Richest Filipinos 2023
The Forbes list of billionaires from the Philippines shows the collective wealth of the Top 50 has grown to about $80 billion. Image Credit: Bloomberg, Reuters, Gulf News File

Manila: Filipino business tycoons are undeterred by economic downturns, having found ways to turn challenges into opportunities — by expanding, diversifying, and building resilience.

Now, the Sy siblings continue to top the list of 50 wealthiest Filipinos, according to Forbes Magazine in 2023. The six Sy siblings — Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley — inherited their fortune from their late father Henry Sy Sr. who built the SM Group, a banking, real estate, and retail conglomerate.


Their combined net worth — $14.4 billion, up $1.8 billion (Php101.9 billion) from last year — comes mostly from shares in the group's publicly-traded companies, SM Investments Corp (largest conglomerate) and SM Prime.

The group run by the siblings has been on a deliberate diversification push, notably into infrastructure, especially power generation and telecommunications.

In August, SM Investments Corp. unveiled forays into renewables with a $278.4-million (Php15.77-billion) deal to acquire a geothermal power company, allowing it to control 100 per cent of Philippine Geothermal Production Company Inc. (PGPC), operator of Tiwi and Mak-Ban (Makiling-Banahaw) fields — which together produce 300 megawatts.

Henry Sy Jr and Elon Musk
Filipino billionaire Henry Sy Jr. (left) and US billionaire Elon Musk.

In October, Data Lake Inc (controlled by Henry Sy Jr.), announced a deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to bring satellite internet service to the Asian country. The service went live this year, bringing high-speed internet to remote areas (the archipelago is made up of 7,641 islands), though it's unclear if a similar deal to bring Tesla to the Philippines's major cities will happen, if at all. 

Fortunes up

Collectively, the Filipino business moguls' combined fortune increased by 11 per cent to $80 billion (Php4.5 trillion), as their companies continued to diversify amid post-pandemic recovery, according to the publication.

Property tycoon Manuel Villar Jr., a former senator whose wife Cynthia and son Mark are currently serving as senators, came second with $9.7 billion on the Forbes 2023 list, though he's on top of the list on an individual basis. 

Manny Villar with Duterte
Filipino business tycoon Manny Villar Jr (left) seated with former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. File photo Image Credit: AFP

Enrique Razon Jr., with an estimated wealth of $8.1 billion, comes in third. International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), a global port operator, and Bloomberry Resorts Corp., a gaming operator, are both controlled by Razon.

Enrique Razon richest Filipinos
Filipino business tycoon Enrique Razon has interests in port operations, property development, gaming, mining and oil exploration.

At No. 4 is Ramon Ang, with $3.4 billion. He is at the helm of food, beverage, energy, and infrastructure conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC). Ang, whose company funded the Manila Skyway project, is dubbed as the Philippines' mergers and acquisitions "king". He continues to diversify his portfolio and is known as one of the country’s most ambitious billionaires. SMC's energy arm, San Miguel Global Power (SMGP), is now one of the largest power companies in the Philippines.  

Ramon Ang Filipino billionaire
Filipino billionaire Ramon Ang, President and CEO of San Miguel Corp., a major Philippine conglomerate. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Tony Tan Caktiong, founder of the fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp., comes in at No. 5 on the list, with a net worth of $3.2 billion (up $600 million).

Tony Tan Caktiong
Image Credit: Facebook

The Aboitiz family ($3.15 billion) who controls the country's top power generating firm; Lance Gokongwei and  siblings ($3 billion), who are involved in property, retail, food manufacturing and aviation (owner of Cebu-Pacific, the country's largest airline); Isidro Consunji and his siblings ($2.9 billion), the family behind property developer DMCI Holdings; Jaime Zobel de Ayala ($2.8 billion), top man at listed Ayala Corp., one of the oldest conglomerates in the Philippines; and Lucio Tan ($2.6 billion), head of the conglomerate LT Group, Inc., (with interests in banking, sports, airline, beverages, tobacco, real estate, and education) completed the list of the top 10 richest Filipinos.

Andrew Lim Tan, stood at No. 11 with $2.4 billion. He is the helm of Alliance Global, a holding company with interests in food and beverage, gaming and real estate. Forbes said the three newcomers on the Top 50 list were the Filinvest Group’s Gotianun family ($850 million), Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Yuchengco family ($420 million) and Federico Lopez ($300 million), whose family owns the power-generation company First Gen Corp. and broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp.

Philippines: 2023 Forbes Top 10 richest

  • Sy siblings — $14.4 billion (up $1.8 billion)
  • Manuel Villar — $9.7 billion (up $1.9 billion)
  • Enrique Razon Jr. — $8.1 billion (up $2.5 billion)
  • Ramon Ang — $3.4 billion (up $950 million)
  • Tony Tan Caktiong — $3.2 billion (up $600 million)
  • Aboitiz Family — $3.15 billion (up $250 million)
  • Lance Gokongwei and siblings — $3 billion (down $100 million)
  • Isidro Consunji and siblings — $2.9 billion (up $250 million)
  • Jaime Zobel de Ayala — $2.8 billion (up $250 million)
  • Lucio Tan — $2.6 billion (up $1.4 billion)


As the country faces headwinds fuelled by high inflation and interest rates, as well as the high cost of power (among the highest in Asia), some Filipino billionaires have set their sights in nuclear power generation, potentially through the so-called Small Modular Reators (SMR) or nano-reactors, though the challenging approval process may take years.