Alumni profile: Oscar Torralba

June 2016

“I have always said when you look at the forest like the Philippines and they say, it is all parched and brown, I always like to compare in specific terms. When you go into the forest, you have to look intently and see that there are very good strong trees like our CPAs. I always cite it as an example.”



Oscar Torralba or Oca as he is fondly called by friends joined Joaquin Cunanan & Co. in February 1973. A fresh graduate from the University of the East, Cum laude, Oscar recalls ultimately selecting the firm due to an affinity with a fraternity brother who is already employed at the time. When Oscar was assigned to his second account, a multinational pharmaceutical company, he felt that it provided the real experience of being an auditor since the team submit reports to New York, USA during the first few days of the new year. Oscar and team would render overtime work to meet the deadlines. “Despite working during the Christmas and New Year holidays, our manager, Willie Madarang was there and we had a good learning experience then.”

Oscar was eventually promoted to senior associate, being top of his batch during trainings. During his stay at the firm, Oscar learned three important values: training, sense of responsibility to clients and personal growth. He credits the quality of training provided by the firm as a source of differentiation from the others. Oscar shares how training has given him a bigger sense of duty to prepare for each engagement assigned to him. Lastly, the experience has guided Oscar to prepare for the future. It gave him a clear direction of the career he wants to pursue.

In 1976, after three and a half years, Oscar felt confident to move on to another industry. He was assigned to the corporate planning arm of a local bank and eventually held significant positions and introduced innovations in the group. Over the course of his 25 year career in the banking and finance industry, Oscar would encounter his peers and colleagues from Joaquin Cunanan & Co. and maintain the friendship. Oscar calls it having a sentimental convergence.

After his retirement, Oscar decided to re-invent his life and define what matters most for the next 15 years. He currently maintains a ‘30:30:30:10’ rule. The first 30% is family. Oscar and wife Norma are blessed with two grown- up daughter and son pursuing their respective careers. Oscar balances his hectic days with movie and coffee dates with his wife. The next 30% is with his second love, education. His position as the chairman of the Technical Panel for Business and Management Education Programs at the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) is close to his heart as he believes that access to quality education is the pathway for human development and social progress: “I am really passionate about this because I can see a different kind of contribution. In accountancy or in business, you have a different measure: revenue, profitability. But here it is a social enterprise so I have learned to like the feeling...I like the interaction. I like the acceptance of my contribution which is government – industry – academe partnership” Oscar shares. The last 30% is entrepreneurship. Oscar wanted to see if he has what it takes to sustain a business and has made some profit with the different ventures he has started such as food/catering, real estate, renewable energy, healthcare and even manufacturing taho (soybean pudding with tapioca pearls).

For the remaining 10%, Oscar has recently joined Kaltimex Energy Philippines Inc. as an independent director. He believes in the technology and the capital the company is bringing to the country for renewable energy which is hydropower, waste to energy and ESCO.

Despite the many hats Oscar wears, he knows his priorities and religiously follows his ‘30:30:30:10’ regimen. Another lesson he has learned from working with Joaquin Cunanan & Co. is “planning can already spell the success or the failure of any under-taking so you plan ahead and you plan it well; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” He doesn’t carry the entire burden in his shoulders. Instead, Oscar plans and delegates. He identifies people and matches the responsibility and provides mentoring and training to those who need it. This is the principle of proper matching: match the goal and the level of competence of your people.

Oscar (2nd from left) joins fellow golfers, friends and alumni at the 1st Isla Lipana & Co. Foundation Inc. Charity Golf in 2010.

There seems to be nothing stopping Oscar, not even enjoying a game of golf with his close friends and fraternity brothers from college. At 64, he prefers walking around the Makati CBD area to visit his daughter’s clinic, attend meetings or report for work. He feels young and his ideas remain fresh. Listening to his experience is truly inspiring.

Contact us

Rocky Saldajeno

Markets Senior Manager

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728

Follow PwC Philippines