Willie Revillame shifts gears from show biz to high-end hotel business

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Willie Revillame. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Television variety show host Wilfredo “Willie” Revillame is jumping ship—not into a new TV network—but into full-time entrepreneurship after announcing on May 21 that he will not renew his three-year contract with TV5 this coming October.

In a rare interview with business reporters, Revillame, who said he would be taking a “vacation” from the entertainment industry, discussed his plans to make his mark in the tourism sector, which he described as the country’s next major engine of growth.

Revillame is already part of a venture with friend and property mogul, Senator Manuel Villar Jr., for a condominium project in Quezon City called Wil Towers.

But his first venture into tourism would be an upscale hotel in Tagayatay City overlooking its famous lake, that would open within a year and a half, Revillame said.  The hotel will be a “five-star” venue with 35 to 40 rooms as well as villas that can house as many as 30 people, and the villas will come with their own private pools, according to Revillame.

The project’s success could pave the way for similar developments in other tourist hotspots, he said.

“In business, tourism is the best. It supports airlines, hotels and showcases the beaches and other natural attractions of the Philippines,” he said, mainly in Filipino, during the topping-out ceremony at Wil Tower Mall over the weekend. “Look at Thailand, Bali and the Maldives which are visited by superstars like Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise.”

Revillame, who claims to avoid risky instruments like equities and prefers the more conservative time deposit facilities, has nonetheless opened up his wallet to ventures not available to ordinary investors.

He shared, for instance,  plans to expand his private jet business to include a new $11 million plane.

Revillame already owns a 30-seat German-made Dornier 328, acquired for $5 million, which he leases out to VIPs and serves as recurring income for the TV host.  He also owns an events venue in Quezon City called Wil’s Events Place.

“Trabaho ko is pang-masa. So yung ginagawa kong business, pang high-end yan. [My hosting job is for the masses so my businesses are for the high-end market],” Revillame said.

It was difficult to estimate Revillame’s net worth as there are no confirmed reports on the value of his contracts. Thus, many look to his possessions such as luxury sports cars and homes, his yacht and private jet as proxies of his earning power.

Revillame, a former professional drummer, parlayed his talent for comedy and his keen eye for mass market entertainment into one of the biggest variety show franchises in the country starting with the 2005 premier of “Wowowee” on ABS-CBN, one of two leading TV networks in the Philippines.

The show, which features song and dance numbers while Revillame himself doles out cash prizes to guests, is now called “Wowowillie” and its last episode airs on October 12.  It has been re-branded three times since Revillame left ABS-CBN and has drawn its fair share of controversies, such as one instance involving a macho dance by a tearful six-year-old boy.

The TV host has had several run-ins with regulator Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

Revillame may find the regulatory environment in tourism more friendly given the government’s drive to boost visitors to the country.

The Department of Tourism wants the number of foreign visitors to grow to 10 million by 2016 from 4.3 million tourists last year. The government is also rolling out more infrastructure projects to support this initiative.

Revillame told reporters he would spend his break from television to reflect on what to do next.

Asked about plans to enter politics, Revillame said he had no near-term plans given his lack of expertise.

“Pag-tumakbo ako Senador, kunwari lang, at nanalo ako anong gagawin ko doon? Wala akong alam sa law, sa batas [ If I run for a senate seat and if  I win what will I do there? I don’t know anything about law making],” he said.

He said his other businesses would keep him busy in the coming months but the TV host made it clear where he would rather be moving forward.

“My real business is showbiz. I invested my life there,” he said.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Lapu Lapu

    Motels are making good profit than hotels. Motels do not issue receipt thus cheating on taxes.

  • mongrel84

    laos na kasi kaya hotel hotel na lang

  • mund_gulid1994

    bakit puro na lang condominiums/townhouses…eh sa mga masa, di nila kaya yan…sa mga middle class, pwede, thru financing…mahal ang residential houses dito sa Pinas….anu kaya kung mag-invest sila sa manufacturing, mas marami pang masa ma-eemploy, it will also prop up the Phil. economy as the products could be exported…or R&D, so the Philippines can make patents which are worldclass and can be sold around the globe….

    • CmdrAdobo

      wala tayong magawa nyan.. di talaga to pangmasa. negosyo to.

  • Mark

    Magkano kaya ang pabaon ang binigay ni Willie sa mga business reporters?

    Magkano kaya ang partnership ni Willie at ni Villar? Dito ba napunta ang kinita ni Villar sa C5 road extension?

    Nagbabayad ba ng tamang buwis si Willie?

    Bigtime na ba mga escorts ni Willie?

  • acidicboy

    as much as this guy is a big douche and all, I gotta admit at least he’s investing and putting money back to the economy, and employing a lot of people at the same time. which compared to the so-called biggest taxpayer and presidential sister, who with all that money all these years have never showed confidence nor support to the economy (at least publicly) by investing or supporting advocacies that raise awareness for our economy.

  • TinimbangNgunitKulang

    Exploiting the poor to cater to the rich. This is this douchebag’s modus operandi.

    • phthlateous

      unfortunately, he appears to know what he is doing.

      this is exactly the same modus operandi of the corrupt politicians and I guess it will not be long before he becomes a politician himself.

      again, unfortunately, the MASA will vote this guy in.

  • DIGOYBULOY

    WILLIE! YOU ARE MY IDOL! IKAW ANG TUNAY NA RAGS TO RICHES! Dati waiter lang sa Shakey’s si IDOL.. ngayon wil time big time na!

  • NoWorryBHappy

    But his first venture into tourism would be an upscale hotel in Tagayatay City overlooking its famous lake,
    :
    Bwisit ! Pati bulkan gusto niyang gisingin at galitin sa mga katarantaduhan niya.

    • common_juan

      mali mali pa spelling ng mga inq nato. “TAGAYATAY”….

  • Mark A. B. Andrade

    Willie Shift to Mainstream Business Investment & Management as his Showbiz Career is faltering sharply.

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