Philippine tycoons

‘Yes, I’ve been to Robinsons’: JAZA, Lance Gokongwei chat about hobbies, urban legends

Ralf Rivas
‘Yes, I’ve been to Robinsons’: JAZA, Lance Gokongwei chat about hobbies, urban legends

BUSINESS LEADERS. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (left) with Lance Gokongwei.

BPI/After Six

Lance Gokongwei tells Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala that he could've been a basketball player, had he not joined the family business

MANILA, Philippines – What do you get when two of the most influential business leaders chat on a talk show? 

Funny anecdotes and a hint of friendly competition.

In his online show After Six, Ayala Corporation chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala interviewed JG Summit Holdings chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei, asking a series of questions ranging from business strategies to hobbies.

“You always visit your favorite Robinsons mall incognito – true or false?” Zobel asked.

“That’s true, I visit the mall, and my Robinsons mall people, I think they indulge me and pretend that they don’t recognize me,” Gokongwei responded.

Gokongwei then turned the tables and asked Zobel if he visits Robinsons Malls to check out competition. 

“I don’t think I’ve gone shopping there, but it’s always nice to go and look at what people are doing, what new ideas they have. So I have been to your mall, scout it out, and see what new things you guys are doing, that’s true,” said Zobel, who leads Ayala Malls.

Gokongwei also shared that had he not pursued leading the family business, he could have been a basketball player.

“When I was much younger, I really enjoyed playing basketball. Maybe I would’ve wanted to be a basketball player. Of course, my skill set never was commensurate to my aspirations, but [in] my older years, they always invited me to be part of the alumni school team. I was always the 12th man because they needed somebody to sponsor the team,” Gokongwei said, laughing.

Zobel went on to ask the question that has been asked many, many times: Is there really a snake at the basement of Robinsons?

“No snake, and if there would’ve been a snake, my sister Robina would’ve caught it and converted it into a handbag,” Gokongwei said.

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Watch the full interview here–

Ralf Rivas

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