Consunji a dedicated father, inspiring mentorBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The legacy of David M. Consunji lies not only in the number of structures and landmarks he had built over the past five decades, but more so in the way he has touched and inspired people he met along the way.
While many would regard him as a construction magnate who has unparalleled contribution to the local real estate industry and been conferred with countless accolades, Consunji is also regarded by the people around him as a dedicated family man and an inspiring mentor.
For these people, another kind of recognition ranked highly on Consunji’s resumé: an “Outstanding Father” not only to his children but also the people who work with him.
“His main passion is to build, that which he still does today,” says Rebecca Consunji of her father, in an interview with the Inquirer.
The younger Consunji admits that she cannot imagine her Dad, who just turned 90 on Nov. 2 last year, not being in this business as he currently heads one of the largest Philippine construction companies, DM Consunji Inc., which started over 50 years ago.
Being taught all ‘essentials’
According to Rebecca, she and her siblings grew up being taught all the “essentials”: to “work hard at whatever we do; to love our work so we can have fun doing it for a long time; to work together with others because we live in a community with responsibilities.”
“[Dad also taught us] to value your name; to know that money is not your master but your slave; to define constantly your needs vs your wants, and foremost, to recognize that there is a supreme being, God, governing us all and to live a life of a Catholic,” Rebecca adds.
Even Ed Palisoc, who currently serves as EVP for DMCI, echoes the same sentiments as Rebecca, as he relates how Consunji has greatly influenced and shaped his personal and professional life over the past 36 years.
“He is my idol. He’s like a father to me,” Palisoc quips.
“I was impressed by how Mr. Consunji works and thinks even under pressure. He is most effective during the crucial times in the business. He is a believer that a crisis brings out the best in every person. The integrity of every structure that he gives his client, is the strongest foundation of his business,” Palisoc says.
If there was one thing Palisoc admires of Consunji, is the construction magnate’s willingness to learn and accept criticisms with an open mind and heart. And one of the greatest lessons he learned from his mentor, according to Palisoc, was that hard work truly pays off. As Consunji’s favorite mantra goes, “kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga.”
And just like any father, Consunji, according to Rebecca, gets upset when he is disrespected and when the children gets lazy, but one who also relishes those moments, which he has devoted solely for his eight kids.
A very high achiever
“My father is a very high achiever in every way and so, he has high expectations from all of us, in every way also. He tries to be fair to all of us as best he can. He makes time to be with us. He makes sure that we can learn from him by being a great example that he can be for us,” Rebecca relates.
“My father allows us to be ourselves to a certain extent, so every once in a while as youth has it, we would fail. When we failed, he was there to help us learn from our mistakes,” she further notes.
Rebecca even recalls of the time she went out of town with her father, roughing it out in his Davao farm, or in the logging area. They took long car rides to Naga or elsewhere that seemed like an endless ride to her at that time.
“As children, we always hurried to greet father and raced to bring him his pair of slippers. We all looked forward to greet him as he walked into the house. I enjoyed my ‘horse rides’ with Dad. To get a horse ride, each of us would take turns getting on his lap and he would shake his leg pretending we were riding a horse. And if we held on to our ears as we rode, Dad said, we would arrive safely! And so we did!” the daughter fondly relates.
On a lighter note, Rebecca says it’s not always about serious work for his father, whom she says has also many other interests that include reading books, swimming, exercising, religion, geography, traveling, people and their culture, agriculture and politics.
“He makes sure he gets out of what he is doing when the pressure is too much. He would go out of town, when possible, or just do something different. His interests are varied so it is easy for him to find alternatives and enjoy it as well,” she adds.
Another family member, Jorge A. Consunji, agrees about the strength of character that Consunji has been known for.
“My family and I would always acknowledge the love he extended to us, and we continue to do so. His inspiration has transformed DMCI personnel into people that have dedication at work, care for the company, commitment to clients, and integrity,” Jorge adds.
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