Most of us dream of having large sums of money to buy all the things that we desire. Unfortunately, dreaming rarely works. So ladies and gents, follow the tracks of these people and with some luck, you might end up like them. This is the top 10 list of the riches Filipino entrepreneurs.
10. Oscar Lopez ($315 million)
Chairman and chief executive officer concurrently of Benpres Holdings Corporation (Benpres) and First Philippine Holdings Corporation (First Holdings). Benpres is the publicly-listed holding company of the Lopez family for major investments in broadcast, telecommunications and cable, power generation and distribution, and road and water infrastructure. First Holdings is the specific associate holding company for power generation and distribution. Also he is he head of Meralco, ABS -CBN , and Maynilad Water.
9. Emilio Yap ($350 million)
Chinese-Filipino business magnate who was ranked 9th richest Filipino by Forbes Asia in 2006. Yap is the proprietor of the prestigious Manila Hotel and is the chairman of the daily broadsheet Manila Bulletin. The businessman also owns PhilTrust Bank and major shares of the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom).
8. Andrew Tan ($480 million)
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Megaworld Corporation, one of the country's leading property developers. He was ranked 4th richest Filipino by Forbes Asia in 2007. He is also the country's newest billionaire.
In real estate, Tan pioneered the concept of live-work-play development for condominiums and residential homes. He saw that buyers wanted to sleep, be with their families, work and enjoy leisure time, all within the same radius. The prototype of this concept is Eastwood City, carved out of what used to be barren land and a row of warehouses before 1999. Tan's Megaworld made a dark-horse bet on the outsourcing and back-office business when it developed the Eastwood City Cyberpark in Manila's northern suburbs. Tan applied for and received the kind of government tax incentives usually given to the Philippines' industrial export-processing zones. Big tenants such as IBM soon moved their back-office operations there. A train of other companies including payroll and accounting services, animation houses and call centers followed.
7. Tony Tan Caktiong ($575 million)
Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Philippine fast food chain Jollibee. Jollibee now has over 600 stores in the Philippines and 27 international stores in countries such as the United States and Hong Kong.
After graduating from the University of Sto. Tomas in 1975 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Tan Caktiong set up the Cubao Ice Cream House in the Coronet Theater and the Quiapo Ice Cream House with money borrowed from his parents. He was newly married to his wife Grace then, and he needed a business in order to start a family. Tan Caktiong had initially planned just a parlor solely selling ice cream, but when he noticed that customers were looking for more than just ice cream, he decided to start serving sandwiches as well. Additional dishes such as hamburgers, french fries, and fried chicken soon followed.
6. John Gokongwei ($700 million)
Filipino businessman with holdings in telecom, financial services, petrochemicals, power, aviation and hog farming. In 2005, he was listed by Forbes as the 34th richest person in Southeast Asia, with a fortune of US$425 million. Some say that the Forbes estimate of Mr. Gokongwei's fortune is very low, considering his large business portfolio.
He is the chairman of JG Summit Holdings, one of largest conglomerates in the Philippines. Some estimates of his fortune tagged at a very conservative $4.5 billion well above the $425 million that Forbes estimates. In 2005, his company had spent $700 million of internally generated funds for acquiring new aircrafts for his airline, Cebu Pacific Air, the second largest carrier in the Philippines. From 2003 up to the present his telecom arm Digitel Telecommunication has spent nearly $800 million for its mobile unit Sun Cellular which is now 3rd largest mobile operator in the Philippines. He is in talks right now for his possible $1 billion takeover of UIC a property giant from Singapore which he owns more than 30% already. UIC controls Singapore Land one of the biggest property landlord in Singapore. Gokongwei also owns Universal Robina Corporation, largest manufacturer of snacks in the Philippines and the maker of the very successful C2 green tea drink in the country. He also controls Robinsons Land one of the biggest property concerns in the Philippines that operates the Robinsons Malls.
5. George Ty ($830 million)
Filipino-Chinese finance tycoon. He founded Metropolitan Bank and Trust, currently the largest bank in terms of Assets and Capital in the Philippines. He also has stakes in the Bank of the Philippine Islands and Philippine Savings Bank, a Metrobank subsidiary.
4. Eduardo Cojuangco ($840 million)
Filipino tycoon and powerbroker. He is the chief executive of San Miguel Corporation, the Philippines' largest food and beverage conglomerate. He has tried his hands in politics, running for president once but eventually losing to Fidel V. Ramos. He almost entered the presidential race again a few years after his loss but later withdrew. Cojuangco has since played only supporting roles in government, successfully fielding candidates for national and local elections and endorsing political appointees.
Other than owning the largest food and beverage corporation in the country and several other companies, Cojuangco and his family also have economic influence particularly in the province of Negros. When he and his close friend Ferdinand Marcos left the country in 1986, Cojuangco was estimated to have acquired over of 5,300 hectares of agricultural lands in the towns of Himamaylan, Isabela, La Castellana, La Carlota, Pontevedra and San Enrique. He was also engaged in sugar farms, orchards, cattle ranches, fighting cocks breeding farms business before he left. Upon his return in the Philippines in 1991, he made the province as a base for his recovery, busying himself in various expansion projects there yet again. In 2005, he lost 27% of San Miguel Corporation's stock following a court decision, and he still faces civil suit over some more stocks the government holds "ill-gotten" from the Martial Law era. Recent estimates however hold that today, the Cojuangcos own more than 20,000 hectares of productive agricultural lands in Negros alone.
3. Jaime Zobel de Ayala ($2.0 billion)
Prominent Filipino businessman and photographer. He served as both president and chairman of Ayala Corporation from 1984 to 1994 (succeeding his first cousin, Enrique Zobel), when he retired as president. In 2006 he retired as chairman; he is currently chairman emeritus of the corporation. His eldest son, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, is chairman and chief executive officer of Ayala while his younger son, Fernando Zobel, is president of the corporation.
Zobel graduated from Harvard University in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts in architectural science. He was Philippine ambassador to the Court of St. James's in London and the Scandinavian countries from 1970 to 1975. He is married to Beatriz Miranda Zobel de Ayala.
In the 2006 Forbes ranking of billionaires, "Jaime Zobel de Ayala & family" was ranked #606 with a net worth of US$1.3 billion.
In 2007, Jaime Zobel de Ayala tied with Henry Sy as the richest person in the Philippines with a net worth of $2.6 Billion according to Forbes magazine.
Zobel de Ayala's principal hobby is photography. He is considered a world class photographer. He specializes in art photography over the last 30 years. He was the first Filipino amateur photographer to be awarded a Licentiate by the Royal Photographic Society. He has received numerous awards in the Philippines and internationally. He was commended also by the French and Spanish governments for his contributions to art and culture. He is a member of the Camera Club of the Philippines.
2. Lucio Tan ($2.3 billion)
One of the most prominent business magnates in the Philippines. He owns Asia Brewery, the second largest brewery in the Philippines, Tanduay Holdings, one of the world's largest rum makers, Fortune Tobacco, the largest tobacco company in the country, Philippine Airlines the Philippines' flag carrier, (these companies are just some of the 300 companies that Tan controls). According to some estimates, the total value of his business empire would not be less than $2.3 billion, and he controls 40 to 60% of that.
1. Henry Sy ($4.0 billion)
Known as the Father of Philippine Retailing, is the founder and chairman of the SM Group of Companies. Regarded as the country’s retail pioneer, Sy started out as the owner of a small shoe store in Quiapo in 1946, and has since become the patriarch of the Philippines’ biggest and largest chain of shopping malls -- SM Shoemart. He founded SM Department Store (Shoe Mart, 1958), set up the first air-conditioned shoe store, the first integrated mall, the first mall chain, and the biggest shopping mall in Asia and the 3rd biggest in the world. He is one of the three billionaires topping the list of the Philippines’ 40 richest persons with a net worth of $3.1 billion. Henry Sy is also the Philippines’ largest banker ($1.69 billion equity) and the biggest long-term investor in tourism.
Henry Sy's family left China when he was 12 years old and opened a grocery store in Manila. He studied at Far Eastern University and worked after school as a middleman, buying and selling shoes. After some success in the buy-and-sell business, he sold shoes himself, traveling 40 hours by propeller plane to New York to get the goods. He picked up retailing ideas from his trips to the US and, upon returning to the Philippines, started his own shoe store in Quiapo, then the commercial capital of Manila.