Sabado, Marso 31, 2012



Leonardo S. Sarao
TOFIL Awardee for Entrepreneurship, 1991

Leonardo S. Sarao was the hand behind the undisputed King of Filipino Roads, the ubiquitous jeepney.

Sarao finished only elementary schooling because of poverty. He helped his parents earn a living at a very young age. He worked first as a cochero and as a construction worker. It was when he worked in a jeepney body-building and repair shop, that he was hit with the inspiration for a business venture.

With just P700, he opened Sarao Motors in 1953 in Zapote, Las Piñas. He remodeled American-issue GI jeeps thus transforming these WWII remnants into reliable public transport vehicles. His business boomed so that he was able to acquire land of his own only after several years. In 1962, he incorporated his business and bought additional land for expansion purposes.

Sarao’s success grew such that before long, he was chairman and president of Sarao Motors, Inc., Liberator Transportation Corp., Pagsanjan Tropical Hotel and Resort, Las Piñas Finance Corp. and Sarao Development Corp.

Sarao Motors, the pioneer in jeep manufacture, briefly closed shop in 2000. It re-opened soon afterwards, with a restructured organization in place.  Until now, Leonardo Sarao’s legacy lives on, as jeepneys prevail as the common Filipino’s choice of mass transport, and the unique icon of Filipino popular culture.

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