Wealth

The Richest Women in the Philippines

From the Sy sisters to the mysterious Betty Ang.
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The world’s rich list has long been predominantly male, so we’d like to shed light on the women highlighted in Forbes’ Philippines’ 50 Richest list. These are the female titans in business and society, whose legacies are the household brands of the Philippines.

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Here are the richest women in the Philippines.

1| Teresita Sy-Coson

Net worth: P2.2 billion

The eldest child of the late Henry Sy Sr., once the Philippines’ richest man, Teresita is currently the co-chairman of SM Investments and the chairperson of BDO Unibank, both of which are among the biggest publicly listed companies in the country.

SM Investments is the single largest company in the country. Aside from the well-known SM Supermalls, its subsidiaries also include Walter Mart, China Banking Corporation, CityMall, 2Go, National University in Manila, Asia Pacific College, Conrad Manila, Taal Vista Hotel, Pico de Loro, Goldilocks, and Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development Corporation, a mining company.

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2| Elizabeth Sy

Net worth: $1.9 billion

The second child of Henry Sy Sr., Elizabeth heads the group’s SM Hotels and Conventions as chairperson and president. As the head of SM’s tourism and hospitality unit, Elizabeth oversees its many hotels, such as Taal Vista Hotel, Conrad Manila, Radisson Blu Hotel, and more.

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Teresita and Elizabeth’s brothers (Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert, and Harley) have also taken up management positions in SM Group, and their combined wealth of $13.9 billion is considered one entity by Forbes, which listed them as the richest family and businessmen in the country.

3| Susan Co

Net worth: $1.7 billion

Susan Co and her husband Lucio broke into the top 10 of the country’s richest billionaires in 2020. While Forbes listed her alongside her husband as “Lucio and Susan Co,” Susan has been an integral part of Puregold Price Club’s meteoric rise and deserves recognition.

Currently vice chairman of Puregold, Co is also the vice chairman and treasurer of Cosco Capital, Inc. and director of the Philippine Bank of Communications. Puregold currently runs over 400 establishments nationwide, and went public in 2011. Its share price is now four times what it was just nine years ago.

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4| Mercedes Gotianun

Net worth: $1.5 billion

The self-made billionaire started her entrepreneurial journey alongside her late husband, Andrew Gotianun Sr., in the 1950s, focusing on small-scale financing of used cars. The matriarch of the Gotianun family is now the chairman emeritus of Filinvest Development Corp., taking on the role after her husband passed away in 2016. Their daughter Josephine now heads everyday operations as president and CEO.

Through Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC), Gotianun’s wealth is sourced from banking, real estate, and transportation. FDC’s subsidiaries include Filinvest Land, Inc., Crimson Hotels, EastWest Banking Corp., Pacific Sugar Holdings, and Lipad Corp., the operator of Clark International Airport. 

5| Vivian Que Azcona

Net worth: $1.34 billion

Listed alongside her siblings in the Forbes rich list, Azcona is currently the president of Mercury Drug, which was founded by her late father Mariano Que who passed away in 2017. Mercury Drug is the biggest drugstore in the country with over 1,200 locations in the country.

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6| Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco

Net worth: $1.15 billion

Known as Gretchen, Cojuangco is the widow of businessman and politician Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco who passed away in 2020. A newcomer to the Forbes list, she inherited her late husband’s wealth, which she shared with their four children.

Danding was the chair of San Miguel up until his death, and majority of the family’s wealth is sourced from San Miguel Corp., which Cojuangco grew into the food and infrastructure conglomerate it is today.

7| Betty Ang

Net worth: $185 million

Betty Ang, a self-made businesswoman, is the founder and president of Monde Nissin, which distributes household brands like SkyFlakes, Fita, Mama Sita’s, Lucky Me!, and more. Monde Nissin also purchased the vegan brand Quorn, a meat substitute, for $831 million in 2015 after bidding out international competitors.

Ang is married to Monde Nissin vice chairman Hoediono Kweefanus, who comes from a business family in Indonesia. The two have been called the most mysterious tycoons in Asia.

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8| Juliette Romualdez

Net worth: $160 million

Romualdez is the widow of Benjamin Romualdez who passed away in 2012. Through her husband, Romualdez is the sister-in-law of Imelda Marcos nee Romualdez.

Romualdez holds a minority stake in Banco de Oro and Benguet, a mining firm.

9| Lourdes Montinola

Net worth: $100 million

Lourdes comes from the Montinola family who owns Far Eastern University. She is currently the chair emeritus of the university, while her sons Aurelio and Juan Miguel and daughter Gianna run everyday operations.

Montinola’s father, Nicanor Reyes, founded the university in 1928.

A number of other women were also mentioned on the list, although their personal wealth was not disclosed. Jocelyn Campos of Unilab’s Campos siblings were ranked in 23rd place with $600 million. Metrobank’s Ty sisters Alesandra and Anjanette were listed alongside their brothers Arthur and Alfred with a combined net worth $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the Gokongwei sisters (Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia) and their brother Lance, now the CEO of JG Summit, debuted on the list after their father, taipan John Gokongwei Jr., passed away last year. Their combined wealth is estimated to be $4.1 billion, making them the fourth richest in the country.

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And last, the Isidro Consuji sisters Josefa, Luz, Maria Cristina, and Maria Idwina came in at 14th place alongside brothers Isidro and Jorge with a net worth of $1.3 billion. The family’s father founded DMCI Holdings in 1954.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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