Beacons of Inspiration: Stories from the Gokongwei Group Heroes

Learn more about the amazing men and women who exemplify the group’s core values

To foster among Gokongwei Group employees a stronger connection with its core values of Entrepreneurial Mindset, Integrity, and Stewardship, the Group launched the “Be a Hero” caravan early last year.

This transformative initiative encourages employees to embrace the group’s core values, enabling them to unlock their inner hero and help build a stronger, more compassionate, and purpose-driven workplace.

An integral part of this year-round caravan was the search for the 10 Gokongwei Group Heroes, an internal online contest which sought to identify and celebrate otherwise unsung heroes within the Gokongwei Group. The search initially uncovered 80 extraordinary individuals from various business units including Aspen Business Solutions, Cebu Pacific, Data Analytics Ventures Inc. (DAVI), GoTyme Bank, JG Summit Holdings - Corporate Center Units, JG Summit Olefins Corporation, Robinsons Bank, Robinsons Land, Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., Summit Media, and Universal Robina Corporation.

The “Be a Hero” initiative encourages employees to embrace the Gokongwei Group’s core values, enabling them to unlock their inner hero and help build a stronger, more compassionate, and purpose-driven workplace.

After a thorough and exhaustive evaluation, Edwin Allarey (Robinsons Bank), Angelito Burgas (URC), John Wendell Campaniel (Robinsons Land), Lovely Wina Cezar (Gokongwei Brothers Foundation), Eleazar Hermida (Cebu Pacific affiliate 1Aviation), Arnold Hilario (JG Summit - Corporate Center Units), Matet Matalog (JG Summit Olefins), Arman Banua Palmis (Cebu Pacific), Jan Gil Sarmiento (Robinsons Retail), and Leny Tomas (URC Flexible and BOPP) emerged as the 10 most outstanding Gokongwei Group Heroes.

In the coming weeks, this website will share all of their incredible, inspiring stories, beginning with this first installment of three Gokongwei Group Heroes.


In March of 2023, a fire broke out on the 27th floor of Robinsons Bank’s head office. Amid the initial chaos and confusion, an employee stood out as one of the heroes: Edwin Allarey, a credit officer from the bank’s Credit Management Group.

When the blaze started, Edwin remained calm and collected. He acted quickly, led his team to safety, and implemented emergency protocols to minimize damage and ensure his fellow employees were accounted for.

In safely navigating this crisis, Edwin demonstrated not only bravery but the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Though entrepreneurship is often taken to mean an innovative method of engaging in business, it is also indicative of creativity and outside-the-box thinking. During the fire and in its aftermath, Edwin demonstrated these qualities by devising creative solutions to unexpected problems, such as finding alternative workspaces for displaced employees and coordinating with other departments to ensure that essential functions continued uninterrupted.

When the smoke cleared, he was praised by his co-workers and superiors, and was subsequently nominated by his supervisor, Jerry Flores, Credit Evaluation Unit Head, to be recognized as a Gokongwei Group Hero. 

Thanks to Edwin’s Entrepreneurial Mindset, he has a firm grasp of the importance of adaptability, innovation, and calculated risk-taking in a corporate setting. His story of bravery, resilience, and creativity in the face of adversity is a powerful reminder to others that one day, you may also be called upon to step up and be a hero. You can make a difference in your workplace, community, and world by cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset and the willingness to take bold, decisive action. 


In the corporate world where integrity and passion are highly prized, Matet Matalog, HR Supervisor for Benefits and Wellbeing from JG Summit Olefins Corp. shines as a beacon of reliability and dedication.

From her first day on the job, Matet has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her work and a relentless desire to help her fellow employees. Her journey has not been without its own set of challenges, but Matet believes that her purpose in life is to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Matet has a reputation for always doing what is best for her team and company. She understands the value of teamwork and the importance of nurturing a supportive work environment. Going above and beyond to ensure her colleagues feel heard, valued, and supported, Matet’s selflessness and genuine care for others have earned her the respect and admiration of her peers.

A prime example was during the COVID pandemic, which posed unprecedented challenges for businesses worldwide. During this difficult time, Matet truly shone as a reliable hero for JGSOC. In the midst of uncertainty that gripped the workplace, she remained steadfast in her commitment to provide the best possible assistance to her fellow employees.

As part of the JGSOC HR team, Matet actively assisted employees in getting their COVID vaccinations, and ensured that they were well-informed and equipped with the necessary knowledge to protect themselves and their families. The team also sent handwritten notes to patients in quarantine facilities, providing them with much-needed emotional support.

Her unrelenting dedication during the pandemic is a testament to Matet’s character and values. By understanding that the well-being of employees is crucial for the company's success as a whole, she became a source of inspiration for her fellow employees, encouraging them to strive for excellence and to always prioritize the needs of others.

As demonstrated by Matet, integrity and passion are not just buzzwords but personal qualities that can truly make a difference in the workplace. By cultivating the right mindset and creating a genuine desire to help others, we can all positively impact the workplace and beyond. 


Angelito “Lito” Burgas, Manager for Raw Production from Universal Robina Corporation–Sugar and Renewables (URC SURE), stands out from most production workers. Lito rises above difficulties, showing that his physical disability is not a barrier, inspiring his people to always be at their best.

Lito takes great pride in his work ethic and is always willing to lend a helping hand to his colleagues whenever it's needed. According to Daisy De Los Santos, his supervisor and nominator for the Gokongwei Group Hero recognition, Lito has demonstrated time and again that he is an asset to the company. She recalls that once, when she had to attend to a family emergency, Lito promptly took charge of the factory, dutifully setting aside his own time of rest to ensure that everything would run smoothly on the production line.

Lito’s can-do attitude is proof that a physical limitation shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals. With determination and hard work, you can cultivate and empower your passion, regardless of your challenges.

As a paragon of Stewardship – being fully responsible for the resources entrusted to us, be they financial, environmental, or people – Lito reminds us that we should never underestimate anyone's potential. Everyone has something to contribute, and recognizing this, we must create an environment that empowers everyone to do their best.

Visit this website again in the coming weeks to hear more about the next set of Gokongwei Group Heroes.