Bobby Ongpin’s Legacy after his Death
Filipino billionaire Roberto “Bobby” V. Ongpin passed away peacefully in his sleep last February 4, 2023. This happened at his villa on Balesin Island, located off the quest of Polillo, Quezon. He was 86 years old and had his birthday last January 6.
His remains will be brought to Manila, according to his nephew, businessman and journalist Apa Ongpin.
The 23rd richest man in the country with an estimated $830 million net worth once served as Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, after turning down the offer multiple times prior, because he considered himself too young and lacking in experience at the age of 42 at that time.
Ongpin helped Marcos to stabilize the Philippine economy during 1979 to 1986, its darkest years. He was responsible for founding a parallel foreign exchange market called ‘Binondo Central Bank’ which strengthened the foreign exchange market.
A grandson of Roberto Ongpin, the Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur and philantrophist who helped Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish and American colonial period, the Ateneo De Manila University bachelor’s degree holder and cum laude went on to further his knowledge after graduating and received a Harvard University master’s degree in business administration. His intellectual pursuit is not suprising given that he’s already a valedictorian at age 12.
He worked for Procter & Gamble before joining a top accounting firm in the Philippines, Sycip Gorres & Velayo, as one of its youngest employees at 20 years old, from 1964 to 1979. With the help of a colleague from Binondo Central Bank, the late Benito Tan Goat, billionaire Willy Ocier’s father, Ongpin built Belle Corp. which made Tagaytay Highlands flourish.
Eventually, Ongpin went solo and established Alphaland Corporation, The City Club in Makati, and Mountain Lodges in Baguio. He is also the owner of Atok Big Wedge and founder of Philweb.
Unofficially, as reported by Forbes, his source of income includes a covert number of private debts and assets, which includes the Tabacalera Incorporated, Asia’s premier and oldest cigar factory, as well as 14 properties internationally, which includes Paris, London, Tuscany, Saint-Tropez, and Salsburg.
However, during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s time, he suffered a loss of $360 million when the former made good with his threat to the tycoon on national television, calling him an oligarch and swearing to obliterate him as well online gaming. This impacted Philweb greatly which made him sell his 57% stake to Greggy Araneta, at a loss.
He was part of the following companies as a board member: San Miguel Corp., Petron Corp., Philex Mining, Philippine Airlines, South China Morning Post, AIA Capital, and Shangri-La Asia Hongkong. His friends called him “Bobby” while his staff refereed to him as “RVO”.
*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Kahimyang.com