Manny Villar is now Philippines’ richest

Ralf Rivas
Manny Villar is now Philippines’ richest

Alecs Ongcal

From a Tondo boy swimming in trash, Manny Villar emerges as the Philippines' richest, according to Forbes' 2019 richest Filipinos list

MANILA, Philippines – From diving in a sea of trash as a child, Manny Villar has emerged as the Philippines’ richest, according to Forbes 2019 list of richest people in the world.

The 69-year-old boasts a net worth of $5.5 billion, thanks to his real estate businesses.

Villar, who once aspired to be the country’s president, is currently the chairman of Starmalls and Vista & Landscapes. He also owns Golden Bria, a housing and condominium developer.

He takes the spot of SM’s Henry Sy, who passed away last January 19.

Villar’s ascent to the top was quick, as he was just at the 12th spot last 2017. Villar now ranks 317th worldwide.

The runner-up for the country’s richest is JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr., with a net worth of $5.1 billion.

Gaming tycoon and chair of International Container Terminal Services Enrique Razon Jr ranks 3rd, with a net worth of $4.8 billion.

Taking the 4th spot is Lucio Tan, with a net worth of $4.4 billion. He has a diverse portfolio, ranging from tobacco, spirits, banking, and property development.

Meanwhile, Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong and his family moved a notch up the list, taking in the 5th spot with a net worth of $3.9 billion.

Jumping by 2 places up the list is San Miguel president Ramon Ang. He has a net worth of $2.9 billion.

Another rags-to-riches story making it on the list is Andrew Tan, taking the 7th spot with a net worth of $2.7 billion. 

Tan heads Alliance Global, a listed holding firm which packs big subsidiaries, including Megaworld and Emperador. He also heads Jollibee’s prime rival McDonald’s Philippines.

Newcomers on the list are all 6 of Sy’s children. Hans and Herbert got the 8th spot with a net worth of $2.4 billion.

Harley ($2.2 billion), Henry Jr. ($2.2 billion), Teresita ($2.2 billion), and Elizabeth ($1.9 billion), take up the 9th and 10th spots.

Tied at the 11th spot are Marcos crony Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and Robert Coyiuto Jr. They have a net worth of $1.4 billion. 

Taking the 12th place is Ricardo Po Sr. and his family with a net worth of $1.2 billion. He is into the food business, most notably Century Pacific and fast food chain Shakey’s, and is into the properties sector as well.

Rounding up the country’s billionaires is Roberto Ongpin, with a net worth of $1.1 billion. Ongpin has many business interests, including properties, leisure, and gaming.

With all their cash combined, all 17 of them have a total net worth of $47.7 billion. The latest figure is lower than last year’s $55.2 billion with 12 billionaires. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.