Manuel B. Villar Jr., a former politician who is currently managing the family’s real estate and retail businesses, is still the richest man in the Philippines, according to Forbes’ billionaires list for 2021.
Villar, 71, is the Philippines’s richest for the third consecutive year and the youngest among the country’s tycoons to hold the distinction.
He was 69 years old when he first reached the top of the list in 2019. In comparison, shopping mall taipan Henry Sy Sr., who topped the list for 11 consecutive years (2007-2018), Lucio Tan, John Gokongwei and Jaime Zobel de Ayala, were older than Villar when they were named as the Philippines’s wealthiest.
Forbes’ billionaires list ranked Villar at 352nd in the global list with an estimated net worth of $7.2 billion.
Port and gambling magnate Enrique Razon Jr. is the second richest Filipino and 561st in the global list with a net worth of $5 billion, followed by Lucio Tan (925th) with $3.3 billion, Andrew Tan (1,008th) with $3 billion, and the heirs of Henry Sy—Herbert with $3 billion; Hans, $3 billion; Teresita Sy-Coson, $2.7 billion; Henry Jr., $2.7 billion; Harley, $2.7 billion; and Elizabeth, $2.4 billion.
Jollibee Foods Corp.’s founder Tony Tan Caktiong and his family also made the list with a wealth of $2.4 billion, San Miguel Corp. President Ramon S. Ang with $2.2 billion, Iñigo Zobel with $1.4 billion, Roberto Ongpin and Lance Gokongwei both with a wealth of $1.2 billion.
Zobel and Gokongwei were new additions to the list.
Soon-to-be former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos retains the top spot on this year’s ranking for the fourth consecutive year with $177 billion. Tesla’s Elon Musk rocketed into the number two spot, up from number 31 on last year’s ranking, with $151 billion.
Bernard Arnault of LVMH remains at number three with $150 billion, followed by Bill Gates at number four with $124 billion and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at number five with $97 billion. Warren Buffet, who was sixth this year with $96 billion, was dislodged from the top 5 richest for the first time in more than two decades.
“This was a record-breaking year in multiple ways, with more newcomers than ever before and more billionaires globally,” Kerry A. Dolan, the magazine’s assistant managing editor for wealth said.
“It was also the first time that the combined net worth of the world’s billions crossed into double-digit trillions. The pace at which huge fortunes have been created is astonishing,” he said.
Forbes’ list reveals a record-breaking 2,755 billionaires, including 493 newcomers—unprecedented by any measure, especially in a year in which large economies around the world were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether they are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion on the 2020 list.
The 2021 ranking features a record 1,975 self-made billionaires, who have built a company or established a fortune on their own.
There are also 328 female billionaires, up from 241 in 2020.
Asia-Pacific boasts the most billionaires, with 1,149, followed by the United States with 724 and Europe with 628.
Despite the turmoil that the world has seen, Forbes said people are defying the odds to overcome challenges. These include Tyler Perry, who created his own studios in Atlanta because no one would give him a break in Hollywood, and Uğur Şahin, the Turkish immigrant to Germany whose BioNTech helped produce a Covid- 19 vaccine in months, rather than years.