Philippines Business Tycoons' Admirable Traits

Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Jr., Lucio Tan (from L-F) Photo from Forbes

Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Jr., and Lucio Tan are some of the wealthiest individuals in the Philippines whom I admire because of their humble beginnings. Their story is worth reading and contemplating on because of their outstanding and remarkable traits that enabled them to achieve the ladder of success today.

Henry Sy is the owner of the largest retailer in the country and has invested in the banking and property industries. John Gokongwei’s businesses include air transportation, banking, food, hotels, power, chemicals, real estate and communication. Lucio Tan on the other hand, deals with tobacco, spirits, banking, property management and air transportation. 

Are you dying to find out how they’ve made it this far and how they continue to make their empires huge? Let me share with you the common traits I have learned while reading about their life stories:

1. They are hard-working. Lucio Tan for instance worked as a janitor so he could pursue the degree in chemical engineering. Similarly, after John Gokongwei, Jr.’s father died, they were left with nothing due to their debts. At 15 years old, he dropped out of school to work by selling tires and soaps in the market. Comparably, Henry Sy started his entrepreneur skills at a very young age by opening a sari-sari store business to help his family with their day-to-day life.

2. They have the drive to succeed. Despite the daunting situation and the hardships they had in the past to survive and to make ends meet, they continued on with their lives with so much enthusiasm, hope and the desire to alleviate the lives of their families.

3. They are frugal. John Gokongwei, Jr. and his family did not instantly own a humongous and lavish house. He admired the Japanese who lived in tiny homes but invested much on their state-of-the-art factories which are their cash cows.

4. They are disciplined in all aspects of their lives and have good habits.

It is certainly wise to imitate the good habits of these wealthy people. And who knows, you and I can someday be outstanding in our expertise as we continue to desire and strive for excellence. What trait do you find worth emulating from  the list?


  1. I like the "they are frugal" trait. Yan kasi nakakalimutan ng mga tao when they have more money e. As a result, they will just go back to their usual life.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, remind me that I need to work harder and save more money for the future :)


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