» Manila to New York
» Enlisted man
» Birth of SGV & Co.

up down

Manila to New York
In 1940, Wash boarded a steamship that took him from Manila to Shanghai and from there to Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu and finally to California, a trip of 23 days. In San Francisco, he boarded a train that took him across North America to New York City. It was only the second
country he had visited after China when he was still a young boy.

Wash enters Columbia University in New York. He stayed at the John Jay Hall, Columbia’s freshman dormitory. He later moved to a small apartment on 114th street with his brother David. Tuition at Columbia was $400 a semester and his monthly expenses were $80 to $85 a month.

Wash concentrated on his studies and moved quickly toward his degree. He had fulfilled all the requirements except his dissertation when he received news of the imminent World War.

News of the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Hawaii and the Philippines reached him as he studied in Columbia’s library. The Japanese occupied Manila in January, 1942, and by May the entire territory of the Philippine Islands lay in their hands.

Enlisted man
Wash learns that his father had been imprisoned by the Japanese. Wash re-evaluated his doctorate plans and in late 1942, left the university and enlisted in the United States Army. Among the many consequences of this act was that Washington SyCip became a naturalized American citizen.

Wash attended boot camp at Camp Cooke where he was told that he had the highest IQ in the regiment and that he was overqualified for infantry. He was sent to language school to study Japanese in Colorado, and then cryptography school in Virginia.

Wash reports for codebreaking duty in Calcutta, India.

By March, 1945, Manila was liberated from the Japanese. After the World War II, Wash sets foot in Manila again after five years. He finds the cityscape much changed after the destruction of war. He is finally reunited with his father Albino and the rest of his family.

In 1946, Wash starts SGV & Co. as a one-man operation, opening an office at the Trade and Commerce Building in Binondo, Manila. It was one of the few buildings that survived the bombing of Manila during World War II. Wash becomes the company’s accountant, messenger and janitor all at the same time. The building would get flooded every time it rained and the waters of the Pasig River rose, so planks had to be laid down for people to walk on.

Wash teaches at three different schools from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day after running his one-man accounting firm in the daytime.

Birth of SGV & Co.
In 1947, SGV & Co.’s roster of clients grows rapidly, and Wash decides to take in his boyhood friend Alfredo M. Velayo and accountant Vicente O. Jose as partners, giving birth to SyCip, Velayo, Jose & Co.

On November 27, 1948, Wash marries childhood friend Anna Yu at Ellinwood Church in Manila. Wash purchased a Quonset hut – half-moon structures made of galvanized iron sheets used by the military for quarters – and settled on a vacant lot next to his father’s house.

In 1949, Wash invests in a little known project in Makati where land was selling for P6 per square meter. He purchases 2,200 square meters in the subdivision which eventually became known as Forbes Park.