Ever wondered who developed and maintains our website? Why look far when our members have homegrown talent, right? This is true for our website as it’s Jam Sapuay, the daughter of PHILAJAMES members Engr. Samuel Sapuay (MS Civil Engineering, Kumamoto University) and Grace Sapuay (MS Fisheries, Kagoshima University), whom we turned to for our backend requirements and needs.

Jam helped us with our website when her mom served as our Association president for 2013-2014. Back then she was still a B.S. Computer Science undergrad at U.P. Diliman. Last year after learning that she previously did website work for us and kept its content and database files, it was easy for the Execom to decide to work with her considering the quality of her portfolio and her willingness to render service based on our budget.

“Jam was tinkering with website development from early on,” proud mom Grace told me. “In fact when they studied web development in high school at O.B. Montessori, she knew enough to assist her teacher.” No wonder she decided to take a course in Computer Science. But why, after a brief stint at Nokia, did she decide to shift to Urban and Regional Planning?

The reason stems from Jam’s active participation as a Philippine delegate to the Children’s World Summit for the Environment held in Aichi, Japan back in 2005, when she was only 14 years old. That led to her active participation in Kalipunan ng mga Kabataan Para sa Kalikasan for the next few years. “I wanted to find exciting ways to merge my knowledge from my undergraduate studies with my environmental advocacy.” During her short stay in the M.S. Computer Science degree program, she led a small team in creating a computer application for assisting administrators come up with better solid waste management strategies. It didn’t seem like the type of software people wanted to use however so she decided to learn more about solid waste management. Eventually, thanks to the advice of family friend Dr. Benny Pacheco (Ph. D. in Civil Engineering, Tokyo University; PHILAJAMES president from 2003-2004), she was encouraged to apply for the postgraduate diploma course in Urban and Regional Planning to expand her knowledge to include urban planning.

Last June 30, 2019, Jam was awarded the Dean’s Medallion for Academic Excellence at the U.P. School of Urban and Regional Planning. Of course Jam has the genes of her parents but her own aptitudes and interests, as well as nurture and professional mentorship also influenced her career path. She now works alongside her parents in consultancy work for projects locally and abroad.

by Belinda Perez

The Sapuay family on vacation at Ayothaya Floating Market, Thailand. From L to R: Engr. Samuel Sapuay, youngest son Reuben James, daughter Jam, eldest son Samuel Jason, Mrs. Grace Sapuay.
The Sapuay family during the celebration of the 29th anniversary of Engr. Samuel (standing, second from the left) and Grace Sapuay (seated) with Jam (standing, third from the left), Samuel Jason (standing, rightmost), and Reuben James (standing, leftmost).

All in the Family

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