The First Woman Who Believed in Southeast Asia’s Healthiest Building

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Stand in front of the Menarco Tower in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and, guaranteed, you would gawk at the mighty slender structure — it’s clean, straight lines and its smooth, sleek finish. Step inside it, and you’ll discover that it’s different from other sophisticated buildings you’ve been in. From floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe people in happy sunshine to greeneries all over, everything not only looks good, but feels good. 

Dubbed as Southeast Asia’s healthiest building, Menarco Tower is the first and only office tower that’s WELL Certified™ Gold and LEED Gold®. Before it turned heads in BGC and all over the world, though, a woman was the first to believe in its promising potential: Carmen Jimenez-Ong.

Believing Through and Through

“Firm and dedicated to what I believed in.” 

This is how the founder and CEO of Menarco Development Corporation describes herself as a woman. At a time when green buildings were still being projected as the future, she poured her heart and soul in making it a reality in the present, simply because she saw the promise it holds.

Jimenez-Ong was quick to admit that her journey towards business success was far from easy, sharing candidly, “Building the healthiest building in Southeast Asia was a definite struggle for me, especially having little experience in development and construction.”

She added, “Truth be told, there were many nights when I wanted to [give up] and almost did.” But because she set her heart on the project, she persisted, and eventually was able to see it through. “With a lot of heart, prayer, and alignment with experts in the field, we were able to achieve an award-winning building.” 

Confidence Built Through the Years

Jimenez-Ong believed in grand, impossible things. This is because someone believed in her, even when she was in her younger years. Relating a story that goes around their family circle, she shares that when her tita would call and need to relay a message to her mom, her tita would rely on her to “take her message, knowing that I would deliver it accurately and in a timely manner when my mom returned home.” Not once did she fail in relaying messages to her mom.

As she grew older, the responsibilities and opportunities that landed in her lap grew bigger, too. As they say, “Those who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much.” But along with this, she grew in confidence because of the seed of belief that her loved ones planted in her. Today, she’s passing on that confidence to others, empowering her team and letting them embrace their own aspirations, too.

Successful Women Inspirations

While Jimenez-Ong is undeniably a strong, confident woman, she admits that she has “sheroes,” or female heroes she looks up to. Identifying with the famous television host who’s also a real estate tycoon, Ellen de Generes, Jimenez-Ong said she admires the comedian’s savviness of buying, fixing, decorating and selling houses in Hollywood.

The ultimate icon of womanhood for her, however, is one closer to home: her mom. She shares, “[My mom] is a beacon of light, a source of joy and strength, and an incredible supporter of all that I do.” 

Carmen and her mom-(s)hero Ms. Carolina G. Jimenez at the 2019 General Alumni Homecoming.

“She’s not recognized enough, having lived her life to support my father who was constantly in the limelight during his fulfilling career in media and business […] She loves us immensely, but loves God more […] She raised four obedient, law-abiding, nation-building kids,” she added, highlighting the humble, quiet sacrifices of her mom.

A Message to Younger Women

With everything that she went through in career and business, Jimenez-Ong advises younger women who are facing career crises to believe that they can overcome the struggles. “Go through them and learn from them,” she said.

“I believe if we don’t go through difficulty, we don’t grow. Remember, a tree has to be pruned in order to flourish. Salmon need to swim upstream to be able to lay their eggs. For a radiant rainbow to shine through, there must have been a storm.”

Aside from having faith in one’s capacity to weather through trials, Jimenez-Ong likewise emphasized the value of clinging on to divine faith. “Maturity has taught me to roll with the punches, pray about things I can’t solve, and lift them up to an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present Creator to help me.”

She shares she learned to anchor herself in God, “He [provides] true strength throughout the storms of life. Know who to cling on to, [someone] who will not fail you.”

A strong, confident lady boss, Carmen Jimenez-Ong is a believer of grand, impossible things. As the Menarco Tower stands tall and confident, so is the woman behind its majestic stature.

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