John Gokongwei Jr.

By on August 2, 2011

Every entrepreneur should be motivated by the inspiring story of one of the richest men in the Philippines, John Gokongwei Jr.

gokongwei John Gokongwei Jr.

John Gokongwei Jr. is a Chinese-Filipino entrepreneur with various lines of business like telecommunications, aviation, pertrochemicals, financial services, property development, and live stock farming. He was declared as the third richest businessman in the Philippines in 2010.

John Gokongwei is a brave man who faced tumultuous challenges before he earned his success. He was born on August 11, 1926 in Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China. He was just barely a year old when his parents migrated and settled in Cebu to escape the turmoil in China. At first, he lived an affluent life in Cebu, where his father owned a chain of movie houses. However, his family lost their fortune when his father died instantly. The “riches to rags to riches” story then begins.

Tragically, John was forced to look after himself when his grand uncle could no longer support him. He started buying and selling rice, clothing, and scrap metals. He would sell roasted peanuts when they ran out of money. He was able to open a small stall in the market and would wake up at five o’clock every morning, preparing for the long ride to the market with his basket of goods. Notably, he would profit Php20.00  at the end of the day, enough to feed his siblings and enough to save money for his business.

In 1943, he began trading goods between Cebu and Manila, traveling via small boat. Due to his ambition and determination, he saw an opportunity for trading goods after the World War II ended. Together with his brother Henry, they put up Amasia Trading, which imported onions, flour, old magazines, and fruits from the United States. His businesses then expanded.

Remarkably, John Gokongwei became the chairman of one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines, the JG Summit Holdings. In 1996, Gokongwei acquired Cebu Pacific and claimed the number one spot in the domestic market. Robinsons Saving Bank was put up in 1997 by Gokongwei Group of Companies. In 2003, he opened Sun Cellular to compete against telecommunication giants Smart Communications and Globe Telecom. In 2004, C2, the green tea drink was launched.

John Gokongwei’s biography John L. Gokongwei Jr.: The Path of Entrepreneurship by Marites A. Khanser was launched on August 29, 2007, at the Ateneo de Manila University. It narrated his remarkable riches-to-rags-to-riches story. In this book, the Nine Rules of business success that Gokongwei applied were cited. He stressed that entrepreneurship is a way out of poverty.

John Gokongwei led an exemplary life. Every aspiring businessman, who has visions of becoming successful, should follow Gokongwei’s determination and drive.


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  4. Everything Cebu

    September 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Brian Jackson,

    Please be aware that this is not Cebu Pacific’s official Web site. You are only commenting on Everything Cebu’s write-up about John Gokongwei Jr. It is better for you to directly contact them. The airline’s site is

  5. Brian Jackson

    September 7, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Cebu Pacific is cheating its costomers

    I am in a position were I need to cancel the flight for my daughter and fiencee. I will be rebooking on Sept 17, for flight leaving TAC Sept 27th to MNL and returning the 28th, but I do not have the funds available to rebook today.

    I went to the manage booking tab of my itinerary and was going to cancel, but the web site said the total cancelation cost would be PHP 5,146.00, instead of PHP 3600.00 per your websites ” Fee’s and Fare’s” tab. I have looked through all the “TERMS AND CONDITIONS” and I have talked with the booking agents manager( who still insists that the 5146.00 is correct), but according to your own “Terms and Conditions”, I should only lose PHP 900 per section , per passenger, 3600.00 Total.

    The only thing I have found that talks about fee’s other than the 900.00 per, is that if changes are made less than 24 yrs ETD…..It is more that 48 hrs in advance, plus I have used your service for more than 9 round trips from Manila to Tacloban or Tacloban to Manila.

    I do understand having to pay the 3600.00 cancelation fee, but 5146.00, that is outragous…. That is 60.90% of the original booking price…..

    Here is the only reference to added fee’s for cancelation that I found in both “Terms & conditions” and “Fee’s & fares”

    Note : With the exception of certain countries
    as mandated by their local regulatory bodies,
    taxes and passenger service charge
    will be considered flown when flight changes
    are made within 24 hours from the
    estimated time of departure (ETD)
    and any time after the ETD.

    I feel I should have a travel fund of PHP 4848.71 after cancelation of this itinerary.

    If you treat customers like they are valuable to your business they will continue to use your services..If you treat customers like you do not care, they will find an airline who values thier business

    Sincerly, Brian Jackson

    P.S. Please forward this to Mr. Gokongwei if you can.

  6. roof weathervane

    November 1, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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