The Birth of a Memorial Park: An interview with Vic G. Puyat

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Rey Beltran |

One of the sons of Senator Gil J. Puyat, Vic Puyat, pursued higher education and sought sponsorship from his father. “Will you spend for me if I am admitted to a good school in the US for me to take and MBA? So he agreed. Then my mother asked me, ‘What will happen to your girlfriend?’

“My father said, ‘Why do you want to get married? You’re still so young?’ I was 21. I told my father I have three reasons why: I already have finished my schooling, I already worked two years, and I have a girl that I love who also loves me. So for those three reasons, I don’t see any reason why I should not get married. ‘Well, if you put it that way…’ My father is a very reasonable person.”

[Read more: Finding a Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: An interview with Vic G. Puyat]

So Vic finished his MBA at Wharton and before returning to the country, he and his wife and first born had a short vacation in Hawaii. Vic’s mother-in-law had a friend, Olga Vargas, who happened to work at Hawaiian Memorial Park. She gave the Puyats a tour of the memorial park and Vic was surprised at what he saw.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Vic muses. “She didn’t tell me what it was. We entered a beautiful, beautiful, clean lawn. I asked what it was and she said it was a memorial park. I see flowers, I see trees, and then I see nice grass, nice roads… I wish cemeteries in the Philippines were not scary. Because when I buried my grandfather and grandmother in North Cemetery, nakakatakot talaga dun.”

Vic had no plans to get into the memorial park business. He thought it would be nice to have something like it in the Philippines, but getting to it was the farthest thing from his mind. And so he went back and worked for Manila Bank as a corporate secretary.

“Every Sunday, we all get together in my father’s house. Vicente, my brother, came and said that there’s a property in Marikina owned by the Ortigas and I am thinking that it would be a very good residential subdivision. Then I said, where is that?

“It turned out that when I was in high school in Ateneo, we would look down at Marikina and he was referring to that lot that we would look at. Is that the property we would look down at from Ateneo? You know, Teng, I saw something in Hawaii and I think that might be a good idea.”

That was 1965. And now, Loyola Memorial Park has become a template for all memorial parks that were built afterward.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset, Vic Puyat also introduced two significant products in the Philippines. Rainbow Cleaning System, the ONLY vacuum cleaner CERTIFIED as an air purifier by the American Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM); and Roto-Rooter Philippines, plumbing company that specializes in preventive maintenance for restaurants, fast-food outlets, condominiums and hotels. In this way, trap waste will be disposed properly in an ecologically friendly way reducing further health and environmental hazard.