Xavier Exemplary Alumni Awardees – A Retrospect

Gary Garcia ('79)

Award for Exemplary Alumni:

XS Class of 1960

20 wellington

Wellington C. Yu (Class of 1960)   Wellington started his professional career in the academe. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in the United State, he returned to teach at De La Salle University (DLSU), his alma mater, where he became dean of the College of Business and Economics. Under his term, he revitalized the Business curriculum by – among others – increasing the required Math units and number of Accounting units, the highest in the country. His reforms paid off soon after as DLSU graduates became regular topnotchers of the CPA board examinations. He is highly regarded by his faculty who continue to look up to him as both a professional and personal mentor.  He migrated to the US in the mid-eighties to run a family business in Hawaii and then set up a larger business in San Francisco. He retired in the late 1990s and returned to the Philippines. In all his endeavors, he adhered to his own mantra: “strive for excellence in everything you do, do not settle for anything less.”   For his passion for excellence that has inspired countless college students and professors, Wellington was honored in 2012.


XS Class of 1962

19 paulino

Paulino Y. Tan, PhD (Class of 1962)   Defying the mercantile career path of most Chinese Filipinos of his generation, Paulino dedicated his professional life to education.  Armed with a Master’s degree and doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, he returned to DLSU and assumed the position of Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department. In his roles as associate dean of the College of Engineering, vice president for academic affairs and eventually, executive vice president, he steered DLSU to greater heights, expanding its eminent reputation not only as a business school but also as a liberal arts college with a strong social science curriculum. Identifying the impact of Information Technology, he established a computer school in 1991. Today, it has evolved into the Asia Pacific College, which he presently leads as president.  He has served the Commission of Higher Education as chair of the technical panel tasked to raise the level of IT education in the country.   For his outstanding contributions in the field of tertiary education, Paulino was honored in 2012.


XS Class of 1965

13 harry chua

Harry T. Chua (Class of 1965)   Harry became an activist early in his life, championing the cause for policy reform on citizenship for native-born Chinese and promoting greater integration of Chinese Filipinos into mainstream society. He became a leading force of the organization that eventually became today’s Kaisa. Beyond these goals, he pushed for stronger socio-civic involvement of the tsinoy community and pushed the organization to engage in community development. As one its founders, he is credited for the group’s expansion into relief operations, medical missions and volunteer programs, skills training for public school students, and anti-crime campaigns. He was a large part behind the fundraising efforts for the Kaisa Heritage Center, which opened in 1999. The center hosts the museum that showcases the history of Chinese Filipinos and their cultural legacy in the Philippines.   For his spirit of volunteerism and dedicated efforts to bridge the socio-cultural divide in society, Harry was honored in 2012.

18 lawrence

Lawrence Que, Jr., PhD (Class of 1965)   It has been said of Lawrence that he fell in love with science while performing experiments in his backyard as a young boy. This romance became a lifelong commitment to chemistry, a field he serves as professor and scientist at the University of Minnesota. He is a highly regarded teacher, consistently receiving some of the highest scores in student evaluations, and is credited for establishing the university as a center for excellence in his chosen field of bioinorganic chemistry. His prodigious research, covered by over 400 published works, has garnered international acclaim, including the premier Bader Award from the American Chemical Society. He was listed in 2008 as one of the top 100 living chemists in the world and was conferred the honor of Regents Professor by the university’s Board of Regents in 2009.   For his groundbreaking achievements in the study of Chemistry, vital to the development of new drugs and for a less harmful and cleaner chemistry, Lawrence was honored in 2012.  


XS Class of 1966

4 wellington tong

Wellington Y. Tong (Class of 1966)   Wellington’s professional career has been dedicated to his family’s steel mill, Pag-asa Steel Works, Inc., a company he now heads. His stewardship, characterized by strong corporate governance, adheres to a high level of professionalism in dealings with employees, suppliers, clients and government. His principled leadership has gone beyond the business, extending to the industry through several trade organizations, working for its development by opposing smuggling, fostering international cooperation, upgrading skills, strengthening product standards, and pushing policy initiatives for growth and consumer welfare. Alongside his dedication to his profession, Willy has been an active lay minister of Mary the Queen (MTQ) Parish for over 30 years and co-founded and became the first president of the MTQ Parish Council.   For being a model of a Christian businessman and devoted witness of the faith, Wellington was honored in 2007.

21 reynaldo

Reynaldo O. Joson, MD (Class of 1966)   Dr. Joson has dedicated his life to serving his countrymen as a surgeon, teacher, and hospital administrator. As a physician, his rapport with patients is legendary, and his diagnostic and surgical skills are renowned for their precision, thoroughness, and speed. As a teacher at UP-PGH, he championed a holistic approach that requiredidentifying problems and solutions based on research. He has published numerous research and instruction manuals that are valued and used to this day. As an administrator, he restored the accreditation of the surgical department of the Ospital ng Maynila, which became the first city government hospital to receive an international award. He founded the Zamboanga Medical School Foundation, forerunner of the Ateneo de Zamboanga College of Medicine, which introduced a dual degree program for medicine and public health that has become a model for other universities.   For his outstanding contributions to the practice and teaching of medicine, and his preferential focus on poor and rural patients, Dr. Joson was honored in 2013.

22 miguel

Miguel A. Tan (Class of 1966)   Mike’s commitment to national development was developed and channeled through his decades-long involvement with the Jaycees. As president of the Manila Jaycees, he led the club’s involvement in the snap elections of 1986, becoming NAMFREL’s official coordinator. With his influence and determination, he was able to revive the diminished reputation of the National TOYM Awards when he was chair by convincing eminent personalities and civic leaders to join the selection committee. His strong sense of giving back led to his involvement in many developmental projects and charities, including for his Xavier School.  His leadership and community-building skills strengthened the alumni association and parents auxiliary and contributed to faculty development. As a trustee, he was an active force behind the school’s growth of its scholarship fund and expansion to Nuvali and became the longest-serving alumnus in the school’s Board of Trustees.   For his strong sense of civic duty and commitment to the development of Xavier School, Mike was honored in 2013.


XS Class of 1967

1-Francis-Chua rev

Francis Chua (Class of 1967)  After becoming a successful businessman in his adopted homeland, Francis devoted his time and resources to philanthropy. His priority has been education, actively supporting the development as board member of various institutions including Chen Kuang High School, Philippine Institute of Quezon City, Overseas Chinese University (Xiamen), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Xavier School.  He has also provided leadership in promoting commerce, international trade, and foreign investment through his membership in several business chambers and federations and as Honorary Trade and Investment Representative of the Department of Trade and Industry and Special Envoy on Trade and Investment of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For being a model of a socially conscious business leader, engaged in philanthropy and national development, Francis was honored in 2007.

14 de guzman

John D. de Guzman, DBA, PhD (Class of 1967)   Integral to John’s identity is his devotion to the Scouting Movement. He has been with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines for over 40 years, starting as a young student in Xavier. As a professional scouter, he has strengthened the cause by establishing the Boy Scouts Foundation that provides financial support to deserving scouts who cannot afford to join jamborees (local and overseas) as well as funding development projects for communities affected by calamities. He has earned the respect of his colleagues, becoming the first Philippine representative to the World Organization of the Scout Movement in Geneva, Switzerland. At the core of his commitment is his strong faith, deepened by years of service to the St. Jude Parish Pastoral Council. He has managed to integrate this in his life as a scout, overseeing the construction of the outdoor chapel in Makiling and publishing a prayer book, “Duty to God – a Catholic Scout Manual.”   For his leadership and service in the Scouting Movement and being a model of the scout’s oath “to serve other people at all times,” John was honored in 2011.

XS Class of 1968

16 Enrico Angutaco

Enrico Emmanuel C. Angtuaco (Class of 1968)   In his long career as an educator, Enrico ended up serving both his alma maters as professor and administrator. He started at the Ateneo de Manila University as a member of the faculty of the Business Management department and became its chair for over a decade. Under his watch, he transformed the department into one of the school’s premier courses, establishing an honors program in Management and introducing the Legal Management and Management Economics programs. He transferred to AIM in 1989 and became lead faculty in the MBA program, associate dean and program director. Alongside his passion for education is his commitment to social development. He has been an active member of the Rotary Club since the 1980s, an organization he has served in various capacities, including as president. Through his leadership, his club was adjudged one of the most outstanding district Rotary Clubs in the Philippines.   For his outstanding contributions to higher education and enduring faith-based commitment to social responsibility, Enrico was honored in 2012. 

XS Class of 1972

2 william chua

(+) Atty. William T. Chua (Class of 1972) – posthumous  After passing the bar in 1983, William practiced law almost exclusively for victims of injustice and often, pro bono.  As a human rights lawyer, his legal battles centered on electoral fraud, civil rights abuse, labor issues, press freedom and kidnap-for-ransom cases. He also became a journalist, fearlessly writing against corruption and the Marcos dictatorship. He was actively involved in various advocacies and provided legal counsel for civic organizations like the Philippine Center for Journalism, Foundation for Worldwide People Power, Inc., and the Citizen’s Action Against Crime. He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 49 and was posthumously given the Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2005 and the La Sallian Achievement Award for human rights in 2006. For his commitment to social justice and being a model of how a lawyer can practice in the service of the nation, William was honored in 2007.  

8 gilbert son

Gilbert C. Son (Class of 1972)   Gilbert’s long association with Mary the Queen (MTQ) Parish began in 1973 as a singer in the church choir. He became more involved in parish activities starting in 1982 through his participation in the parish executive council. His ministry was devoted to adult Catholic formation in the areas of baptismal instruction for parents, first communion and confirmation seminars, and pre-marriage counseling for couples. At the heart of his apostolate is his role as a catechist, joining the Neo Catechumenal Community in 1982. In this ministry, he evangelized and organized communities in Batangas, Cavite, and in Binondo, Manila. His decades-long commitment has produced some 35 active communities in 18 parishes.   For his personal and pastoral work in adult spiritual formation, Gilbert was honored in 2008.

 XS Class of 1973


+ WILLY U. CO (Class of 1973) Through his company, Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC), Willy had been one of the prime movers in the country’s quest for food sufficiency. Through extensive research and development, Willy’s company provided the Filipino farmer with better quality and higher yielding seeds as well as improved farming technology. He served as president of the Philippine Seed Industry Association and was also part of the study group of businessmen and congress leaders whose findings led to the eventual promulgation in 2002 of the Philippine Plant Variety Protection law. For his numerous contributions to advancement of agriculture he was honored with the Gurdev Khush Award by the Department of Agriculture. His wide-ranging philanthropy included scholarships for agriculture degrees, donations for school buildings, adoption of the endangered Philippine eagle, and support for various causes of Tanggol Kalikasan. Willy passed away on August 31, 2013 after a brave battle with lung cancer.

XS Class of 1974






+ LAWRENCE D. ONG (Class of 1974) Lawrence devoted his entire professional life in the service of the marginalized. He was a volunteer for the Sapak Experimental Farm, an NGO that provided training for out-of-school youth. He worked as counselor and teacher with refugees at the Vietnamese Refugee Center/Philippine First Asylum Camp in Palawan and at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center in Bataan. For Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, an NGO dedicated to the integration of Chinese Filipinos into mainstream Philippine society, he took on multiple roles – building administrator, Bahay Tsinoy tour guide, contributor for the newsletter, and point man for the disbursement of funds for the group’s Alay Medisina and Alay Puso programs and poverty alleviation schemes for the urban and rural poor. He also worked for the Kanawan Negritos Reservation Area in Bataan, helping establish a primary school for the Aeta children and organizing various community-building activities. He passed away on July 13, 2001. In 2002, he was honored posthumously with the Xavier School Luceat Lux Award, the Outstanding Chinese-Filipinos in the Philippines Award, and the Dr. Jose Rizal Award of Excellence.

XS Class of 1975

5 edward wang

Edward S. Wang, MD (Class of 1975)   Dr. Wang’s medical career is remarkable for having produced a prodigious amount of acclaimed research. He has published over 50 award-winning scientific studies that have led to quality and cost benefits to patients in the areas of tumor orthopedics, limb-saving and bone transplant surgery, in diagnostic biopsies and early screening programs. His innovative work has earned him countless recognition from institutions and organizations local and international. Despite all the honors, Edward has devoted much of his profession to teaching medicine at the University of the Philippines and in government hospitals nationwide. His clinical work prioritizes charity patients at UP-PGH Department of Orthopedics, where he has been practicing since 1988.   For his contributions to orthopedic medicine and making specialized medical care available to the poor, Dr. Wang was honored in 2007.

10 vicente perez
Vicente S. Perez, Jr. (Class of 1975)   After a successful career in international banking and establishing his own private equity firm, Vince entered government as Undersecretary for Industry with the Department of Trade and Industry in 2001. He became Secretary after only three months, the first Xaverian ever to attain a cabinet position. During his tenure, he boosted energy self-sufficiency to 56%, implemented an ambitious rural electrification program the powered over 6,600 barangays, and instituted reforms that reduced bureaucracy and resulted in up to $3 billion savings through privatization and renegotiated contracts. He also pursued an aggressive environmental agenda by setting the goal for the country to become the world’s largest geothermal power producer and Southeast Asia’s leading generator of wind power. He remains a staunch environmentalist through his involvement with the World Wildlife Fund.   For setting a high benchmark for achievement and professionalism in government service, former Sec. Perez was honored in 2009.

XS Class of 1978

17 kelly

Kelly S. Salvador, MD (Class of 1978)   While establishing his private practice in the early 1990s, Kelly became involved with the Philippine Cancer Society (PSC). This interest started a lifelong commitment that would lead him to other paths of service. He has traveled all over the country to lecture on cancer awareness and prevention, promoting this advocacy through media in several public service programs including his own radio show. He not only volunteered to provide free medical service to PSC’s indigent patients but also initiated a cancer treatment program for pediatric leukemia patients at the Lungsod ng Kabataan, as well as a donor-patient matching program for chemotherapy that links benefactors for medicine to those in in need. His assistance has extended to providing affordable treatment for breast cancer patients and serving as president of the Kythe Foundation, which provides psychosocial support for pediatric cancer patients of affiliate hospitals nationwide.   For his tireless commitment to promote his advocacy of cancer prevention and affordable treatment, Dr. Salvador was honored in 2010.


ROLAND STEPHEN T. CUA, MD (Class of 1978) In 1979, Dr. Roland Cua joined the Mary the Queen Parish catechism group and began a lifelong involvement with the formation of Neocatechumenate communities. Over the course of several years, he maintained and expanded this commitment, serving in Cavite (six communities), Paco (two communities), and MTQ (two communities). After graduating from UP-PGH, he banded with other physicians to organize and incorporate a community medicine foundation. Instead of taking the usual path of seeking a rewarding career through their medical practice, they chose to go to the barrios. Each of them handled two communities and served as barangay doctors, instructing people on preventive health care. Rolly later completed his training in industrial medicine and served recently as president of the Philippine Society of Insurance Medicine.

XS Class of 1979

11 joaquin yap

Joaquin C. Yap, Jr., SW, DPhil (Class of 1979)   While a student at the Ateneo, Jake began a life-long commitment to serve God when he joined the Ang Ligayang Panginoon Community, a charismatic covenant community. Much of his pastoral work for Ligaya involves teaching lay people, especially the youth, through catechism, retreats, prayer assemblies, and conferences. His extensive campus ministry brought him to three World Youth Days (Manila, Paris, Rome). He also entered the academe, teaching at the Loyola School of Theology, and has written for both local and international Catholic journals. Aside from his pastoral and academic commitments, Jake does missionary work. He has assisted in Christian community building all over Asia and given lectures and retreats in Australia, New Zealand, the US, and several countries in Europe.   For consecrating his life to the Lord, serving God through the youth apostolate and the teaching ministry, Jake was honored in 2009.

12 col

Col. Ernesto V. Ravina, Jr. (Class of 1979)   As a young soldier, Ernesto underwent a baptism of fire by being immediately deployed for combat duty in Mindanao. For his extensive field service in peace-keeping and anti-insurgency operations in different conflict areas he was awarded the Military Merit Medal four times and the Bronze Cross Medal for bravery. He has also served with distinction in various staff positions in the areas of intelligence, research and strategic studies, weapons, communications and information technology. He served as Commanding Officer of the Inshore Battalion from 2006-2009, providing search, rescue and relief in times of disaster. His leadership and service during the two-week operations in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng merited one of the Navy’s highest honors, the Distinguished Navy Cross.   For his meritorious military service in both combat and peacekeeping duties, and rescue and relief work, Col. Ravina was honored in 2010.  

XS Class of 1981

7 ricardo

Ricardo T. Quintos II, MD (Class of 1981)   As a young doctor, Ricardo developed a passion for research that would define his professional self as the “physician-scientist-community leader” model advocated by the World Health Organization.  His research on microcirculation led to his development of a surgical procedure that could avoid amputation, a study that earned him multiple international awards. His wide-ranging studies in the treatment of heart and vascular disease also resulted in a cheaper alternative to surgical bypass, using gene and growth-factor therapies to grow new vessels that serve as a natural bypass to blocked arteries; and the invention of various medical devices for therapeutic purposes. In addition to assisting indigent patients, he has initiated an economic self-help program for watchers of patients confined in government hospitals.   For his outstanding contributions in the field of medicine in his multifaceted role of physician, scientist, teacher, and benefactor, Dr. Quintos was honored in 2008.

23 willie

Willie T. Ong. MD (Class of 1981)   Unlike most cardiologists with a thriving practice, Willie’s priority as a doctor is to promote public health, strengthen the local medical profession, and help educate and provide medical assistance to the poor. In this he found a true partner in his wife Liza. Together with his wife, he established a free clinic in Pasay and started a campaign among doctors to practice in the country and serve the poor. The couple also used mass media to educate the public on good health and to solicit funds for the treatment of charity patients. To support the profession, they co-authored several books as general guide and inspiration for doctors. Willie also established a support group, Movement of National Doctors, to help struggling medical professionals. A lasting legacy is the Co Tec Tai Medical Museum, a repository of photographs, books, and journals, scoured from all over the world, that document the history and notable achievements of the medical profession in the Philippines.   For his selfless support of the medical profession and concern for the plight of both struggling doctors and indigent patients, Dr. Ong was honored in 2013.


JAIME MIGUEL G. BELMONTE (Class of 1981) Miguel assumed the task of managing The Philippine Star to continue the commitment of his mother for a free and independent press. Equally important, he has preserved his mother’s philanthropic legacy as chair of Operation Damayan, the only newspaper social arm that is active throughout the year. Initially a channel for relief operations and medical assistance, Operation Damayan has widened its scope under his leadership by engaging in other advocacies, notably in education and environment protection. Among these are the Adopt-A-School program, which has been raising funds for new school buildings since 2003; Abaka-Damayan, offering free high school education, including materials and food and transportation allowance; the patient assistance program for sick children; the annual blood donation for the Philippine Red Cross; and, of course, the fundraising for calamity victims that has been conducted every year since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

XS Class of 1982

6 ted bonpin

Atty. Ted T. Bonpin (Class of 1982)   His early years as a lawyer set Ted firmly on a path focused on developmental legal assistance and social development. His legal practice in public interest, environment, and social justice enabled him to develop an expertise in environmental law – in training, litigation, and other legal service interventions. His work included capacity building for LGUs, government agencies, and local communities of fishermen, farmers, and ethnic minorities. Ted has also worked as technical consultant for conservation projects, as Country Director of CARE Philippines, a humanitarian organization involved in disaster relief and rehabilitation, and became Chair of SEAD, Inc., a non-profit microfinance organization overseeing a portfolio of over P200 million serving more than 60 rural cooperatives, NGOs, and cooperative banks.   For his commitment to empowering the marginalized, promoting good governance and environmental conservation, Ted was honored in 2008.

15 harvey uy

Harvey S. Uy, MD (Class of 1982)   Harvey is recognized not only for being an exceptional clinician and surgeon but an outstanding researcher as well. His studies have focused on medical technologies that have benefited eye patients worldwide and have garnered him many accolades, including the Immunology Award from Harvard Medical School and the Balik Scientist Award from the Department of Science and Technology. He has published more medical articles than any other Filipino eye doctor to date.His work ethic is legendary, conducting clinics and surgeries five and half days a week and posting a record of seeing 80 patients in a single day. On top of that, he has found time to teach – pro bono – at the UP College of Medicine, and is regularly invited to speak at international medical conferences. A founding doctor of the Asian Eye Institute, he established the hospital’s Medical Mission Program that provides free medical service to the underprivileged.   For his contributions to improving the practice of ophthalmology in the Philippines as teacher, researcher, and doctor, Dr. Uy was honored in 2011.

XS Class of 1983

9 Richard Alianan

Atty. Richard S. Alianan (Class of 1983)   Richard began his career as a lawyer focused on litigation. During his practice, he frequently took on the plight of victims of injustice, providing free legal assistance despite a full workload. With his wife, he became a regular Mary the Queen Parish Pre-Cana Seminar speaker for couples about to enter matrimony and continued his spiritual formation by joining the Neo Catechumenal Community (NCC). Despite the hardships and many obstacles and his personal commitments to his family and business, Richard has made evangelical work one of his life’s priorities.   For his resolute commitment to serve God by embracing the challenge of evangelization among non-Christians, Richard was honored in 2009.

XS Class of 1986

3 john ong

John Burtkenley T. Ong (Class of 1986)   Considered by colleagues as a benchmark for development work, John has been able to combine his profession as a geologist with community development, particularly for tribal minorities. He has conducted geological surveys and training in mapping skills that have allowed these communities to identify the boundaries of their ancestral domain where they can continue to observe their unique traditions. His work has a strong environmental slant, covering physical and social surveys of watersheds, groundwater evaluation, and research on flooding, landslides and marine productivity. He is considered a modern “technical” missionary who does not evangelize in the traditional sense, but is significantly transforming lives of indigenous peoples while preserving their cultural heritage for future generations.   For his dedicated work as a scientist in the service of the environment and the marginalized, especially among ethnic minorities, John was honored in 2007.  

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