Business tycoon and former Trade Minister Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin passed away Saturday night. He was 86.
Ongpin’s nephew, former broadcast journalist Rafael Alfonso “Apa” Ongpin, said in a Facebook post that his uncle died in his sleep on Saturday in Balesin Island, a high-end exclusive resort development off the coast of Quezon province that he built in 2012.
His remains will be flown to Manila and the family is expected to announce the details of the wake.
Ongpin, who served as trade minister during the term of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., is the chairman of Alphaland Corp. and listed firm Atok-Big Wedge Co., Inc.
He is survived by his wife Monica, his children Stephen, Anna, Michelle, and Julian and four grandchildren.
A certified public accountant with a master’s degree in business administration, Ongpin started his professional career with Procter & Gamble before joining accounting giant Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co from 1964 to 1979.
After serving as trade minister from 1979 to 1986, Ongpin focused on building his business empire.
He ranked 23rd on Forbes Magazine’s richest Filipino list in 2022, with a fortune of $830 million, and a peak personal wealth of $1.7 billion in 2020.
“After leaving government, he built and rebuilt empires, including making the deals that brought the Shangri-La Group into the Philippines, Tagaytay Highlands, PhilWeb, and culminating in Alphaland Corporation, where he built his crown jewel, Alphaland Balesin Island Club,” Apa said.
“He never retired, and remained sharp and undiminished by age, all the way to his last day,” the younger Ongpin added.