15 Business Quotes From The Philippines' Best Businessmen

Words of wisdom from men who succeed.

Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educate the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.

Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Lesson No. 18: Business quotes and words of wisdom from the Philippines’ finest entrepreneurs.

The best advice comes from those who have succeeded. In this case, we’ve collected 15 golden nuggets from the minds of the leading businessmen in the country, past and present. What better words to heed than those from the mouths of the businessman who built their small enterprises into huge empires.

Here are some of the greatest Filipino businessmen’s takes on success, money, finance, leadership, and more.

1| John Gokongwei Jr.

Founder of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Big John passed away at the age of 93 in 2019.

“Success is not necessarily about connections, or cutting corners, or chamba—the three Cs of bad business. Call it trite—but, believe me, success can be achieved through hard work, frugality, integrity, responsiveness to change—and most of all, boldness to dream.”

2| Henry Sy Sr.

Founder of SM Investments. Sy passed away at the age of 94 in 2019.


“There is no such thing as overnight success or easy money. If you fail, do not be discouraged; try again. When you do well, do not change your ways. Success is not just good luck: It is a combination of hard work, good credit standing, opportunity, readiness, and timing. Success will not last if you do not take care of it.”

3| George Ty

Founder of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company. Ty passed away in 2018.

“For me, business is not just about reaching the pinnacle of success. It is about helping other people achieve their dreams. This is my ikigai, and I was fortunate to have found it early in my life.”

4| Lucio Tan Sr.

Chairman and CEO of Philippine Airlines.

“Entrepreneurs should never give up due to failure. Not just entrepreneurs, but people of whatever professionall of us should learn from our setbacks. We should never surrender to despair.”

5| Enrique Razon

Chairman and CEO of International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

“You can’t overcome [crisis], you can only survive them. So we’ve set ourselves to be able to survive this. We expect crisis more often than other people do. I always expect to wake up to another crisis, so we’re always prepared for that. That’s always at the back of our minds.”

6| Tony Tan Caktiong

Founder and chairman of Jollibee Foods Corporation.

“Dreams are free. Why limit what you are aspiring for? But dreaming is not enough. One needs to put in enough energy and input. If you dream big and put your dreams into action you will indefinitely make mistakes. But don’t be scared to make mistakes. Just be quick to recognize them and learn from them as fast as you can. Learn from each mistake and it will not be a waste of time.”

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7| Jaime Augusto de Zobel de Ayala

Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation.

“No leader can do it alone. Leadership is not a solo act. In the story of every successful organization, institution, or community, you will not find a single example of exceptional achievement without the active involvement and support of many people.”

8| Ramon Ang

President and CEO of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc.

“Experiencing all those types of partnerships, I’d rather always buy the whole company unless the partner is honorable, which is very hard to come by.”

9| Andrew Tan

Chairman and CEO of Alliance Global Group, Inc.

“Do not rush into a business just because you have the capital. You'd lose your shirt if you jump into it recklessly. Do your homework first. Study the market and look for that golden opportunity. Whatever business you choose to go into, it must be something that you can pursue with passion.”

10| George Yang

Founder and chairman, Golden Arches Development Corp.

“If you persevere enough, you succeed. If you work hard enough, you succeed—perseverance and determination. If you persevere hard enough, the day will come for you.”

11| Manny Villar

Chairman of Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc.

“I don’t gamble—business is already gambling. I also hold the assumption that there is no such thing as luck.”

12| Frederick Go

CEO of Robinsons Land Corporation.

“Simply put, always put the customer first. If he’s not happy, he can take his money elsewhere.”

13| Ben Chan

Founder and chairman of Suyen Corporation.


“The real test of an entrepreneur is how far he can go when the tides of business turn for the worse. It is in times like these when he should be unafraid. Be aggressive. Know your market’s needs and serve them.”

14| Edgar Sia

Chairman of DoubleDragon Properties and founder of Mang Inasal.

“The key is before you go into business, you have to do your homework. You must see it so clearly that you know what you are doing. You have to be so convinced of the goal you want to achieve. You have to study and understand deeply whatever you want to do so you can draw your map from point A to point Z. If you are prepared, you will know where you are going.”

15| Dennis Uy

Founder of Udenna Corporation.

“I always say that I have more balls than brains. When I see a good business opportunity, I just go ahead and plan later. Sometimes if you don’t decide immediately, it may prove more costly later on. One of the keys to succeed in business is to be humble enough to admit that you don’t know. I am not afraid to ask if I need to consult something. Just because you’re the boss, doesn’t mean you know everything.”

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About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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