What Are The Oldest Companies In The Philippines?

These businesses thrived even before the advent of technology and modern tools.

New ventures, especially in the tech and e-commerce arena, continue to boom in the Philippines. Almost every day there is news about an exciting new concept being launched in the country.

A check with the Philippine Business Registry, in fact, shows a 9% growth in business name registration from 2014 to 2015, with a total of 325,936 new business names registered with the government last year.

But while everyone’s busy following updates on dynamic new startups, let’s have a look at companies that have been around for a long, long time.

1. Destileria Limtuaco

Established: 1852


In 1850, a merchant family from China, led by Lim Tua Co, sailed to the Philippines. Two years later, they opened a shop in Binondo that sold medicinal wine that was said to improve one’s stamina. The concoction, known as Sioktong, became so popular that it became the term for any type of medicinal wine.

Despite the turmoil brought by the Philippine Revolution and World War II, Destileria Limtuaco emerged from the ashes of war. It modernized its facilities and introduced newer brews to the public.

Currently, Destileria Limtuaco is serving a wide range of drinks to the Filipino market under the supervision Olivia Limpe-Aw, being the fifth generation of the master blenders who brought the concoction to the country.

2. Ayala Corporation

Established: 1834



Makati will not be a prosperous as now without Ayala Corporation. But not a lot of people didn’t know that the company has been existing long before they became a multi-billion conglomerate.

Fresh off the boat from a small town called Ayala in Spain, Antonio de Ayala teamed up with Domingo Roxas to establish a house that would venture into agriculture, manufacturing, trading, mining, and distillery. Eventually, the partnership expanded into creating bridges, offering tramway services, among others. After the World War II, the company grew bigger and diversified its investments.

As of today, the Ayala Corporation has stakes in real estate, banking telecommunications, utilities, healthcare, automotive, and business process outsourcing.

3. The Manila Times

Established: 1898



The Manila Times was once the driving force in Philippine journalism. Started by American businessman Thomas Gowan in 1898, it was the first bulletin that carried English cable news in the country.

The first few decades of its existence saw the Times changing ownership, with former Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon being one of the people who briefly owned the daily. The newspaper ceased publication in 1930 and only went back to circulation after the war, with the Roces family operating the paper until the Martial Law. After another period of transition, it ceased operations in 1999, and was revived in 2001 under the management of Dante Ang.

4. Benguet Corporation

Established: 1903



When the Americans colonized the country, the US government encouraged firms to explore the rich minerals hidden underneath the Philippine soil. In 1903, three Americans formed Benguet Mining to tap the minerals in the northern province. Mining was only a small-scale business back then—and Benguet Gold Mines introduced modern processes in the mining sector in the Philippines.

After decades of expansion due to the boom of gold, copper, nickel, and other minerals, Benguet Gold Mines expanded its mining ventures into different parts of the country. Aside from its main financial pipeline, Benguet Corporation is now also into healthcare, logistics, and real estate.

5. San Miguel Corporation

Established: 1890



Whatever you do, wherever you go, you will find one product produced by San Miguel Corporation. After all, it is the biggest publicly traded food and beverage corporation not just in the country but in Southeast Asia as well.

Starting in 1890 as a brewery of the world-famous San Miguel Beer, the company exported its craft to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hawaii in the beginning of the 20th century, sealing its fate as one of the most sought-after beers in the country. The company expanded its portfolio to food and eventually, other non-food industries like power, utilities, mining, energy, tollways, and airport. In 2013, the company reported $1.195 billion in revenue. –Dino Mari Testa