Our History

Our History - Don Sulpicio


Don Sulpicio Go Guioc So – A brave soul who ventured into maritime transport.

In a country fragmented into 7,100 islands, one of the most necessary industries, the economist would declare, is shipping. Unfortunately, this is also a country most attractive to typhoons. A dozen visiting typhoons would be quite normal in a year.

Thus, very few are attracted to the risky maritime transportation business here vital to our economic progress. Among the few brave souls ventured into troubled waters was Cebu’s business leader and shipping magnate Sulpicio Go Guioc So who passed away on March 21, 1992 at age 87. He’s part of the answer to the question: “What makes Cebu tick?” He belongs to the intrepid crowd that does not wait for the government to do things for the people. Part of their business agenda is what they can do for the province and the national economy.

He has come a long way from the 50-ton sailboats he used to travel on as young merchant making the roungs of Leyte, Samar and Cebu. Early in his trade he learned about the effect of economic isolation and doldrums of town out of the reach of the ships. When he had his own shipping he made it a policy to have his vessels ply the so-called tertiary and developmental routes, subsidizing their operations until the routes became financially viable. Other companies were more interested in serving on the rich routes.

It was his way, his children point out, of repaying the country for the good things he had derived from it. He, too, had a soft spot particularly for the areas around Naval, Leyte, that had become home to him during much of his youth. He wanted to contribute his bit to the economic growth of the underdeveloped, out-of-the-way areas. Connecting the isolated towns to the big cities by water transporting up the economy of small towns. That’s large contribution to the national economy.

One of Don Go Guioc So’s (Go) secrets of success was his ability to establish rapport with the people, both the high and the mighty and the lowly employees. An outgoing young man and a merchant who travelled to man places of the country to market his goods. Go had little trouble joining the mainstream. He loved the country and the people. Amoy was his sentimental hometown. But Naval, Leyte, was his home place in the real world. His associates testify that even early in his life, he had learned to live, think and feel as a Filipino. His children followed the example of the father. They have distinguished themselves in their respective professions.

He got into shipping in 1953 as managing partner of the Carlos A. Gothong Lines, Inc. He transformed the small trading firm into a multi-million peso shipping company. With him at the helm the company became a by word in the shipping industry. He organized his own shipping firm in 1973 with his own sons and formed Sulpicio Lines, Inc.

The company started operating with only 12 vessels with an aggregate tonnage of 12,033.17. His fleet has grown seven-fold in gross tonnage to 88,209.62.

There were challenges along the way to success. But Go’s competent management was quick to institute reforms and discipline to recover lost ground. He is remembered by people in and outside his corporations for his philanthrophy.

We will long remember him for his successful contribution to our maritime industry.

By Napoleon G. Rama

Manila Bulletin

Mon, March 30,1992