From humble beginnings to tallest buildings.

Danny Tamayo, known to the public world as DDT, is the owner of one of the Philippines’ most reliable construction companies—DDT Konstract, Inc. To name just a few, he is the builder of big shopping malls, numerous towers of residences, majestic churches, classy hotels, and our country’s largest aquafarm. As a relatively new player, it could already be said that Mr. Tamayo has etched an impressive niche in the construction industry.

His rise to where he is now is one for the books, to say the least. Hindi ka magsasawa na makinig sa kanya kapag kinukuwento niya kung paano siya nagsimula. I would guess, siya rin ay hindi magsasawa na magkwento ng kanyang mga pinagdaanan. In so doing, and in his mind probably, listening to his life is already tantamount to giving service to people around him since it is profoundly inspiring and filled with lessons. Truth be told, he would let me be in his office for an afternoon of kwentuhan na walang hanggan or for a whole night of candid conversation.

As for me, I would be committing a “mortal sin”, and the story of Kuya Danny would be so incomplete if I didn’t mention the love of his life and the life of his love—Mrs. Cynthia P. Tamayo (CPT to many but, fondly to me, Ate Cynthia). On occasion, I would always be seated close to her. I must confess that I would always hope, and find ways to be placed beside this down-to-earth woman with genuine values.

Like DDT, masarap ka-kwentuhan. Her own personal story is one for the books as well. In her younger days, Ate Cynthia remembers her family “borrowing” a farm lot from others to till in order for them to make ends meet. She currently administers and cultivates a vast tract of land for agro-industrial-tourism development. “Nasa puso ko ang pagsasaka,” quipped the doting mother of four and proud grandmother of five.

In the case of Kuya Danny, who defied all odds of poverty and a rather bleak future, he left his hometown of Buguey, Cagayan, to pursue studies at the National University in Manila. He armed himself with determination, an indomitable spirit, and the “huling kusing” his late father afforded him. DDT adored his father, a humble farmer. He intimated that his loving father may still be alive today if he had the money to pay for the medical procedures his ailing father needed.

To say the least, it deeply pained DDT that he was beside his sick father but was downright powerless and unable to provide for his exorbitant hospital expenses. Be that as it may, his father’s death gave birth to numerous opportunities for countless people. DDT formed a foundation in honor of his father, the Andres P. Tamayo, Sr. Foundation. For this school year alone, the foundation counts thousands of scholars nationwide. His guiding principle has long been “When it is in your power to give, give,” and it resonates wherever he goes.

As a couple, DDT and CPT would readily clarify that their journey to where they are now as a business empire has always been by the grace of God. During the crisis of the late 1990s, they were both, at the same time, made jobless. Not finding a company that would employ them, they were left with no choice but to start their own, albeit with no capital to speak of then. In a sense, “kumapit sila sa patalim,” they made”patol” to the 5-6 lending scheme just to keep what they had afloat. And the rest is history. It has become a story of God-inspired quantum leaps, from a proverbial scratch to cornering the heftiest contracts around.

Furthermore, theirs is a one-of-a-kind partnership in the management world. The husband performs as company president, while the wife acts as vice president. Early on, naysayers were one and the same in their belief that this kind of setup is completely futile. But lo and behold, the husband-and-wife duo has proven them all wrong by standing tall for 20 years now and counting. There’s that mutual agreement going on between the two though that since nothing would be smooth and perfect in transactions and dealings, “Huwag tayong magsisihan.” But here is the bigger catch: in the very long years (40 years!) that they have been married, “Never po kami nag-aaway.” That explains everything, and even anything in between.

I felt very honoured because DDT once took me on a tour of his whole officedom. Calmly, he would be the first one to notice and greet his subordinates. He would knock on doors and gamely converse; he would even throw a joke or two with employees.

To whomever, DDT would be quick to introduce me like I am the most prized VIP around. All said, DDT has this knack for treating people as equal and all too important. Magalang sa lahat ng kausap. No wonder that in the workplace he is being looked up to as someone who cares rather than manages. Her amiable daughter, Andrea, president of DataLand, Inc., a real estate company, did, however, enter the office at one point. Interestingly, Andrea would address her dad as “Boss.” Why is that so? That itself is a good material for another Right and Beauty piece.

They already have the tallest buildings but have remained humble just the same.