Getting to Know the Women of Alsons Dev: A Women’s Day Feature

According to the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranks ninth out of 142 countries in terms of gender equality. In addition, when it comes to women’s participation in the workforce, the Philippines ranks third in Asia-Pacific, only after New Zealand and Australia. 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are featuring some of the hardworking and brilliant women working in Alsons Dev assigned to Narra Park Residences. Read on to learn more about their insights on leadership, career and family, and how they are able to strike the right balance in their lives.

ENGR. MICAH AMOR P. YARES

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Micah finished Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at University of Southern Mindanao in 2010 and became a licensed Civil Engineer that same year. She got married in May 2012 and in April 2013, gave birth to her daughter Arwyn.

She joined Alsons Dev four years ago as Project Development Coordinator, and in 2014 was assigned to handle Narra Park Residences. She was involved in project conceptualization and finalization of the plans such as the site development, engineering, and amenities. She was also involved in the planning and design of the house models, together with Alsons Dev’s in-house designer, Architect Lara Sabandal and the Construction Management Department.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s day is an avenue to create awareness of the various issues that women are facing today. It is also an opportunity to recognize their significant contribution and role in society.

Is there a woman you look to for inspiration, and why?

I admire my mother for being a strong woman who endured and sacrificed a lot for the family. It is my mother who inspired me to study well and finish college even if we are facing financial difficulties. There was a year when three of us siblings went to college at the same time but my mother never entertained the idea of having one of us to stop schooling.

Any advice for people who want to enter the real estate development industry?

One should be willing to learn and easily adapt to the company’s culture, while being able to add value and bring something to the table.

Personal growth and family life should also be given equal attention. It may be a difficult, but everything has to be intentional. After a long day’s work, our usual tendency is to give our family members only what remains of our energy. We don’t want to be professionally successful while our children starve for our attention.

ARCHITECT LARA LACUESTA-SABANDAL

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Lara graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Ateneo de Davao University, and is now taking up MS-Architecture at the University of Sto. Tomas. She currently works as a Project Officer 2 in Alsons Dev. She handled Wood Lane, Eden Ridge, and now the Northtown Amenity verticals.  Lara also practices design on the side and enjoys being a parent to her 3-year old boy together with her business-partner/husband, who is a contractor.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a celebration of women empowerment, though I think it is sad that there is such a day. If only all women around the world are given equal rights, love, and respect, then each day would be International Women’s Day! No need to assert for our place in this world.

Is there a woman you look to for inspiration, and why?

I look up to my Mom. She knows what she wants and she works hard to meet her personal needs, as well as those of her family. Now that I am a mother, I appreciate her more because it is not easy for her to juggle being a wife, a mother,  a researcher and a businesswoman all at the same time. With my family, school, and work load, I find myself thinking about giving up almost all the time. But when I think about how my mom puts my dad, sisters, and me on top while still managing to be the best in her field, I feel inspired and I persevere more.

Any advice for people who want to enter the real estate development industry?

The real estate development industry is full of challenges, just like any other job. For those who wish to work in this field–especially women—one must learn to love her work. It is also important to have strong values and faith in God, along with patience and perseverance.  If you have these attributes, it will show in your work. And when people see this, they will not only patronize your product, they will also respect you as a woman.

ENGR. MAE ARROJADO-OCHIA

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Mae Arrojado-Ochia is the Project Engineer of Narra Park Residences. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of the East, Caloocan, Manila. She is married to Engr. Jerome Lowe J. Ochia, with whom she has two wonderful kids: Margaret Jan A. Ochia (8 years old) and Michaele Jin A. Ochia (5 years old). Her parents are Engr. Victor Barroa Arrojado and Elena Chua Arrojado.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

For me, International Women’s Day means celebrating female empowerment. It’s about celebrating women who don’t limit what they can achieve regardless of their situation in life, whether in their chosen career or being a “supermom” to their family.  Women who always stand by what they believe in, showing toughness when necessary, but always doing everything “with a heart.”

Is there a woman you look to for inspiration, and why?

My mother has always been my inspiration.  She never discouraged me, even though most of the things I wanted to do are considered a man’s job. She taught me that I can achieve anything I want as long as I believe in myself and enjoy everything I do. Physically, my mother was a petite woman, but she’s very tough. She had this charisma that enabled her to connect with people with respect, regardless of their stature in life, and maybe that’s why people treat her with respect, too. Though she’s long gone, I still miss her guidance and her love so much.

Any advice for people who want to enter the real estate development industry?

For those people who want to enter the real estate development or any other field, the basic rule is to be passionate in everything you do, to do things honestly, and to always treat people with respect. There is no such thing as a perfect formula or a shortcut to success; you have to do things the hard way and the right way to appreciate and value the fruits of your labor.

JOLLA ANGELICA SORIAGA

JOLLA SORIAGA

Jolla Angelica Soriaga is the Assistant General Manager for the Business Units Group in Alsons Dev. She oversees business development, commercial leasing and marketing, and has been with the company for 19 years. Jolla is also a proud mom to three boys.

Aside from being a mother and a part of Alsons Dev’s senior management, she is also a registered yoga instructor and received further training on teaching yoga to kids with special needs.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

The woman of today is a strong-willed vocal, multi-tasker. But as a wife, daughter, or mother, the woman should still know her place.

Is there a woman you look to for inspiration, and why?

Aside from my mom, I find inspiration in many women. I admire and am inspired by extraordinary women like Mother Theresa, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Angelina Jolie because of the values and principles they uphold, their bravery, their accomplishments, their passion to give to and serve others. But I am also inspired by women I encounter in everyday life: the vegetable vendor at the market who works hard to give her four children good education, an officemate who is a single mom who juggles time and resources to support her son, my children’s loyal and efficient nanny who sees her own children only twice a month, a dear friend who homeschools her 4 children, my 70-yr old yoga teacher who travels around the world by herself to conduct training on yoga for special kids.

Any advice for people who want to enter the real estate development industry?

Business development involves, not only finance, sales and marketing, but also engineering, architecture, interior design, landscaping, geology and even law. It can be very technical.

Being a management graduate, I didn’t have a technical background, so I really had to do my homework to be able to stand up to the engineers, contractors and surveyors I was dealing with. I guess my advice for women who want to go into the real estate industry is to know your work, ask the right questions, and learn things along the way.

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic and cultural and political achievements of women. While we celebrate women’s accomplishments in society, there are millions of women around the world who continue to face steep challenges towards equity and opportunity. Click here to learn more about the International Women’s Day movement.



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