Espina: The Gaisanos, ‘family of distinction’

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Monday, November 26, 2012

THE city of Cebu, led by Mayor Michael Rama, through the Cebu City Diamond Corps Committee headed by Dr. Lourdes Jereza, has been honoring families of distinction to commemorate its 75th anniversary. What a noble initiative!

TESTIMONIAL dinner (from left) Janel Gaisano, Alex Gaisano, Joey Gaisano, Joseph Gaisano, Mayor Michael Rama and Gloria Gaisano.
More photos here:

These families are cited for their commendable contributions in the growth of Cebu, specifically in architecture, infrastructure development, fashion, business, arts, music, education, among so many other litanies of categories.


When I came to Cebu in 1964, the first landmarks I saw, aside from the Sto. Nino Church and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, were the White Gold Restaurant and Department Store, so distinct in their Chinese-inspired architectural design that I never stopped visiting them.

As years passed by, my fancy for White Gold became even more deep when I met the Gaisanos, especifically Joseph and Gloria Gaisano, as we were bound by the same vision of education and community work through the We Care Foundation. And the proverbial saying, “the rest is history,” proved right once again.

It was then easy for me to know the Gaisanos more when I discovered about the nobility of Doña Modesta Singson-Gaisano when Joseph asked me to endorse the first scholar of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) as a recipient of the Doña Modesta Gaisano Foundation Scholarship Program.

Born in Cebu in 1885, Doña Modesta and husband Jose Sy Lingkee started a modest general merchandise store in San Nicolas, Cebu in 1933; then relocated in the downtown area as it expanded; until, bearing the names of White Gold and Gaisano, it emerged as the Philippines’ largest chain of superstores providing mass consumers with quality merchandise. After the death of her husband, Doña Modesta assumed the role of the matriarch of both the family and the business, supported by her equally dedicated sons, David, Stephen, Henry, Victor and John; and eventually, the second, then, third generation of Gaisanos and their cousins, who are all engaged in mall-related business. The legacy of Doña Modesta lives on.

The Gaisanos are a big clan. I know more of the business and community involvements of Joseph, Benito, Alex and Edward, and have been witness to their business acumen, management skills and community and business involvement in the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, We Care Foundation, Philippines Foundation, Cebu Jaycees, among others. They truly deserve to be honored as one of the “Families of Distinction,” along with the recent batch of awardees, the Aboitiz , Barba, Cui, Fernan, Vestil, Jakosalem, Ludo and Luym families.Congratulations!

Christmas events

This early, many Christmas gatherings are already being hatched to avoid the “rush.”

The Zonta 1 and Zonta 2 will have a joint holiday party on Dec. 8 at the Cebu Country Club. We Care Foundation has scheduled its Christmas fellowship come Dec. 14. The USJ-R Llhuillier scholars chose Dec. 20. Expect upcoming Christmas tree lighting in our favorite resorts and hotels.

Well, we did not expect Christmas to come too soon. But we always welcome it!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 27, 2012.


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