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The Heart of a Batangueña

Lipa City Councilor Nicole Ronquillo’s love for Lipa is a driving force for change in the city.



Demure, bashful, quiet—there are many similar adjectives that may come to mind upon meeting Lipa City Councilor Riofer Nicole H. Ronquillo due to her appearance and demeanor. However, first impressions don’t last in this case. Once she is persuaded to open up about herself, her inner steel, as sharp and as tough as the blades the province is famous for, becomes apparent.


Driven by her love for her native Lipa, Ronquillo defied the wishes of her mother, who wanted her to become a doctor to run and promote change in the city.

“So long as you love someone or something, kahit gaano pa kahirap ‘yung (no matter how difficult the) situation, you’re willing to do everything, learn everything just so that you’d be bold to deliver on what you have to. Kaya ‘yun (That’s why), [I serve] always with a heart,” Ronquillo says.

Public service has always been a part of her heritage. Ronquillo is the daughter of Architect Jennifer H. Ronquillo and former Lipa City Engineer and Batangas Provincial Engineer Nerio “Dudoy” Ronquillo Jr., who was Lipa’s youngest city engineer at the time of his appointment.

Ronquillo’s soft-spoken manner belies her frank, even blunt, answers to questions. Unlike many politicians who seek to be diplomatic and sugarcoat their words, this city councilor will call a spade a spade. She made no effort to hide her initial lack of knowledge in the field and hesitation.

“I have no idea what to do there. Sabi niya [my father], learning the parliamentary rules is easy, just read about that. ‘Yung pakikitungo naman sa tao (how you treat people), you being kind, you wanting to share your blessings to the people, ‘yun ‘yung (that’s what’s) important,” she says.

“After going around the city of Lipa, that’s when I realized that I really do want to run. I want to make a difference for the city, so here we are,” she adds.

Asked about what made her join the fray, Ronquillo says that the reforms accomplished by then-Mayor Vilma Santos-Recto for the people of the city were no longer being implemented and she wanted to change the situation.

“I said enough is enough… I wasn’t really that happy anymore with the situation. That’s why for me, I told my dad if the people would actually believe in me, I’d grab the opportunity and run,” she says. Then-Vice Mayor Eric B. Africa was also one of her inspirations since his proposed projects are very timely for Filipinos.

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