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CHAPTER 1: The Research Study and its Historical Context


Macro-sociologically speaking, the essentially ”economic” role of being a businessman

evolves developmentally and is negotiated and articulated by the actor in the midst of a combination
of socio-historico-cultural forces in the village of China and during the subsequent years in the
Philippines. This research is going to highlight the cultural and socio-psychological aspects of
entrepreneurship in historical, macro-sociological as well as developmental perspectives; also this will
examine what aspects of history and culture that constrained them as well as, equally importantly,
enabled and helped the Filipino-Chinese to succeed in this world (business).

In the process of analyzing and interpreting the Filipino-Chinese businessmen, the

researchers moved between history and biography; between myth-propelled collective behavior and
the individual, familial calculus in making decisions, between internal resilience and external
pressures; between individual autonomy and socio-structural constraints; and, lastly, between reality
as perceived by the actors and that construed by historians and “outsiders” to be people’s lives,
temporarily and spatially. A similar theoretical notion is embedded in the ecological approach to
human development which posits the accommodation process between persons and environment,
within a web of social relationships that confer special meanings to individuals. It locates the person
in the microsystem of social interactions within immediate settings – family, village, kin groups, and
work groups – which have particular personal as well as social meanings for him. How these patterns
intersected within a society through the course of history and shaped self-growth and entrepreneurial
development within particular socio-economic contexts as the focus of the study.

The study also shows the concepts of the control, structuration, and human agency in
analyzing individual coping strategies of the Filipino-Chinese businessmen. How they, in various
stages of their lives and in different roles, negotiated with reality to gain control and competencies;
and how they exploited, became determined by, and latter emerged from the social structures around
them, raised important theoretical questions of the hows and whys of the making of the person, of a


Our analysis began with an assumption began with an assumption that a businessman has to
learn early in life to acquire basic competencies – the cognitive, intellectual and moral capacities for
learning are cumulatively acquired from childhood, through adolescence, and to adult experiences.
Therefore, selfhood – a developmental product shaped by social forces going back to early
experiences – is, at one level, a unique, fluid and discontinuous entity; at another level, it is a
conformist one that adopts many of the characteristic norms embedded in the macrosystems of

values and ideologies. We conceptualized the selfhood as constantly adapting, reacting to, resisting
and, sometimes, transforming social forces. Throughout our analysis of the process of
entrepreneurship, we stressed the need to continually contextualize the economic competencies of
the entrepreneur within the matrix of social forces and socialization experiences and yet, also, to view
him always as a strategic agent capable of using, resisting and exploiting the socio-structural
resources around him.

At the very start we examined migration, we located its motives and motivation within the
context of village poverty, deprivation and blocked opportunities back in China. The global flow of
people and labour was contextualized in the world system of relative development disequilibrium,
where some regions, under the impact of colonial development, were economically more productive
than others. The experience of relative deprivation occasioned by a “deficit economy” which
characterized many Chinese villages in the early decades of this century compelled starving
individuals, struggling families and much of an impoverished nation to actively search for alternative
livelihoods in the urban centres of a restless nation. When internal nation could not entirely meet the
livelihood needs of a collective, international migration was a solution to the disequilibrium in

Migration was an escape; but, furthermore, as a form of collective behavior, it promised hope
– an important ingredient in the, motivational complex that energized healthy, restive youths to arrest
and “abort” the cycle, of poverty by saying “no” to their deprivations. That ability to say “no” marked
the beginning of a significant and positive discriminatory response to economic stagnation and
impoverishment as change was quickly becoming a necessity in view of the failing economy. Once
migration gained momentum and had developed a logic of its own, it became a norm; it soon became
a cosmic force for social action, an energizing myth to effect social change. What followed were
channels of people placement being established and new social structures: brokering agents, kin
groups, clan, occupational and trade guilds evolved to facilitate the flow of people and the adjustment
of migrants. It was the same spirit that inspired the Chicago sociologist Robert Park to proclaim in
1926 that “ This is today the most romantic period in the history of the whole world…. Migration has
had the effect of an emancipating upon most of the immigrant people”.

By locating an individual’s motivations to leave his village within the matrix of personal,
familial needs and strains in the social structures of China, and by seeing these motivations as a
response to news (or, more correctly, rumors) of hopes and opportunities from abroad, we argue that,
partially, it was ironically the chaos and hopelessness in China that encouraged a collective search
for new ideas, new role models, new norms and challenges. It was contradictions and conflicts, not
conformity or homeostasis that permitted and encouraged change. Theoretically, it then seems fruitful
to conceptualize the development of overseas Chinese businesses as much a response to frustration

with blocked opportunities experienced in the Chinese villages, as an after-math of pull factors in the
host countries. Blocked opportunities engendered new ones and enabled the sufferers.

The odds against success in an alien land were many for new immigrants who came with little
capital resources or linguistic, cultural skills. However, unlike Chinese immigrants in other parts of the
world (for example, in North America) who formed the replacement minority labour in a majority white
occupational structure, the Chinese immigrants came en masse to the Philippines to supplant the
ingenious and quickly became the majority (numerical, not political) labour in every aspect of
economic development – doing work ranging from menial labour in plantations and factories to being
clerks or apprentices in small business firms. They were also hawkers and petty traders catering to
the culinary and cultural tastes of their co-ethnics. At the beginning, a few succeeded in serving the
white colonists and the immigrant community by performing the middleman role in tin-mining and
rubber-processing industries.

What we cannot underestimate was the historic turning point that migration occasioned for
these Chinese immigrants – when they made the first big decision to step out of their familiar villages.
Driven by the need for achievement rooted more in a collectivist than individualist orientation, their
motivation to succeed had two features: one comprising an extrinsic aspect – a desire to remit money
home to help keep the family and themselves alive – and the other, an intrinsic aspect in terms of a
sense of self-pride in having been the chosen one and also, the potentially successful one. These
processes of making transitional changes t their settings, roles and activities – from a villager to now
an immigrant – created new meanings of self-definitions.


The purpose of this study is to cite and define the qualities of a Filipino-Chinese businessmen
and how they truly succeeded in the world of business, specifically speaking, in the Philippines.
Specifically, this study sought answers to the following research questions:

1. What philosophical views do the Filipino-Chinese businessmen have?

2. What special characteristics do Filipino-Chinese businessmen have that pure Filipinos does not


The Chinese people are generally known to be business-minded. Starting from childhood, parents
bring up their children to run their business preserving the traditions that came from their ancestors.
This is why most of the best people in business came from their line.


This research overviews the specific historical, cultural, biographical and factual aspects and
characteristics as well, of successful Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the Philippines. We specifically
cited the biography of certain now-successful businessman.

We did not cite pure Filipino businessmen in this research neither those from other countries.
The focus of the study only looks around Filipino-Chinese businessmen.


Businessman – a person engaged in commercial or industrial business (especially an owner or


Tycoon – a business magnate, sometimes referred to as a mogul, tycoon, baron, or industrialist, is a

partially informal term used to refer to a person who has reached a prominent place in a particular
industry (or set of industries) and whose wealth has been derived primarily there from.

CHAPTER 2: Related Literature to the Study


There is an approximately 1.3 percent of the total Philippine population of 64million. Eighty-
five percent of the ethnic Chinese came from Fujian china and fifteen percent came from the province
of Guangdong.

The earlier community was composed mainly of members whose dreams were doing well in
their temporary home and of one day triumphantly going back to their mother country. The present
day community is largely composed of a new generation of Chinese Filipinos whose commitments
are to their country of birth. Eighty-five percent of the ethnic Chinese population comprises local-born
second, third, fourth generations who were, or are being raised and educated in the Philippines.

Thousand of years ago were massacres and mass expulsions during the Spanish and the
American regime appeared, results a split-family system typical of many immigrant families: the head
of the family was in the Philippines, but the wife and the small children were left behind in china.
Thus, the sons were born and raised in china, to be brought in the Philippines only when they were
old enough to be of help to the father. The cycle was repeated when the son returned to china to get
married. It was mainly after the pacific war, when whole families immigrated to the Philippines, that
the native born generation appeared. Therefore, except for a few who came to the Philippines much
earlier and had been assimilated completely into the Filipino mainstream, the first generation in the
contemporary Chinese-Filipino community is composed mostly of those who came to the Philippines
before the war and those who came in the seventies and eighties. Their local born children now make
up the second and third generations.

In terms of background, upbringing, orientation, and education, there are indeed significant
differences between this younger generation and the older immigrant generation.

Younger generation Older Generation

• Born after the Pacific war • Born before the pacific war

• Born in the Philippines, usually have • Born in China, usually have Chinese name
adopted a Christian name
• Identify more with the Philippines and • Have deep sentiments toward China
have no firsthand experience of China
• Confine their lives and activities with-in • Can easily cross ethnic barriers, socialized
the Chinese community, socialized both with Chinese and Filipinos, at ease in
more with Chinese both environments

• Join Filipino groups like Rotary, • Join family and hometown associations,
Jaycees, Lions Club local chambers of commerce

• Have greater facility in using tagalong • First language is Chinese

or English • Attend only Chinese-language schools or
• Attend Philippine colleges or minimal college
• Consider the Philippines as home and • Consider China as motherland and the
have no deep attachment to China Philippines as second home
• Westernized in taste, values and • Very Chinese in looks and lifestyle,
lifestyle, observe minimum of tradition observe Chinese rites and traditions, use
at Chinese rites Chinese form of social conventions and


Chinese Culture and the Managerial System

In 1980, S. G. Redding of the University of Hong Kong wrote a paper entitled, “Cognition as
an Aspect of Culture and its Relation to Management Processes: An Exploratory View of the Chinese
Case.” In the paper, the author argued that the Chinese firms would not evolve into large-scale

One of the central questions in examining Chinese business practice is whether it is

‘emerging’. Many of its characteristics are those of the pre-bureaucracy small businesses found in
Western cultures, and it is assumed by many that the process of development will led to inevitable
adoption of a more rational model capable of sustaining a large enterprise, with all the attendant
economies of scale. A growth process was achieved by the Japanese with relatively high speed and
with obvious success, but their organizational pattern does not fit the Western bureaucratic model.

In the Chinese case, growth along the Western lines, which usually is by growing the
corporate body itself, appears to be resisted. There are large Chinese companies, it is true, but they
appear still to be run in the same as small Chinese companies. They remain in family control.
Rational/legal authority is not adopted. Size is often achieved by collecting together a set of small
businesses and leaving them uncoordinated except at the financial level. More complex forms of
large scale enterprises have not developed: there are no Chinese multinationals.

In September of 1983, a Thai business magazine, Business in Thailand, featured an article
entitled, “The New Multinationals.” In that article the business magazine featured the two most
significant examples of Thai multinationals, the Chareon Pokphand Group and the Bangkok Bank.
Both Thai multinationals, as described in the previous chapter were controlled and managed by Thai

Redding’s confident assertion that the Chinese managerial system would not spawn large
scale enterprises is based on the following assumptions:

1. The influence of Chinese culture on managerial practices is so significant and so deep as to

distinguish and differentiate such managerial practices; in effect, there exists a distinct and
identifiable Chinese managerial system.

2. Given such significant differences in managerial systems an given that Chinese firms have
demonstrated resistance to adopting the Western managerial system, Chinese firms would be at a
competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis Western firms outside their protected environment and above a
certain size where economies of scale would prevail.

3. Given this disadvantage, no Chinese firm can become a multinational as such firms have to
operate in several country environments and at a certain level of economy of scale.

While Redding was justified in pinpointing the existence of a distinct and identifiable system,
he was not justified in citing the alleged inherent advantage of the Western managerial system to the
Chinese managerial system. (As a reflection of this bias, the issue that seems to concern scholars the
most is the feasibility of successfully transferring the superior management technology of the West to
the developing countries of the East.)

This difference in conclusions can be attributed to the comparative management approach

we discussed. In essence I cautioned against comparing different managerial systems without
considering the strategies that these managerial systems were expected to implement.

As an analogy, I would cite the success of third-world multinationals. Comparative

management analysis focuses mainly on comparing the managerial systems of developed as
compared to developing countries. And from such conclusions has been derived the prediction of the
failure of third-world countries attempting to become multinationals. The unstated premise of this
prediction is that third-world multinationals would pursue the same strategy as that of the Western
multinationals and, given their inferior managerial system relative to the Western model, would not
succeed. Not surprisingly, the third-world multinationals did not choose to pursue such a doomed

Seen against the backdrop of such predictions are the documented cases of successful
multinationals from developing countries. Louis Wells, in his book Third World Multinationals: The
Rise of Foreign Investment from Developing Countries, documented the rise and success of such
third world multinationals and attributes their success to the strategic fit between the environment
they operate in, the marketing strategy they pursue, the structure of operation they adopt, and the
managerial system they have developed.

Redding, in the cited article and in many others, provides compelling evidence that the
managerial practices of Chinese corporations have been significantly shaped by Chinese culture.
Redding does more. He provides a conceptual framework for differentiating Chinese culture from
Western culture. More importantly, he defines how cultural values are transformed into specific
managerial practices.

Basically, Redding begins with a description of Chinese cultural values and norms and
proceeds to Chinese paradigms (or ways of thinking and viewing the outside world), to the impact of
such paradigms on managerial activities, and to specific managerial practices.

Chinese values are deeply rooted in the Confucian philosophy the basic tenets of which are
its focus on the group rather than on the individual and its acceptance of authority. The combination
of group focus (collectivism) and submission to authority (li) are the foundation for the approved
attitudes and behavior patterns, most significant of which are:

1. Submission to authority (parents, elders and superiors) rather than a concern for equality (i.e.
Westerners talk of rights, Asians talk of responsibility).

2. Primacy of group harmony (smooth interpersonal relationships) rather than individual preferences
and even objective reality (e.g. the Asian hesitance to contradict a superior’s statement even if it is
patently false).

3. Esteem for the force of example over the validity of ideas.

4. Primacy of broad moral values (i.e. respect for authority) over specialized competence.

5. The strict observance of social rules among different members of society:

a. between parent and child – respect and gratitude

b. between brother and brother – respect and harmony

c. between husband and wife – wifely virtue and husbandly concern

d. within the clan – mutual support and cordiality

One of the most significant attribute of such cultural values is the Chinese preoccupation with
face (the distinction between face [Chinese] and self-esteem [Western] is that self-esteem is the
“individual’s view of himself,” where as the individual’s assessment of how others close to him see

Redding cites several surveys of Chinese executives in Hong Kong which testifies to the
existence and the importance of face. The more general study on the distinguishing characteristics of
Chinese values is the study conducted by Hofstede. Hofstede seeks to define the concept of national
culture in terms of four dimensions which he labels Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance,
Individualism, and Masculinity-Femininity. Applying the four distinguishing dimensions on forty
countries, Hofstede discovers significant variations among different countries.

With respect to Asian countries closely identified with Confucian values (Taiwan, Hong Kong
and Singapore), the most significant distinction displayed was, in terms of Large Power Distances (a
strong hierarchical orientation) and Collectivism (a group focus).

Given these distinguishing cultural values, Redding then cites several studies undertaken by
psychologists, anthropologists and other social scientists who argued that people reared in different
cultures have different ways of viewing and organizing reality (paradigms).

For example, E. T. Hall in Beyond Culture defines two different ways of viewing time:
monochromic and polychromic. In a monochromic culture (e.g. American), time is perceived as linear
while in a polychronic culture (e.g. Chinese), time is perceived as cyclical.

Redding organizes the different ways of viewing reality into five major areas of cultural differences:

1. Causality – the basic understanding of cause-and-effect relationships between events, activities,

and phenomena.

2. Probability – the assessment of possibility.

3. Time – the way time is perceived.

4. Self – the view of the individual and his role.

5. Morality – process of control over human behavior.

The figure below represents a comparison between Western and Chinese Paradigms.



Causality Attempts to understand logical Situational, contextual

connections between perception without absolutes.
abstracted Li-near, sequential, Non-abstract, more sensual
explanations. categories. Use perception. Multi-causality.
of absolutes.

Probability Future is for calculation. Fatalism. Calculation seen as

Extrapolation based on logical naive.

Time Monochromatic. Scheduling, Polychronic. Non-linear. Sense

sequencing, promptness. or repetition. Insensitive to
Coordination possible. timing.

Self Individual isolated and Individual inseparable from

important in own right. Self social context. Judgment-
actualization. Achievement based relationships. Less pure
ethic. self-consciousness.

Morality Guilt. Action to avoid guilt due Shame. Action to avoid due to
to infringing absolute moral infringing social norms which
principles are situational.

Since Chinese paradigms are fundamentally different from Western paradigms, Redding
suggests that such difference in have implications for managerial activities. For example, in the case
of leadership which is largely the control of people’s behavior, Redding argues that people from
different cultures have to be led or managed differently.

If social norms are maintained more by shame than by guilt, then a different set of leadership
behaviors may emerge. One might consider two continua, i.e.

The shame continuum

Loss of face gain of face

The guilt continuum

Failure achievement



Most of the Chinese in the Philippines trace their ancestry to the southern part of Fujian province. The
Lan-lang variant of Min Nan, also known as Hokkien or Lán-lâng-oē ( 咱 人 話 ; "our people's
language"), is the lingua franca of the Chinese Filipino community. The rest are descendants of
migrants from Guangdong, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. The other Chinese dialects that can be heard in
the Chinese-Filipino communities are Mandarin Chinese (which is taught in Chinese schools in the
Philippines and spoken in varying degrees of fluency by Chinese Filipinos), Taiwanese (which is
mutually intelligible with the Quanzhou and Xiamen dialects), and Cantonese. The vast majority of the
Chinese in the Philippines are also fluent in English as well as Tagalog, and for those residing outside
of Metro Manila, the local language of the region, like Ilokano, Cebuano (Cebu, Davao, Iligan, and
Zamboanga), and Chabacano.


The Chinese in the Philippines are mostly business owners and their life centers mostly in the family
business. These mostly small or medium enterprises play a significant role in the Philippine economy.
A handful of these entrepreneurs run large companies and are respected as some of the most
prominent business tycoons in the Philippines. Chinese Filipinos attribute their success in business to
frugality and hard work, Confucian values and their traditional Chinese customs and traditions. They
are very business-minded and entrepreneurship is highly valued and encouraged among the young.
Most Chinese Filipinos are urban dwellers. An estimated 50% of the Chinese Filipinos live within
Metro Manila, with the rest in the other major cities of the Philippines. They are practically
everywhere. In contrast with the Chinese mestizos, few Chinese are plantation owners. This is partly
due to the fact that until recently when the Chinese Filipinos became Filipino citizens, the law
prohibited the Chinese from owning land.

As with other Southeast Asian nations, the Chinese community in the Philippines has become a
repository of traditional Chinese culture. Whereas in Mainland China many cultural traditions and
customs have been suppressed by the Cultural Revolution or simply regarded as old-fashioned and
obsolete, these traditions have remained largely untouched in the Philippines. Many new cultural
twists have evolved within the Chinese community in the Philippines, distinguishing it from other
overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. These cultural variations are highly evident during
festivals such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. The Chinese Filipinos have developed
unique funerary and wedding customs as well.

While the older generation practiced the ancient customs of imperial and feudal China, the younger
generation have adapted to more modern lifestyles. Traditional customs such as ancestor worship
are still practiced today through family shrines and clans associations.


The Chinese Filipinos are unique in Southeast Asia in being overwhelmingly Christian. Almost all
Chinese Filipinos, including the Chinese Mestizo but excluding the recent immigrants, had or will
have their marriages in a Christian church. This proves that the majority of Chinese Filipinos have
been baptized in a Christian church, with Catholics forming the largest group.

However, many of Chinese-Filipino Catholics still tend to practice the traditional Chinese religions
side by side with Catholicism, although a small number of people practising solely traditional Chinese
religions do exist as well. Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and ancestor worship (including
Confucianism) are the traditional Chinese beliefs that continue to have adherents among the Chinese
Filipinos. Some may even have Jesus Christ as well as Buddha statues or Taoist gods in their altars.
It is not unheard of to venerate the blessed Virgin Mary using joss sticks and Buddhist offerings,
much as one would have done for Mazu. Buddhist-Taoist temples can be found where the Chinese
live, especially in urban areas like Manila, and the Chinese have the tendency to go to pay respects
to their ancestors at least once a year, either by going to the temple, or going to the Chinese burial
grounds, often burning incense and bringing offerings like fruits and accessories made from paper.
Some Chinese-Filipino Catholics do have problems with this religious duality, but due to Christian
proselytization, the elderly vastly outnumber the young in the Chinese temples in the Philippines.

A comparatively large number of Chinese Filipinos are also Protestants. Chinese Filipinos comprise a
large percentage of membership in some of the largest evangelical churches in the Philippines like
Christ's Commission Fellowship and Greenhills Christian Fellowship. The United Evangelical Church
of the Philippines, was founded by Chinese Filipinos, and they form the majority of worshippers.

Civil Society

Aside from their family businesses, Chinese Filipinos are active in civic organizations related to
education, health care, public safety, social welfare and public charity. As most Chinese Filipinos are
reluctant to participate in politics and government, they have instead turned to civic organizations as
their primary means of contributing to the general welfare of the Chinese-Filipino community and to
the betterment of Philippine society. Beyond the traditional family and clan associations, Chinese
Filipinos tend to be active members of numerous alumni associations holding annual reunions for the
benefit of their Chinese-Filipino secondary schools. Outside of secondary schools catering to Chinese
Filipinos, some Chinese Filipino businessmen have established charitable foundations to benefit
Philippine society. Notable ones include the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, Metrobank Foundation,
Tan Ya Kee Foundation, Angelo King Foundation, Jollibee Foundation, Alfonso Yuchengco
Foundation, Cityland Foundation, etc. Some Chinese-Filipino benefactors have also contributed to
the creation of several centers of scholarship in prestigious Philippine Universities, including the John
Gokongwei School of Management at Ateneo de Manila, the Yuchengco Center at De La Salle
University, and the Ricardo Leong Center of Chinese Studies at Ateneo de Manila. Coincidentally,
both Ateneo and La Salle enroll a large number of Chinese-Filipino students. In health care, Chinese
Filipinos were instrumental in establishing and building renowned medical centers in the country
including the Chinese General Hospital, the Metropolitan Hospital, the Angelo King Medical Center at
De La Salle University's Health Sciences Campus, Chong-Hua Hospital and the St. Luke's Medical
Center, one of Asia's leading health care institutions. In public safety, Teresita Ang See's Kaisa, a
Chinese-Filipino civil rights group, organized the Citizens Action Against Crime and the Movement for
the Restoration of Peace and Order at the height of a wave of anti-Chinese kidnapping incidents in
the early 1990s. In addition to fighting crime, Chinese Filipinos have organized volunteer fire brigades
all over the country, reportedly the best in the nation. In the arts and culture, the Bahay Tsinoy and
the Yuchengco Museum were established by Chinese Filipinos to showcase the arts, culture and
history of Chinese Filipinos and the Philippines.


Most Chinese Filipinos today have single syllable Chinese surnames, the most common of which are
Tan (陳), Ong (王), Lim (林), Go/Ngo (吳), Ng/Uy/Wee (黃), Gao/Kao (高), Chua/Cua (蔡), Sy/See/Si
(施), Co (許) and Lee/Dy (李). Chinese Filipinos as well as Chinese mestizos who trace their roots
back to Chinese immigrants to the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial Period usually have
multiple syllable Chinese surnames such as Chuacuco, Cojuangco, Ongpin, Quebengco,
Tambengco, Tanbonliong, Tantoco, Yuchengco, Dyloco, Dytoc, and Yupangco, among such others.
These were originally full Chinese names which were transliterated into Spanish and adopted as
surnames. There are also multiple syllable Chinese surnames that are Spanish translations of

hokkien words. Surnames like Tuazon (Eldest Grandson), Dizon (Second Grandson), Samson (Third
Grandson), Singson (Fourth Grandson), Gozon (Fifth Grandson), Lacson (Sixth Grandson) are
examples of Hokkien words with Spanish translations used as surnames for some Chinese Filipinos
who trace their ancestry from Chinese immigrants to the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial
Period also. In contrast, more recent immigrants have single syllable Chinese surnames. Many
Chinese mestizos (as well as Spanish-Chinese and Tornatras) have also either inherited or took on
Spanish or indigenous surnames, such as Martines, Madrigal, Santos, Quetula, Delos Reyes, Portillo
or Zarate. A lot of Chinese Filipinos also took on Filipino surnames the moment they were
naturalized. Today, it is difficult to identify who are Chinese Filipinos based on surnames alone. To
determine who Chinese Filipinos are, one should know their background and family history and


Henry Sy & family

Networth: $1.7 billion

Age: 82

Marital Status: Married, 6 children

Completed merger of his Banco de Oro with competitor Equitable PCI in May, forming
nation’s second-largest bank. His SM Prime Holdings is nation’s largest shopping mall developer.
Shares fortune, which includes stakes in a dozen companies, with his children.

Lucio Tan & family

Networth: $1.6 billion

Age: 73

Marital Status: Married, 6 children

Although the taipan of Philippine Airlines, Fortune Tobacco, Philippine National Bank, Asia
Brewery, Tanduay and other firms has maintained a low profile – especially vis-à-vis politicians in
recent years – Tan is still perceived to be influential due mainly to his legendary generosity towards
political campaigns. Tan is considered the senior leader of the local Chinese business community

today. His best friend Bicolano transport tycoon Robin Sy is now also president of the Federation of
Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc.

According to Lucio Tan – who was in Xiamen City, south China during Holy Week – he was
busy with educational charities. He mentioned that young people in the Philippines should learn
Mandarin, because the rest of the world is doing so. Plus, China offers lots of economic opportunities.

As a kid he mops floors to pay for school tution. Eventually he became a chemical engineer
who now owns the nation’s largest cigette manufacturing company, Fortune Tobacco as well as
Philippine Airlines. Tan is believed to be a former ally of the late president Marcos. He has a networth
of $1.6 billion at the age of 73 with 6 children. He also called LT and used as an example in many
network marketing meetings in topics showing the difference between an employee and an employer.

Andrew Tan

Networth: $1.1 billion

Age: 55

Marital Status: Married, 4 children

Big boost to fortune from restructuring holding company Alliance Global; shares of his property
company, Megaworld, also higher. Likes to eat breakfast at McDonald’s (his group owns stake in
country’s franchise) and sip his Emperador brandy, world’s largest seller by volume. Son of factory
worker walked to college campus — couldn’t afford bus fare. Now he is the president of Megaworld
Corporation. He is now included in the list of Filipino billionaires with a networth of $1.1 billion.

The Lopez clan

Despite financial difficulties in several companies of their diversified business empire, this
politically astute Ilonggo family wields tremendous political clout with the country’s biggest and
robustly profitable television and radio media group centered on ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.
In fact, a corporate official even once jokingly said that the "ABS-CBN Party" is actually stronger than
the hodge-podge coalitions such as Lakas-NUCD or Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP). The
country’s two leading vice-presidential bets Noli de Castro and Senate Majority Floor Leader Loren
Legarda made their mark as ABS-CBN TV broadcasters before entering national politics.

Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr.

The enigmatic chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has not publicly endorsed
any presidential candidate. Though his NPC has members supporting both President Arroyo and rival
Fernando Poe Jr., the movie actor has a longer history of alliance with Danding, and was his active
campaign supporter during Danding’s ‘92 presidential bid and was celebrity endorser of his beer
products. Despite political foes criticizing him as a Marcos and Estrada crony, Danding has
impressed even his bitter critics by the strong financial success and aggressive international
expansion of San Miguel Corp.

George Ty

He is the founder of Metropolitan Bank and Trust popularly known as Metrobank. He also
has stakes in the BPI and Philippine Savings Bank. Now, he develops luxury condominiums in
Mandaluyong teaming up with John Gokongwei. His Toyota Motor Philippines is the country’s No. 1
vehicle in all of vehicle sales categories supplying almost half of the Philippines’ cars and trucks. He
is now 74 years of ag, married with child children and has a networth of $870 Million.

Andrew Gotianun

Andrew controls Filinvest Development Corp which holds 70% of Filinvest Land, and East
West Bank. he started early in life salvaging World War II ships and later on branched into car
financing. He is married and has $860 Million in Networth and has 2 children.

Tony Tan Caktiong & family

Founder of Jollibee Foods Corporation who later aquired Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon
and the latest, Hongzhuangyuan a 33-branched food chain in China. He is 57 yearls old, married with
3children and has a networth of $790 Million.

CHAPTER 3: Research Methodology

Research Design

The research method used is both descriptive and historical. This helped to achieve the
necessary objectives of the said study. It is said to be descriptive because it seeks out to describe a
present existing condition, which in this study are the heights achieved of the now successful Filipino-
Chinese businessmen. And historical as well because their past presents how they have were
wielded to have achieved such name in the business.

Data-gathering Procedures

The data gathered were drawn from secondary information i.e. books, web information,
newspapers, and the like.
CHAPTER 4: The Research Proper

Filipino-Chinese life in the Philippines

In the past two years, the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines have personally experienced
many manmade and natural calamities. These experiences have firmly driven in the lesson that their
future in the Philippines is closely intertwined with the future of the country itself. When the country
suffers (from the debilitating power crisis, for example), majority of them (especially the middle class
businessmen) also suffer. When peace and order deteriorates, they cannot enjoy peace of mind to
pursue their business, too. It emphasizes the unity of interest and concerns between the minority
Chinese community and the majority mainstream society and the fact that only when they work
together can permanent solutions be found. In truth the recent years have been a test not just of the
resilience of the ethnic Chinese but also of the validity of integration and their identification with the
country. The Chinese say that true gold is tempered only in the hottest of fires; only when the local
Chinese have gone through the bitterest of trials shall they realize their true place and role in
Philippine society.

Success in Socio-cultural Aspect

In an earlier paper, the researcher raised the point that Jollibee hamburger (the biggest fast-
food chain in the Philippines), with its langhap-sarap Pinoy , is not less Filipino because it is owned by
Tony Tan. Mercury Drug (the biggest drugstore chain), which serves both Filipino and Fil-Chinese
customers, is not less Filipino because it is owned by Mariano Que. Hapee toothpaste, which was
wrested a sizable share of the toothpaste market dominated by multinationals, is not less Filipino
because it is owned by Ceilio (Sy) Pedro. Unfortunately, this fact is not yet fully accepted as truth.

To a certain extent, the concept of the Chinese as an ethnic and not alien minority has not yet
taken hold. While they have progressed economically, full acceptance of the local Chinese as an
integral part of Philippine society is still elusive. Hence, a growth in the Chinese sector of the
Philippine economy is not yet perceived as a growth in the domestic economy.

Until the mainstream society accepts the ethnic Chinese minority fully as co-equal partners in
economic development, the kayo (you) vs. kami (us) mentality will preval; meaning, the Chinese’s
success in Philippine business is translated as a challenge or competition o the native population’s
own success, if not outrightly as the reason for the business failure of Filipinos. Likewise, the Chinese
share of domestic economic pie is interpreted as a shrinking of the Filipino’s share of pie.
Moreover, because the Chinese Filipino businessmen are not considered part of the
mainstream, they cannot fully enjoy the benefits of their economic success even as majority of the
Filipinos live below the poverty line. This is illustrated by the fact that while the success of Filipino
businessmen (including Spanish-Filipino elite) is accepted naturally, that of the Chinese is often not
just viewed with envy and resentment but also seen as prejudicial to the native population’s success.

This situation is dangerous and volatile because during times of political or social interest,
history tells us that it is often the minority that maybe sacrificed. We have learned, however, that
under the circumstances, it is not only the Chinese minority who will suffer but the majority even

Political Aspect

The Philippines is at crucial crossroads at the moment. The inconsistencies in government

policies-trying to lure investments on one hand but driving away its own domestic investors on the
other hand-have serious long-term implications that must be pointed out, especially to policy makers
and planners, so that viable solutions can be found.

On the other hand, the most valuable lesson the ethnic Chinese should learn now is that the
days of being mere bystanders or fencesitters are over. One cannot merely focus one’s energies
purely on business or earning money and ignore the fact that 70 percent of the Philippine population
lives below the poverty line and does not look kindly at the fact that the Chinese belong to the better-
off sector of society. Even if the ethnic Chinese continue to refuse to get involved politically, politics
will still come knocking on their doors. They can either chose to sit down and accept whatever “fate”
brings or chose to confront the political waves head-on. They can also either to continue or isolate
themselves and attempt to attend to their own concerns or chose to fully integrate themselves with
the mainstream society and face national concerns together. Either way, there will be great risks, but
the choice will determine the future direction of the local Chinese community-they will continue to be
considered as the favorite milking cows or convenient scapegoats of politicians, or they are truly
citizens who actively participate in determining their own future and the future of their nation.

Filipino-Chinese in Economy

The Chinese community is badly traumatized by the recent spate of kidnappings; especially
the killing of two young victims even after ransom had been paid.

Many of the victims and their families, like those of Mark Anthony Li, Vis Tan, Kenneth Go,
Michelle Lim, C.K. Chua, and S.C. Wong, have pulled out their capital from the country.
Tony Tan the owner of the Jollibee, the biggest fastfood chain in the country, left for Canada
two years ago due to numerous kidnap threats. His own brother was kidnapped. He is fortunate to
have an efficient manager in the person of Antonio Sunulong who has kept his business growing in
his absence. Recently, newspaper reports said he owners are offering the company for sale.

Steniel Manufacturing, makers of carton boxes, was sold by the owners after family members
were kidnapped.

One of the biggest steel manufacturers has pulled out almost 70 percent of his business and
invested in Hongkong, Taiwan, and China after his son was kidnapped and the family still received
threats. He visits Manila a few times yearly, trying to decide whether to retain the remaining 30
percent currently being managed by other people or just wind up his business.

Real estate and factories are being sold at bargain prices. What is worse is that many
medium- and small-scale businesses have closed shop and moved elsewhere. China, with its newly
open market and aggressive overtures to foreign investors, has enticed many of them. In fact all four
flights from Manila to Xiamen have been fully booked for the last two months. The country’s top four
tycoons have made their plunge in China. The capital may not have been sourced from the
Philippines, but definitely represents investment opportunities lost for us.

Business slowdown and stagnation are the worst economic implications of the rising
criminality. Many companies have shelved expansion plans. Producers have not boosted inventories
for the coming Christmas season, resulting for a low demand for dollars, which, in turn has artificially
strengthen the peso.

The construction business is also badly hit. In fact, construction materials have gone down by
as much as 10 percent due to the low demand.

September and October used to be peak months for the Philippine tourism, when it is school
break in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. But the 10 percent sale down in tourist arrivals reflects the
fear of foreigners. Travel agencies have reported cancellation of package tours.

The Philippine government reacts to national calamities through damage control. In this
instance, once damage becomes extensive, especially to the economy, it would be too late for any
damage control to take effect.
Filipino-Chinese Culture and Political Identity

After the mass naturalization of the local Chinese, they have become Filipino citizens legally.
It is therefore rational and reasonable for them to identify with the Philippines politically. In fact the
Philippine government granted this mass naturalization mainly to draw this political identification.

Political identity can be considered on three different levels – status, values and behavior.
Status is legal sanction from outside while the other two depend on personal ideology and actual
behavior. The right to citizenship is a country’s basic legal provision which usually is difficult to
change or to alter. A number of minority groups and immigrants in many countries suffer from
difficulties in determining their status. Without citizenship, it is not easy to establish political identity.
However, once citizenship is acquired, it does not necessarily mean that political identity has been
established. It is because an external change in status, though it can influence once ideology and
behavior, is still limited by requirements of law and society. Only a personal change in ideology can
direct or cause a change in behavior and reflect a new political identity.

Because the Chinese cling to their provincialism and family system very tightly, it is very
difficult for them to assimilate into their new place of residence. Once there is a change in their
political status, it is still not easy for them to change their identity with the motherland. This gives
other people the false impression that Chinese culture is impregnable and gives the Chinese an
increased pride in the supposed superiority of their culture.

In truth, Chinese are not unassimilable. The Thai Chinese have largely been assimilated.
Chinsese in the United States are also assimilated. In the four hundred years of Philippine history,
countless Chinese have already been “lost” in the greater Philippine society. Just looking at the many
Filipinized Chinese surnames and the records of history of many local Philippine towns, we would find
how the Chinese have penetrated into the pluralistic society of the Philippines. Actually the Chinese
themselves are very much aware of this situation. If the Chinese culture is really that durable and
unchanging, then why do we always have emphasize the resiliency of Chinese culture? Behind the
adoration towards Chinese culture actually lies real fear that one day we will come to lose it.

In values, because of the fear of extinction of Chinese culture, it is very difficult to talk about
discarding old traditions. In fact, the fear makes the Chinese cling more tightly to these old traditions
and leads in turn to the isolation of the Chinese community. Even the Chinese in Taiwan and in Hong
Kong are sometimes amazed at the strong traditionalism of the local Chinese here.

The same threat of extinction of Chinese culture also makes it more difficult to change one’s
political identity. To break down this wall of old values is not really difficult. One should only be able to
differentiate between political and cultural identity. Based on this distinction, they are then Filipinos
politically but Filipinos of Chinese descent, culturally. Only when this kind of distinction is accepted
can we establish a new political identity without fear of losing the cultural identity.

Some people may ask if this distinction is feasible or whether it is acceptable to the Filipinos.

In the west, because of the absence of strong provincialism and the presence of string
political system many countries built by immigrants have arisen. European immigrants created the
United States, deserters and exiled criminals of England built up a new world of their own in Australia.
Another group of English immigrants have separated from the ‘motherland’ and declared the
independence of Rhodesia. Politically, not only did these immigrants establish their own countries,
they have even taken up arms against their ‘motherland’ when it came to conflict with their own.
Culturally, however, these immigrants have retained their native tongues and their traditions. in
Southeast Asia, the Chinese built up an independent Singapore and adopted a new political identity
as Singaporeans without giving up their cultural identity as Chinese.
Why are the Chinese so good in business?
Why are most of the 10 richest men in the Philippines of Chinese blood?

According to Chinese-Filipinos, it lies in the values of perseverance, frugality and good old-
fashioned hard work, which most Chinese imbibe from childhood.

Jerry Tiu, whose family owns Kent Vinyl Tiles, said he and his brothers had to forego summer
vacations when they were still in school because they had to help out in their father’s hardware store
in Binondo, the main base of the Chinese-Filipino community.

“He was already feeding us good food and sending us to a good school, my father would
always tell us, so it was now our turn to do our share and help out,” recounted Tiu of his growing up

It was a lifelong conditioning that proved hard to shake off, mused this fourth of nine children.
Tiu, who is also president of Tagaytay Highlands, recalled how his honeymoon lasted for only one
day because he felt it was his duty to be in the office when some newly-acquired machinery in the
vinyl factory were being tested.

No, it wasn’t too difficult a choice, he said. He did indulge in a proper honeymoon a week
later but going back to work a day after his wedding was an easy decision. Work, among Chinese-
Filipinos, is an inextricable part of daily life, Tiu added.

And since the children learn the family business at the feet of their parents, most of them
grow up to be entrepreneurs themselves, fulfilling a common observation that Chinese children are
taught to be employers while Filipino children are trained to become employees.

The value of frugality is as important. Among the Chinese, it often means living below your

Steven L. Ching, chair of the youth committee and the SME Center of the Chinese Filipino
Business Club, recounted how he was taught to save for a rainy day because you never know when
that day might come.“Our parents taught us that when you earn P10, you spend only P1 so you can
put the rest into savings and investments,” said Ching, who also spent weekends and summer
vacations tending the family hardware store in Binondo.

Gregorio T. Yu, chief executive of CATS Motors Inc., the exclusive distributor of Mercedes
Benz in the Philippines, observed that most Chinese espouse the concept of spending only for what

you really need, not for what you want. This is because most Chinese-Filipinos have to work for every
peso that they have, especially the older generation who came to the Philippines from China to seek
greener pastures.

As Ellen H. Palanca of the Ateneo de Manila University wrote in her paper, “Public Policy and
Ethnic Chinese Businesses in the Philippines,” the accumulation of wealth by the first generation of
Chinese who came to the country from the late 1800s to the early 1900s was achieved primarily
through thrift and industry.

Recalled Yu: “I remember my father owning only one pair of good shoes at a time. Since the
shoes were still usable, he said, there was no reason to buy another pair.”

But while the Chinese-Filipinos are hesitant to spend their money on “luxurious” items, they
are willing to risk it on new ventures. Taking calculated risks is very much a part of the Chinese
culture. The Chinese character for risk is, after all, the same as opportunity. They have the ready
cash and investments at their disposal to immediately strike at opportunities and to quickly adapt to
inevitable changes.

For John Gokongwei Jr., founder of the highly diversified Gokongwei group of companies,
that great opportunity surfaced after World War II. In his speech before Ateneo’s 2004 graduates, he
recounted: “We lost everything, true, but so did everybody! War was the great equalizer. In that
setting, anyone who was willing to size up the situation, use his wits and work hard, could make it!”

From selling some P20 worth of thread, soap and candles in the public market every day,
Gokongwei went on to parlay his earnings into other business ventures that have made him one of
the richest Filipino in the world today, with interests in the airline business, food manufacturing,
banking, retail, real estate development and telecommunications.

The taipan traced his feat largely to hard work, frugality and adapting to changes. “Success
does not happen overnight. It is the small successes achieved day by day that build a company. So
do not be impatient or focused on immediate financial rewards. I only started flying business class
when I got too fat to fit in the economy seats,” Gokongwei said in his speech. “Save what you earn
and plow it back,” he added.

George K. Ty, founder and chair of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., shared the same
thoughts when he was named the 2006 Management Man of the Year by the Management
Association of the Philippines. “These days, it is convenient to ignore a simple truth, that the surest
way to succeed is to work harder and try harder. People often look for that one lucky break, that right
opportunity that they will think will magically guarantee success,” Ty said. “They would be better

served by simply working harder, day in and day out, month by month, year by year,” said the man
behind Metrobank, the largest bank in the country today, “At Metrobank, achievements are not made
by grand decisions overnight, but by doing hundreds of important little tasks during the day.”
Commitment to hard work and perseverance, Ty concluded, is the true secret of success.

CHAPTER 5: Summary, Conclusion, Recommendation


At the arrival pier in the Philippines, immigrants were inducted into a new system of work and
living, a new set of normative expectations and life arrangements. Passage brokers, coolie houses,
clan associations, old-time workers and kin constituted this socio-structural system – which quickly
acquainted the young migrant with the “dos” and “don’ts”. They sheltered him from many early
adjustment traumas, moderated his sense of uprootedness, oriented him to new ways, found him
jobs, and “kept an eye on” him, in order to keep him out of ethnic vices.

In a myriad of ways, the clutches and brakes of social structure were everywhere in the work,
social and family lives of our immigrant entrepreneurs – watching him and keeping him in place. He
had to remember his family’s honour and his filial duty to his ancestors; he had to conscientiously
cultivate with others social relations, goodwill and trust (thus creating structures for himself), while
accepting exploitation and humiliation, and enduring hardship and his dependent status; he had to
work through the confines and constraints of a colonial economic structure while serving as a laborer
for an elite – then proceeding to search for an economic niche in a colonial economy generally more
advantageous to those who possessed English-Filipino language skills and technical know-how.
However, the odds were not insurmountable. Where solutions evolved. Using their personal
resistance resources as well as the ethnic community resources, immigrants were plugged into work
and social situations where they learned, adapted and developed generalized business competencies
and survival strategies.

Their earliest cognitive understanding of “doing life” was one of doing life with others, for
others, because of others. The relationship of the person to “the other” formed an inextricable bond –
extending to a human contour of “relatedness” with numerous significant others. This need for
relatedness and “the other” engendered temporarily y in the individual a desire to be a willing partner
in a sometimes exploitative system of human obligations. Such willingness included accepting
restrictions and self-sacrifices, degradation and guilt in the work relations with one’s employer – and
adhering to an ideology conferring trust, admiration and respect onto one’s patron-leader at the

Grounded in a pragmatic work ethic celebrating “work as passion” and propelled by a hope and a
dream that life would be better, our sinkhehs plodded on in work and persistently engaged himself in
challenge and opportunity. This was the fundamental entrepreneurial spirit – forever having their teeth
in some sort of work, persevering searching and striving for something better. If they have been
defeatist and fatalistic – and attributed life situations to ill luck and poor fate – nothing would have
been gained. They would have lost the time and resources required for developing the set of
intrapersonal, interpersonal and technical competencies required for entrepreneurship. Experiences

have toughened them as they moved in and out of numerous jobs. They learnt a variety of skills went
through many business setbacks – but had always managed to bounce back. As persons, they
matured, developed a stronger sense of internal control, became more resistive, more willing to take
steps to create. At the same time, they were rooting themselves on the Philippine soil as the hope of
going back to China no longer became a possible option after 1949. They were slowly but firmly
abating their sojourner’s mentality.

In his role as a boss of his own, the immigrant-entrepreneur continued to organize and
mobilize ethnic resources to keep his business going. His earliest enterprise as a form of nascent,
entrepreneurship was characterized by a “do-it-yourself” organization which relied on cheap,
exploitative and readily available family labour. The process of labour recruitment by co-opting or
“family-izing” members outside the family nucleus was a predictable mode of interpersonal control,
wherein a strong identification of personal and company needs was forged. The family model that he
imposed upon a work context – by combining both the instrumental and expressive roles in the
patron-client relationship – rendered an intrinsically conservative management model even less open
and democratic.

At the entrepreneurial level, he had to modernize and expand, sourcing out new
opportunities, taking risks and overcoming business failures. He had to cope with his growing firm,
new technologies, volatile consumer demands, increased product complexity as well as economic
competition. He either diversified his economic niches or reaped economies of scale by growing
bigger. The progression was not easy but it was compelling; work life and family life became blurred,
private and public time was indistinct – work and leisure no longer located themselves within clear
domains. “Work is passion, life is work” became a driving dictum. In the final analysis, every
entrepreneur believed: “I am the business.” As Satre would put it, “What happens to me happens
through me…m moreover everything that happens to me is mine.” He was the helmsman at the head
of the organization; he was always the patriarch at the top of the work hierarchy. There were no two
ways about it because he was either in control or he withdrew. When the family business had more
than one son in charge, it often eventually formed two companies separate in management but united
in family control. This form of interlocking directorship between family members within any family
subsidiary companies is perceived as a contemporary mode of enforcing family business growth and
financial control. Business partners related by kinship (or unrelated at all but had previous business
connections) similarly formed a complex web of business networks originally activated by
geographical ties, friendship networks, club affiliations and associational memberships. The overall
socio-economic structure of business with its interlocking affiliations based on class, ethnic and
economic factors was boundary-settings by definitions of who were the “insiders” and the “outsiders”
of any business transaction. However, some elasticity was permissible between partners in the
negotiation – depending on various social factors of class, ethnicity and economic compatibility.

Hence, the challenge for the entrepreneur was to see how he could enlarge his “canvas of action” so
that new resources could be appropriated and exploited.


The researchers conclude that the Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the Philippines are one of
the most successful people in the field of business because of their certain culture and characteristics
they have inherited from their ancestors. By keeping these cultural practices, they have managed to
keep and even further expand their business. Furthermore, it is appropriate to say that they have
earned their place well in the biz. These entrepreneurs would have said to themselves and others,
definitively: “Man is the driving force. The rest are either constraining or facilitating factors.” If they
have not done as well as they have wished, it was fate. If they did, it was not just plain luck either.
But fate and luck are not controllable elements nor are they a rational guide for human behavior.
These businessmen believed in human effort and its correlation with results. Once a person has done
his best, he has discharged his basic duty as a human – the rest is left to destiny, so to speak.


Due to limited time, resources and financial capacity, the researchers had a hard time
collecting the data in accordance to whom the tycoons are and their life and living.

• Graphical presentation for Philippine economy in the hands of the Filipino-Chinese people

• Details of the numerous assets of the tycoons and the detailed steps for their success as for
the readers to know to serve as information

• A concrete data are found just like the percentage of assets and its relation to the Philippine

• The life of the pure Filipinos with these Filipino-Chinese people

It is recommended to have an abstract and competent data to support the other documents
like graphical presentation, and the like, from reliable resource.


Dumlao, Tina Arceo. Philippine Daily Inquirer: Three Secrets to Success. February 17,2008.

See, Chinben. The Chinese Immigrants. ed. Teresita Ang See. Manila, Philippines.

See, Teresita Ang. Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives. Eljay Printing Co. Inc.,
Makati, Philippines. Vol.2. pp. 105-60.

Wickberg, Edgar. The Chinese in Philippine Life. Ateneo De Manila University Printing, Quezon City,


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