Pearl Awardee FY2012-2013

Mardonio C. Cervantes & Evangeline P. Samonte

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A pearl is described as a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. Pearls are sought-after accessories that complement anyone or anything adorned by this remarkable jewelry. The beautiful pearl richly aglow starts from granular components such as a morsel of sand before it become a gemstone. In its natural habitat, it takes resilience, patience and long period of time to form a pearl.
The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, admirable, and valuable. The largest pearl known was found in the Philippines in 1934 and is known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu.
In BAIPHIL we are blessed with two great PEARLS – (1) Ms. Evangelina “Vangie” Samonte; and (2) Mr. Mardonio “Jun” Cervantes. Vangie and Jun are the recent BAIPHIL pearl awardees and both are truly deserving of the title and recognition. Let us know more from our PEARL awardees.

Ms. Vangie Samonte

Personal Information
Evangelina “Vangie” P. Samonte started her career in banking in 1970 and rose from the ranks starting as teller at Citytrust Bank in Calamba, Laguna. She worked her way up the corporate ladder through hard work and determination to achieve her goal to become an officer of a bank. 43 years and 5 banks thereafter, she is now an Executive Vice-President managing one of the largest groups in the bank, the Operations Group of United Coconut Planters Bank.

Vangie has been with BAIPHIL as Voting Representative (VR) for 11 years from the year 2002. Prior to this however, she was the VR of then Interbank in 1987 and was active as member of the Publications Committee until her transfer to Solidbank. In 2009 Vangie was invited by Ana Lim, the chairperson of Finance and Budget Committee, to be a member and it again revived her active participation in BAIPHIL. In 2010, during the presidency of Noel Barcena, she was appointed Chairperson of Finance and Budget Committee by Director-in-Charge Francis Puzon and henceforth, she became Director for the fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, respectively.

Add-on question:
1. Please specify a defining moment in your banking career - The defining moment in my banking career was when I shifted employer in 1983 from Citytrust to Interbank. Citytrust was my first employer and bank and as in any new endeavor, there is always that possibility of failure. I also knew that I will have to make a big adjustment in terms of job performance and people interaction but with God’s help and guidance, I survived the challenges and difficulties that I encountered along the way.
2. What drives and inspires you to attain your goals? It has always been my dream to be successful in my chosen career and be remembered in the banking industry of being a good banker. I want to make a difference in every bank that I joined and share whatever knowledge that I have gained through long years of experience.
3. Please share the challenges you encountered before accomplishing your BAIPHIL goals? When I chaired the Finance and Budget Committee, my marching order was to implement the use by banks of the PCHC Special Clearing Receipt in the settlement of BAIPHIL dues. This project has not moved and I was tasked to increase the number of participant banks. The difficulty of selling this to the banks is the non-uniformity of accounting procedures among banks.

Nevertheless, I was able meet the goal of increasing the numbers of participating banks. Another challenge was my assignment as director-in-charge of Sports and Fellowship Committee for 2 years since I am not a sports-minded person. However, because I got a competent and hardworking chair in the person of Monette Camigla, I was able to do the task.
4. How do you reward yourself? I love to travel and whenever I feel that I need to unwind, I travel.
5. What advice can you give to people aspiring for the distinction to receive the BAIPHIL pearl award? Be happy to serve not only BAIPHIL but more so the people who benefit from what BAIPHIL does.

Personal Message:
My dear friends in BAIPHIL, I have not thanked you enough for the recognition and honor that you bestowed on me last night. I never thought that the things that I did during my 3-yr. active stint at BAIPHIL would merit the much coveted Pearl award. I did my tasks as part of my job and because I believe in the objectives of the Institute. I also learned to love BAIPHIL and its people especially you, who became my friends and were always there to support me in my shortcomings. Thank you so much for your faith in me. I will forever cherish this opportunity to become one of you. I also thank God for all the blessings especially for this honor of being a Pearl Awardee. God bless us all.


Mr. Jun Cervantes

Mardonio “Jun” C. Cervantes is currently the First Vice president and Treasury Operations Group Head of UnionBank. He is fondly known in UnionBank circle as “JunC”. Jun wears a variety of hats thus, apart from being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by profession; he is also the Chairperson of the Holy Eucharist Parish Committee on Planning and Implementation and the Servant Leader of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion. He is also a member of the Philippine Clearing House Corporation (PCHC) Core Group; and BSP/BAP/PCHC, Inter-Agency Committee on Check Truncation Processes/Clearing.

Jun believes in continuous growth and improvement hence, his active involvement on various trainings both local and abroad.

It is no wonder that Jun achieved several accolades and awards such as the Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB) award for A Suggested System for Effective Teamwork (ASSET) resulting to innovation with the highest savings on nationwide and bank wide implementation.He is also a recipient of a record-breaking four (4) UnionBank Chairman’s Awards for Operational Excellence and Implementation of innovative processes resulting to higher cost savings and client retentions.

Above and beyond the recognitions and accolades received, Jun remains simple and humble and gives due credit to his parents who inspired him to stay driven and focused in his life’s aspirations. His parents also taught him the value of hard work, personal humility, strength of character, commitment and discipline. These guiding principles were a great help in molding his character and attaining his goals in life.

As a parent and family man himself, all achievements and fruits of his labor are always shared with his family. Jun loves to travel both local and international, together with his family. His words of wisdom to his children are to work hard all the time even if nobody is watching and he also regularly reminds them through a famous adage that “God Gives Every Bird its Food, but He Does Not Throw The Food Into Its Nest.”

Regarding his stint with BAIPHIL, he recounted that immediately after induction into BAIPHIL’s roster last January 29, 2008, he became an active associate of the Membership Committee. He was also appointed BETI Chairperson for two consecutive years (FY 2010-2011 & 2011-2012 respectively) and BETI Director- in-Charge for FY 2012-2013. During his three years stint as Chairperson and Director in-Charge of BETI, the committee’s performance and output significantly soared to its highest and unprecedented levels.

Personal Message: I personally asked our VR for recommendation because I truly believed in BAIPHIL’s objectives and what the Institute has achieved, for those whom I worked with , this Pearl Award is for U and Me (US).

To this year’s Pearl Awardees, it is with pleasurable honor to work with two zealous and selfless leaders of BAIPHIL. To Vangie and Jun, may your example trail blaze for more exemplary service in BAIPHIL. “Mabuhay Kayo!!!”

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