Remembering Emong Morales

Sad and sorry to hear of Emong’s passing. He is the first and most dedicated colleague, friend, and partner I have ever met in ADB projects. He was my age, a devout Christian, whom I worked with for nearly 20 years. In him, I saw the excellent qualities of honesty, professionalism, kindness, modesty, and persistence. Many of the project execution plans, manuals, tools, and communication templates I use today were developed together with him and have been updated to fit my current projects (especially those with smart content). He is a very good project manager. As long as the project is monitored by him, there will not be any big mistake! May there be no pain in heaven for Emong.

Zhou Weidong, former ADB Officer

I am so very sad, really heartbroken as I have always remembered Emong as my role model of impeccable integrity, outstanding intellect, and true compassion. He had the humanity and credentials that we all aspire for in the development world – a deep understanding of people and their needs. I will never forget the wonderful times we had during our Fisheries days, not just the personal connection, but also the highly disciplined management of the program. Emong’s passing is a shock that will take some time to pass.  

Albab Akanda, former ADB Officer

Emong, my friend and compatriot during my 12-year journey in ADB (as a consultant of many of my projects), passed away yesterday morning in Manila to his eternal abode. A man who represented the highest standards of human dignity, compassion, honesty, and sincerity, may no longer be with us, but Emong’s life journey is an exemplary embodiment of what a human life should and could be. You have left us, Emong, but you will forever remain as a bright spot and an inspirational friend to me. May your soul be graced by the Almighty’s love and eternal peace and may the Almighty give strength to your family to bear this loss. May you now rest happily in your eternal journey. Your saying, “Mr. Islam,” will eternally ring in my ears. You will be sorely missed, Emong.

Nasimul Islam, former ADB Officer

My Adventures with Emong

Adventure is not the usual word one would associate with Emong, but in his determination to pursue the project goals, some field trips became adventure trips because our project leader was oblivious to discomfort and danger.

My first fisheries consultancy was for the Northern Palawan Fisheries Development  Project way back in the early 1980s. Our first destination was Coron, the jumping point to Northern Palawan.  In those days, Coron was a really hickey town without any commercial flights,  no hotels or restaurants.  We took a small plane, a five- seater, so small that one just climbs into it, no stairs needed. And of course, flights were so rare that the plane accommodated ten passengers instead of five.

I was the only woman in the team, so Emong arranged for me to sleep at the only two-story house in Coron, with a hardware store below, which  seemed to keep  business until the wee hours of the morning.  Breakfast was self made in the boat, i.e., instant coffee and pan de sal. We were crossing Linapacan Strait to reach the first  project site.  Emong’s team had erected a shack, with one elevated room measuring at most 3m x 3m. The floor was made of reeds, and we spread out carton boards as cushion. We slept one next to another, some eight of us. The next morning, we had to walk some 100 meters to a small creek to do our ablutions.

The next adventure was already under the Fisheries Sector Program 1 in 1986/87.  We were going to Alabat Island starting from Calauag, Quezon. We were not told  that Calauag cove is an estuary, and we could not land there on our return as it would be low tide by then. The banquero (boatman) landed us in the next town, Lopez. The question was how to get us back to Calauag,  about 15 km away, where our vehicle was waiting for us (no communication,  as there was no cellphone yet).  We were pointed to a makeshift trolley that plied the Lopez-Calauag route. The trolley ran on the rail tracks, powered by the ubiquitous Briggs & Stratton engine.  I guess the operator could feel the vibration of an oncoming train, because all of a sudden he would stop, get us all out of the trolley, unload the assortment of cargo, and finally get  the trolley off the rail tracks. After the train had passed by, he then put back the trolley on the rail tracks, reloaded the cargo, and then we boarded again.  I think we made two stops like this before we reached Calauag. 

The funniest incident happened in Leyte. We had to cross a wide river, on the crudest pedestrian bridge spanning the river. It was made up of sewn logs of different sizes and makes, with the water practically lapping at our feet. Had a picture been taken at night, we would have appeared to be walking on water.  On the return crossing, torrential rain poured drenching us from head to foot. But there was no time to go to our rooms to change as the Leyte officialdom were already awaiting to greet the ADB honchos. We were handed out bedsheets as our wrap-around. One can imagine the discomfiture of the very proper Mr. Albab Akanda, meeting government officials in this attire. 

And there was the drive from Capiz to Iloilo in a dilapidated, window-cooled Cruiser, for four hours in the heat of the day. We were a picture of dusty safari travelers by the time we reached Iloilo.

I was spared some terrifying trips, told by ADB officials, like crossing Linapacan Strait, when the sea rose to heights of church spires (or so the story goes). And another crossing of Lamon Bay during a squall in the pitch darkness of the night. 

I look back at these memories with fondness and realize that our lives were made richer by these adventures.

Tina Tan, Retired fisheries economist and a second mother to Emong and Thei


I remember that during our meetings, Emong patiently discussed with Nasimul and Hideki on RETA 7813. We also went on a mission together in Indonesia. I think it was the project completion mission for COREMAP II. During our field visits, we were surprised to hear him speak Bahasa Indonesia. He was so fluent. Mapagkakamalan talaga siya na Indonesian. (He would really be mistaken for an Indonesian.) He knew COREMAP by heart as we asked him questions about the project during our mission. He also helped us validate tables in the project completion report (PCR), which we were preparing, and compared them with the ones in the RRP. Marami kaming pinuntahan na project sites (we went to several project sites), and Emong was so helpful. We will all miss Emong. He is now in God’s embrace🤍🙏

Ditas Castro, former Project Analyst, ADB

I remember Emong to be always a professional and loyal to Vi and to PRIMEX. We will all miss him. May he rest in peace.

Joey Leviste, former PRIMEX Chairman

I am deeply sorry to hear about the passing of Pak Emong. My deepest sympathies to his family. I feel privileged to have known Pak Emong. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Amen.🙏🏼

Suseno Sukoyono, Ph. D., Former Special Adviser to the
Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia

My deep condolences on the passing of Pak Emong. He was a very good friend. May he rest in peace 🙏🙏

Jamal Jompa, Ph. D., former Project Director, COREMAP-II,
Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Indonesia

We have lost a good and patient friend. Pak Emong is now comfortable with God in heaven.

Hersono Heroe, Chairman, PT Trans Intra Asia (TIA), Indonesia

Innalillahi wa innalilahi roji’un. My deep condolences to Ibu Morales and her family.

Noor Arief Muzadi, Former President,
PT Trans Intra Asia (TIA), Indonesia

Am very saddened by the news of Emong’s passing. I join his loved ones in prayer for the eternal rest of his soul.

Mahfuz Ahmed, Ph. D., former ADB Officer

Guillermo L. Morales, “Emong” as we fondly called him, was the quintessential human being –a devoted Christian, a dedicated family man, faithful husband, a good father (to a fault), a professional, and a loyal friend. There is so much more to Emong that made him head and shoulders above us, human beings. He was honest, had high integrity, and was an embodiment of a decent human being. Emong will surely be missed. 

Dr. Jerome F. Sison, former PRIMEX Director and Corporate Treasurer

Our condolences and prayers. We know he will rest in peace with our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Lope A. Calanog, PRIMEX Consultant

I am very sad to hear this news. Emong was gentle, friendly and international. I remember he participated in JICA seminar in Leyte. We had a good time and I learned a lot from him. I know he was active in many parts of the world. Please accept my sincere condolences.  

Dr. Naohiko Watanuki, Fisheries Consultant,

Rest in Peace Friend, Colleague and Boss. Condolences to The Morales Family! Salamat po Vi. Emong was indeed an asset to Phils’ CRM.

Dr. Benjamin Gonzales, CRM Specialist and PRIMEX Consultant

Rest well in God’s Glory Sir Emong. Condolences to the bereaved family.

Mr. Janoz Laquihon