Forbes Magazine named real estate tycoon and self-made billionaire Manuel Villar Jr. as the Philippines’ richest man as he topped the country’s list and ranked 317th among the 2,153 global billionaires on its list.
The 69-year-old former politician was the first wealthiest man in the country of purely Filipino descent. Villar was among the 17 Filipinos who made it to the 2019 Forbes list of the richest people in the world.
The global media company estimated Villar’s net worth at $5.5 billion due to his real estate businesses. He is currently the chairman of Starmalls and Vista & Landscapes. He also owns Golden Bria, a housing and condominium developer.
Villar, also known as the brown taipan, was the former speaker of the House and Senate president. He made an empire on property development after losing his presidential bid back in 2010. He was a former seafood vendor in Tondo who no longer “dives in a sea of trash.”
Villar replaces Sy’s spot
After the death of the Philippines’ wealthiest man SM group founder Henry Sy Sr. in January, Villar took the spot of the former richest Filipino and now led the country’s billionaires in the global media company’s list.
Forbes estimated the individual net worth of all his children. Due to their share in the family fortune, the six children of the former Philippines’ richest man still made it to the global list. The Sy siblings have a combined net worth of $13.3 billion.
Following Villar with an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion is industrialist and JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr. who ranked 343rd in the global list. Gaming tycoon and chair of International Container Terminal Services Enrique Razon Jr. followed next with $4.8 billion ranking 379th.
The fourth spot in the Philippines belonged to Lucio Tan, with a net worth of $4.4 billion. He has a diverse portfolio, ranging from tobacco, spirits, banking, and property development. Followed by Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong and family with $3.9 billion.
Sixth in the list is San Miguel Corporation President and Eagle Cement chair Ramon Ang with $2.9 billion while on the seventh place is Megaworld founder Andrew Tan with $2.7 billion.
Eight on the country’s list is Hans and Herbert Sy who tied for 962nd place globally with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion each.
They were followed by their siblings—Harley, Henry Jr. and Teresita Sy-Coson with an estimated $2.2 billion each and ranked 1,057th globally. Their sister Elizabeth ranked tenth with $1.9 billion.
Among those who made it to the list were San Miguel chair Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. with $1.4 billion; Insurance magnate Robert Coyiuto with $1.4 billion; Century Pacific founder Ricardo Po with $1.2 billion; and property developer Roberto Ongpin with $1.1 billion.
The 17 tycoons from the Philippines have a combined fortune of $47.7 billion, equivalent to around 14 percent of the country’s domestic output in 2018.
Forbes’ Wealth assistant managing editor Luisa Kroll said that the number of billionaires decreased for the first time since 2016. Kroll noted that it is only the second decrease in over 10 years.
“The billionaire ranks prove that even the world’s richest are not immune to economic forces and the volatility of world markets. Yet, even with strong headwinds, resourceful and relentless entrepreneurs find new ways to get rich,” Kroll said.