By Jennifer T. Santos
MAKATI CITY – For the fifth straight year, former Senate President and Speaker Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. remains the country’s richest Filipino based on the Forbes Billionaires List for 2023.
Villar, who is a real estate tycoon known for housing and township development, malls, condominiums, among others,, saw his wealth grow to $8.6 billion, topping 13 other wealthy Filipinos in the Forbes list.
Forbes estimated Villar’s real-time net worth at $9 billion as of April 4, 2023.
The influential magazine cited Villar’s stake in Golden MV Holdings as his biggest asset, as it develops mass housing projects and memorial parks. He also chairs Vista Land & Lifescapes, which listed its real estate investment trust (REIT) on the Philippine Stock Exchange in June 2022.
Villar’s wife Cynthia Aguilar Villar and son Mark Villar are current senators, while his daughter Camille currently serves as a member of the Philippine Congress representing Las Piñas City.
International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) chair Enrique Razon Jr. followed Villar in the list with a $7.3-billion net worth, making him the 312th richest person in the world.
Razon expanded the business overseas, after being started by his grandfather in 1916, and rebuilt by his father after World War II.
The third richest Filipino now is San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) chairman and president Ramon Ang with a $3.4-billion net worth. He was listed as the 852nd richest across the globe.
SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) co-vice-chairman Henry Sy, Jr. followed as he was ranked 1,217th richest with a $2.5-billion net worth. He also serves as chairman of SM Prime Holdings, which operates the group’s property arm.
Alliance Global Inc.’s (AGI) chair Andrew Tan was listed as the world’s 1,217th richest with a $2.5-billion net worth, with his firm having interests in food, beverage, gaming, and real estate.
They were followed by siblings Harley Sy and Teresita Sy-Coson at 1,368th with $2.2 billion each. Both currently serve as executives of the SM Group their father started. Their sister Elizabeth Sy was ranked 1,575th with $1.9 billion.
Lance Gokongwei, the only son of the late John Gokongwei Jr., came in at 2,020th with $1.4 billion. He is currently the president and chief executive officer of JG Summit Holdings Inc., which has interests in food, real estate and hospitality, air transportation, banking, and petrochemicals.
Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong was ranked 2,259th with $1.2 billion. The group’s brands include Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, among others.
Iñigo Zobel returned to the list with a $1-billion net worth, making him the 2,540th richest globally. A cousin of the Zobel patriarch Jaime Zobel de Ayala, most of his fortune is from a stake in San Miguel where he sits on the board.
The global list was topped by LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault with $211 billion, Elon Musk with $180 billion, Jeff Bezos with $114 billion, Larry Ellison with $107 billion, and Warren Buffett with $106 billion.