Oct 9, 2017

It was Saturday night, Oct. 7, when Philippine Airlines flight no. 126 was en route to Vancouver. Aboard was tycoon and philanthropist Washington Sycip, with his son, George, and an assistant. It was then that the 96-year-old business icon breathed his last mid-flight.

The morning after, the accounting and auditing firm he founded in 1946 confirmed Washington’s death in a Facebook post. “Mr. SyCip went quietly while on a flight to Vancouver from Manila… The SyCip family requests for some private time at this moment,” writes SGV & Co.

Sycip’s remains were brought to a hospital in New York, according to Rufino H. Abad of Insurance Commission.

He was a pillar in the local accounting industry, establisher of not only the largest multidisciplinary professional services company but also of the international management graduate school Asian Institute of Management. He was a mentor to many, including former Finance secretary and SGV & Co. chairman Cesar Purisima who first posted on social media about the late accountant’s death.

Sycip is a big figure in the country, an advocate of public education, microfinance, and public health. But in case you didn’t know about the life he led, here are some fast facts:

1. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in University of Santo Tomas at 17.

After getting his commerce degree at 17, he taught at the same university while earning his master’s degree.

2. He passed the Certified Public Accountants’ examination at the age of 18.

And since he was too young to receive a professional license, he took his Doctorate Degree in Philosophy at the Colombia University in the meantime.

3. He was named after the U.S. capital.

When he was born on June 30, 1921, his father Albano, one of the founders of Chinabank, was in Washington D.C.

4. He founded the Zero Dropout Program.

Despite his age, Sycip founded the Zero Dropout Program under an NGO called CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions in 2013 “to give elementary aged children a chance to acquire basic education.” It is an educational loan program open to all. Read more on their website to know more about this.

5. He sat in the VIP area of Taylor Swift’s concert in Mall of Asia three years ago. 

The philanthropist was among the people sitting in the front row during Taylor Swift’s Red Tour in Manila in 2014. He also brought along his friend, Silk Cocoon’s Frances Lim, to the show.


Header photo courtesy of WashingtonSyCip.org

Read more:
What happens when someone dies in the middle of a flight?
We say goodbye to the businesswoman and philanthropist behind Lopez Inc.

TAGS: accounting be business death fixture nolisoliph sgv & co. washington sycip