Alfonso Gaba Cusi

Alfonso Gaba Cusi’s exceptional journey is deeply rooted in both entrepreneurship and a steadfast commitment to public service, reflecting a life that has left an enduring impact on the nation. Born in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, he embarked on a path of self-discovery during his formative years, selling candies in class and working as a fare collector and fruit peddler. His resilience carried him through elementary education at Naujan Central School and high school at Jose Rizal College in Manila, where he faced financial challenges but pressed on as a working student at Letran College and later at San Jose Recoletos in Cebu City.

His father, Victorino H. Cusi, recognized Alfonso’s determination and facilitated his transfer to La Salle College, where academic excellence earned him a scholarship and financial support from his father. Post-college, Alfonso joined Aboitiz Shipping Corp., and while working there, he simultaneously obtained his Master’s degree in Business from the University of the Philippines. Eventually, he struck out on his own, venturing into entrepreneurship in 1991.

Cusi’s commitment to public service unfolded in 2001 when he assumed a key position at the Philippine Ports Authority. Here, he introduced passenger terminals across ports for public safety, played a pivotal role in the Strong Republic Nautical Highway Project, and established a cruise ship terminal in Manila. His leadership continued at the Manila International Airport Authority in 2004, addressing terminal issues and elevating standards. His sweeping achievements in both the public and private sectors at this point were quickly recognized, earning him a Doctorate of Philosophy in Business from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2007.

In 2010, Cusi took on the role of CAAP Director General, preventing the downgrade of Philippine aviation. Returning to private business after GMA’s term, he initiated the fleet modernization of Starlite Ferries in 2011, setting industry standards.

Beyond his entrepreneurial and executive successes, Cusi’s contributions extended to serving as the Secretary of Energy, propelling advancements in the sector. Despite never seeking elective positions, his harmonious blend of entrepreneurship and impactful public service earned him admiration, exemplifying a positive influence on both business and government fronts.