班關閉,不讓他們報這 羅薩達的老宅院裏撥出一塊地方讓他們住。到1983年
個班。她笑著回憶:「據說這導致他們幾個好友四分五 7月,一切都很順利。這是接下來30年凌雲山建築師事
裂。而我討厭華人。」安娜甚至記得當雲山將他的頭髮 務所的所在地,並以何弢和他的合夥人David Lung送
給他的印章為公司標誌。他記得前老闆說:「雖然我無
法阻止你離開,我送你這個。上面刻著我的中文名凌雲

2 2   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

As husband and wife and business
partners, Jose Siao Ling and wife

Ana make sure that trust and respect
are both given and received.

山——這意味著我們好聚好散。」 人——這樣這對年輕夫婦也能確保存錢。他默認安娜在
堅定決策者的凌雲山同年12月正式向安娜求婚,並 婚姻的最初幾年裏很難適應。「但如果你家人有需要,
只要我能負擔得起,我會幫忙。如果無法負擔,也不要
說他希望兩人在2月份結婚。安娜回想當時的情況就會大 生氣。她同意了。到今日,她從未破壞這個協議。」
笑。「我就是喜歡他那樣,因為他比我強。在家裏,我
是最強的,因此我要找一個比我強的人。我不喜歡那種 不屈不饒和堅持原則的雲山,甚至沒有接受他父親
能被我驅使的男人——我對他們很反感。」 在他們結婚時送他的一張空白支票。我退回去並說:「
您的祝福比這個更重要。」
像安娜和雲山的關係要天長地久,就必須有一個精
緻、有意識和互相配合的夥伴關係。兩個個性強的人 何時變得嚴格,何時放鬆
中,其中一方必須讓步。雲山說:「我們必須非常小
心。我們同意接受對方所說的,而她可以提供建議,但 凌家非常節儉地生活。就算他們能買得起24寸的
必須有一個領航者,那就是我。」 彩色電視機,雲山說,他們滿足於12寸的黑白電視
機。為何要買賓士車,如果豐田汽車同樣能開動?雲
意志堅強的安娜如何接受這些條件?她說:「我寧 山說:「我將錢儲存在別的用途上,譬如我的子女以
願他在外出頭,而我提供支持的角色。我也主張這樣, 後用得著的土地。」
因為我們只有一個姓氏,我的孩子們也使用這個姓氏。
我們已經是生活中的夥伴。男人和女人是平等的,但是 他的投資方式令人望而生畏:在他和安娜的收入
我們有自己的角色。我們有我們自己的天賦;我們互相 中,有50%是留給未來的(「我真的不知道該用在什麼
補充,不會相互競爭。」 地方」),40%回歸業務,剩下10%留給家庭。

雲山在結婚前訂下規則:「我負責管錢。她要學 頭幾年是一場掙扎。除了微薄的回報,安娜和雲山
會講華語。」第一個條件是為了避免對刻板印象的指 在設計方面一直爭執不下。安娜說:「最初幾年,我
責——就是菲律賓人期望配偶支持他們的直系和旁系家 們差點打架。但後來我們同意,如果是有關門面和空

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   2 3

往香港。船有摩托、帆和槳。我遠遠望見香港籠罩著水
晶和承諾。但無論我的摩托如何大力運作,風一直在推
我離開。當我到達岸邊時,我發現水晶只是玻璃碎片。
第二種情況是,如果我留在菲律賓;我有一條船,一個
帆,一個摩托,一個槳。但我不需要使用這些。因為吹
來的風把我帶到了正確的島嶼。」在相信這個「預言」
和做實際事情之間舉棋不定時,雲山選擇相信信仰。

但生活並沒有變得更輕鬆。與客戶的會議有時會延
長到凌晨1點。當傳呼機開始流行時,他必須起來並到
附近的菜仔店借用電話回覆信息。雖然每個人都在繪藍
圖,但雲山是在白紙上繪畫的,並拿到附近的菜市場
複印。「我還會和店員吵架,因為他們複印時歪歪斜斜
的。」他會將複印本帶回辦公室,並和安娜一同著色。

(這本身不是高科技,但卻是解決笨重和單色的藍
圖的明智方法。雲山向客戶展示了更小的彩色藍圖,客
戶可以帶走這些設計圖並隨身攜帶。)

凌雲山說:「這些是大學裏面沒教的。我們很辛
苦。我們試圖將我們的項目做得完美——儘管沒有完美
這回事——因為如果你不讓它完美,出現錯誤怎麼辦?
它們會更難去修改。非常困難。這是我對下屬說的話,
到今天仍然是如此。」

Named after Jose Siao Ling’s 榮譽和誠信
father, LHK Center—home of
the JSLA offices—took 30 years 許多使得凌雲山和他的公司成功的原則和做法,並
of honest hard work to build. 不是在教室內學到的。

氣流通(她的丈夫是一位風水專家),它歸雲山管。 維持這一切的主要原則當然是他的榮譽感和誠信。
我負責色彩、傢俱等。與他爭論真的很難,因為他不 「我花了30年的時間來建造這座大樓。」他是指5年前
依不饒。」 剛建完的仙範市LHK廣場大廈。以他的父親命名,該大
樓共有10層,充分體現了凌雲山在設計和風水方面的信
雲山補充說:「我們從香港累積的一點積蓄很快就 念,只使用最優質的材料,融合了可持續性、實用性和
花光了。有些客戶沒有付款,我生病了——瘦到只剩下 盈利能力。
80磅。」
例如,LHK大廈中40%的廢水被回收利用,但100%
安娜還記得那段日子。「我們失去項目時,他會生 是乾淨的。「它流入下水道後,會被清理乾淨,然後再
病。他非常在意。我很擔心。我告訴他,如果你一直是 次循環使用。雖然我沒有得到什麼利益,但我的良心很
這種態度,你會很快死掉,我就成寡婦了。」她向他保 乾淨,如果我把水排出到污水槽裏,它是很乾淨的。不
證:「你別擔心。如果失去項目,可能有更大的項目在 是褐色的,也沒有異味。流入小溪和巴石河中的水都是
等著。」 乾淨的。對我的孩子們,我問心無愧,他們不會說我增
加污染。」
為了增加收入,雲山保留了他在香港的活動,每年
去那裏兩次,並且和一些台灣客戶保持聯繫。 對自己的 走廊上有Michael Cacnio和Ed Castrillo的傑作,
創業失去了希望,他依每年的慣例去道觀,並尋求高人 也有智能窗戶(更節能),大堂、會議區、辦公室等地
指點,看他是否應該繼續經營凌雲山建築師事務所或是 方使用自然採光和自然通風,跟博物館一樣光亮。最上
回到香港。 面的兩層樓是凌家的住宅——令人歎為觀止的住宅,加
上室外無邊際的游泳池、室內養錦鯉的水池、另一個水
這是給他的解釋:「第一種情況是,我正在乘船前 池是養烏龜,廣闊的娛樂區,擺放很多藝術品,以及一
台鋼琴。

2 4   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

他自豪地說:「有些建築設計師只需要15年時間來 Architect Jose Siao Ling delivers a speech during the
建造一棟自己的大樓,這是因為他們從承包商那裏獲得 oathtaking and induction ceremonies for new architects.
的提成和偷工減料。有些人甚至可以在10年就建成。我
可以大聲向全世界宣佈,我一分錢提成都沒收。」 下一個章節。
他的所有孩子都是建築師——並擁有自己的專業。
如果說有一件事讓凌雲山感到不快,那就是一些不
道德的建築師和承包商勾結欺騙客戶,讓他們掏腰包。 雲娜、倫強、倫崇、雲妮和倫偉都是有執照的建築師。
雲山宣佈:「我非常痛恨那些收取提成的建築設計師。 患有唐氏綜合症的倫建也在家族企業中工作。安娜說,
」 她像訓練他的所有孩子一樣訓練他,把他帶到工場,參
觀建築,並讓他接觸這個職業。
在最近一次向專業人士管理委員會新授權的建築設
計師發表演講時,雲山引述了他最尊重的兩個人:施至 在下一代正在準備就緒的同時,該公司正在接受ISO
成和已故的建築設計師馬連諾(Engracio Mariano) 認證,這是為數不多的幾家建築公司之一能做到的。進
。他與後者合作建造Fontana Leisure Park、設計了魔 入更大的聯盟,也需要他們更改名稱:在2018年7月23
法王國遊樂園(Enchanted Kingdom)、亞耶拉與Pa- 日創辦第35年時,凌雲山建築師事務所將易名為JSLA
seo de Roxas轉角處的菲島銀行大樓和和引樹叻人壽保 Architects。
險公司(Insular Life)老樓。
凌雲山說:「以前只有我跟安娜兩個人。現在是
「施至成說,『不要急著致富。只要發展你的道德 我的孩子跟我的合夥人。J可以是任何人,S可以是任何
實踐,就可以準備致富。』 建築設計師馬連諾曾經告訴 人,L可以是任何人——我的公司內沒有薄弱的環節。
我,『雲山,我想跟你分享這一點,你可以跟你的新舊 我以前的夢想是成為一位受人尊敬的成功建築師,我認
同事分享:不要糟蹋我們的行業。』」 為我現在是這樣,所以現在是回報的時候了。在這個行
業中,我已經證明,誠實、正直、財富、獎勵別人和尊
凌雲山因為收費低而拒絕並失去一些客人。他告訴 重是可能的。這家公司將是一個遺產。我現在的夢想是
他們,他能從承包商的提成中賺回失去的,但他沒有這 JSLA將成為一個有信譽、可敬、誠實的建築和設計實踐
麼做。「我說出這句話後,在10個客戶中會失去8個。但 的代名詞。如果來自世界各地的人想來菲律賓尋找合法
剩下的2個會成為20個。它會倍增。因為我的誠實,我得 的工作,他們會說:JSLA。」
到好的客戶。」這是他試圖向員工灌輸的思想。

第二個(和第三個)原則可以從凌雲山保留的兩個
珍貴雕塑中看出。他將這兩個雕塑珍藏在有銅樹和銅葉
的同一個房間裏。

由德國建築設計師Rainer Lagemann製造,一個被
稱為Fair and Square(誠信)的3-D人體塑像,由鐵框
黏成。另一個是Rock Climber Pablo(攀巖者巴勃羅)
,這是一個在攀爬石壁的無頭3-D雕像。

凌雲山解釋:「第一個是提醒人們要公平和公正地
對待每個人。第二個意思是你不能休息,但也不能讓任
何東西爬到你頭上——名利、產業和財富。」

走在凌雲山建築師事務所辦公室,很容易感受到公
司取得成就和所有權的自豪感。牆上有過去和現在的項
目壁畫——它們的首座學校亞太大學;它們的第一家羅
賓遜商場——羅賓遜Cybergate;它們的第一家SM(
它們也建造SM亞洲商城體育館和SMX會議中心)。

查看它們的客戶名單,凌雲山的名字遍佈瑞士、新
西蘭、尼日利亞和中國的多個項目中。它不會停下來;到
截稿時,該公司正在聘請越來越多的建築師來跟上客戶
的需求。

通過分享這種滿足感,並且讓自己適應每一名員工
的需求——凌雲山正在創造凌雲山建築師事務所故事的

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   2 5

‘One thing
you can be
sure of with
Architect
Siao Ling is
that he is a
very honest

man’

2 6   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Tony Ang

Businessman

  THE BUSINESS process outsourcing ism and unwavering integrity that won the
(BPO) industry doesn’t just contribute to businessman over.
the growth of the country’s economy or gen-
erate jobs for millions of Filipinos; it drives “Other architects will ask you for
the local real estate sector, too. With more documentation and tell you about their
and more BPOs, and in recent years, online fees,” says Ang. “With Architect Siao Ling,
gaming operators choosing to set up shop there was none of that. It was more about
on these shores, developers are responding establishing trust, him wanting to show me
by continuing to provide high-caliber office what he could give before asking for his
spaces in both prime and emerging central fee. That’s why he and I clicked in our very
business districts. first meeting.

As a relative newcomer in developing “Of course, there are times we would
buildings for BPO firms, Tony Ang began have constructive debates and arguments,”
the venture by asking his colleagues to he adds, “but one thing you can be sure
recommend a good architect. The name that of with Architect Siao Ling is that he is
came up: Jose Siao Ling. a very honest man. He also knows every-
thing about a project because he’s very
Recalling his initial meeting with Siao much involved.”
Ling in 2006, Ang describes the encounter as
simple and effortless. After texting the archi- Such qualities explain why this relation-
tect, who responded almost immediately, the ship has evolved. These days, Siao Ling and
businessman set an appointment to see him Ang are more than architect and client; the
on the very same day. “He was very practi- two are partners in a project that the busi-
cal and straightforward. Less than an hour nessman invited Siao Ling to invest in.
after we spoke, we discussed everything we
needed to talk about,” says Ang. “He told me, “Now, it’s not just about my building,”
‘Tony, I will give you the plans in a week.’ A says Ang cheerfully. “It’s about our building.”
week later, he gives me the plans, and I liked
(Right) Completed them right away. And that was it.”
in 2009, the 11-story
Eco Plaza is one of Those plans were for the 11-story Eco
the more recognizable Plaza, one of the more recognizable BPO
BPO buildings along buildings along Chino Roces Avenue Ex-
Chino Roces Avenue tension, Makati City. Completed in 2009,
Extension, Makati. it was followed four years later by Eco
Tower, the 32-story Grade A BPO build-
ing on the corner of 32nd Street and 9th
Avenue in Bonifacio Global City. Another
32-story BPO building on the same street
called Eco Prime is under construction, as
is the 37,519-sqm warehouse Eco Park, in
Carmel Ray Industrial Park 1, Calamba,
Laguna.

While Ang was impressed with Siao
Ling’s rendition of a thoroughly modern
building design and his judicious use of
space, it was the architect’s professional-

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   2 7

‘Based on my
father’s glowing
recommendations
of Siao Ling and

Associates, I
had no reason
to doubt them’

2 8   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Atty. Joseph
Emmanuel L. Angeles

President, Angeles University Foundation

  ATTY. JOSEPH Emmanuel L. on Bayanihan Park, a public recre- The NBA-grade basketball stadium
Angeles had his work cut out for ational area in Angeles City famous of Angeles University Foundation
him when he assumed the role of for its Salakot Arch, a larger-than- Sports and Cultural Center
president of Angeles University life landmark of a farmer’s hat that
Foundation (AUF) in August 2009. once signified entry into the former seating capacity of 2,014, each seat
Then 32, he was stepping into the Clark Airbase (now Clark Freeport offering an unobstructed view of all
shoes of a formidable predeces- Economic Zone). the action on court. The court itself
sor. His Tatang, Dr. Emmanuel Y. is NBA standard, with its state-of-
Angeles, was a Harvard Law School Once Angeles managed to con- the-art Gared Pro basketball goals,
graduate with a Ph.D. in structural vince his father to take a pragmatic Robbins All-Star Maple basket-
engineering from Scotland, and il- approach to the project, he gave his ball inner flooring, and electronic
lustrious credentials—among them, ideas to the architects, “and they just scoreboard donated by the late Dr.
being president and CEO of Clark took the ball and ran with it,” he Emilio T. Yap.
Development Corporation (CDC) says. “Based on my father’s glowing
and chair of the Commission on recommendations of Siao Ling and Since its inauguration on
Higher Education (CHED). Associates, I had no reason to doubt May 24, 2012, the AUF Sports and
them. They were very easy to work Cultural Center not only brings the
The younger Angeles was also with, and gave us a lot of input on campus together regularly through a
about to manage a project of equal how it should be.” variety of activities, such as academic
heft: the construction of the AUF and PE classes, commencement
Sports and Cultural Center. The Situated along MacArthur exercises, sports fests, board exam re-
proposed modern facility would con- Highway in Barangay Salapungan, views, student conventions, faculty
solidate all the school’s sports and Angeles City, and about 50 meters training, CHED conferences, Holy
campus activities under one roof. away from the main administration Masses, and parties; it also unites the
building, the AUF Sports and Cul- community. Major concerts by pop
While the sports buff Tatang tural Center is a four-story complex stars Gary Valenciano and Bamboo,
wanted to dedicate the building with minimal details on its façade, as well as a number of PBA games
exclusively to sports, his son had a save for the seal of the school’s and local beauty pageants, have been
more practical vision. “Given that varsity team, a Great Dane leaping held at this most versatile venue.
we didn’t have the land bank and into a circle of blue. With a total
assets that others had, we needed to floor area of nearly 8,000 square “It was the right thing to do,”
be judicious with our resources and meters, the facility is as versatile says Angeles of building the facility
think about how to make the facil- as it gets. Fourteen classrooms and that has been described as the Mall
ity as flexible as possible in terms of two commercial stalls are found on of Asia Arena of Angeles City. “It
its use,” says Angeles. the ground floor, while a spacious expanded beyond what we thought
multipurpose hall with a high it was going to be.”
To achieve this, the AUF presi- retractable stage, provisions for
dent turned to Jose Siao Ling and basketball, volleyball, or badmin-
his wife and fellow architect, Ana ton courts, and a sports room and
Mangalino Ling. A friend of Tatang’s aerobics center are on the second
whom he met through Henry “Big floor. A jogging track hugs the
Boy” Sy Jr., chairman of SM Prime perimeter of the third floor, which
Holdings Inc. and SM Development is also where a gym and the Physical
Corporation, Siao Ling was working Education department are found.
on SM Clark when the elder Angeles
was president of CDC. Eventually, The fourth level houses the
Tatang would get Siao Ling and Arena, a basketball stadium with a
Associates to make improvements high ceiling, large windows, and a

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   2 9

‘We have
the same
attitude:
we’re direct
to the point
and consider
the needs of
the people’

3 0   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Elpidio ‘Pidi’
Barzaga Jr.

Mayor, Dasmariñas City, Cavite

  THE GRANDSON of Francisco Barzaga, a local leader A fountain at the main entrance, a grand hotel-like
who fought against Spanish rule and was instrumental lobby, high ceilings, and spacious walkways create the
in abbreviating his town’s name from its original Perez- “Cathedral setting” of Pagamutan ng Dasmariñas.
Dasmariñas, Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. would eventually
make his own mark in his native Dasmariñas, Cavite. Dasmariñas City’s Pagamutan ng Dasmariñas that stands
out in so many ways. Launched on July 28, 2016, the
In his term as representative of the second district of five-story, 150-bed public hospital with modern medi-
Cavite from 2007 to 2010, he successfully filed a house cal facilities comes with a fountain at its main entrance,
bill converting the municipality of Dasmariñas into a centralized air-conditioning, high ceilings and a glass fa-
component city. This paved the way for the passage of cade that promote ventilation and bring in natural light,
Republic Act 9723, recognizing Dasmariñas as a char- spacious walkways, a wellness garden, colorful murals by
tered city, and a plebiscite that led to its proclamation as local painter Wilfredo Alicdan, and a lobby with a grand
a city on November 25, 2009. lighting fixture similar to those found in fancy hotels.
“Cathedral setting,” says the mayor of how the architect
Barzaga, the incumbent mayor, also contributed described the public hospital’s ambiance.
to Dasmariñas City’s evolution from the simple barrio
setting of his youth to a progressive urban destination During the planning stages of the hospital, the wel-
buzzing with activity and growth. Known as the Univer- fare of the city’s less-fortunate constituents often came
sity City of Cavite, given the number of Manila-based up in conversations between the mayor and the archi-
schools setting up campuses in the area, the first-class tect. “We could have just built a basic public hospital,”
city boasts several hospitals, malls, business process reasons Barzaga, “but why not make the people feel that
outsourcing companies, industrial estates, and real estate government recognizes them and cares for them?”
projects by noted property developers.
To this, Siao Ling responded by designing a hospi-
Jose Siao Ling is very much involved in Dasmariñas tal that not only supports patients’ recovery but would
City’s steady transformation. The architect first met continue operating in the likelihood of disasters. In the
Barzaga, then municipal mayor, during the 2004 inau- event of a power outage, Pagamutan ng Dasmariñas has
guration of SM Dasmariñas, a project of Siao Ling and two generators on standby, and should a super typhoon
Associates. “He’s just like me,” says the mayor of why leave the city unreachable by land, a helipad can receive
they hit it off. “We both come from humble beginnings volunteers delivering relief goods by helicopter. Electri-
and relied on our education to give us more opportuni- cal cables were installed underground to eliminate the
ties in life. And we have the same attitude: we’re direct possibility of storms knocking down electrical posts.
to the point and consider the needs of the people.”
And the developments continue in the only local gov-
No project is too small or irrelevant for Siao Ling. ernment unit to have ongoing transactions with Siao Ling.
He designed glass elevators to ferry senior citizens, preg- Next on the architect’s plate is the public cemetery and
nant women, and persons with disabilities up and down columbarium, and the public university, which will have its
select pedestrian overpasses fitted with CCTV cameras— own grandstand and track-and-field oval. Once these struc-
a first for any local government unit. A four-story public tures are completed, the mayor and architect will sit down
market with an SM Hypermart, parking spaces, and a and focus on a project that will further cement Dasmariñas’
designated area to drop off goods is also by the architect, reputation as one of the fastest-growing cities south of
as are a community affairs center and public elementary Manila: the renovation of the old city hall building.
and high school buildings.

In every undertaking, Siao Ling typically presents
his proposed idea through sketches and suggestions, but
often leaves the final say to his clients. “He can also ad-
just his plans based on our budget,” says the mayor, who
covers the costs of construction using city funds.

Of the architect’s many projects in the area, it is

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   3 1

‘I’m very
grateful to
Architects
Jose and Ana
for guiding
me. They are
such a big
blessing to us’

3 2   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Sr. Epifania ‘Eppie’ Brasil, OP

Founder and Superior General, Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii

  IN HER SEARCH for land to build a center for (Opposite page) Sr. Eppie Brasil sits before the Regina
the growing community of the Dominican Sisters Rosarii Chapel. (Above) Jose Siao Ling & Associates
of Regina Rosarii, Sr. Epifania “Eppie” Brasil, OP, was the master development planner of the chapel.
fell in love with the 13th of 25 lots she had sur-
veyed on the outskirts of Tanay, Rizal, a lush and cause their model is their father.” The Dominican
rustic 13.5-hectare property at the foothills of the sister even acknowledges Siao Ling’s application
Sierra Madre Mountains. of feng shui in his projects, saying, “I believe in
positive energy.”
Numerous signs convinced Sr. Eppie that
she had made the right choice. Fair, cool weather Nine years after the purchase of the land on
prevailed each time she and the sisters visited the March 19, 2009, Regina RICA (Rosarii Institute
site, even during the supposedly rainy months of for Contemplation in Asia) has become a wel-
the year. And scouting around for people to help come sanctuary for meditation and prayer for
her put the center together led her to Architect people from all walks of life. Besides the Re-
Jonathan Manalad, professor at the University of gina Rosarii Chapel, the center includes a giant
Santo Tomas’ College of Architecture. Manalad steel and concrete statue of Our Lady on Top of
then assigned his students to create scale models the Hill by visual artist and sculptor Jose Bar-
of what they imagined a center for contemplative cena, the Pahuwayan columbary and ossuary by
nuns should look like. Manalad, cottages for priests and those on retreat,
a labyrinth, trails, gardens teeming with rare and
Among his students was Jesi Ling, son of Ar- indigenous trees, nipa huts, and several shaded
chitects Jose Siao Ling and Ana Mangalino Ling. areas for rest and reflection. An Institute for
“I got so inspired because the name of Architect Contemplation, a cluster of buildings designed for
Siao Ling is Jose, and St. Joseph is our fundraiser!” training, prayer, and transformation, is expected to
explains Sr. Eppie, indicating the statue at the be operational by 2019.
Rotonda de San Jose in the center’s vast grounds.
“We designated Architects Joe and Ana to help us “I’m very grateful to Architects Jose and Ana
with general development.” for guiding me and doing all the plans and draw-
ings,” says Sr. Eppie, who is founder and superior
Apart from ensuring a flowing layout for the general of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosa-
center, the architects were involved in the mak- rii. “They are very much a part of Regina RICA,
ing of its many key features. Jose Siao Ling and and such a big blessing to us.”
Associates was the master development planner
of the Regina Rosarii Chapel, a wide tent-like
structure that comfortably accommodates up to
1,000 people for Mass. The chapel tops three lev-
els, beginning with the sisters’ individual private
quarters on the ground floor, a meditation area
called the Chapel of the Women Mystics on the
second floor, and the St. Joseph Function Hall for
retreats and conferences on the third floor. An al-
tar surrounded by water in the Mystic Chapel was
designed by Architect Ana Ling, as was Pilgrim’s
Place, a facility in the grounds.

“They were very generous toward me, very
understanding,” says Sr. Eppie of the architect
couple. “Ana is very fun-loving. Every time we
sit together we never stop laughing. She makes
serious things light and easy.” Of Siao Ling, she ad-
mires the passion that he puts in his work. “I think
the reason all their kids became architects is be-

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   3 3

PORTRAIT BY NICHOLLS SIH‘I’ve worked
with some
architects
before, but
with Joe,
there was
synergy’

3 4   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Edgar Coronel

President, Panorama Development Corporation

  THOUGH THE CORONEL family is as- According to Coronel, the family had
sociated with Cinderella, the retail chain of been talking about Jose Siao Ling since the
multi-brand stores where fashionable Ma- 1980s. Still, it wasn’t until they decided
nila shopped during the ’70s and ’80s, the to construct the I Square Building that
clan has long been into property develop- a meeting with the architect was set at a
ment through its Panorama Development popular cafe. All it took was one cup of
Corporation. Founded in 1969, the com- coffee, says Coronel, and the deal was done.
pany began its venture into real estate with “He’s straight, easy to talk to. I’ve worked
Blue Heights Subdivision, a residential with some architects before, but with Joe,
project built on 10.7 hectares of raw land in there was synergy.”
Antipolo, Rizal.
Years later, the Coronels hired Jose Siao
Sidetracked temporarily into fish- Ling and Associates again, this time for
ing, the company resumed its real estate its Panorama Building. The 17-story, Class
operations in a big way in 1979. Subdivisions A edifice with a penthouse, situated on
(Blue Heights Homes in Porac, Pampanga), 34th Street corner Lane A in Taguig City,
condominiums (Grand Tower and Cosmo- features a five-floor podium with mechani-
politan Towers in Salcedo Village, Makati), cal parking units and an array of commercial
malls (Circle C on Congressional Avenue, establishments in its ground floor. A number
Quezon City), office buildings (the Avon of business process outsourcing (BPO) and
and Cinderella buildings along North Edsa, information technology (IT) companies
Quezon City; I Square Building on Meralco holds office in the box-shaped building with
Avenue, Pasig; Panorama Building, Fort a façade that many say is reminiscent of the
Bonifacio, Taguig City), and warehouses in video game Tetris.
Taguig City and Laguna make up its diverse
portfolio of properties. “Joe is very practical, conscientious,
and diligent with his work—you need
In 2010, Marc and Carlo, sons of that in a service profession,” says Coronel.
Panorama Development Corporation “Trust is also a big factor, and he deals with
President Edgar Coronel, put their own clients regularly. Even if he’s busy and has
spin on the real estate business. Dividing a lot of projects, he’s easy to reach, and
their larger warehouses into studio-size that’s important.
units, they launched Safehouse Storage,
strategically located self-storage facilities “We wish him more success,” says Coro-
that are a necessity in today’s space- nel of Siao Ling, “and hope to work with
challenged homes and offices. him and his children and associates again in
the future.”

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   3 5

Frederick Go   ROBINSONS LAND Corpora-
tion (RLC) may have close to 50
President and COO shopping malls in its portfolio of
Robinsons Land Corporation properties, but the number of office
buildings of the real estate arm of
‘With JG Summit Holdings, Inc. is slowly
every catching up, thanks to the unstop-
project, pable demand for premium office
we learn space from local and multinational
something corporations, business process
new, we outsourcing (BPO) companies, and
get better off-shoring centers. Hailed Over-
and more all Best Managed Company in the
efficient’ Philippines in 2013 and 2014 by
business and finance publication
3 6   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y Euromoney, RLC is known among
developers and tenants alike for
strategically located offices that
combine stately architectural design
and superior engineering.

Manuel Mendoza, president
and CEO of Monolith Construction
and Development Corporation, was
already working on several proper-
ties for RLC when he brought Jose
Siao Ling to the attention of its
top brass, who just happened to be
looking for an architect specializing
in office buildings. Siao Ling’s first
project for the property developer
was Robinsons Cybergate Plaza,
visible along Edsa in Mandaluyong
City and part of the Robinsons
Cybergate complex on the corner
of Edsa and Pioneer Street. Com-
pleted in 2010, the building has six
office floors, two floors of the RLC
budget accommodations chain Go
Hotel, and a floor dedicated to com-
mercial and retail spaces—an ideal
setup for BPOs.

This opened the door to
designing the slew of Cybergates
and Cyberscapes classified under
the Ortigas Series (Cyberscape
Alpha on Garnet Road, Cyberscape
Beta and Cyberscape Gamma on
Topaz Road, and Cyber Omega on
Pearl Drive) and the Bridgetowne
Information Technology Business
Park Series (Robinsons Tera Tower
and Giga Tower along C-5 Road,
Quezon City). Jose Siao Ling and
Associates was also behind RLC’s
Cyber Sigma building on Lawton
Avenue, Taguig City.

“First and foremost, he under- Faraday Go
stands the industry, he understands
the business,” says RLC President General Manager, Robinsons Land Corporation
and COO Frederick Go of Siao Office Buildings Division
Ling’s strength as an architect of
office spaces. “Then he has a great ‘Architect Siao
deal of working knowledge, experi- Ling is the
ence, and expertise in designing
BPO buildings. With every project, best in terms
we learn something new, we get of design and
better and more efficient. I’d like to efficiency. He
think every new building we have is ensures that a
slightly better than the last.” building meets
our clients’
Faraday Go, general manager specifications’
of RLC’s Office Buildings Division,
concurs. “BPOs are very cost con-
scious, they really want to maximize
every square meter of space. They
need a building with as much usable
space as possible for work stations,
conference rooms, and other features
of a BPO office. Architect Siao Ling
is the best in terms of design and
efficiency. He ensures that a building
meets our clients’ specifications.”

As the need for quality work
spaces increases, RLC is focused on
meeting and satisfying this esca-
lating demand. The nationwide
company has office buildings all
across the archipelago, from Ilocos
Norte to Davao City. It advocates
green working environments:
many of its newer properties are
pending certification with LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environ-
mental Design), a rating system that
evaluates a building’s environmen-
tal performance. And while BPOs
still make up a large part of RLC’s
tenant profile, the company is also
developing spaces for flexible and
serviced offices, government offices,
and local offices expanding outside
Metro Manila.

“He’s always willing to share
his knowledge and experience with
us,” says Faraday. “But he’s also able
to adjust and adapt to what a client
asks for. I learn a lot from him.”

“Working constantly with Ar-
chitect Siao Ling has improved the
dynamics between our firms,” adds
Frederick. “Open discussions are
always the best way for two compa-
nies to work together.”

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   3 7

‘Architecture
is a service-

oriented
business. I
like Joe’s type
of service’

3 8   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Francisco Tiu Laurel

Founder and Chairman, Frabelle Group of Companies

  FRANCISCO TIU LAUREL was only to be leased out every year, while a tenant
20 when he founded Frabelle, a fishing who moves into an office building can stay
company in Navotas that operated with a practically forever.”
second-hand deep-sea trawler acquired from
Japan in 1966. Tiu Laurel also approves of the archi-
tect’s hands-on, no-nonsense approach to
More than five decades later, the work. According to him, Siao Ling replies
humble venture that combines the names of immediately to text messages and will
Francis and his wife Bella has grown into a submit drawing after drawing of a proposed
world-class deep-sea fishing company that project at no extra cost until he achieves
adheres to sustainable fishing practices and client satisfaction. “The way I see it, archi-
observes social and environmental practices. tecture is a service-oriented business,” says
It has also diversified considerably, with suc- Tiu Laurel. “I like Joe’s type of service.”
cessful businesses in aquaculture, canneries,
cold storage facilities, culinary arts, fishing, Established in 1983, Frabelle Properties
food processing, food trading, shipyards, has three buildings by Jose Siao Ling and
renewable energy, and properties. Associates in its portfolio. Frabelle Alabang
is a six-story office and commercial prop-
Like with fishing, Tiu Laurel first erty for lease. A 16-floor office building
learned the ropes of real estate development for lease, Frabelle Business Center on Rada
and leasing through first-hand experience. Street, Legaspi Village, Makati, is home to a
After purchasing numerous brand new number of multinational corporations and
residential condominiums from developer commercial establishments. And Frabelle
Col. Juan R. Zapanta and leasing them out, Corporate Plaza, a high-rise office tower
he entertained the thought of having his along Tordesillas Street in Salcedo Village,
own buildings constructed on lots that he Makati, is the first of the Frabelle properties
purchased from his profits in fishing. to be certified as a green building by the US
Green Building Council.
That’s when he met Jose Siao Ling. The
fishing magnate came across the archi- Plans to construct a new office building
tect some 20 years ago through his former in Legaspi Village, Makati, and Filinvest, Ala-
schoolmate Rolly Tongco, a client of Siao bang, will require the architect’s expertise.
Ling’s. “All I know is how to catch galung- “Because he’s had so much experience and
gong—and I’m good at that,” declares Tiu has been in the business for so long, he’s able
Laurel. “That’s why I like Architect Siao to inform and guide me in making good deci-
Ling so much: he explains everything I don’t sions in my own business and investments,”
understand about architecture and construc- says Tiu Laurel. “I’m not an expert, but work-
tion, and I learn a lot from him.” ing with one has made me an expert!

One such lesson: choosing to invest in “My wish is for Siao Ling to continue
office buildings over residential condomini- his good service for us,” he adds. “I hope
ums. “An office building doesn’t have to be that he continues to work with me, my
too tall and it’s easier to manage, whereas children, and even my grandchildren, for
it takes a lot of effort to please a tenant in we recognize the stability of the real estate
a residential condominium,” explains Tiu business in line with our fishing and food
Laurel. “And a residential condominium has production business.” 

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   3 9

‘He’s
the best
architect
when it
comes to
efficiency
of design’

4 0   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

David Leechiu

CEO and Co-Founder, Leechiu Property Consultants

  AS CEO AND CO-FOUNDER of Leechiu established architect doing so many proj-
Property Consultants (LPC), a premier ects for Robinsons and SM. And yet he was
real estate brokerage services firms whose still so open-minded, he was always eager
significant transactions include arrang- to learn,” marvels Leechiu, then head of
ing the multi-billion-peso sale of Ortigas Leechiu & Associates, a company that would
& Company to SM as well as the sale of eventually be acquired by global property
over 20 prime lots in Bonifacio Global City and consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle
(BGC), David Leechiu knows that when (JLL) in 2008. “Another amazing thing is
it comes to coveted properties, efficiency that he’s so responsive. If you need a design,
trumps aesthetics. he will deliver it in two days. He’s quick and
diligent. When you ask someone to draw an
“In the office building game, it’s all office building, nobody will do it better than
about return of investment,” says Leechiu. Architect Siao Ling.”
“The more efficient a building is, the more
attractive it becomes to tenants. Efficient “I tell this to many people,” adds the CEO
design also translates to higher rent. There’s emphatically. “He is the best architect when
no other metric attached to higher rent than it comes to efficiency of design. Just look at
efficiency of design.” 60 to 70 percent of the office buildings in
Bonifacio Global City; that’s where he has
For Leechiu, an efficient building begins really made his mark. There’s no other cluster
with an architect who has an eye for beauty of buildings in the Philippines where you will
and design, yet prioritizes function over see as much of his work than in BGC.”
form; one who excels whether he’s working
independently or collaborating with others. Much has happened since that fateful
first meeting. Leechiu would move on from
No surprise then that Leechiu holds Jose serving as country director of JLL in 2015
Siao Ling in such high esteem. The two first to establishing LPC a year later, while Siao
worked together about 15 years ago when Ling would continue to churn out his brand
they were chosen by building developer of well-thought-out office buildings leading
Charlie Rufino to lend their expertise to up to his milestone 35th year. The two have
what would become Net Plaza along 31st not stopped working together: they con-
Street in BGC. Designed by the architect, stantly refer business to each other, and are
the imposing edifice with breathtaking in the midst of projects in BGC, Ortigas, the
views of the Makati Golf & Country Club Bay Area, and Cavite.
and the Makati and Manila city skylines
spans 22 floors and 55,000 sqm of leasable “I think the first 20 years of his ca-
space. Occupied entirely by JP Morgan reer prepared him for his last 15,” reflects
Chase & Company, it houses various banks Leechiu of Siao Ling’s unparalleled body of
and eateries on the ground level. work. “I wish him well. It’s amazing what
he’s done in the last 15 years.”
“Imagine, Jose Siao Ling was already an

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   4 1

‘Joe is Yolanda
really a David-
very low- Reyes,
profile
person, Commissioner,
he’s the
type who Professional Regulation
prefers
to stay Commission;
on the
sidelines’ National President,

4 2   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y United Architects of the

Philippines (1998-2000)

  UNITED ARCHITECTS of the
Philippines (UAP) is a fitting name for
a group whose original members come
from three different associations: the
Philippine Institute of Architects, the
League of Philippine Architects, and
the Association of Philippine Govern-
ment Architects.

Founded on December 12, 1974, the
UAP was the first professional organi-
zation accredited by the Professional
Regulation Commission (PRC), the agen-
cy in charge of licensing and supervising
the practice of professionals. It’s also
received the PRC’s coveted title—Most
Outstanding Accredited Professional Or-
ganization—a record six times. Through
the years, the 38,000-member-strong UAP
has reaped other distinctions, including
the 2009 Father Neri Satur Award for
Environmental Heroism for its Green Ar-
chitecture Movement, and the EUROPH
50th Golden Jubilee Award in 2010 for its
contribution to the advancement of plan-
ning, developing, and managing human
settlements in the Philippines.

Jose Siao Ling was one of the
founding member of the UAP’s Metro
Chapter. Together with chapter co-
founder Robert Sac (now chairman of
the PRC’s Board of Architecture), he
actively recruited friends and classmates
from his alma mater, the University of
Santo Tomas (UST), while Sac invited
architecture graduates from his school,

Adamson University. ‘He didn’t
Eventually, Siao Ling became need 35
years to
involved at the national level of prove he
the UAP, where he would make a is a very
significant and lasting contribution. competent
As chairman and director of the professional’
23rd National Convention Com-
mittee in 1997, he led a team of Robert Sac
mostly Metro Chapter members and
initiated the purchase of a property Chairman, Board of Architecture,
for UAP’s national headquarters, a Professional Regulation Commission;
630-sqm lot on Scout Rallos Street National President, United Architects
in Barangay Laging Handa, Diliman,
Quezon City. “We invited about 54 of the Philippines (2002-2004)
companies to help us purchase the
lot,” said Siao Ling, chairman for Indeed, truth is a consistent president, 2009-2010), socially, and
implementation and resources of quality in Siao Ling’s work and char- Sac can count on his UAP Metro
the then Task Force on UAP Head- acter. “He’s a serious guy, very strict Chapter co-founder to support him
quarters. The group generated P8 in the observance of both the code in PRC initiatives, like 2017’s sixth
million, which was added to existing of ethics and building codes,” says Philippine Professional Summit, of
funds used to acquire the property. Sac of his and colleagues’ impression which Sac was project director.
Once the UAP secured the lot, Siao of Siao Ling. “He’s the type of guy
Ling co-chaired a Special National who wouldn’t compromise things, “Joe is influential as an archi-
Headquarters Committee with fel- who sticks to the way things should tect and successful with his clients,
low UAP member Nestor Mangio. be. He’s not the type of guy you can and Ana is a good support system
bend to your liking. What is right is for him. They are a match made in
For all his hard work to ensure right, what is wrong is wrong.” heaven,” says David-Reyes.
the UAP would have a permanent
headquarters, Siao Ling never For these PRC officers, Siao Ling “He didn’t need 35 years to
sought anything in return. “Joe is has also proven to be a friend for prove he is a very competent profes-
really a very low-profile person, life. David-Reyes and her husband sional,” adds Sac. “In the years that
he’s the type who prefers to stay on see Siao Ling and his wife, Architect I’ve known him, he has always been
the sidelines,” says Yolanda David- Ana Mangalino Ling (UAP national a role model to many young and old
Reyes, Siao Ling’s former teacher in architects.”
design at UST and the UAP national
president after the purchase of the
property (1998-2000). Now commis-
sioner of the PRC, she adds, “He can
make things happen, but he doesn’t
want to be in the spotlight.”

Still, if there was one instance
when he did call attention to him-
self, it was for good reason. Sac, who
also held two terms during his turn
as UAP national president (2002-
2004), recalls a particularly tense
moment when colleagues accused
him of supposedly spreading sensi-
tive information. “To my surprise,
Architect Joe stood up and said, ‘No,
it did not come from Architect Sac,
it came from me,’” recounts Sac. “He
could have kept silent and left me to
defend myself, but he was so coura-
geous to speak up. I didn’t expect
him to do it, and I thanked him
afterwards for speaking the truth.”

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   4 3

‘Design-build
completely
changed
the way
we’ve done

developments.
It’s now the
preferred
format, and
I think that’s
owing to his
group and
the early
successes
we’ve had
with our
buildings’

4 4   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Carlos ‘Charlie’ Rufino

CEO, The Net Group

  LOOKING AT Bonifacio Global City “Joe always listens to us and gives a lot of
(BGC) today, it’s hard to believe that this input. We use a very efficient design core, so
perennially busy, ultra-modern business and when potential clients check the floor plates
lifestyle destination was once a barren field of our building, they think that they’re small,
and part of the Philippine Army camp. But but once they see how efficiently Joe planned
while others could only see empty space and it, they say they can work with our space.”
an inconvenient location at the time, Carlos
“Charlie” Rufino was among the first to Not only did The Net Group buildings
believe in its potential. become the basis for Siao Ling’s projects
with other clients, but they also passed the
Head of business development of Fort scrutiny of corporate real estate groups who
Bonifacio Development Corporation from do test plans to see if their work stations can
1995 to 2000, he was very much involved in fit an office floor. Rufino recalls the time a
BGC’s planning and construction, and knew large company checked one of his buildings
it had the makings of a major central busi- as a possible venue for its serviced offices.
ness district. Together with business partner To even the CEO’s surprise, the company
Jacques Dupasquier, Rufino embarked on could fit more work stations in his floor,
providing boutique office spaces, beginning compared to that of other offices. They’re so
with the 18-story Net One Center, the very happy with you, an insider told Rufino, they
first office high-rise in BGC. want to be in every building you put up.

Like BGC, The Net Group, of which Siao Ling’s efficiency extends to other
Dupasquier is chairman and Rufino CEO, aspects of design. When Rufino’s attention
has grown rapidly, adding six more pre- was called to how heat spots in the podium
mium office buildings to its portfolio: Net level affected the function of the air-condi-
Park, Net Lima, Net Plaza, Net Quad, Net tioners, his architect solved the dilemma by
Cube, and Net Square. These international- creating a “piano system,” wherein depressed
standard structures are also green buildings portions surrounding the air-conditioning
certified by the Philippine Green Building units provided much-needed ventilation.
Council’s BERDE (Building for Ecologi- It was a unique innovation that worked. “I
cally Responsive Design Excellence) rating have a feeling that ‘piano system’ is in every
system. BERDE is the local counterpart of other building—even among our competi-
the US’ LEED (Leadership in Energy and tors!” says Rufino with a laugh.
Environmental Design) rating system, and
takes into account the Philippines’ tropical In the future, the developer plans to
weather and laws. work with the architect on mixed-use
properties in secondary areas. “We’ve met
Looking for people to work with him thousands of times in our job sites and in
on a design-build arrangement (wherein conference meetings, and together with
a team delivers design and construction Manny, we’ve had great times getting our
services under a single contract), Rufino came projects together, built on time. Great effort
upon Architect Jose Siao Ling and Manuel from him and his staff,” says the CEO of
Mendoza, president and CEO of Monolith his working relationship with Siao Ling.
Construction and Development Corpora- “Design-build completely changed the way
tion. “I’m very happy with the relationship. we’ve done developments. It’s now the pre-
We went from one project to the next,” says ferred format, and I think that’s owing to
Rufino of the consortium responsible for Net his group and the early successes we’ve had
Square, Net Cube, Net Quad, and Net Plaza. with our buildings.”

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   4 5

‘Architect
Siao Ling
can balance
art and
business in
a building.
He’s also
practical

and
solution-
oriented.

To me,
that’s very
important’

4 6   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia

Founder, Mang Inasal
Chairman, Double Dragon Properties Corp.

  THERE WAS no grand business plan opment that made him personally seek out
or magic recipe when Edgar “Injap” Sia II Jose Siao Ling about four years ago. The
ventured into the food industry in 2003. architect’s firm is responsible for the design
The then 26-year-old did it simply for of the 606-room Hotel 101 in Bonifacio
pragmatic reasons. Global City, the 510-room branch in Davao,
and the 1,001-room branch in Boracay. Jose
“I was a newlywed and looking for a Siao Ling and Associates also designed Jol-
business to sustain my family,” he explains. libee Tower in Ortigas, a 40-story, Grade A
Noting a void in the fast-food barbecue building that will house the fast-food giant’s
category at the time, he came up with Mang headquarters and other office tenants.
Inasal, whose charcoal-grilled chicken and
banana leaf-wrapped rice first became a hit “There are many architects, but the
in his native Iloilo. An expanded menu and important thing was, who could get the
branches that found their way all across the balance between design and the commercial
archipelago, including Manila, eventually side of the project?” says Sia, chairman of
caught the attention of Tony Tan Caktiong, Double Dragon Property Corp. “Architect
chairman of Jollibee Foods Corporation; he Siao Ling is one of those who can balance
acquired 70 percent of Mang Inasal in 2010, art and business in a building. He’s also
and the remainder in 2016. practical and solution-oriented. To me,
that’s very important. In construction, there
This made Sia the country’s youngest are many issues that crop up every now and
billionaire at 34, a status that landed him then, and you need an architect that can
on numerous lists of the wealthiest Filipi- focus on solutions.” Sia, who was one year
nos. More importantly, it opened the door short of completing his degree in architec-
to other viable industries. Double Dragon ture from Iloilo’s University of San Agustin,
Properties Corp., his partnership with Tan also appreciates Siao Ling’s collaborative
Caktiong, focuses on the kind of real estate working style, keeping an open mind to his
that, again, fills a gap. City Mall brings the clients’ inputs.
shopping center experience to third-tier
cities, while Hotel 101 offers comfortable, “He’s very hands-on. He goes to the site
no-frills accommodations to business and and makes sure everything is in order,” adds
leisure travelers, as well as a tidy profit for Sia, who has other projects in the pipeline
those who invest in this condotel concept. for the architect. “I had a good experience
working with him.”
It was Sia’s entry into property devel-

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   4 7

‘Architect
Siao Ling,
if I give you
the hardest
projects, it’s
because I love
you so much!’

4 8   D O I N G I T H I S W A Y

Hans ‘Chico’ Sy Jr.

President, SM Engineering Design & Development Corp.

Recognizable for its   AFTER WORKING for Hong Kong’s pres- ties. “Whenever we have something difficult,
eye-shaped exterior, tigious Tao Ho Design Architects for three we say, bigay natin kay Joe ’yan, kaya niya
the Mall of Asia years, Jose Siao Ling had just established his ’yan,” says Hans “Chico” Sy Jr., president
Arena was named one eponymous architectural firm in July 1983 of SM Engineering Design & Develop-
of Asia’s best concert when his father, Ling Haw Kee, introduced ment (SMEDD) Corp., with a hearty laugh.
venues by Lady Gaga’s him to Henry Sy Sr., founder of the SM “Architect Siao Ling, if I give you the hardest
road manager. Group and an industrial partner of Ling’s projects, it’s because I love you so much!”
rubber plantation in Basilan. Practice first,
the elder Sy advised the young architect, Projects of this nature do not only put
then come back and see me. Siao Ling duti- the architect’s skills to the test; they bring
fully complied and slowly built a portfolio of out his intensity and zeal for what he does.
office, residential, and commercial projects “What I respect most about Architect Siao
before returning to Sy Sr. 10 years later. Ling is his passion and pride in his work,
his drive to pursue excellence,” says Sy Jr.
True to his word, the SM patriarch, “You can see it: he’s got the fire to constantly
fondly known as Tatang, started the ar- deliver better work, without needing anyone
chitect off with opportunities to design to tell him to do it.”
a number of the conglomerate’s Banco de
Oro branches. It was only a matter of time With a playful look in his eyes, Sy Jr.
before Jose Siao Ling and Associates would adds, “Nothing upsets Joe more than when
get its big break, serving as the architectural you tell him he’s wrong—which I’ve done
firm behind the landmark SM City Baguio. many times! We’ve had the pleasure of
Situated on Luneta Hill at the top of Ses- engaging each other in discussions for the
sion Road, where the former Pines Hotel betterment of the industry. And I love it
once stood until it burned down, the largest because when he’s fiercely defensive of his
shopping mall in the entire Northern Luzon work, it means he really cares.
region (at 107,841 sqm) is also the first SM
Supermall with common areas that do away “It’s healthy and fun,” assures Sy Jr. of his
with air-conditioning and make use of spirited debates with the architect, “because
natural light. without that push, we would all stagnate.”

Since then, Siao Ling has become the One could even say Siao Ling’s level of
preferred architect for many of SM’s most commitment to the projects assigned him
important—and often challenging—proper- is practically akin to his client’s. And he did
not disappoint when he was made architect
of the Mall of Asia Arena, the indoor sports
and events place in the Manila Bay area.
Recognizable for its distinct eye-shaped
exterior, it boasts five levels, a full house
capacity of 20,000, press and multimedia
rooms, a lounge, VIP dressing rooms, and
41 fully furnished corporate suites. Lady
Gaga’s tour manager called it one of the best
concert venues in Asia.

“To pick up the challenge of making a
brand new technical facility of SM MOA
Arena’s proportions takes a lot of grit and
determination,” notes Sy Jr. admiringly.
“When Architect Siao Ling handles a project,
he treats it in such a way that he pretends to
be its owner. He takes care of it as if it were
his child. That’s what we love about him.” 

D O I N G I T H I S W A Y   4 9


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