Culture

The Most Prominent Families in Manila

The families who have been influencing the past and present of the Philippines for generations.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE RUFINO FAMILY,MADRIGAL FAMILY
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In this list, separated into four parts, we've narrowed down the city's most respected names and selected the very best. Here are the most prominent families in Manila.

The Most Powerful Families

Aboitiz

The family is currently engaged in banking, power, and real estate among many other ventures. It traces its history in the Philippines to a Spaniard of Basque origin, Paulino Aboitiz, who arrived in the 1870s. He married the daughter of a well-to-do merchant a few years later, and started the rise of the Aboitiz clan in the southern Philippines, first in Leyte and later in Cebu. Starting with abaca trade, the family diversified following the claim of Paulino’s son Ramon (1887-1974) that “Any business where we can make money, we will go into.” Today, the family conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures is headed by CEO and president Erramon Aboitiz and COO Sabin Aboitiz with other relatives on the board.

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Photo by Courtesy of the Aboitiz family.

Zobel de Ayala

The family behind the Ayala Group of Companies (Ayala Land, BPI, Globe Telecom, Manila Water) traces its roots in the Philippines to Antonio de Ayala, who arrived in the early 1800s. The Zobel part of the name comes courtesy of Jacobo Zobel, who married Trinidad, Antonio’s daughter. The current patriarch, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, is happily retired, stepping down to devote more time to his photography hobby, most likely. His two sons, Jaime Augusto (“JAZA”) and Fernando, out of the seven children, work for the Ayala group. JAZA’s children Mariana and Jaime Alfonso, both Harvard graduates, also work with their family's companies.

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Photo by Courtesy of the Zobel de Ayala family.

Lopez

Few families have gone through the ebbs and flows of fortune like the Lopezes of Iloilo. Guiding the family through its most difficult times was Don Eugenio Lopez (1901-1975), who resurrected the family fortunes (drawn mostly from sugar) after World War II, only to lose almost everything in the dark days of martial law. Though he didn’t live to see his companies (Meralco, ABS-CBN, Manila Chronicle) returned to the family, his sons Geny (“El Capitan”), Oscar, and Manolo ushered in a new era of prosperity after the 1986 EDSA revolution. The next generation is led by Piki Lopez (First Philippine Holdings) and Gaby Lopez (ABS-CBN).

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The Lopez clan during Eugenio and Pacita's Ruby Anniversary in 1968
Photo by Courtesy of the Lopez family.

Yuchengco

After inheriting his father’s insurance business, Alfonso Yuchengco steadily built an empire of his own, getting involved in everything from banking and education (RCBC, Mapua Institute of Technology) to car dealerships and construction (Honda, EEI Corporation). “A.Y.”—as the ambassador is known in business circles—is a food and wine aficionado, and a member of the exclusive Chaine des Rotisseurs. He passed away on April 15, 2017. His eldest child, Helen Y. Dee, now runs the Yuchengco Group of Companies.

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Alfonso Yuchengco
Photo by Courtesy of the Yuchengco family.

Villar

Henry Sy's passing put property developer Manny Villar at the top spot of Forbes' list of wealthiest people in the Philippines. The self-made billionaire is estimated to be worth $6.2 billion. Villar is currently the chairman of Starmalls and Vista & Landscapes. His son Paolo manages Vista while his wife Cynthia is a politician. She garnered the highest votes for senator in the 2019 mid-term elections.

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Antonio

Marco, Carlo, Jigger, and Robbie Antonio
Photo by Dix Perez.

The son of a banker, Jose Antonio founded his Century Properties real estate firm in 1986, just six days before the EDSA revolution. “Perhaps nine out of 10 of the most successful and wealthiest families derived and continue to derive incomes from real estate,” he reasoned in one interview. Today Antonio and his family are among the richest in the country. Together with Robbie's prefabricated homes, Jose is worth an estimated $400 million according to Forbes magazine. With all of his sons—Jigger, Marco, Robbie, and Carlo—involved in the business, the empire of the Antonios is ever expanding. The group’s exclusive developments include the Trump Tower, Knightsbridge, and Gramercy Residences, Century City Mall, as well as collaborations with Philippe Starck, Missoni Home, and Versace Home.

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Gotianun

Andrew Gotianun called it a day back in the 1980s, hoping to spend a life in easy retirement with his wife Mercedes. But not much later he was back in business, taking charge again of Filinvest Development Corporation, the company he founded in 1955, armed with new ideas on how to take it further. His second wind gave Filinvest enough momentum to push the Gotianuns up the list of Forbes' richest families. His wife, Mercedes, is ranks 17th richest in 2018. He passed away in March 2016, with four of his children carrying the load in the company, Josephine (president and CEO), Jonathan (chairman), Andrew Jr. (director), and Michael (vice president). His wife Mercedes is chairman emeritus.

Tan

From living in a small one-room apartment to owning vast tracts of land here and in Spain (with more than 1,500 hectares of vineyards for his brandy business alone), Andrew Tan has come a long way in a relatively short time. He became a millionaire at 27 through his appliance business, but it was his distillery (makers of Emperador Brandy) and real estate firm (Megaworld) that elevated him to megarich status. His wife Katherine is also involved in the family businesses. The couple has four children: Kevin, Kendrick, Kester, and Kara.

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Tan

Over the past five years, the consolidation of El Capitan’s companies has paid off. Share prices of Lucio Tan’s companies got a boost thanks to the prospect of more efficient management (eldest son Michael is in charge). In 2018, Forbes listed Tan as the seventh richest in the land. At 84, Tan is still very much hands-on, known for calling business meetings with his top brass that last deep into the night. Daughter Cherry is married to Alfred Ty, son of Metrobank’s George Ty.

Lucio Tan
Photo by Getty Images.
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Araneta

The Aranetas of the LBC group have an interesting ancestor in the form of Don Gregorio Soriano Araneta, the secretary general of Emilio Aguinaldo’s Malolos Republic who also became the first Filipino solicitor general and secretary of justice and finance. Don Antonio Araneta, one of Gregorio’s 14 children, bought LBC Aircargo from its American owners in 1950, but it was his son Carlos “Linggoy” Araneta who made the firm a household name with his idea for 24-hour delivery service (Renamed LBC Express in 1988). 

Don Antonio Araneta with son Linggoy in Germany, 1958
Photo by Courtesy of the Araneta family.
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Delgado

Three prominent branches of the Delgado family were at one time all part of, appropriately enough, the Delgado Brothers company. Founded by Antonio Delgado in 1946 with his brother Francisco (Don Paco) and Jose, Delbros was a pioneer in logistics, later on expanding into trading, investments, and port operations. After leaving the company, Don Paco further increased his wealth by going into shipping and real estate. Today Delbros is run by Antonio’s son Eduardo (married to Margarita Delgado of Teach for the Philippines) and grandson Jose Paolo Delgado.

Yap

Known to be one of the more flamboyant of the Filipino-Chinese tycoons, Emilio Yap’s crown jewel is the Manila Hotel, which is over a century old. He passed away in 2014, but the family’s influence and power carry on, much of which still comes from the Manila Bulletin, the daily paper his family has been involved in since the 1960s. The family is also into banking (Philtrust Bank), pharmaceuticals (Euro Med Laboratories), shipping (President Lines) and education (Centro Escolar University). Emilio’s son Basilio Yap took over as chairman of both Manila Hotel and Manila Bulletin, while his grandson Emil Yap III continued to serve as vice chairman of the hotel and president of the newspaper and Enrique Yap Jr. takes the reins as the hotel's executive vice president.

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The late Emilio Yap
Photo by Medal Elepano.

Rufino

A big family of real estate moguls, bankers, philanthropists, and artists, the different branches can trace their roots from the children of Macario Rufino: Ernesto, Vicente, Ester, and Rafael (their initials are where the old EVER Theater in downtown Manila got its name). The siblings developed a chain of cinemas, including the legendary Rizal theater and QUAD in partnership with the Ayalas. They also co-founded two banks. Charlie, the son of Vicente Rufino (yes, the street in Makati is named after him) and brother of Marixi Prieto, is among the most visible of the current generation, being one of the top developers in Taguig and Makati. The artist Marivic, the daughter of Rafael, is also a regular on the social circuit.

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Ditas, Charlie, Cory, Marixi, mom Meding, Pixie, and Ma. Paz Rufino
Photo by Courtesy of the Rufino family.

Tantoco

If there’s a family who knows about luxury, it’s the Tantocos. Since 1951, when Bienvenido Tantoco and his wife Gliceria Rustia opened Rustan’s (a clever portmanteau of their names) the family has provided only the best in retail shopping for discerning Filipino consumers. With the third generation of Tantocos there has been a growing expansion, not just in the acquisition of foreign luxury brands, but notably in restaurant and retail franchising, such as with Starbucks, and most recently, Shake Shack under Store Specialists, Inc.

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Menchu T. Lopez, Nedy Tantoco, Gliceria Tantoco, Merl Tantoco-Pineda, and Bienvenido Tantoco
Photo by Courtesy of the Tantoco family.

Chan

After emigrating from Fujian Province, China, in the 1940s, Chan Lib and See Ying established the trading company Liwayway Marketing in post-war Manila. Who knew that it would lay the foundation for a multitude of successful business ventures including snack items (Oishi), lighting and bathroom fixtures (Chan C Bros), as well as a best-selling apparel brand (Bench)? The most prominent of the couple’s children are the media-shy Carlos Chan, and Nenita Chan Lim and Ben Chan, both of Suyen Corporation, the parent company of Bench and Dimensione, among other lifestyle brands. The third generation of Chans—including Carlos’s six children and Nenita’s two—are slowly filling in the big footsteps of their parents in their respective companies.

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Ben Chan
Photo by Magic Liwanag.

Gokongwei

The story of this family’s patriarch doesn’t quite follow the typical rags to riches arc. Riches to rags to riches would be more apt. Born to a well off Chinese family in Cebu, the family fortune was lost when John’s father died suddenly. He revealed how he got back on his feet with a speech at the 20th Ad Congress: "So, what can I do? I worked." Now 92, Gokongwei has surrendered duties in his companies to his children. Only son Lance picks up most of the slack at Cebu Pacific and JG Summit, while eldest child Robina is the president of Robinsons Retail Holdings, which has Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Handyman, Mini Stop, and True Value under its wing.

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John Gokongwei with son Lance
Photo by Courtesy of the Gokongwei family.

Tan Caktiong

Tony Tan Caktiong’s family run company is truly bigger than ever with more Jollibee branches across the globe opening regularly. According to Forbes, it is the “fastest-growing Asian restaurant chain in the world” to date. Hey, even Anthony Bourdain gave the Aloha burger a thumbs up. Over the years, the family snapped up other fast-food restaurants including Chowking, Greenwich Pizza, and Red Ribbon, among others, all leading to a rise in Jollibee’s listed share price (and Tan’s net worth, $3.7 billion as of 2019). Part of the company since the beginning, Tan’s wife Grace leads the Jollibee Foundation, while eldest child and only son Carl Brian is the company’s business development director.

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Sy

Even before his unfortunate passing in 2019, patriarch Henry Sy had long since transferred power in his various companies to his six children. Tessie Coson is in charge of the family’s banking interests in BDO Unibank; Elizabeth takes care of SM Hotels & Conventions Corporation. The eldest son, Henry Jr., chairs SM Prime, while Hans chairs the National University. Harley is in charge of the retail units Supervalue and Super Shopping Market (SM Hypermart), while Harley, the youngest, oversees the department stores division and SM Investments.

Henry Sy
Photo by Courtesy of the Sy family.
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Ty

When a young George S.K. Ty ran out of money in his early 20s (he was setting up a flourmill at the time), he asked for a loan from a bank. Furious about getting denied, he vowed to put up a bank of his own. At 29 he did just that, opening Metrobank in 1962. It is still the greatest source of the Ty family’s wealth, but they have diversified by going into real estate, insurance, and power generation. Ty might be ranked higher on the list of richest Filipinos, if not for his philanthropic nature—he once donated $100 million to build a Catholic church in China and funded the building of a technical school in Laguna. Sons Arthur and Alfred now run the bulk of the family enterprises after their father passed away in 2018.

Campos

What began with a small corner store owned by Jose Yao Campos in 1945 is now the country’s largest drug-manufacturing company. And though the founder died in 2006, Unilab is still a family run business, now helmed by his daughter Joy Campos Hess and her son, Clinton Hess. Jose’s eldest son, Butch, runs another family founded company, Nutri-Asia, and serves as vice chairman of Del Monte Philippines, while also serving as chairman of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation. Jeffrey D.Y. Campos oversees the family’s vast real estate holdings through Greenfields Development, whose projects include a multi-hectare property in Mandaluyong and the joint venture with another prominent family in Santa Rosa, Ayala Greenfield Estates.

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Consunji

Cornflakes in the morning, then paksiw na bangus or torta for lunch—simple fare for a not-so-simple man, David Consunji of DMCI. The construction titan was the ninth richest Filipino according to Forbes magazine at one point, but he was known for honesty and simple living. While the architects behind famous buildings are better known, it was Consunji’s company that erected them: the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine International Convention Center, Westin Philippine Plaza, and the Ayala Triangle, just to name a few. Consunji left the businesses to the next generation when he died in 2017. His son, Isidro, is now president of the DMCI Holdings.

Lorenzo

You don’t get to have a university sports facility named after you for no reason. Luis “Moro” Lorenzo certainly earned that right, after being a hoops star for Ateneo in the late 1940s and later as a visionary businessman. In the early 1980s he purchased and turned around a failing banana exporting company; now Lapanday Holdings is one of the largest independent producers and exporters of pineapples and bananas in the country. He passed away in 1997. From his eight children, eldest daughter Rica L. Davila is now the firm’s CEO and chair, while her younger brother Tomas is the vice chair. Outside the company, Martin found success operating numerous restaurant chains, while youngest Isa is an esteemed gallerist and artist.

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Luis Lorenzo
Photo by Courtesy of the Lorenzo family.

Concepcion

Behind the continuing success of this multi-generational business family are perhaps the most prominent set of twins in Philippine society, Ronnie and Joe Concepcion. The 86-year-old brothers born just 10 minutes apart are the sons of industrialist Jose Concepcion Sr., the founder of Concepcion Industries and co-founder of RFM Flour Mills along with Salvador and Victoria Araneta, the inlaws of Joecon. Ronnie’s side of the family includes Ton Concepcion as well as current Concepcion Industries president, Raul Anthony Concepcion. John of Selecta and Joey of Go Negosyo fame are the sons of Joecon. The twins’ sister is Mely Concepcion Hechanova, whose daughter, Renna, is vice chair of Concepcion Industrial Corporation.

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The Concepcion couples, from left: Joe and Marivic Concepcion, Paeng and Mely Hechanova, Jose and Hermina Concepcion, Ronnie and Menchu Concepcion, Rene and Susan Concepcion
Photo by Courtesy of the Concepcion family.

The Most Inspiring Families

Aquino

When Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III ran for president in 2010, he had a number of things going for him, but perhaps the most important was the legacy of the Aquino name. His father Ninoy was widely admired for his uncompromising stand against the Marcos administration—his assassination in 1983 sparked a chain of events that ultimately led to Marcos’ ouster three years later—while his mother Cory was a symbol of virtue and honesty during her six-year term as president. 

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Ninoy and Cory Aquino with their children Noynoy, Pinky, Kris, Viel, and Ballsy
Photo by Courtesy of the Ninoy and Cory Foundation.

Belmonte

This powerful and inspiring family influences countless Filipinos daily through its newspaper business as well as through politics. Though Betty Go Belmonte passed away more than 20 years ago, her legacy is still felt through the Philippine Star, a newspaper she co-founded in 1986. The daughter of Go Puan Seng of the Fookien Times, Betty married Feliciano Belmonte, a lawyer and former reporter for the Manila Chronicle (and now Speaker of the House of Representatives)—so publishing and politics clearly runs in the family’s veins. The couple’s children have followed their lead: Miguel, Kevin, and Isaac Belmonte split duties at the Philippine Star, while daughter Joy is the mayor of Quezon City.

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Sonny and Betty Belmonte with Miguel, Kevin, Joy, and Isaac
Photo by Courtesy of the Belmonte family..

Benitez

For many years, the extended Benitez family has produced writers, politicians, and educators. Among the most celebrated was Helena Benitez, the daughter of Philippine Women’s University founders Conrado Benitez and Francisca Tirona. Tita Helen, as she was fondly called, was a senator, diplomat, arts and culture patron (she helped found the Bayanihan dance troupe) and women’s rights advocate. She died in 2016 at the age of 102. The Benitez family compound, Mira Nila in San Juan, has been declared a National Heritage Site, while the university is currently being run by a fourth generation member, Francisco B. Benitez.

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Prieto

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s chair, Marixi Prieto, is also a scion of another family on this list, the Rufinos. Two of Marixi’s five children with husband Alex work with the daily: Sandy P. Romualdez is the president and CEO, while Tessa has a lifestyle column. Another prominent branch of the Prieto family stems from Leo’s cousin, the late Leo Prieto, a sportsman and founding commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association. Married to society doyenne and queen of etiquette, Mary Prieto, Leo’s children include Marylou Lovina, Leo Jr., and Mike Prieto.

Ramos

The slogan of National Book Store’s loyalty card rings true: so many of us love books because we are “laking National.” The founder of the ubiquitous chain of stores is 95, but Nanay Coring shows no signs of slowing down. Despite her success, she still prays for the same things every night. “Good health, good business, and please help me pay the utang,” she revealed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her granddaughter Xandra Ramos Padilla is now managing director of National Book Store and president of Anvil Publshing.

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Socorro “Nanay Coring” Ramos
Photo by Lilen Uy.

Robredo

Though taken from us far too soon, the late Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo continues to inspire thanks to his honesty, integrity, and dedication to serve. His efforts did not go unrecognized during his lifetime, thankfully, as he was honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2000 for his public service. With her husband as a guiding light, his widow Leni has picked up the fight against traditional politics, successfully becoming Vice President of the Philippines after a term in Congress.

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The Most Influential and Enduring Families

Montinola

According to family lore, the first Montinola to reach Philippine shores was Juan Montinola, who arrived in 1781 from Malaga, Spain. By the mid-1800s, the family had already risen to prominence in Iloilo. Ruperto Montinola, the great-grandfather of former Bank of the Philippine Islands president Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III, was even elected the province’s governor. It was Aurelio Sr., a lawyer, who established the family in Manila shortly after World War II. One of his sons, Aurelio Jr., married Lourdes Reyes, the only daughter of Nicanor Reyes, the founder of Far Eastern University. Since Gigi stepped down from BPI, he’s busied himself with being the FEU’s chairman, sitting on the board alongside his mother, sister Gianna, and brothers Juan Miguel and Anton.

Lourdes Montinola with son Gigi and granddaughter Sophia
Photo by Mandy Navasero.
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Laurel

The family used to be a fixture in politics, but as the clan expanded, so has its realm of influence in society. Today’s generation of prominent Laurels are descendants of the nine children of José P. Laurel (1891-1959), the third President of the Philippines. Among the notables in the brood were former Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel, former Senate President Pro Tempore Sotero Laurel II, former House Speaker José Laurel Jr., and Arsenio Laurel, whom sports buffs will remember for winning the Macau Grand Prix twice. In this generation, we have the educators Bobby and Peter Laurel of Lyceum University (Manila, Laguna, and Batangas), fashion designer Rajo Laurel, stage actors Cocoy and Franco Laurel, and television personalities Patty and Denise Laurel.

Jose P. Laurel with Rose Laurel-Avencena, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Pacencia Laurel, Nene Laurel, and Alice Yulo Laurel
Photo by Courtesy of the Laurel family.
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Cojuangco

No list about Philippine families is complete without mentioning the Cojuangcos. The descendants of a Chinese immigrant, Co Yu Hwan, members of this extended family have become influential in business, politics, and society, settling first in Bulacan and then Tarlac. From the second generation, Melecio Cojuangco’s children were Jose Cojuangco Sr. (the father of Corazon Aquino and Peping Cojuangco), Antonio (the father of PLDT’s Ramon), and Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. (Danding’s father). The fifth generation Cojuangcos include former President Noynoy Aquino, Tonyboy Cojuangco, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Congressman Mark Cojuangco, and Charlie Cojuangco.

Photo by Alfred Mendoza.
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Araneta

In 1975, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s “Thrilla in Manila” put the country on the world’s sporting map. One of the stars of the show is still in place today, the majestic Araneta Coliseum, the crown jewel in industrialist J. Amado Araneta’s self-named Araneta Center in Cubao. This branch of Aranetas owes the start of its fortune to Juan Araneta, who founded the Ma-ao sugar refinery in Bago, City, Negros, over a century ago. The family patriarch today is Jorge Araneta, who keeps a tight watch over the Araneta Group with the help of his siblings Judy Araneta Roxas (mother of Mar Roxas) and Maria Lourdes "Baby" Araneta-Fores (mom to Chef Gaita Fores).

Jorge Araneta
Photo by Dix Perez.
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Padilla

Nicanor Escobar Padilla (1851-1936) from Pangasinan started a clan noted for producing prominent doctors, lawyers, and legislators. His brood of 11 (nine from his second wife, Ysabel Bibby) included Justice Sabino Padilla, Senator Ambrosio Padilla, Congressman Benedicto Padilla, Dr. Nicanor Padilla, and Dr. Florencia P. Dualan. From the succeeding generations, we have Justice Teodoro Padilla (the father of renowned eye doctor Minguita Padilla Lopez and lawyer Sabino “Binoy” Padilla), PhilHealth President Alexander Padilla, Couples for Christ’s Francisco Padilla, NYC-based lawyer Monique Padilla Gallego, and international banker Maite Padilla Gallego.

Elizalde

Another family with Basque origins, the Elizalde name has been prominent for more than 150 years, first gaining notice through Don Joaquin Elizalde, a sugar baron in Panay and Negros, whose descendants would acquire Tanduay Rhum from the Ynchausti family in the 1920s. Though the Elizalde clan sold the liquor company to Lucio Tan in the 1980s, it still has significant land holdings and one descendant, Don Joaquin’s grandson Fred Elizalde Jr., still owns majority of Manila Broadcasting Company running it with his son, Juan. Fred’s wife, Lisa Macuja, heads the prestigious ballet company Ballet Manila. Other well-known Elizaldes include Francisco Elizalde (married to Pamen Roxas) father to Patxi, Santi, and Carlos.

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Ongpin

The family name is virtually synonymous with Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown. On its most important avenue stands a statue of the clan’s founding patriarch, Don Roman Ongpin. A dealer in art supplies, his store El 82 was patronized by the likes of Juan Luna and Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo—but his most important contribution to society was being a supporter of the Philippine revolution. Today, his descendants still make the headlines and society news—including former Town&Country cover subjects Lisa Ongpin Periquet and Michelle Ongpin. The two are the offspring of the brothers Jaime (Jimmy), the former finance minister under Cory Aquino, and Alphaland chairman Roberto (Bobby), respectively. Another scion of the clan, Deanna Ongpin-Recto is a champion of the arts as is Jaime’s widow, Maribel.

Alfonso Ongpin, son of Roman Ongpin, photographing two artist friends
Photo by Courtesy of the Ongpin family.
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Ortigas

The Ortigas clan’s vast landholdings comes from Francisco “Don Paco” Ortigas (1875-1935), a successful lawyer who in 1931 purchased the Hacienda de Mandaloyon from the Augustinians, in partnership with Vicente Madrigal and a few others. The 4,033-hectare property spans the cities of San Juan, Pasig, and Quezon City. If you’ve ever wondered who Julia Vargas is while driving in Ortigas Center, it is none other than Don Paco’s wife. The properties are managed today by the family’s holding firm Ortigas & Co. Limited Partnership Holdings. Among the key people in the clan are Rafael Ortigas Jr., Fernando Ortigas, Ignacio Ortigas, Francisco “Pacqui” Ortigas III, and “Ish” O. Montilla, the son of Chari Ortigas.

Amalia, Julia, Carmen, Maria Asuncion, Rosario, Francisco and Eduardo Ortigas
Photo by Courtesy of the Ortigas family.
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Madrigal

From humble beginnings in Albay, Don Vicente Madrigal amassed an empire built on shipping, coal, cement, and real estate to become one of the country’s wealthiest men as well as a senator in the mid-20th-century. His wife Susana was his lucky charm, as it was she who had the foresight to buy large tracts of land in Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Canlubang, and Laguna. Upon his death, Don Vicente’s wealth was equally divided among his seven children, but it was Consuelo Madrigal (1921-2008) who achieved the greatest prominence in business and social circles, especially known for her philanthropy. Paz, another daughter, also became a Philippine senator in the 1960s. The Madrigal legacy lives on through the grandchildren of Don Vicente and Susana, which include brothers Vicente II and Gerardo Madrigal, Chu-Chu Madrigal, former senator Jamby Madrigal, and Ging Gonzales-Montinola.

Don Vicente Madrigal with his grandchildren
Photo by Courtesy of the Madrigal family.
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Zobel

Enrique Zobel attained success in real estate, construction, insurance, and agriculture. Of his two surviving children, Inigo is the more visible—an astute businessman, he’s also a fixture on the polo circuit. Enzo’s daughter Mercedes (Dedes) and second wife Dee prefer to keep a low profile, and both are engaged in philanthropy. Young Zobels coming into prominence include Inigo and Maricris’s son Jake and daughters Bianca and Natalia who manage lifestyle special store LANAI.

Photo by Lilen Uy.
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The Most Creative Families

Bolipata

There really is no better way to describe the talented Bolipata clan than to quote a passage from an essay of one of its members, Rica Bolipata-Santos: “Let me introduce us the way our parents would: There is Jed, the pianist; Chin, the cellist; Plet, the painter; Coke, the violinist; Non, the lawyer and then me, Rica, the writer.” The Corpus-Bolipata estate in Zambales (home to Ramon Corpus, a celebrated violinist and composer and maternal grandfather of Rica and her siblings) is now better known as Casa San Miguel, a haven for music and artistry, run by Juilliard-graduate Coke.

Coke Bolipata and his mother Elenita, with the scholars of Casa San Miguel
Photo by Paco Guerrero.
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Calma

Like father, like son? Yes and no. In terms of personality, architects Lor and Ed Calma couldn’t be more different; when it comes to design, they share the same vision, favoring a style that involves “clean lines and modernism,” to quote the elder Calma. In that aspect, the Pratt Institute- and Columbia-educated Ed is a chip off the old block; just take a look at his masterworks, the supremely modernist edifices of the College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts and the Mind Museum in Taguig. Now another family member is fast-rising in the architectural world, Carlo, the son of Lor’s brother Pabling, who is himself one of the top contractors in the country.

Architects Ed and Lor Calma with their wives Suzette and Telly
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Camacho

The country’s art lovers recently had an intimate look at the works of celebrated Japanese avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama at the Ayala Museum, thanks to art collectors Lito and Kim Camacho, both graduates of Harvard. Lito, a top banker and former secretary of finance, and Kim, an art expert who used to head the Philippine branch of an international auction house, are also the parents of an artistically inclined brood of six. Among them, daughter Bea is noted for her whimsical knitted creations while son Enzo collaborates with Amy Lien for most of his contemporary art projects. The next two siblings, Carlos and Anuncia, are in international finance like their dad. 

The Camacho family
Photo by Courtesy of the Camacho family.
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Coscolluela

When the majestic Zuellig building was finally completed a few years back, it was another feather in the cap for WV Coscolluela and Associates—56 years after the firm’s first commission, it’s still plowing on, pushing the boundaries of architecture and design. The man behind it is the easygoing architect, William; the “associates” part of the name includes his twin sons, Gil and Gary, and eldest son Gerard handles the firm’s finances. While the men build it, the family’s ladies are creative in their own right. William’s wife Marion is a renowned interior designer and their daughter Mara is capably following in mom’s footsteps.

Architect Willie Coscolluela with sons Gary and Gil
Photo by Toto Labrador.
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De Guia

Does the name Eric de Guia ring a bell? You may know him better as Kidlat Tahimik, the Baguio-based film director, writer, and actor of the seminal independent cinema classic, Mababangong Bangungot. While filming the movie in Europe, he met the scholar and stained glass artist Katrin Mueller who later became his wife. Coming from such a deep artistic gene pool, the couple’s brood of three —Kidlat, Kawayan, and Kabunyan—have excelled in various creative arts. In 2009, the family put its diverse talents on full display in the memorable “K+KKK+K=Ayos (Order in Chaos) exhibit.

Del Rosario

In 2000, the Cinemanila International Film Festival presented a lifetime achievement award to Vicente “Boss Vic” Del Rosario of VIVA Entertainment. While deserved, it may have been a bit premature—13 years later the man is still at it, constantly adding to the list of movies (more than 400 so far) that he’s produced. VIVA is very much a family affair, with his children having major roles in the company. Daughter Veronique oversees the talent management, keeping stars such as Anne Curtis and Sarah Geronimo in its stable, while son Vince is responsible for content development as well as operations for VIVA’s film, TV, and music production.

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Eigenmann

“You're nothing but a second rate, trying hard copycat!” Even if you know next to nothing about Philippine cinema, you can probably quote Cherie Gil’s classic insult word for word, complete with water-throwing motion. Cherie is one of three children born from the reel and real life tandem of Rosemarie Gil and Eddie Mesa (born Eduardo Eigenmann); her siblings are actors Mark Gil and Michael de Mesa. This second generation spawned a slew of showbiz personalities including Ryan, Geoff, AJ, Ira, Maxene, Andi, and Gabby Eigenmann.

The extended Eigenmann clan
Photo by Courtesy of the Eigenmann family.
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Locsin

It’s hard following in the footsteps of a famous father, more so if he’s been designated a national artist. Andy Locsin, however, is faring admirably, blazing an architectural trail distinct from that of his father Leandro “Lindy” Locsin. While the father gained distinction for his massive concrete structures (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Church of the Holy Sacrifice in U.P., Palace of the Sultan of Brunei), Andy is noted for his use of steel and glass (Ayala Tower, new Ayala Museum). He had also been tapped to revamp the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Andy and his wife Mailin Paterno are among the founders of the Beacon School.

Manahan

A doctor who co-founded the Makati Medical Center and a young woman, widowed at just 17—who would have thought that the pairing of Dr. Constantino Manahan and Elvira Ledesma would work? But that it did, until her death in 1986. The couple’s children are Johnny, one of the most respected television directors and talent managers today, and Bonggoy, a lawyer who frequently dabbles in theater, and Joselito. Johnny and wife Tats’ children Juana and Liliana have the creative gene running in their veins, and so do Bonggoy’s children: daughter Patty was in the Dutch production of Miss Saigon and son Niccolo is also an actor. 

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Dr. Constantino Manahan and Elvira Manahan with their talented family
Photo by Courtesy of the Manahan family.

Mañosa

Acclaimed for adhering to the principle of “Philippine architecture for Filipinos,” Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa is the man responsible for the elegant, yet distinctly Filipino architecture of Amanpulo Resort, Shangri-La Mactan, and the Coconut Palace, as well as the unique terrace-like structure of San Miguel Corporation’s headquarters. As a National Artist, Bobby's legacy lives on through his three children continuing his vision, as they each head their own divisions in the family companies. His son Dino mainly heads the family’s Mañosa Properties, while Gelo is the CEO of the architectural firm; Bambi does interiors, while also managing a few creative projects on the side.

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Architect Bobby Mañosa and his brood
Photo by Courtesy of the Manosa family.

Santos

If you think pop stars are the only ones known by a single name, think again. Stars of the art world have been doing that since, well, forever. On these shores, the artist Mauro Santos has gone by his moniker Malang since the 1950s. Though comic illustration was his bread and butter, he established himself as an artist of note by winning several art competitions. Two of Malang’s four children have taken up the brush themselves: Steve Santos, known for his “magic realist” style of painting, and Soler Santos, whose current obsession is exploring ecological themes on canvas.

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Siguion Reyna

There was a time when cousins Cris Villonco and Rafa Siguion Reyna were entertaining audiences on stage, starring in two separate theater productions. They’re but the latest in a line of artistically inclined family members. Their grandmother Armida Siguion Reyna became famous for her opera singing and was the star and producer of the long-running musical show Aawitan Kita (her sister Irma Potenciano was a famed opera soprano, too). Armida’s children were equally creative: Carlitos is an award-winning film director (married to veteran actress Bibeth Oropesa) while Monique was a television producer and the founding editor of the Town&Country Philippines magazine.

Sig and wife Armida produced an artistically inclined clan that includes Carlitos Siguion Reyna, Monique Villonco, and Cris Villonco
Photo by Courtesy of the Siguion Reyna family.
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This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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