NOTE: This is a profile story of the President and CEO of PTR Properties, Inc., a local real estate company based in Pasig. The piece was written in 2014 for the company’s 10th year commemorative magazine.
JUNE 2014 — Everyone wants to rub elbows with success, but not all is destined to meet it.
The thoroughfare is filled with stumbling blocks and crossroads, and only those who are courageous and driven enough to exert a lot of effort in overcoming some strokes of misfortunes along the way would come out victorious.
President and CEO of PTR Properties, Inc. Peter Y. Ty is a living proof, who showed that while not everyone succeeds at first try, his hard work and unfailing persistence made it possible to keep it within his reach—and it has not left him since.
Fondly called by friends and colleagues through his initials PYT, he was born an entrepreneur with a soft spot for farming.
His entire 30 years of managing a business has not always been a smooth sailing ride, he says, and it probably would not be in the coming years.
But with his “positively stubborn” attitude—a characteristic he deems as his best weapon—fueled by his undying passion on his work, he is able to survive the wars that have been waged throughout his bold business adventures.
“If you really want something, you could just care less of the hardships that come upon your way because you know it’s just part of the entire process,” he says. “And they would never probably leave me at all, as long as I keep on reaching for that goal. In any case, I just have to keep going.”
True enough, throngs of trials as stubborn as he came with each of his undertaking, from his decade-long venture into the garment industry to a fish farming business that challenged his patience and strong will for another 10 years.
Even now that he is in the business of real estate development, which now marks its 10th year, PYT is still confronted by some setbacks.
However, he now finds them “relatively easy” to deal with thanks to the valuable lessons he learned in the past, while keeping in mind that the quality and the artistic value in each of his every output are still of utmost priority.
Entrepreneur in the making
Though a graduate of Management Engineering at the Ateneo De Manila University, the then 21-year-old PYT found himself treading the entrepreneurial path. After all, he was born into a family that runs a clothing business that did not just carry run-of-the-mill brands.
Under the established name Robert Brown Childrens’ Wear, their family has been one of the major distributors of popular kids’ clothing in every SM Department Stores in the country. Its most notable brand is the Moose Gear, which would come later as the brainchild of PYT.
As the third eldest in the brood of six and the second son, it was rather expected of him that he would be its future overseer. His eldest brother went abroad, while his elder sister pursued her Accounting career. However, this responsibility would have to be put on hold as the older Ty had something to do for his son.
PYT’s first encounter with the real estate business came right after graduation, when his father him to put up 12 bungalow units in a lot they bought earlier. As someone who did not have any inclination with selling residential properties or any background with it, PYT met head-on his first house-selling challenge.
For his first attempt, he was only able to construct two of the intended 12 houses. While there were interested buyers, they did not belong to the targeted market niche of the business. Fortunately, he was able to sell the two bungalows to one businessman, who also procured the entire lot and shortly thereafter, PYT decided to focus on running the family business.
A natural innovator, PYT came up with his own kids’ apparel brand he named Moose Gear, chiefly directing the design of the adorable big-bellied brown Moose character.
Typically, the Tys would be accepting orders that came in hundreds from their original boysets designs, but when Moose Gear was introduced to the market, the purchase orders went by leaps and bounds. As luck would have it, in just a matter of five years, their annual total earnings significantly doubled and then tripled in numbers.
“I was really overwhelmed by the order. I cannot believe it,” PYT recalls. “Until now I can vividly remember that first purchase order of SM. The store ordered a whopping 8,000 pieces in total of the first four designs I made under Moose Gear. We’re only used to a hundred orders but when Moose Gear was introduced, it jumped to thousands. It was a very fulfilling venture.”
At an early age, PYT was already reaping a bountiful harvest. However, he felt something was lacking. It may be doing him good, but running the children’s wear business is not what his heart was looking for. Ten years later, he left the family business to his younger brother and went to the province to start his own farm.
PYT is a self-confessed enthusiast of animals and plants. His childhood was cheered up by his pets from the farm, such as cockfighting roosters, aquarium fishes, and dogs, as well as some orchids and ornamental plants that brought out his green thumb.
“I wanted to breathe in that distinct smell of the rice fields, that whiff of fresh air in the province. It gave me a sense of freedom and I was badly craving for it,” he says.
He settled on fish farming, which demanded a lesser capital than his original plan of putting up a piggery, and there PYT learned how to rear tilapias in his hatchery in Calauan, Laguna and grow them in his fish cages in Taal Lake.
Raising tilapia was not an easy feat. For one, PYT had to go out into the lake and feed the fish every morning, up to six hours a day, while in the hatchery, he had to immerse in the murky and cold waters of the pond with his men to select the breeders and collect plenty of fry, or the newly-hatched fish. He was very hands-on with his farm, making sure that all of his tilapias are well fed and in good physical shape.
His farming was going well, that is until nature unwittingly turned the tables for PYT. In just one week, two super typhoons swept over the country and PYT’s fish farm was not left unscathed. He endured two more of these typhoons in the course of ten years.
“Dito talaga ako nasubukan,” PYT recounts. “In just two to three hours, nawala na lahat ng mga alaga ko. I just cried in my room. When the storm stopped, I went out and there was flood everywhere. Napakasakit makita na ‘yung napakatagal mong pinaghirapan ay mawawala na lang sa isang iglap.”
As if it were not enough, PYT also took his own share in life’s comedy of errors. One time, the truck that delivered heaps of his tilapia to Navotas tipped over, spilling out PYT’s hard-earned harvest. There were people living along the highway who gladly came to help, but when PYT and his men reached the busy markets of city, roughly 400 kilos of fish were found to be missing.
“It felt like I went into a lot of wars in this business. Here, I was molded into a marine, a battle-scarred soldier,” PYT shares. “Every time there’s a misfortune, I would fall really hard but eventually I would dust myself and stand up. I cannot give up without a fight. It was never an option.”
In spite of everything, fish farming was the happiest moment of PYT’s life. He reveled in the times where he had to feed the fish in Taal Lake, with the sun’s rays touching his already tanned skin and the gentle waves splashing and gushing between his limbs. On top of it all, he enjoyed the breathtaking view of the mountainous Tagaytay and the magnificent Taal Volcano.
In the early 2000s, when his mother brought up the idea that she would like to have a commercial building for lease, PYT decided it may be ripe for him to be in real estate business again.
During the construction of the first building now known as the Grand 21 Place in Pasig, PYT received a seemingly better idea from a friend, who told him to give developing a try.
Being the daredevil that he is, he took the challenge right away despite having to learn again the whatnots of a yet another unfamiliar battleground. He was not satisfied in the business of merely having to wait for the payments at the end of every month; he wanted an adventure, something that will excite him.
In what seemed the advent of a milestone, PYT again reinvented himself and made a difference by going into developing and selling real estate properties.
Clearly, PYT’s chock-full of experiences in the last 20 years proved to be his best teacher. He learned the nooks and crannies of his ventures on his own, all the while learning to get up and recover from any humiliating slip-up he would come across along the way.
From time to time, he would also seek some help from references he would jestingly tag as “foreign consultants”–these were American businessmen Warren Buffet and Robert Kiyosaki, a few of his favorites.
“Whenever I need to have a quick check on something, I have my foreign consultants with me who are always available 24 hours. They are just sitting quietly in my bookshelves,” he wittingly quips.
Today, PTR Properties, Inc. has established four condominiums in Pasig and a sprawling exclusive subdivision in Lipa City, Batangas, with upcoming projects slated to roll out in the following years.
“Managing a business in real estate developing is relatively easy now, compared to what I have gone through in the last 20 years,” he remarks. “This one is not as complicated as my previous ventures, perhaps because I learned how to reinvent myself constantly.”
In the same way artists take pride in their masterpieces, PYT sees his properties as a work of art. He considers the view from above while riding an airplane a “very rewarding and priceless moment” as he can see his fruits of labor standing tall and proud amid other buildings, just like viewing an artwork in a gallery.
Seeing a coincidental pattern that completes the basic necessities of a human being, PYT hopes to end his entrepreneurial journey with PTR Properties, Inc., an undertaking that was originally far from his mind.
Just like building a house, PYT’s positively stubborn attitude, ardent passion, and bittersweet experiences served as his sturdy foundations to prepare his mind and heart for PTR Properties, Inc.
Beginning with a barren land, he was able to turn realizations into concrete testimonies one piece at a time, and now that he is up from the ground, he is set to continue building more in the years to come.
Perhaps PYT could get a nod from a 19th century writer and reformer named Amos Bronson Alcott who said, “Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.” CV