KEY POINTS

  • Manny Villar sold fish and shrimp at a market in Manila to send himself to school
  • He currently chairs Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., one of the leading integrated property developers in the Philippines
  • He also chairs Golden MV Holdings, formerly Golden Bria, a developer of mass housing projects and condominiums

Decades of perseverance and hard work paid off for 72-year-old businessman Manuel "Manny" Villar. Today, he is now considered the richest man in the Philippines.

Let us take a look at how the chairman of property developer Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., one of the leading integrated property developers in the Philippines, built his fortune slowly over the years.

Villar was born to a simple family. His father was a government employee, while his mother was a seafood dealer.

At a young age, he sold fish and shrimp at a market in Manila to send himself to school.

Through hard work and perseverance, he earned his undergraduate and master's degree in Business Administration and Accountancy at the University of the Philippines.

In 1975, with an initial capital of P10,000 ($182), Villar purchased two reconditioned trucks and started his sand-and-gravel business in Las Piñas. While delivering construction materials to big developers, he came up with the idea of selling house-and-lot packages.

To date, Villar’s net worth stands at $7.8 billion, as per Forbes.

Aside from Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., which operates through six business units: Camella Homes, Communities Philippines, Crown Asia, Brittany, Vista Residences and Vistamalls, Villar also chairs Golden MV Holdings, formerly Golden Bria, a developer of mass housing projects and condominiums.

Villar also owns home furnishing chain AllHome and supermarket chain AllDay Marts.

The businessman got involved in politics and held several positions in the past, including congressman, speaker of the house of representatives, senator, and senate president.

Villar's wife, Cynthia Villar, and his son, Mark Villar, are senators in the Philippines, while his daughter, Camille Villar, currently sits as a congresswoman representing the City of Las Piñas.

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To go with profile story Philippines-politics-vote-Villar This photo taken on April 29, 2010 shows Philippine Nationalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar (C) greeting supporters during a concert rally dubbed in Malolos town, Bulacan province, north of Manila. Villar often says he built his property empire through sheer hard work, a trait he vows to use to lift the Philippines out of massive poverty. By TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images
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