MANILA, Philippines – While it is no surprise that mall magnate Henry Sy is the country's wealthiest, there are other personalities who made this year's Forbes Philippines' 50 richest list more interesting.
The list is dominated by familiar names in the country's business scene, but this year's edition of the Philippines' 50 richest also welcomed newly-minted billionaires.
Oscar Lopez and family
For the first time, media mogul Lopez joined the list at No. 17 with a net worth of $1 billion.
His best-known interest is publicly traded ABS-CBN Broadcasting, the oldest TV network in the Philippines, whose stock rose 70% in the past 12 months on higher advertising revenues.
Lopez, 85, has a controlling stake in First Gen Corporation, one of the country’s renewable energy producers with geothermal, hydro, and natural gas plants.
Radio king Elizalde also debuts on the list at No. 38 with a $260-million net worth.
Elizalde, 74, chairs publicly traded Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), the country’s oldest and largest radio station network, with his family controlling more than 70% of the company. MBC’s interests include a news channel, 5 regional channels, a theme park, hotels, restaurants, and retail malls.
Forbes wrote that Lao is a "notable winner," securing the 16th spot with a net worth of $1.1 bilion (a 76% surge from $625 million in 2014).
Lao's listed D&L Industries, which specializes in food, plastics, and aerosol industries, recorded a net income growth of 27% in 2014.
The youngest Filipino who made it on the list is Edgar Sia who, at 38, has a net worth of $390 million.
Down to No. 34 from No. 31 ranking in 2014, Sia is a college dropout who started Mang Inasal, which to date, has more than 500 outlets. Sia's partner and the country's 10th richest, Tony Tan Caktiong, has a 70% stake in the venture.
Bienvenido Tantoco Sr (and family) climbed from 42nd in 2014 to 31st in the 2015 list. Tantoco, 94, is the oldest person in the list – 4 years older than Sy.
The group also opened its first Wellworth department store with Ayala Land. Daughter Zenaida chairs and heads the newly listed entity, while her son Anthony Huang runs SSI Group.
Only 4 of the 50 richest Filipinos are women.
Betty Ang: No. 19 with net worth of $905 million
Ang is the president and founder of food manufacturer Monde Nissin, which in recent months scooped up Australian firms such as Menora Foods and Black Swan. Their famous products are Lucky Me! Brand of instant noodles and Nissin and M.Y. San Biscuits.
"Monde Nissin was the first firm in country to sell pouches of dry noodles to make instant soup, and currently boasts more than a 60% share in the market and more than 30% of the biscuit sector," Forbes wrote.
Vivian Que Azcona (and family): No. 22 with net worth of $780 million
Azcona is the president of drugstore giant Mercury Drug, the first drugstore in the country to add drive-through pharmacies in 2012. it recently added convenience stores to various drugstores, thus its expansion into retail services.
"Vivian's father, Mariano Que, started the firm from a pushcart in Manila before opening the first locale in 1945," Forbes wrote.
Beatrice Campos: No. 24 with net worth of $740 million
Campos is the co-founder of privately-held drugmaker Unilab with late husband Jose Campos. She also holds a stake in food and beverage business Del Monte Pacific.
Juliette Romualdez: No. 47 with net worth of $160 million
Romualdez is the widow of Imelda Marcos' younger brother Benjamin. Her family holds a small stake in the country's oldest mining firm Benguet Corporation.
The bulk of her fortune is from the sale of a minority stake in Banco de Oro to a group of foreign funds in 2012.
"Son Benjamin is Benguet's CEO, while son Daniel is chairman. Son Martin, a congressman, says 'part of the family legacy is in public service,'" Forbes wrote.
Two noted political figures are also listed as among the country's richest – both self-made billionaires who pursued the presidency.
Manuel "Manny" Villar: No. 13 with net worth of $1.48 billion
Villar, a former senator and presidential candidate, has stakes in Star malls and Vista Land & Lifescapes. His Wharton-educated son Paolo runs Vista.
"As a kid, Manuel helped mom sell seafood in a Manila market," Forbes wrote. He ranks 1190th among the world's billionaire.
Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco: No. 23 with net worth of $770 million
Cojuangco, who was the 8th richest in the Philippines in the 2011 Forbes list, once ran for president. He founded the Nationalist People's Coalition to serve as the vehicle for his presidential bid in 1992.
The politician-diplomat-businessman sold his stake in brewer San Miguel to Ramon Ang in 2012 "but remains the chairman with an imposing shadow," Forbes wrote. His privately-held Northern Cement is riding the country's infrastructure boom.
Lower minimum amount
Forbes magazine said the minimum amount required to make the list was $120 million, down from $170 million in 2014. (READ: Henry Sy remains Philippines' richest – Forbes)
The Philippines' 50 richest list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, and other sources, according to Forbes.
The list also includes family fortunes, including those shared among extended families such as that of John Gokongwei Jr and his relatives, Forbes noted, making the methodology different from the magazine's billionaire rankings. (READ: 12 Filipinos in Forbes’ 2015 billionaires’ list)
The net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 14, Forbes said. Private companies were also valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. – Rappler.com