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Filipino Mayor of San Diego, Jay Ruiz, USN(retired)




Jay was born in Manila on August 29, 1942. At age 5, his family moved to Calauag, Quezon province where be finished elementary and high school education with honors. He was active in extracurricular activities that included student politics and contact sports. At Mapua Institute of Tech­nology, Jay intended to become a mechanical engineer, but got bored as a working student in a postal office, he finally dropped out of college to enlist the U.S. Navy in 1960. While in ac­tive duty, he trained for electrician rating continued his college education in business and fought for civil rights and equal opportunity for minorities. This advocacy role he would continue in his civilian life. ln 1980, he retired from the navy, went back to school on G.l. bill, and earned a master degree in business administration.

Jay, like other Filipinos who retired from the Navy before him, tried to sell insurance, real estate, and other merchandise e.g. computer software) but without much success. When wife Ceferina (a physician) left the Navy in 1981, the couple decided to open a medical clinic. Four years later, they bought a lot and built commercial office building in  National City, providing COPAG and Philippine Consulate rent-free offices -compliments of the Ruiz family.

As a leader~ Jay has demonstrated remarkable ability community initiated  the event­ful Philippine Faire; and raised $30,000 for the Philippine Cultural Center building fund. Perhaps, Jay’s greatest feat feat as yet is that he made COPAG solvent and raised its prestige to unprece­dented heights


The  tasks were not easy.


Jay’s strong personality and fighting spirit won him loyal friends and bitter enemies in and outside the organization. Blunt and outspoken, he often lashed.


Today, Jay Ruiz Is the pride of a revitalized COPAO and a highly. respected leader whose works have won popular acclaim and recognition from state and national public of officials.


His impact on the community has earned him the title of  “Filipino Mayor of San Diego”.


out with strong language at those who oppose him. His opponents, said he was stuck-up~ "mayabang"  His friends loved him as a straightforward man.

Jay was special. Worked hard at making what he did seem or­dinary Energetic and financially comfortable he has solid creden­tials behind him SEA, MBA, and a wealth of penetrating in-sights. But perhaps, more importantly he was basically a decent man trying to get along but be-coming more resentful, at least inwardly, of fellow Filipinos’ pettiness and utter lack of commitment to the cause.

Jay is also very self-contained. When I asked him about his next project now that the Mount Car­mel High discrimination case which he spent many long hours along with equally dedicated leaders, was drawing to a close.  Jay said, ~ I don’t talk about it until it’s pinned down. But since he already spent much time in the Philippine Cultural building project, Jay said he’d definitely like to pick it up.

his principles and earned desire to accomplish his job, whichever it may be, has made him the successful Filipino-American he is today.



The world Jay and I move in is not big enough for the two of us.


From COPAO Chairmanship, this gentleman should aspire for higher political goals. Then perhaps, someday — who


knows? —we may still become friends



This is what Rizalino Oades, history Professor at the San Diego State University, wrote in part few years ago about Jay Ruiz. I met Jay in the 1960 and I can certainly vouch for his passion for the Filipino cause. A 4.0 Pinoy in and out of the uniform.



Note: COPAO stands for Council of Pilipino-American Organizations in San Diego.