Zenaida “Zeny” Estoque Ply



Move to the City

I was born and raised in Inabaan, Rosario, La Union. In 1963 my parents, Florentino A. Estoque and Clarita Dacoco Estoque (1928-2004), decided to move our family to Pag-asa, Quezon City to give their seven children a chance for better life and education. Life in the city was tough with my father working as a mechanic at the Quezon City Fire Department. Both our parents worked hard and sacrificed a lot to raise us and give us the education that they did not have. They always told us that education is the only wealth that they can leave us. My eldest brother and I enrolled at San Francisco High School and my younger siblings attended Pag-asa Elementary School. Being a transfer from a provincial high school, they put me in Section 7 of the sophomore class, to my disappointment. I wanted to move up to section 1 the next year so I studied very hard. I did move up but to Section 2. I was told that I will not be able to be in Section 1 because the students in that section had advanced classes which I did not have. I thought I would never graduate with honors anymore. However, in my junior year, I met my mentor, Miss Ma. Melia Estipona who convinced me that I have a chance if I can prove that I am deserving. She was the Trigonometry and Algebra teacher for third year and fourth year students. With her guidance and tutelage during my later years in high school, I was selected as the Mathematician of the Year and I not only graduated, I graduated salutatorian. She had great influence in my career path and choice of school. My parents wanted me to become a nurse but I decided to pursue a degree in Mathematics, just like my mentor.

Schooldays at UP

In 1967, I was accepted as an entrance scholar at the University of the Philippines. It was then that I really appreciated my parents’ decision to move the whole family to Quezon City.
Attending U.P. was at times overwhelming and intimidating but these gave me more drive to survive. U.P. not only taught me to work hard to pursue my dreams but it also taught me discipline, determination, confidence, integrity and to be responsible. U.P. not only gave me the tools and foundation to join the work force and deal with people but it also helped financially challenged students like me thru the grants-in-aid program.

Start of Professional Career

After graduation from U.P. I took the Statisticians examination for the Bureau of Census and Statistics (now known as National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO)). I was one of the 20 who passed out of hundreds of exam takers and was part of the Statisticians Training class of 1971. After the training, I was hired as a Statistician. While at NCSO, I went back to U.P. to pursue a degree in Statistics. I graduated with a Diploma in 1975. I was then hired as a Social Welfare Specialist at the Planning Division of the Department of Social Services and Welfare. I had a chance to travel to the different provincial branches of DSSW to train staff on planning and reporting. I worked there until 1977 when I received my visa to migrate to USA to join my mother, sister and my brother who was in the US Navy.

I moved to San Jose, California on November 1977. I started working as assembler at computer manufacturing companies in Sunnyvale. After a year, I moved to West Covina and stayed at my sister’s place. She and I went job hunting together and got jobs as clerks at the Los Angeles County Tax Collectors office. Not satisfied with my clerical job, I went to look for a job which will utilize what I learned from U.P. Hence, I applied for programming jobs. I was hired as a Data Processing Assistant on April 1978 at California State University, Los Angeles Foundation by the Data Processing Manager, James Francis Ply.

Jim and I got married on January 1, 1983. A month later when Jim accepted the position of Management Information Systems Director at Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, I took over the Data Processing Manager position for CSULA Foundation. While working at CSULA, I went back to school and received another degree in Mathematics with option in Computer Science in 1982. Wanting to have experience working with large IBM mainframe systems, I applied for a programming job at the Los Angeles Unified School District. I was hired in 1986 but I was assigned to work with a systems running on UNIVAC. After over a year I applied and was offered a programming job working with IBM mainframe systems at the Los Angeles County Internal Services Department. I worked there until it was time to move to the finest city, San Diego.

Boat Life

When I was young, it never occurred to me that one day I will ride or sail in one of the recreational sailboats or power boats like the ones I read about in books and magazines or saw in movies. Well, I did! And not only did I sail or ride in them, my husband and I actually owned 2 sailboats: Silhouette, a J-24 and Aquarius, a 27-foot NorSea. After we sold Aquarius, we bought Ruffian, a 41-foot Roughwater trawler. We used to race our sailboats in Long Beach, Danapoint, San Pedro, Chula Vista and we also participated in the races from Newport Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico.. We lost some and we also won some but the best one for me was when I got the trophy for winning the Ladies Skippers race in Chula Vista. We also lived on Aquarius at the Shoreline Village in Long Beach in front of the Queen Mary and then in Chula Vista. We have been members of several yacht clubs. Currently, we are members of Oakland Yacht Club and Chula Vista Yacht Club (CVYC). Jim is the CVYC 2007-2008 Rear Commodore and Membership Chairman while I am the historian.

Move to San Diego

Whenever we sailed back from Ensenada, we used to dock our boat at Point Loma and took public transportation to tour San Diego. It was then that we decided that if one of us gets a job in San Diego, we are moving. We got that chance when Jim accepted the position of Director for Computer Systems Services at the Southwestern College in Chula Vista in 1988. I followed him when I was hired as a Programmer at Rohr, Inc. (now known as Goodrich Aerostructures Group) where I worked for 9 years. I am now a Systems Specialist at Union Bank of California where I have been working for 10 years. My husband had been working as a Project Manager implementing computer systems for Colleges and Universities in US and Canada hence we had a corporation set up which we called Salty Dog, Inc.

Community Involvement

As to my community involvement, I am serving as the incumbent Business Manager for UPAASD, 2007-2008 and Assistant Secretary for UP Alumni Association in America (UPAAA), 2007-2009. Currently, I am a member of the Board Directors for the San Diego Executive Lions Club and the historian for the Chula Vista Yacht Club.