Henry Sy Success Story

Today, I’m now going to feature the life story of the richest man in the Philippines. He is no other than Henry Sy, the retail magnate who owns all established 33 SM Malls and also a banking magnate who owns Banco De Oro-EPCI Bank and majority share in China Bank.

This is another inspiring story as we witness his rags to riches story on how he built all SM Malls and became one of the biggest bankers enabling him to become the richest man in our country surpassing both Lucio Tan and the Ayalas.

Let’s learn and be inspired from another successful entrepreneur story as his daughter Teresita Sy-Coson narrates the story of his father’s success:

Our company, SM, as many of you may already know, came from the hard work of my dad, Henry Sy, Sr. It is a rags to riches story that even myself did not realize until I went to trace his roots in China.

His journey from the thatched hut I saw there to the shopping centers he has today is something that amazes even myself.

His determination, his discipline and his thriftiness have produced an astute and street smart businessman who has influenced a lot of people. Including us, his children.

My father’s perseverance during the different crises our country has gone through has made our active business pursuits possible for a half century. True, he was disappointed with the economy many times, but he never saw the reason to quit and instead pursued his goals relentlessly.

He had many obstacles – both external and internal – in his business, and there were times he could not understand why things had to be so complicated for him to pursue his business objectives.

It has been written – and I can attest that it is true – that Henry Sy started from the bottom.

He came to the Philippines at the young age of 12, and worked in his father’s small sari-sari store more than 12 hours everyday to help him. It was located on Echague St., which is now Carlos Palanca Sr. St. in Quiapo, Manila. There, he devised ways to increase his income by developing small portions of products – much like the sachets we see today in the supermarkets.

He was able to make multiple sales in order to make extra income, spending so much time in the store that he had no time to go out and play with friends in the neighborhood. It did not take a long time for him to realize, however, that he can only do so much in a sari-sari store environment.

WWII came and the sari-sari store was looted and burned. He did a lot of buying and selling of odd things during the war to enable the family to survive.

This must have provided him the hands-on training for his stamina in business. At one time, he was hit by shrapnel while selling, and quite fortunately was brought to the hospital by his good friend in a kariton.

Without that friend, he could have bled to death. He treasured that friendship and later expressed his gratitude after the war by making that friend his partner in a shoe store. The partnership lasted for more than 40 years until the shoe store had to give away to the building renovations of the lessor.

After the war ended in 1945, he ventured into selling American shoes imported by enterprising Gis.

He later saw the opportunities of opening a shoe store, and not long after he was managing three shoe store in partnership with friends.

With the pleasure of a growing family while at the same time pursuing studies at FEU in the early 50s, he sought more ways to augment his income.

He studied the market and decided to be different. While other young men went to the US to pursue a higher education, he went on a long business trip to the East Coast, and came home with a lot of merchandising ideas.

For a time, he was selling a lot of shoes, accessories, and leather goods, hoping to change the way shoe manufacturers look at the industry.

Sensing a lot of opportunities, he decided to open SHOE MART – “SM” – the first air-conditioned shoe store that merchandised shoes in a very inviting and classy format. With the success of that store, he went on to open more shoe stores, but he could not get enough suppliers.

Many shoe manufacturers at that time could not understand why they had to listen to this shoe retailer who had very definite ideas on what he wanted to sell. They did not cooperate by providing him with the volume he needed, and because of that limitation, he gradually shifted to apparel – and thereafter other merchandise – with the help of my mother.

He was continuously learning from his customers, suppliers, and employees. This on-the-job research gave him enough confidence to expand to a department store chain. Many things in life grow out of needs, and to meet the needs, you become determined. With determination you will take extra challenges and do things differently – which will most likely bring success.

We opened our first department store in 1972, two months after Martial Law was declared. The business had a slow start, but progressed steadily. During the Martial Law years, he continued to open more department stores, reaching a point wherein he could not get space he needed in the existing shopping centers during that time. He then decided think long term, and invest in properties for malls, which were patterned after suburban shopping centers, which he had been studying for some time.

When we started the construction of our first mall in 1983, the Philippines was in the midst of a debt moratorium and experienced hyper inflation. The economy decline was further aggravated by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Many bankers predicted our demise because my dad came from nowhere – he may had a few department stores and shoe stores at that time, but he was not one of the financial heavy-weights at that time.

Unaffected by criticism, and armed with sheer determination and optimism, he persisted and opened in 1985 with our department store and supermarket and a few tenants. Many potential lessees were saying no to lease offers.

At about the same time, given the social unrest of the times, our own Shoemart Makati was faced with ugly strikes. He almost gave up, but through the encouragement of his employees and customers, he continued. At that time, he decided emotionally draining disturbances should not overpower him or detract him from his goals. Since that time, he has not faltered in his confidence, and became even more determined to continue the business. He also convinced everyone of us in the organization to follow his optimism.

Later, we expanded, slowly building malls at that time to get our formula right. The expansion was not without difficulties. When constructing Sta. Mesa and Megamall, we were faced with delays in construction due to cement shortages and the 1989 coups.

When the 1997 Asian crisis came, we were planning our mall expansion, including the Mall of Asia, which was then envisioned to be the biggest mall in the region.

Because my dad felt the tsunami-like effects of the region wide crisis, which was unlike any other he had experienced, we had to change plans. We deferred opening the Mall of Asia, and went on with the opening of other malls.

We grew in numbers instead of size, serving different smaller markets. We have also expanded our retail business beyond department stores to include supermarkets, hardware stores, appliance superstores, and other retail formats.

At about the same time, we looked into the banking business – both at our bank and at the industry. At the time, our main bank, Banco de Oro was a medium sized bank. Because we were quite conservative in lending, the deluge of bad loans that characterized the times did not affect us. Given that, we thought it was an opportune time to grow amidst some instabilities. We reorganized and strengthened our organizations for about three years and developed growth strategies that started in the year 2000.

Encouraged by the consolidation program of Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP) in making Philippine banks more competitive relative to the region, Banco De Oro made few acquisitions because of the moratorium on banking. It acquired the Dao Heng Philippines branch, the First eBank, the Banco Santander Philippines branch, the United Overseas Bank branches, and most recently – Equitable PCI Bank.

Opportunity is where you find it, not where it finds you. Crisis and weakness indicate one can look for opportunities. Transforming problems into opportunities can bring good returns. Prosperity and growth come only to a business that systematically exploits its potentials and systematically optimizes its performances.

Our business – especially that of shopping centers is a long term business. It takes at least eight years to pay back. We feel that the country will always be around, and with Filipinos’ love for shopping, there will always be customers we can sell to.

We also have to continuously innovate. Our other retail formats like supermarkets, hardware stores, appliance stores, home stores, toy superstores, baby stores, and Watsons are continuously evolving with the shopping habits of our customers. Because they frequently visit the store, we make sure we have new products all the time so that their shopping experience will not be boring.

Our group’s policy is to look for opportunities at all times, and to be ready to act when it comes. While crises may have brought opportunities, we continue our plans in good or bad times with some changes to suit our demands of the time.

May Henry Sy’s success rubs off to us as well. As a final note, I would like to leave this quote from Henry Sy: ““There is no such thing as overnight success or easy money. If you fail, do not be discouraged; try again. When you do well, do not change your ways. Success is not just good luck: it is a combination of hard work, good credit standing, opportunity, readiness and timing. Success will not last if you do not take care of it.”

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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

209 responses on “Henry Sy Success Story

  1. There was this promo dicer of SM Marikina, i think his name is MALVIN DELOS REYES. While im getting groceries at his assigned aisle he keeps on saying ‘Wala, malapit na mamatay si henry sy. Marami kasing ginawang kagaguhan kaya kinakarma.’ I can beleived na may taong pagkatapos mong bigyan ng job biglang magsasalita ng ganun anti sa taong tumulong sa kanya. Sad.

  2. This is a good boost for myself. Sometimes Im giving up on my plans, but reading this kind of, biography from people who shape this country, I am very inspired.. ^_^ I’ll continue and pursue, make way and seek for the opportunity. Another great teaches I have learned, I wish my name would shape this world we are in. Thank you Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson for sharing your father’s achievements, this would be a good help for us dreaming and making a good discipline throughout ourselves. thank you so much ^_^v

  3. Yes, daghan kaayong salamat sa inspiring journey/bios of your dad Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson. I am just following-up the Sy’s circle of life. We have some Sy’s in us too. We have the 25% of the Sy’s side, We got it from my Granma Ciriaca Najarro Sy from Cebu. God luck and more power and course good health to your Dad. My very nostalgic moments with Grandma Kakang is when I was left behind with one of the retailer/cashier while my Grandma go up in the Penthouse/Suite as we call here America to visit her brother.Mabuhay!/Kudos and God be with you always.
    Vr, ReneYlaya Bullicer Najarro Sy

    • You are such an uneducated freak. Wherever you earned your education (if you did), it’s such a pity of what attitude you could show. Not because the man’s success is a major highlight in the topic, gives you the freedom to say anything you want. You are just displaying the common unbecoming attitude of an insecure citizen, full of ENVY.

      Pray to your God, and do something to make your life better, instead of meddling with other peoples success!

    • We can’t prevent them meddling to other peoples success.. You can’t please everybody even if you have already showed your big success.. But I just want to tell them, you won’t have that achievement or success if you are selfish.. God won’t even let someone have that blessing if He knows that this man don’t deserve it..

      When you help someone, You will receive more blessings but it is when you help someone who you know cannot pay you back.. tHEN, God will be the one who will bless you more.. HOW IT IS RELATED??

      I believe that Henry Sy is NOT madamot.. Actually, dahil sa kanya, maraming tao ang nagkakaroon ng trabaho.. Imagine how many staff working in a mall?? Saan kaya sila kung wala ang mall na tinayo ni Sir Henry Sy?? Then, ilang sm mall na ba ang meron si Sir Henry? Multiply that to number of of staff in a mall.. Imagine?

      How about you? How far are you doing to make difference in your country? Please paki evaluate muna natin ang sarili bago tayo manghusga ng iba..

      Bakit ba ang kamalian ang laging tinitignan natin sa ating kapwa? Taga BIR ka ba? Paano mo nasabi na di nagbabayad ng tax ang taong ito? Hindi mo ba alam na isa sya sa may pinakamalking kontribusyon sa pag unlad ng ekonomiya ng bansa?

      I think it is enough for you guys to make any negative comments about Sir Henry Sy..


    • A particular business will not be able to go into the industry if the business will not pay any of the taxes ! Even a simple and very small business need to pay taxes because it is an imposed law that everybody should follow …

  4. It’s nice to have an inspiring story from one of the richest Filipinos here in Philippines. It gives us an idea on how to be succesful on the field we have and continue to develop it in a challenging way.

  5. its true that there is an island of opportunity in the middle of every difficulty. be not afraid of moving slowly, be afraid of standing still.

  6. Dear SM,

    I am proud that 3 Filipinos make it to the Forbes’ richest . As i read this story, I remember the moments I had when i went malling in the Philippines. It’s nice to shop @ SM. It’s even nicer now I think, although I don’t have an SM card anymore since I left for the US 3 years ago. I think it’s easier now to redeem points because customers don’t have to go to the redeeming center anymore as one can already use earned points @ the cashier’s lane. Right @ the cashier’s lane when one pays items he got. What a way to shop. Thanks for facilitating everything. It still brings joy when one gets a discount however little it may be.

  7. I’m a teacher in Manila. Is it ok that I copy and share the story of Mr. Sy to my students? I want them to be inspired too the way I am. Thanks a lot.

  8. mr henry sy idol po kita pagdating sa pagnenegosyo sana kung my time po kau sana bigyan ninyo po rin ako ng konting idea sa negosyo dahil wala na rin ang aking magulang ako nlng po ang nagtataguyod ng negosyo po nmnin maliit lng po ang inegosyo po katulong ko po ang mama ko po sana matululngan ninyo po ako maramin salamat po

    • anong plans mo s anegosyo mo? like 2 years, 3 years from now?? ano vision mo?? gets mo?

  9. Mabuhay ka Henry Sy because you love the Philippines that help you become one of the richest people in the world.We are proud of your being a Filipino. I love you because you care for and love the country and its people. Marunong kang tumanaw ng utang na loob. Hope you could also influence many of its leaders who only rob it of its resources, materially, financially and otherwise. The fact that you employ Filipinos giving them financial security . Happy to note your children are following your footsteps . Kudos to your very religious wife and family. We always saw them when we attended masses officiated by Fr Fernando @ SM when we were still there. I miss going to SM. You see, many times a week my husband & I would shop and eat there when we were there. SM Asia Mall is one of the best malls in the world. I love SM.

  10. I really am inspired with Mr.Sy’s rags to riches story. He will serve as an inspiration towards the attainment of my goal and I will always bear in my mind that in order to achieve success, one must undergo hardships….. Thank you for sharing such wonderful story….

  11. Can somebody give me Mr. Henry Sy’s address? Or An Email Account where he can read my letter. Please…. I am taking my Master in Nursing Course in Liceo de Cagayan University (Cagayan de Oro City) and i have chosen him to be my center of study in Organizational Behavior Subject. I will just send him a letter of interview and it will be my greatest pleasure to be entertained by answering back my letter. Please…

    Joeman D. Cayabas, RN

  12. When opportunity comes together with your determination, hardwork, innovation, flexibility, and timing… you will surely succeed. I’m gonna be studying Entrepreneurship and hopefully will learn strategies in doing good business. I’m a businessman because I love my country.

  13. Thank you so much Miss Teresita for sharing your father’s (I think)most inspirational success story.
    I must say that Mr.Henry Sy is so BLESSED.May he have a more and longer life…
    I’m sure,he is an inspiration to anybody who reads his success story.
    I will include him in my prayers from now on…
    MORE POWER TO SM ! ! !

  14. Naging empleyado na ko ng BDO,kaya lang nag resign na ko.kasi halos pagod na pagod na kami sa branch..kulang na kulang kami sa tao, halos di na kami nakakakain kasi kulang sa empleyado.Maraming nag reresign sa liit ng sweldo. Tapos halos buong araw kang nasa bangko, sana naman mahalin nyo at pahalagahan ang mga empleyado nyo, bigyan nyo ng magandang sweldo at benepisyo. Ang haba haba ng banking hours tinitipid naman sa sweldo..mahalin nyo po ang mga empleyado nyo.para hindi sila lumipat ng ibang kumpanya. Yung isang ka teller ko nag bayad ng 50,000 kasi na short. Starting salary sa BDO 8 thousand lang eh…ang liit liit.. Mapro promote ka pahirapan pa..ma promote ka man 100 pesos lang ang dagdag kaya yung tulad ko lumilipat ng ibang trabaho..sana gawan nyo po ng paraan para hindi na lumipat ng ibang kumpanya yung mga empleyado nyo

    • good day! would it be okay if you share the issues on such? i’m doing a report on tycoons in the phil. thanks!

    • Guys! Hanggang basa nalng ba kau
      Sa mga taong nagiging successful?
      Bakit di mo gawin ung mga ginawa nila kung pano sila yumaman at narupad mga pangarap nila sa buhay!
      guys hanggang tingin nlang po ba kau sa mga pangarap nyo?

  15. To SM owner

    I bought an American Tourister luggage bag at SMSan Lazaro branch and after a year one of its part turned into powder-like substance.

    The luggage has 5 years warranty so I went back to SM San Lazaro and talk to SM personnel for my warranty claim.

    Your personnel’s advised me to go to Trinoma. Then to Megamall, then to Gateway, then to Podium and finally to Makati but all turned to naught.

    I’m not satisfied with your product because its material failed too early, but what happened next aggravate my sufferings and dampened my SM shopping experience for years now.

    I tried hard looking for help but your managers seems professional in the subject of escape and evasion fortified with finger-pointing under covered employees as indecisive smiling decoys.

    I tried to investigate on whose command of responsibility that this attitude is coming from and finally discover a certain Nico Chew who’s wish is a king’s command to his subordinated managers.

    His attitude is to evade and escape any responsibility from my claim and let left me alone to negotiate my warranty claim with the American Tourister.

    Is it true that king Chew’s decisions are final and therefore make him act like such like that?

    Never will I win over such a Looney foul-mouthed king (Nico Chew), for I’ll always be a flea in his eyes.

    This is the reason why I wrote to your attention. I do not want to buy his eminence, king Chew of SM and his kinglike challenge of “war versus flea” as if he can stupidly win it ————“BAHALA KA!!!”, I’m fortunate he didn’t caught me fast with his gritting’ nails holding his phone?

    Not now maybe. Just maybe- SMShoemart perhaps has a different handler and a disposition that will be fair but absurd to his eminence, king Chew!

    Respectfully Yours

    • May I just ask? Bakit po kayo papapuntahin ng empleyado ng ‘SM’ sa ‘TRINOMA’ at ‘GATEWAY’ eh that’s Ayala’s? And why not go to their supplier ng American Tourister? Brand ba ng SM yun? They are just retailing the goods.

    • Apolonio you are barking on a wrong tree… You should not go to sm to compain regarding your American Tourister Bag you should go to the licensed / authorized distributor here in the Philippines for American Tourister which is the Primer Group of Companies located in Primer Star building in Manila. it distributes Delsey, American Tourister, Samsonite under their business The Travel Club. You can already distinguish that SM is not Prime Group . Prime Group is a consignee in SM department store or a tenant if they have a boutique store. Go to that company and compalin not SM. for complaints you can go directly to DTI. I dont think its SM the only fault of SM is that they are not trained in customer service in assisting and informing you regarding that.

  16. Hi I would like to know your source on this account on Henry Sy especially his rise during the Martial Law era. Thank You

  17. a very inspiring story of success :). im reporting about henry sy’s life and good thing here’s this site to share something about him and his success :).Thanks!

  18. hi mr. henry sy…

    very inspiring life story of yours…

    want to ask permission if i can have your biography???

    god bless..

    • of all the comments here, it seems that you are the only one not inspired, is this envy or what? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. I do admire your father’s strong determination to make life better for the family. Look where you are now!
    Hello Teresita, If your family is looking for someone to handle the collection department, I know a person who you can really trust, with excellent personality who can motivate and inspire people to work hard for the company’s success and their personal life. You will find out if you give her a chance to come for interview.
    Thanks and hope to hear from you/ PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH.

  20. this is just a proof that being poor is not an enough reason for one’s success. its the eagerness and determination that counts. So dream big and workhard.

  21. hi to all the readers out there..Especially to Ms. Teresita sy-coson and Mr. Henry Sy…Im a working student and this article inspired me allot… I am proud to say that ive been working in SM pampanga as a sales clerk (weekender)almost 1 year… this job really help me to pursue my dreams..to finish my studies..this is also an advantage for me werein my course is Industrial Engineering and some of my subjects relates in my work(iventory control, merchandizing cycle, etc)…Now im a regular employee,with the help and trust of our AVP Ms. Ann Elena Magdadelene N. Sison and HR managaer Marissa T. Yap…Mr. Henry Sy see you soon! ill just finish my studies first so that you will also be proud of me!

  22. In 2008, Pacquiao was the top taxpayer in the country. What he did exposed how many Filipinos are cheating their government by not paying the right taxes. Does anyone think Manny is richer than Henry Sy or Lucio Tan–both of whom are in Fortune Magazine’s list of the super rich with assets worth more than a billion dollars each?

    • They do pay taxes but I think they have different categories. Businesses I think have tax credits not like the form of taxes that Manny pays.


  24. have u notice lahat halos ng mayayaman na pinoy eh chinese ang apelyido gaya ng Sy,Wei,Tan,etc.

    Intayin niung yumaman ako ..magkakaroon n dn ng BERNARDO na bilyonaryo .. XD

  25. haha! success story ba talagang matatawag ang pagiging dummy ng SIMBAHAN… hindi ang mga negosyanteng yan na may success story kuno ang tunay na mayaman kundi simbahan!gano ba karaming skwelahan dyan at hospital ang pag-aari ng simbahan??may libre ba sa mga yun???esep esep mga tol

  26. what a very inspiring story of success.. truly success cannot be achieved through pure luck.. you always have to work for it.. and pray a lot..

  27. tama>>>> the greatest failure of a company sometimes is the failure to take good care if their workers… naghihirap na nga sila, nagsasacrifice for their dailiy living, eh pinapahirapan pa nila. magising nga kau madlang people….. at kau naman na na nasa, magandang kabuhayan,,, anticipating that you have gone through thick and thin lives,, please consider your employees also…. maawa sana kau sa mga kapwa pilipino na naghihirap maghanap buhay.. heheheh

  28. I’m a working student whose writing a term paper for my business and management subjects. Mr. Sy success story inspires me a lot to pursue my dream to become an entrepreneur someday! I’m one of his avid fans. And yes hardworking and patience is the key to embrace opportunities!

  29. wow. really inspiring story. 🙂
    we all have to believe everything is possible to happen:)
    rag to richest. who know’s one simple idea can be like henry sy, a good entrepreneur!

    salute you 🙂

  30. Inspiring story. He is now the richest man in the Philippines worth $7.2 billion according to Forbes magazine. I hope someday I can be wealthy as him maybe even more he he.

  31. A real inspiring-true-to life success.. I wish I could find the formula, the path and timing too….

    TO negative critics… tax? Been working for more than a decade, can’t feel the benefit if there is,from the Government after imposing huge tax, uncontested, from us small workers, automatically deducted from salaries. From the wage, food, clothing, shelter and everything. TAX TAX TAX!!! For what? For the Greed of Politicians? For their Leisure?For Corruption? Try to study how National and Local budgets being distributed, yearly… You will note, in the simplest analogy that “Corruption lays vividly and seducing every Politician to taste the sweetness and abundancy of Corruption..And who will forbid that? Who will go against that? The Law-makers? In other terms, the POLITICIANS? Hell No of course!! Nah nah . ….. Better are those who help the people by personally giving ways to earn directly, give job rather than impose tax only intended for Corrupt Persons. Though I did not meant Mr. Sy do not Pay his Taxes.. i believe he does, in my opinion, only our Government is not satisfied because Corrupt-budget/Funding will not be sufficed if they wont receive their computed allotment, According to their usual cut.
    Lastly, when Pacman Paid his Taxes faithfully, did you felt or noticed changes or improvements? Was there any IMPROVEMENT? .. coming from the Government? When the treasures and Wealth of the Marcos’ was seized was there any positive achievement? And Erap’s also… Was there???

  32. wow!!! i cant imagine!!! hehe nkkinspire ung life story ni henry sy. nbsa ko ung life story nia!!! n inspire ako prng auko n sumuko kht mdmi png obstacle n dumating s life ko alm ko machieved ko din mga goals and oppurtunities n dtng s life ko try lng tau ng try until we succeed>>> B-)

  33. i hope long life p xa pra ms mdmi pxa mtulungan ang alm ko tumutulong din xa s enviroment nice tlga>>> sna all people kgya nia kya mdmi sya mga blessings n dumting s life nia kc npka generous nia to other people sna kung ngtutulungan lng tau lht wla sna nghhrap db.

  34. An galing naman..nakaka inspire talaga yung story niya..Evething is possible talaga kelangan lang ng tyaga maabot natin ang dreams natin..sana sa mga makakabasa pa maging inspiration nyo din.. i really love the quote “if you fail do not be discourage and try again…

  35. napaka ganda nang story na ito.. very inspiring! most espcially for those who are willing to improve their standard of living. dahil hindi lang naman pala isa ang mapagpipilian na hanap buhay kundi ang pag nenegosyo rin ay magandang hanap buhay.. lalo na kung mag tyaga lang at mag sipag. although hindi madali. marami ring obstacles, pero kung determinado naman at mataas ang pasensya talagang makuha natin ang ating gusto sa buhay.. talaga namang negosyante ang pag iisip ng mga intsik o tsinoy na dito na nanirahan sa pinas. dahil cguro sa subok na sa buhay ang nadaranasan nila sa china noon pamang sina unang panahon.. gira,gulo,gutom,tag tuyo’t ,kahirapan. Kaya ganyan nalng cla ka galing pag dating sa pag hhanap buhay. at dahil nadin ky Cunfusius kaya napaka galing nla sa negosyo. sana ay makuha din natin mga pinoy ang sekreto nila.

  36. It’s very inspiring! Hope we will also keep positive thoughts in our endeavors. There may be downfalls.. But, those things help us gain lessons! Thanks much for the shared learning 🙂

  37. “It is SM which caused an increase in Henry Sy’s already immense profit: Siil at Murang paggawa (repressed and cheap labor).”

    This was Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to the reported 13% first-semester increase in business tycoon Henry Sy’s profit which now amounts to P9.64 billion, saying the owner of SM Investments Corp. should be ashamed of raising his profit by employing contractual workers.

    Reports say SM’s core businesses – banks, retail malls, shopping malls and real-estate business – contributed to the increase in Sy’s profits.

    “All of Sy’s businesses employ and exploit contractuals who are made to work hard yet receive meager wages and minimal benefits and have no job security nor union rights to speak of. Contractual salesladies, bank tellers and construction workers – these are the people who contributed immensely to the rise in Sy’s profit,” said Nenita “Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU vice-chairperson for women affairs.

    “Sy should be ashamed of raking in a huge profit from his businesses which are all contractualization camps. His businesses’ good performance amidst the global economic crisis should not be celebrated because it rests on the severe exploitation of numerous workers, especially women workers,” she added.

    KMU zeroed in on the condition of women workers in SM malls: six days of work, attendance is strictly enforced, physical attractiveness is used as a yardstick for being hired, employees are asked to sign contracts first before benefits are disclosed, and contractuals are never regularized and are merely re-hired.

    “Because of the sexist stereotyping of work in malls and banks, it is poor women who are in the main hired in Sy’s core businesses and who are severely exploited as contractuals. The condition of women workers in Sy’s businesses are an appaling combination of capitalist exploitation and sexist oppression,” Gonzaga said.

    “The Aquino government of course wants workers and ordinary people to be thankful to Sy for providing employment. The quality of work in Sy’s businesses, however, leave much to be desired,” she added.

    “The quality of work in Sy’s businesses further impresses on the Filipino workers and people the need for decent jobs with living wages. We have been suffering from poor quality employment for so long,” she said.

    • Kailan ba nakuntento ang mga leftist? Kahit sino naman maupong Presidente ay hindi sila satisfied kasi ang gusto nila ay sila ang mamuno. Kailan ba naging Labor union ang KMU?

  38. totoo ba na karamihan ng empleyado ng SM ay contractual?
    kung totoo, yayaman ka nga talaga.
    at sa mga nagrereklamo na empleyado, wag na kayong magreklamo. buti nga at may trabaho kayo kahit contractual lang. training yan sa inyo para umangat kayo.
    Pero mas inspiring buhay ni Gokongwei.

  39. thanks to this site!! henry sy has a great life story regarding his business, i will use this for my project!! =)

  40. Very nice succesfull story.. Dahil sa paninindigan nya naging isa sya na pinakamayamang tao sa pilipinas.. Very inspiring from a shoe maker now a most richest person in owr country.. Good greatfull job henry sy… 😀

  41. naiinspire ako kay tatang mr henry sy sr…at nagpapasalamat dahil sobrang laki ng naitulong ng sm sa akin..ordinayong empleyado lng po ako pero sobrang thankful ako dahil madami na ako napala sa sm..at lahat ng yoon pinghirapan ko..gagraduate na kapatid ko next year at secure na ang mga tutition nya,madami na ako gamit na naipundar at may kunti ng savings,,,twice na po ako naoperahan at lahat succes sa tulong ng mga health benefits na natatangap ko….mula sa sm…patuloy ang mga benepisyo…hindi lamang mga benefits ang pinagpapasalamat ko sa sm..madami po ako natutunan,sa buhay sa negosyo,lahat na ta alam ko madami pa ako mga blessings na matatangap at mga learnings kaya patuloy ako magseserbisyo ng matapat sa SM thanks tatang for helping with us….god bless u and i hope ma meet kita in persons…

  42. since i was young my mom already telling me how great and rich henry sy is. now that I’m in my college, I took a business course and almost all of my professor idolize him. hope to talk to him personally.

  43. am happy and so blessed being an employee of one of his stable and still growing Bank.. thanks Sir Henry Sy, am really inspired in your rag to riches story… I idolized you Sir…

  44. wow!!!!!i can’t believe that there’s such a person like you Mr. Henry Sy..I will make you as an inspiration to strive hard in life,>

  45. very inspiring, especially to some Filipino businessmen having, yet, small success from their business…to learn to save first and live, within, if not beneath, their means and expand the business.

  46. .sana lang yung mga nakaupo ngayon sa pwesto ng nasabing establishment ay wag masyadong pahirapan yung mga gustong mag apply kay henry sy. Di sana maging basihan kung may natapos na kolehiyo at may bitbit na diploma o wala as long as kaya nitong gampanan at pangatawanan yung gagawin nyang responsibilidad kay henry sy. As observer like the other masyadong mapang mataas na ata ang mga namumuno ngayon samantalang hindi naman ganon ang ginawa ni henry sy para makatulong sa mga pilipino. yun lang po 😉 Godbless sa lahat!! Long live Mr. Henry Sy!!

  47. hi to all the readers…
    yes, the story of mr. henry sy is very inspiring. ganyan talaga mind setting ng mga chinese. they study hard not to be become an employee someday but to handle their own business.
    for those people na nagcocomment about sa profit that mr. sy got, hindi nyo na dpat icontest pa ang mga ganyang bagay, why? simple because it business. and kung pinagkakakitaan lang pala kau as being contractual in his company bat pa kayo papasok kung ayaw nyo ng sistema nila?? kung ayaw nyo, get out of the system. that simple.

    simple lang naman reason why they post the story of mr. sy eh, its for us to inspire, motivate, to the thing that mr. sy do. wag tayo magpatalo sa hirap na dinadanas ntin. kung walang hirap ala din namang sarap eh..

    know the secret why mr. henry sy is so successful??
    “Law of Leverage!”

  48. ..I really appreciate wat henry sy did..his a great filipino who really did his best to become successful person..i do hope that he will never forget to thank GoD of what he had now.All the things or wealth he had are nothing without GoD.
    To Mr. Henry Sy thanks for being one of our inspiration,may GoD give you long life and God bless to you and your family..more powers!!!

  49. wow.. amazing! i wonder if the belief of Henry Sy about God had a great effect of his success. Hope it’s not all about the money or success – and forget life after death..
    “what profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeit his soul?” –
    with the ups and downs of life of Henry Sy.. probably the more he get closer with his God!.. God bless our nation.

  50. napabilib talga ako sa naging pagsisikap ni henry sy,isa syang tao na mula sa kawalan ..ngunit nagsikap at umangat ..ngunit hind lang dapat tayo humanga sa kanya sa halip sikapin din nating tularan sya..malay natin pag dating ng panahon maging katulad natin sya o kung hindi man atleast natulungan natin ang ating mga sarili upang magsikap sa pamamagitan ng pag tulad sa kanyang mga naging pagsisikap at tyaga na may halung paggawa…buti pa sya ganun ang ginagawa para umasinso ..di tulad ng iba dyan puro kurakot lang at pananamantala sa mga taong hirap din ang maliliit at hirap ang buhay..meron din iba dyan pati ang dyos ginagamit para kumita sa milyong milyong tao sa pilipinas anu ang puhunan nila???simple lang diba pero lakas kumita ..anyway..alam naman ng dyos kung sinu at hindi ang dapat nyang tulongan…basta kay henry sy hanga ako sa kanya….very inspiring talaga ang buhay nya…

  51. I was being inspired with mr. Henry Sy.I want to follow on what he’d been through your life was really quite inspiring…

  52. […] Henry Sy was 12 when he came to the Philippines and straightaway worked in his father’s sari-sari store on Echague Street in Quiapo before he went into partnership with a friend to put up the very first S & M shoe store. It was, as everybody knows, the forerunner of what was to become one of the world’s biggest shopping chains. Lucio Tan, an engineering dropout, ran a small scrap business before he was employed as buyer in a tobacco factory – from which came undoubtedly the experience and inspiration to put up giant Fortune Tobacco Industries. Kuwentong cochero or not, I remember having read a newspaper interview with him where he recounted having plied the streets as a kalesa driver. For his part, at 15, John Gokongwei, who has holdings in food manufacturing, petrochemicals, and financial services, had to help his mother support his family by buying and selling basic commodities on a bike before he engaged in small trading in a batel and then worked as bodegero in a merchandising business. […]

  53. nakapgtrabaho din ako as saleslady sa SM carriedo pa noon . si henry sy e mabait na tao yan. ang mga hudas dyan e yong mga supervisors and staff. maunawain si henry sa kalagayan ng nagtatrabaho sakanya tumutulongyan kaso kun ghindi maharang ng mga hudas sa paligid nya.

    dahil sa kabait an ni henry sy at sa dami din ng mga sipsip na staff kaya may mga rules or patakaran ang SM na hindi talaga tama.
    pero ito ang sa tingin ko e secreto nya yan e nong araw kasi hindi pa sya ganyan kalaking bus.man
    e memeber ka nya ng SSS, pero wala ka ID or number of being a member. symepre may kaltas. contractural (6 months) bakit laging ganon para di makapag organinzed ng LABOR UNION kaya hindi nakakapag STRIKE. pero nagkaron ng strike at hindi nagtagal at di naman naulit.
    as a chinese hindi gahaman sa tubo. kahit yong mga tindahan ng intsik noon kahit mamera lang tubo basta volume or basta suki ka.
    pinoy hindi ganyan m agnegosyo. kung pwede pagbukas na pagbukas ng tindahan e milyonaire na agad(sobra magtubo)
    maasdan nyo intsik sa negosyo, friendly sila sa mga buyers nila. hindi m ayabang at akala mo kung sino. kaya ikaw na mamimili e babalikan mo talga kasi bukod sa mura e may dagdag pa kahit kulangot lang.
    mapagpakumbaba sa mamimili. yan pag negosyo ang pag uusapan

  54. WOW!!! It’s just amazing!!! Thank you to the author of this… If everybody would just be like Mr. Henry Sy’s Perseverance and hardwork, there would be no poor on earth……………….. kaya walang puwang and TAMAD sa mundo.. If you want to succeed then do something…

  55. henry sy is a WARRIOR… he’s tough. this story pushed me and not to hold back. I forgot to move on, honestly… but now, i think i should carry on..
    Thank you teresita sy-coson for your heaven given heart to reveal the truth that lies in the success of your father….may God bless you more..

  56. “ung mga taong nag sasabi, na madaming kalokohang ginawa si mr. henry sy pansinin ninyo, sila ung mga taong hindi success, discouragement normal and rejection ,.. pero sino kba kumpara sa taong success ,.naghirap,nagpagod,nagpuyat at namuhunan ng oras kea now kung anu si mr. henry sy at kung anu ung meron siya ngaun isa lang masasabi ko .. “DAPAT LANG NA YUMAMAN SIYA”…

    ………………………pero join kna sa network ko mr. henry sy ^_^……………………

  57. Wala akong masabi kundi ang kasipagan nya talino,dedikasyon sa kanyang pangarap at ang pagiging masikap at matipid at paniniwala sa Diyos ang naghatid sa kanya sa tagumpay. Idol ko sya sana magawa ko rin lahat ang nararapat para sa aking negosyo. Mabuhay po kayo Mr. Henry Sy.

  58. If you think that other people is the root cause of the problems, you can never solve your own economic or emotional problems. But if start thinking that you are the problem and start giving thanks to what you have you can start building and changing yourself for the better. Remember as Plato says thousands of years ago, the hardest victory that you can have is the victory over yourself since the worst enemy you can have is no other than yourself.

  59. I was inspired to your story Mr. Henry Sy; you’re right that is no such thing as overnight success, like “dying to ourselves is not actually losing something. It is actually having something that only through dying we can gain” like you, you are gaining because of pain, because of a lot of trials and troubles that you encounter to your life and you need to overcome it. You are a good model, amazing…

  60. I think I am determined, focused,.I also want to get rich like Henry sy, thats why i work hard.but i now realized that its hard going that way……huhui

  61. i was very INSPIRED about his heart warming story and I’m happy that some of our own entrepreneurs proved that they started from nothing, now they take the higher grounds in their lives

  62. Yes!, that’s inspiring! Truly, that’s why never listen to those people who criticize you but they have no achievements in life or financial achievements, because it only means they want to drag you to the abyss of failure where they are in. And there are a lot of people like that, i’m sure you experienced that yourself.

  63. burning desires ang umiral sa pagiisip ni henry sy… yun talaga ang nasa mind nya that time hindi sya nagpadala sa kung anuman ang nangyayari sa bansa basta nag focus lang sya sa goals nya hanggang sa makamit nya ang gusto nya…law of attraction yan

    • alam nya na nung nagstart palang sya na makukuha nya yung gusto nya i’m sure hindi na sya nagulat nung makamit nya tagumpay nya kasi from the start na mahirap palang sya nag plant na sya ng seed sa mind nya na ito ay nakuha nya na kahit that time poor pa sya… I mean hindi sya na panghinaan ng loob.

  64. Great business tycoons like Henry Sy established such wealth because they had started early in the competition. They have this what we call as Economic and Industrial advantage; opportunities are easier to find.

    Now, with the rapid growth of our economy and increased industrialization it ain’t that easy to find opportunities as the competition and capital requirements grew in heights.

    The good news is that we are now in an era where to be a “King” huge army, armory and weapons are no longer necessary. To be a “King” in whatever field, we now have a new commodity–and that is IDEAS!. Whoever has great ideas on important aspects of our field seize the field! This is the age of innovation.

    Good luck satin mga fortune seeker!

  65. is this a battlefield? to fight for some useless mishearing or misunderstanding things?………………….com’on, we’re talking of the success here, not the vices may be…………….

  66. i just want to ask bakit pg ngwork kn sa sm totoo bang hindi na pwedeng bumalik sa kahit na anung branch o afiliates ng sm? gusto ko sana mgapply again sa sm kasi maganda ang patakaran nila sa empleyado nila..kahit nagwork na ako sa sm hypermarket. .i need a reply pls help me wala kasi makasagot sa tanung na yan eh..

    • Totoong di ka na makakabalik ulit as employee sa kahit anong SM affiliates. Galing akong SM Fairview Supermarket nung 2011 pa. Kanina nag apply ako sa SM north edsa as Bagger sa supermarket nila. Pinaghintay pa ako ng matagal tsaka sinabi saking na di na daw pwedeng bumalik..at sa kahit anong affiliates ng SM. Pwedeng bumalik but under agencies with different job position e.g merchandizer.

  67. inspiring talaga ang buhay ni henry sy.. though hindi xia perpektong tao, nagpapasalamat parin ako, kc tlgang ntulungan nya ng malaki ang school namin na mpaayos at mapaganda ito.. khit na minsan mdaming nang aasar na ibang school smin, thankful parin kmi kc ntulungan nya kmi at tinutulungan pa,..

  68. I hope one of Henry Sy’s children, household member, or employee, reads comments made here, and bring mine to his, or his wife, Fely’s attention. I am the original, and sole, Guarantor of the ShoeMart credit card in the 60s, but had to give it up when my family got stuck in the US because of martial law. I would love to contact Henry’s wife, or any of his children, if Henry is unable to do so. I hope that both Henry and Fely are well, and I’m most happy for their success, for they worked hard to get there. It pleases me to read about their daughter, Tessie, and her brothers taking care of the business their parents started, and is happy to read of their success and many charities.
    Henry’s children might not know, that of the many problems their father had while pursuing his dreams, that he ran out of money while building his 2nd ShoeMart store near Rustan in Makati, but I’ll leave it to their parents to tell them how he was able to procure the loan for it, and that’s how they were able to build more ShoeMart stores, that laid the foundation for the SM department stores, etc.

  69. That was very inspiring. I want to break away from this shell where I’m hiding and I want to explore the world. I want to live my life. I don’t want to be scared of change because I want to change. I want to live my life to its fullest potential. Thanks for the awesome story.

  70. His story of success is very inspiring indeed. However, success is hollow without giving back. I hope Mr Sy doesn’t forget to give back to the poor.

  71. the story of Mr.Henry Sy is very inspiring, it touches me in maybe the youth,Mr. Henry Sy is my idol since I read his story last 2004 in a newspaper,since then he became my idol.

  72. “At one time, he was hit by shrapnel while selling, and quite fortunately was brought to the hospital by his good friend in a kariton.

    Without that friend, he could have bled to death. He treasured that friendship and later expressed his gratitude after the war by making that friend his partner in a shoe store. The partnership lasted for more than 40 years until the shoe store had to give away to the building renovations of the lessor.”

    I remember a story similar to this…narrated by my Dad, medyo malabo ang kwento and I do not remember him mentioning Henry Sy, he just mentioned a ‘friend’. He was telling me how hard it was during the war times and the Japanese occupation at nabaril sila(?) and he had to rush a friend to a hospital using a kariton.

    Henry Sy went to my dad’s wake when he died, and he did ‘work'(my Dad never mentioned that he was a ‘partner’) for him for quite sometime with HS’ first shoe store in Carriedo. Of course, I didn’t understand the ‘connect’ as I was still a child then, and di pa naman sikat sila HS noon dahil wala pa yung mga mall. Sayang di na mention the name of the ‘friend’. Mahirap tuloy magconfirm at magclaim na siya nga yon.

  73. Kung bibigyan ako ng pagkakataon balang araw na maging ka partner ni Mr.Henry Sy hindi ko talaga sasayangin yun. Andami nyang pinagdaanan pero kahit ganun paman naging matagumpay pa rin siya.
    grabeh bilib na bilib talaga ako !!! 🙂 BOTTOMS UP !

  74. sobrang nainspire ako sa kuwento ni mr. Henry Sy , nakakabilib siya.. pinag iisipan ko pa nga ngayon na kung mag si switch ako ng course from INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY to ENTREPRENEURSHIP.. TALAGANG NAINSPIRED AKO ! SERYOSO NA YAN WALANG HALONG BIRO 🙂

  75. HALAKA !!! di ko kinaya pumasok sa utak ko na mga future plans 😛 Grabe. Indeed everyone has the right to dream !! Sir Henry Sy I promise I would present your “rags to riches” story with humor and confidence. I am a Management student of Mindanao State University and this coming Tuesday February 14, 2017 I would be reporting an example of business tycoon :-). I gain a lot of confidence and determination after reading this article and Sir Ill try my best to be the class outstanding reporter even if I’m surrounded by classmates with thick eyeglasses:-D God Speed Sir. Thank you for inspiring an ordinary student like me. <3 <3 <3

  76. after i read this article some ideas pop on my mind.
    I’m so proud of you Mr. Henry Sy you are the good example because of you we learn how to be strong in our lives. and our goal is to determine how Henry Sy success despite all challenges that he faced. Thank you very much <3 <3 <3 :-* :-* mwuah mwuah tsup tsup Happy lang 🙂 sabe ni tinay

  77. What a very inspiring story of Mr. Henry Sy. Behind the struggles and challenges in his life he never surrender and become the country’s richest man. I just like the short line in the story which says “transforming problems into opportunity can make a good returns”

  78. I am so inspired right now. Thank you Tyrone & Ms. Teresita. I just came across this article googling for my paper in Managerial Accounting. What inspired me the most is when the time that Mr. Sy is just starting out, nobody also believed in him and his visions. It just came to me that everybody also said no to my startup project. I just realized that I’m on the right track. Anyone reading this should watch out for Brox Fish Farm some years from now. 🙂 Thanks again for this article.

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