The Philippine daily Inquirer has just published an article by Tina Arceo-Dumlao covering the history of one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the Philippines: Aboitiz & Company.

We’ve already had the opportunity to speak about this Basque family spread across three continents which perfectly reflects the connections created by the Basque community between its homeland, South America, and Asia.  This was back in October of 2015, thanks to an article in the Argentine daily La Nación in its Economy section.

Today, thanks to this article in the Philippine newspaper, we can learn even more about the entrepreneurial history of this family in the Philippines.  It all got started when Paulino Aboitiz left his native Lekeitio, Biscay to head to Ormoc, a coastal town on the island of Leyte, in the center of the Philippine archipelago.  There, he founded a small company trading in abacá and other goods.  This small company, after a century, has become one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines, with interests in banking, energy production and distribution, real estate, food, and infrastructure.

The author relates this evolution to one of the most common characteristics shared by Basque entrepreneurs: thinking and committing long term, regardless of how daunting short-term challenges may be.

We’ve been looking over articles about Aboitiz & Company, visiting the company’s website.  One thing we were surprised by was the large number of fields the company has interests in.  But what most caught our attention was how this family maintains its connections to its Basque roots.  For example, two of the fifth-generation Aboitizes, brothers with leading roles in the company, have two names that all Basques will be extremely familiar with: Erramon and Sabin.  That’s a clear indication of the pride in the family’s Basque roots.

Another thing that caught our eye was the attention and interest the company shows in its Corporate Social Responsibility. We were especially impressed by how much they stress both the importance of training and in valuing the importance of the presence women in education and at work.

In addition to the article in Inquirer, we’ll also again leave you with the link so you can download the book “Los vascos en Filipinas“, written by Philippine diplomat Marciano R. de Borja and published by the Basque Government as part of their Urazandi collection.  In it, alongside a summary of the history of the Aboitiz family, one can also find an overview of the presence of our Basque compatriots in the archipelago, and their contribution to the history and development of the Philippines.

This history of Basques, that of the Aboitiz family, is part of a chapter in the history of our diaspora that is far too unknown by us Basques at home.  We must admit that we too have an immense debt with this part of the history of our nation, and the number of articles dedicated to the Basques in the Philippines is far too small.

Inquirer – 18/10/2020 – Filipinas

Aboitiz Group hits the century mark

La primera generacion de la familia Aboitiz Yrastorza con su patriarca Paulino Aboitiz
La primera generacion de la familia Aboitiz Yrastorza con su patriarca Paulino Aboitiz

The sprawling Aboitiz Group, which traces its beginnings to an intrepid Basque who migrated to Leyte from Spain in the late 1800s, has seen it all over the past hundred years – a devastating world war, political upheavals, its fair share of fortune and bad luck, and now a raging public health and economic crisis.

(Sigue) (Traducción automática)

Libro «Los vascos en Filipinas» descarga del PDF


foto de cabecera: Aboitiz Old Cebu Building-Aboitiz & Co.’s first headquarters, in a modest two-story building on Juan Luna Street in the heart of Cebu City.