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Solid as a rock

Rockwell Land’s Tong Padilla continues to inspire

He is the brick that laid the foundation for Rockwell Land Corp., whose creations have become one of the most sought addresses by the country’s highly discerning clientele.

Without a doubt, he is the rock solid force from whom the company’s core of hardworking employees continues to draw inspiration and motivation to push for excellence in every project.

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He is Nestor “Tong” Padilla, the humble, indefatigable, and brilliant mind behind the famed and highly respected Rockwell brand. On the heels of 8 Rockwell’s successful launch, the former bloody banker and now property custodian recently sat down with Inquirer Property to offer new insights about the company’s latest venture in office leasing and development, and what other surprises lie ahead.

And with no trace of fatigue or exhaustion even after decades of heading one of the most challenging yet exciting businesses in the country, Padilla has yet again shown how and why Rockwell Land managed to remain on top of its game, enjoying the sustained confidence of the different markets it has targeted to serve.

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New home

The key to the company’s success, according to  Padilla, is his people, whom he considers as his family. As they are much like sons and daughters to him, Padilla is well aware of the need to provide them a decent home—a place where potentials can be maximized, and skills are further honed. Hence, Rockwell Land found a new home in 8 Rockwell.

“The success of Rockwell starts from the people who continue to support and believe in the brand—from the employees to the people who help spread what Rockwell living is all about. So can you just imagine what it can do if I make all these people happy? This is the reason why when we moved in to this new office, I made sure that they would feel at home and have access to basic necessities like a decent pantry where they could enjoy a good meal,” Padilla shared.

“When people are happy, you will see it in their output and even the office ambience changes. There are three things that we wanted to achieve when we built this office and that is to give our people a decent pantry, a phone booth where they can comfortably talk to their clients, and a happy office. I believe we achieved all that because once you go inside the office, you would immediately feel the lightness and the good vibe. So it’s really worth it,” he added.

The 8 Rockwell, in fact, was a fulfilment of Padilla’s dream of providing his people a decent office space, which offers that comfortable yet sophisticated vibe. After all, it is not only the discerning homebuyers that the company aims to please. Rockwell Land also seeks to take care of its loyal and hardworking employees and arm with the necessary tools to be more effective.

“You truly want to live what you stand for and what do we stand for? Quality living. So how can I sell quality living to my homebuyers when I can’t provide quality living to my employees? I want to take care of my people. My office is my home so I have the duty to take care of everyone who is in here,” Padilla explained.

Proper valuation

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For now, Padilla is bent to ensure that Rockwell Land’s success will now translate into its rightful value in the stock market. As it is, the company already has cemented its strong foothold in the premium market given its wide portfolio, which include the ultra luxurious Proscenium, 32 Sanson in Cebu, the ongoing Power Plant Mall expansion and the likewise notable Aruga Serviced Apartments and its subsidiary, Rockwell Primaries.

“I really think that the Rockwell value as measured in our market cut isn’t there, because we can measure Rockwell in terms of customer satisfaction. We can measure it in terms of how loyal our customers are. But there’s one factor that I need to work on, which is how do I make sure that we are properly valued by investors, by the stakeholders?,” Padilla said.

“I think when we got listed, it was a listing by introduction and at that time, we were all excited. There are so many reasons why I think our stock price is not properly valued but I would rather look forward than try to deal with today in terms of why our stock price is valued as such. What we’ve done is we’ve rallied everybody into this dream and that dream is to work really hard to make changes that could help create an even more powerful Rockwell. The company continues now to encourage its people to do more in order for us to achieve our goal,” he explained.

For now, Rockwell Land has directed its efforts towards raising the bar in property development, as it had done so when it entered the Philippine real estate scene.

“We raise the bar when we entered into the market, from landscaping to everything and we want to do that again. By once again raising the bar, that for me is the new Rockwell. So you asked me what’s next and where do we begin? We begin with our people, by encouraging them to think of ways on how we can make ourselves different and how we can raise the standards further,” Padilla said. “We are aware that we can’t get to where we want to if we will just do the same things over and over again, and that is why we continue to innovate and work on the skills of our people.”

No slowing down

As developers come and go, Rockwell Land is confident that it will be here for the long haul as Padilla clearly isn’t bent on slowing down.

Asked if he doesn’t get tired of the game or feel like taking a break, just simply rest on his laurels and enjoy the fruits of his labor, Padilla only has this to say:

“Resting happens all the time, when the day ends and you get home. You see, people keep on talking about work-life balance. Well, for me, there is no such thing. We are who we are—your job, my job make us who we are. So why do I have to separate my job from my life when how many percent of who I am is what I do,” he said.

“There is no such thing as burn out. You only feel burn out, or that there’s no work-life balance when you are not happy with what you do or when you realized that what you are doing is something that you really do not want,” Padilla explained.

How Padilla deals with the everyday stress, not to mention the increasingly stiff competition in the local property market, is one that is truly admirable. The secret, he revealed, is quite simple: leave work in the office.

“I don’t bring work home. My wife hardly knows what happens here in the workplace,” he said.

“Also, for us here in Rockwell, we always just want to do better. We don’t focus on the thought of being toppled or being displaced. We really don’t dwell on the negative. But what we do is we take on the positive and think of how we can do better. That, I think, apart from our people, is the reason behind Rockwell’s success—the capacity to just focus on the work that lies ahead and to always look at things from a positive perspective,” Padilla concluded.

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TAGS: Nestor “Tong” Padilla, Rockwell Land Corp.
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