Jose Luis ‘Sel’ Yulo: the life and times of a car guy

By Botchi Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer February 20,2019

Last Sunday, Feb. 17, at around 3:20 p.m., businessman and avid race car driver and businessman Jose Luis Yulo was gunned down in an apparent hit.

Two suspects in motorcycles fired at the Toyota Hiace Grandia van that Yulo was driving. Yulo and the driver died, while a female passenger survived.

Sel, as he is known to friends and competitors, was very passionate about firearms and fast cars. He was a speed freak, and was an avid rally driver even when he was in school.

His family, the political clan of the Yulos from the south, were industrialists, and have been involved in politics since the days of the Philippine Commonwealth.

The Yulo clan owns extensive sugar cane farms in Canlubang, Laguna. They also used to own an automotive assembly facility in Canlubang that assembled Chrysler/Mitsubishi Colts, Galants, and other vehicles.

Sel Yulo also became an appointee of President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada, acting as chairman of the Presidential Commission on Mass Housing and a Presidential adviser on housing.

In his later years, aside from managing his family’s substantial land holdings in Canlubang, Laguna, Sel Yulo became an importer and distributor of firearms in the Philippines, supplying law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Many remember Sel Yulo to be tough, competitive, and demanding with a big temper. But he could also be very kind and generous to people around him.

I remember spending a meal with him a few times, eating many good and tasty things (lechon and crispy pata, among others at Barrio Fiesta) he would later tell me not to indulge too often, but should enjoy only once in a while.

He was also a very different person around his wife and family. I once bumped into him at a mall with his wife and children, and he proudly told me that one of his children wasn’t present as he was competing abroad in a swimming competition.

We would often buy, sell, and exchange car parts with one another. For many years, he pleaded/pressured me to sell him my Toyota Supra as he had also been eyeing the same car for a long time.

He bided his time to make an offer, but just never thought someone else aside from him would be crazy enough to buy a Supra.

At the time I bought the Supra, Sel was in the midst of various other car projects and wasn’t ready to embark yet on another potentially costly one.

But as soon as he was done with them, he came banging on my door almost incessantly. Only after months, when he got the point that I was never going to sell my Supra to anyone, did he give up.

Sel Yulo owned at one point the quickest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V with an engine built by Bozz Speed Japan and tuned by Francisco ‘Pacho’ Blanco of Autoplus fame. It went down the quarter mile at an astonishing 10.917 seconds back in April of 2003.

Since then Sel Yulo has gone quicker and faster in other cars.

The motoring community deeply mourns the passing of Sel Yulo.

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