Undoubtedly, former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson is success personified.
Whether as a politician or businessman, his legacy is simply outstanding. His passion for excellence is a vital factor in his enduring success. Once he sets his mind and heart on something, he always gives it his best shot. His track record speaks for his enviable stature both in politics and society.
Interestingly, Chavit made waves first as a businessman. At a young age, he managed his family’s various enterprises and led them to unparalleled growth – a construction company, tobacco plantation, radio station, funeral parlor, movie houses, ice plant, and a bus transportation company. He then became a politician and became a political kingpin in his province for a record-breaking 28 years. He was elected Governor of Ilocos Sur for long stretches of time.
Now, 75 (he was born on June 21, 1941), Chavit may no longer hold the key post in Ilocos Sur but continues to be a pillar of support and inspiration to the new generation of leaders, particularly his children.
“I already relinquished my throne to them, so to speak. For one, they’re more aggressive, dynamic and idealistic at this point. Who knows, they have better ideas, right? You can never tell.
All I do is support and guide them considering my vast experience in the field. Actually, I’m training my children to continue my legacy and I’m happy that they’re on the right track,” he says.
At this point, the former Ilocos Sur governor is more concerned with pursuits which give him the chance to give back to the people of his province who are instrumental to his enduring success. One concrete example is putting Vigan into the spotlight as one of the country’s top tourist destinations.
“I remember that it was me and my niece (former Vigan Mayor Eva Marie Singson-Medina) who worked hard for Vigan to be voted as one of the ‘New 7 Wonder Cities.’ Prior to that, we also lobbied for its inclusion to the World heritage list. Truly, it became the turning point of the city.”
Chavit also takes pride in Baluarte, an interactive wildlife sanctuary he designed and developed. Its main aim is to facilitate education apart from conserving and protecting endangered species.
“Actually, what inspired me to put up this zoo is my hunting hobby,” he avers. “For years, I’ve been traveling the world for this purpose and was able to reach countries as far as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, Sweden and New Zealand. From each destination I brought home beautiful souvenirs like elephant, buffalo, rhino, lions, etc. I had all these animals shipped to Baluarte so that Filipinos who can’t afford to visit said countries will see them in the flesh for free.”
Baluarte is getting more exciting over the years since it was first built.
“Oh yes! When I finished my term as Ilocos Sur Governor, I had more time to travel and hunt so, more animals were added in here. They surely provide more excitement and fanfare to the place and that’s my goal for Baluarte to become the ultimate fauna spot in the country.”
Chavit’s goal to pay it forward is also the prime reason why he embarks on a new venture: hosting a TV program titled Happy Life.
“In this show, deserving beneficiaries will be given the chance to travel while surprise gifts await them when they reach their journey’s end...like a house and lot. Yes, we will search for a donor or if we cannot find one, I will provide the prize myself. Through this program, we also want to give a fresh start to hardworking individuals and organizations. My team is actually making the rounds in various parts of the country to shoot lovely tourist spots. The show has a good concept and I’m just making negotiations as to which network we would air it.”
Many were surprised when he ran for a seat in the council of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur in the recent polls when he could’ve opted for a much higher post.
“For those who don’t know yet, my maiden political experience was running as councilor for Vigan which I topped then. This time though, I just wanted to help this small town shine and realize its huge potential. I went to Narvacan on purpose since it’s the only town that boasts a big budget but hasn’t shown any progress. Imagine, among Ilocos Sur’s 32 municipalities, Narvacan is the only one which doesn’t have new municipal buildings and market and yet, it’s the biggest beneficiary of Republic Act 7171 which I authored.”
As a food for thought, the still agile Ilocos Sur pillar wants to share his success formula.
“I’m a positive person, I always stick to what I’ve said. I keep my words. Credibility is very important to me. I’m also dedicated in everything I do. I credit my parents for letting me grow up with principle and dignity,” ends Chavit.
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