th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

Pinoy Designer Began Fixing Houses in the US, Now Has a Multi-Million Peso Construction Business in PH

MJ Ringor’s company integrates design and construction, lessening the stress of building
By Paul John Caña |

Some of the projects that MJ Ringor's Mundo Design + Build has worked on include (from left) Hotel 101, TNS Global Market Research Philippines, and the Microsoft office in Manila



No project is too small for MJ Ringor. When his company, Mundo Design + Build, was just starting out, he said yes to a job to fix up the bathroom of a Honda dealership in Batangas. It didn’t seem to make sense to work on such a small-scale project that was also at least a three-hour drive away from Manila, but his company did it anyway.


Ringor’s dedication and enthusiasm paid off. The clients were so happy with Mundo’s work that they signed up Ringor to work on a full Honda showroom in Cebu next.


This diligence was developed early on in Ringor’s life. Immediately after he received his Industrial Design degree from the University of Santo Tomas, he flew to the United States to join his family. He ended up juggling two jobs—one in an industrial laundry shop and another in a tile-packaging warehouse. Eventually he put his degree to use; he started accepting interior design work from Filipino-American clients, many of whom would fly him to their houses all over the country.


“I was around 21 then,” the now 34-year-old Ringor says. “I would work till around four a.m., sleep for about three to four hours, then go back to work. I’d stay in the house so sometimes I’d be the all-around ‘boy.’ I’d end up cleaning the house. Most of the time I was just by myself, I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Sometimes I’d just turn the music up. I would just think about how much I was going to earn.”


Besides money, Ringor earned valuable experience during his year working in the US, but the plan was always to come back to the Philippines. His last design job earned him Php2 million, enough to buy his own condominum unit back in Manila and open up his own design firm.


Mundo Design + Build began with three employees, including Ringor, in a tiny 40-square-meter office in Bonifacio Global City.


“We didn’t even have computers in the beginning so I would just sketch the projects by hand,” he says. “I got an architect to work with, and to maximize manpower, I’d be the one going out to buy materials.”



Ringor’s old clients in the US referred him to their friends in Manila. He also used to go to places like MC Home Depot and hang out at coffee shops, offering his services to people he would overhear talking about home and design projects. “I was like a condominium salesman, handing out my card and flyers,” he reminisces.


Ringor, who graduated from UST with an Industrial Design degree, founded Mundo Design + Build in 2009 



What set Ringor apart was his collaborative style. While many design firms would impose their opinions on their clients, Mundo’s approach was one of cooperation and mutual trust.


“I don’t have an ego,” he says. “I would never impose my own designs on the client. I wanted to be versatile and easy to work with. And I wanted my clients to feel a sense of ownership to their homes.”


But what really made Mundo different is when it added full-service construction to its portfolio. Integrating design and construction means the company doesn’t need outside contractors, which, in turn, means service is more centralized and easier to manage.


Ringor says this approach came about because design clients would often have complaints about the contractors they hired to execute their designs and wondered if Mundo could take on that aspect of the project, too.


“It was the city hall in San Jose, Batangas,” Ringor says. “Everyday, I would go there by myself and buy the materials. That was our first construction project. Clients then saw our potential in project management.”


A firm that combines design and construction is still a relatively novel concept in Manila, and Ringor says it’s likely because most companies would rather focus on their core strengths.


“And probably because it’s less stress,” he says chuckling. “But seriously, ever since I’ve always focused on construction because I want to stay true to our motto of ‘We Build Your World.’ I want to be able to say that we can build almost anything for you.”


Mundo also worked on St Michael the Archangel's Church in Taguig



Mundo’s client base now ranges from offices, retail outlets, restaurants and other commercial and office spaces, as well as residential. Besides private homes, a few of the projects they have worked on include Vikings Restaurant, Café Veranda in Taal Vista Hotel, Edgar “Injap” Sia’s Hotel 101, Microsoft, Philex, Shangri-La Properties and Widus Hotel in Pampanga.



“I think it all comes down to timing,” Ringor says. “For example, last year, we did a project for Shangri-La, an 80-square-meter burger restaurant called Raging Bull in BGC. They saw the workmanship and quality, so they asked us to do one floor of their residential units. Now we’re doing fit-out for Anchor Land Holdings. We’re doing the elevator lobbies and finishings. Then we did the finishings for Hennan Hotel in Boracay. So when we got the Widus project, which is huge, we’re ready. We can say that we’re trained to do those types of projects.”


The strategy seems to be paying off. Mundo has been growing its revenues an average of 40 to 50 percent annually since it started in 2009, reaching a peak in 2015 when it grew 65 percent compared to the year before. The company is optimistic they can grow even bigger in the next four to five years, particularly with the strong local economy and an incredibly vibrant construction sector. The company has even hinted at an initial public offering (IPO), if its strong fundamentals hold up in the next few years.


“The goal is to keep 40 to 50 percent growth annually,” Ringor says. “Then we’ll see.”






Paul John Caña is the managing editor of Entrepreneur PH

Latest Articles

4 Reasons You Should Sit and Eat With Your Employees

Employees who eat together stay together

byHeather R. Huhman | August 21, 2017 08:00:00

In a Relationship With an Entrepreneur? Here Are 10 Things You Should Never Say

You must accept your partner with all their gifts and challenges while also asserting your needs

byMarla Mattenson | August 21, 2017 06:00:00

How Glossier Hacked Social Media to Build A Cult-Like Following

Former blogger Emily Weiss is building a beauty company unlike any other

byAlyssa Giacobe | August 21, 2017 02:00:00

What You Need To Know About The MRT-7

Key facts about the QC-Bulacan train line

byAndrei Medina for | August 21, 2017 00:00:00

He Sold His Luxury Watch Collection to Start His Own Filipino Watch Company

Danilo Villanueva ditched his desk job to fulfill his lifelong dream of creating his own watch brand

by | August 20, 2017 10:00:00

Become a Millionaire With These 7 Habits

These seven habits will help you earn a lot of money and achieve financial independence

byBrian Tracy | August 20, 2017 08:00:00

10 Simple Daily Practices That Will Make You Happier

Happy people don't live different lives. They just appreciate all there is to be happy about

byDeep Patel | August 20, 2017 06:00:00

Your Burnout Culture Is Hampering Your Growth

Teams that go the extra mile every day inevitably slam into a wall

byMark Robinson | August 20, 2017 02:00:00

Have You Heard About This Bacon Subscription Service?

This business delivers bacon to your doorstep regularly

byTrixie Zabal-Mendoza for | August 20, 2017 00:00:00

A DJ, Events Maven and Venture Capitalist, Katrina Razon Steps Out of Billionaire Dad’s Long Shadow

Tycoon Enrique Razon Jr.’s daughter has her hands full with 3 business ventures in 3 countries

byElyssa Christine Lopez | August 19, 2017 10:00:00

8 Ways to Overcome the Fears Blocking Your Path to Success

It starts with seeing yourself in a new, more forgiving way

byJoe De Sena | August 19, 2017 06:00:00

13 Expert Tips to Help You Build Your Instagram Following

Instagram influencers give their best advice on how you can follow in their footsteps

byMatt Sweetwood | August 19, 2017 02:00:00