Providing perfect vista for next gen
His passion never seemed to have wavered, not even today when he is clearly back on the top of his game.
Businessman Manuel Villar Jr., ranked by Forbes Magazine as second richest in the Philippines at $5 billion, remains active at Vista Land & Lifescapes (VLL) as its chair. The reason? He continues to “enjoy doing it.”
Clearly, the former senator has not lost his determination nor his zest for the business, which has since been expanding in new segments including The Coffee Project and the CondoHomes (Coho) lifestyle concept under Camella Homes.
And it’s the same kind of passion and fervor that he has instilled in his three children, two of whom are currently working for the company.
His eldest son Paolo, who graduated cum laude from the Wharton School of Business, is now president and CEO of Vista Land while the youngest, Camille, is a managing director. Mark, currently the Secretary for the Department of Public Works and Highways, previously managed Crown Asia.
“All of my kids showed interest and they all took a business course,” Villar said, adding that he did encourage his children to go into the family business during their early years. “Most of the time, we would talk about business over lunch and over dinner. We would talk about famous entrepreneurs and business figures like Steve Jobs.”
Villar is a staunch believer in entrepreneurship, which for him is key to wealth creation. Such was his belief in it that he even donated 5 ha of his land within the 1,500-ha Vista City to the University of the Philippines. In this future UP campus, he hopes to have courses on technopreneurship, engineering, business and technology.
Villar admitted that there’s no fixed formula that can create the perfect entrepreneur. Beyond getting honors and doing well in school, a good entrepreneur is more importantly born out of determination, meaning you have to want it, and you have to believe in it.
This is why, according to Villar, he made it a point to teach his kids the values they would need to run the business.
“In other words, what you teach is not the business—it’s the attitude… You teach them the values they could use to run the business. I don’t want to give the business to those who are irresponsible. If you’ve taught them the necessary values, everything else will follow naturally,” Villar said.
“You don’t have to teach the business because they have the education. We provided the upbringing, while the school provided the theories and business education,” he further stressed.
For instance, Villar pointed out that they live a simple life. Their kids, he said, were never spoiled and were taught the value of hard work and money.
“We taught them the ways: to remain simple and not to squander their resources, and to value money which is important. They saved and they invested,” Villar explained.
Now that the children are taking on key roles in the business, Villar also makes it a point to update them on what competition is doing. This is to challenge them and at the same time, show malasakit for the company that he has founded.
Villar, however, credits his children for their significant contributions to the company, particularly for infusing their fresh insights and perspectives as well as the latest trends in management techniques.
And this synergy between him and his children seems to work perfectly. The proof, of course, is in the numbers.
In August this year, Vista Land reportedly raised its net profit growth outlook to 15-17 percent for 2018, faster than the initial guidance of 12 percent. This was after Vista Land posted a “better-than-expected performance” in the first half of the year, particularly in the residential segment.
Today, Villar is kept busy with the expansion of Vista Land’s retail segments, including the All Home brand.
He is also very much involved with the expansion of The Coffee Project, which now has 34 branches in the metro and key provincial cities. This particular project, he said, was a collaboration between him and Camille, both of whom would scour for nice coffee shops every time they travel abroad.
“The Coffee Project is one of the most rewarding I think because I enjoy drinking coffee. So I’m doing something I love while making money on the side, creating a new business and providing jobs at the same time,” he said.
They are also now offering the COHO Lifestyle through the Camella Condo Homes projects, located across key areas including Las Pinas, Tagaytay, Bacoor, Taguig, Palawan, Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.
Camella—which has already built more than 400,000 homes in 39 provinces and 104 cities and municipalities across the country—has begun offering the Camella Condo Homes, which affords residents to enjoy the robust commerce of the city.
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