The most influential Cebuanos in ten categories
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 31, 2019 - 12:00am

As we end 2019, we should pay tribute to the outstanding Cebuanos who, as visionaries, leaders, inspirational figures, business, professionals, and community leaders, have touched our lives and influenced us to a considerable extent.

My categories are 1.) Business and industry, 2.) Politics and governance, 3.) Education and human capital development, 4.) Profession and career, 5.) Arts, music, sports, culture 6.) Religion and faith 7.) Health 8.) Foreign service and diplomacy. 9.) Emerging young leaders 10.) Inspiring personalities.

For business and industry, Erramon Aboitiz and the whole Aboitiz clan, listed by Forbes as 39th among the richest Asian families. Aboitiz Equity Venures whose interests are in power, banking, food, land development, and bio-fuel is estimated at $4.958 billion. Of course, the Gokongweis, Gaisanos, Gotianuys, Lhuilliers, Gothongs, Lius, and Luas belong to this elite group. For politics it is Gwen Garcia of the Garcia Family, with Pablo John and Christina Frasco. Also, the Gullases, Salimbangons, Vice Governor Junjun Davide, Mayor Edgar Labella, and Vice Mayor Mike Rama.

In education and human capital development, it’s the Gullas brothers, Atty. Eddie and Dr. Dodong who built what their father founded, in 1919, the University of the Visayas. Then, Atty Augusto Go, who single-handedly transformed what used to be called CCC into UC. Not to forget the religious congregations managing USC, USJ-R, CIC, and STC. In careers and professions, the Bar topnotchers, the Garcias, Pablo, Jesus and Pablo John, the justices like Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Marcelo Fernan, and Pedro Yap. We have excellent doctors like Leopold Lucero, Alma Malilong, Pureza Onate, and the late Lydia Aznar-Alfonso.

In arts, we have Monique Lhuillier, Kenneth Cobonpue, Kim Chiu, Matteo Guidicelli, Enrique Gil, Vina Morales, Shaina Magdayao, Richard Yap, Gloria Sevilla, Morisette Amon, Janine Berdin, and Pilita Corrales. In sports, Eddie Gullas was the first-ever awardee of the much-coveted Coach of the Year in 1957 as he steered the UV Green Lancers into national fame. Dodong Gullas was also a presidential awardee in 2015 for his contribution to sports development. Of course, the all-time Cebuano pride is Gabriel Flash Elorde, the first world boxing champion from Cebu. In religion and faith, the only two choices are San Pedro Calungsod, from Alegria, Cebu and the late Msgr. Teofilo Camomot, on in his way to sainthood.

For health, we pay tribute to the Gullases for the Vicente Gullas Medical Center, Atty. Go for the UC Hospital, the St. Paul Sisters for Perpetual Succour Hospital, and the administrators of Velez Hospital and Chong Hua. Of course, the Vicente Sotto Medical Center is the biggest of them all, and the most pro-people. Not to forget the Larrazabals of the Cebu Doctors. In foreign service and diplomacy, I salute Ambassador Frank Benedicto. I also hasten to add the more than 67,000 OFWs from Cebu, serving with excellence, dignity, honesty, and hard work. They remit millions to their families that fuel our local economy. Among the young emerging leaders, I chose Duke Frasco from the fifth district, Talisay City mayor Samsam Gullas, and Dumanjug mayor Gungun Gica. They are the hopes of Cebu.

As for inspiring personalities, I chose Sergio Osmeña Sr., Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Filemon Sotto, Vicente Sotto, Vicente Rama, Vicente Gullas, Francisco Remotigue, Hilario Davide Jr., and Pabling Garcia. These are my personal choices and my decision is final. But I will respect yours if your choices differ.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with