Month: April 2018

Dennis Uy: ‘In business, dapat may forever’

WILL SOON FLOURISH – Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) – April 29, 2018 – 12:00am

One of the most unforgettable dinner forum speakers of Anvil Business Club was Davao City’s emerging business taipan, 44-year-old Dennis Uy, who founded the country’s third biggest oil firm Phoenix Petroleum, developed the 177-hectare Clark Global City which he envisions as “a new BGC,” as well as being boss of Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. with plans to develop airports and even reportedly hopes to be the country’s third telecom player.

Partner of Sys, oil supplier of Gokongweis, bought Family Mart from Ayalas & Tantocos

While sipping white wine to relax himself, the soft-spoken Uy held an eloquent, candid, two-hour dialogue with 250 young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs at the 1.7-hectare campus of his recently acquired Enderun Colleges in McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

After his well-received talk, the officers and members treated Uy like a rock star, lining up to take selfies with him and to give their business cards for over another hour onstage. He was also formally accepted as honorary member of Anvil.

He was a staunch 2016 election ally of President Rody R. Duterte, who appointed him Presidential Sports Adviser on. He is business partner with the Sy family of SM in logistics firm 2GO Group, which was co-founded by the Aboitiz family, and has years of dealings with the Gokongwei family’s Cebu Pacific Air. He had bought the Family Mart convenience store chain from the Zobel-controlled Ayala Land and Tantoco family’s SSI Group.

Since I was recently elected for a sixth term to head Anvil Business Club as its chairman, I invited him to speak because he is self-made entrepreneur who I believe exemplifies the kind of risk-taking, optimistic and hardworking business people the Philippines needs to sustain our fast-growing economy.

Instead of asking him to deliver a speech, I, Anvil president Patrick Cua, chairman emeritus George Siy, VP Hubert Chua, emcees Lorina Tan and Lexter Ang sat with him onstage as Anvil officers and members in the ballroom asked him diverse questions.

Here are excerpts of what he shared:

Working first for the family

Uy is third-generation and eldest grandson of an ethnic Chinese business family in Mindanao, so he was expected to work for the family firm after college at Manila’s De La Salle University. He shared that like most Chinese enterprises, the family business continued such traditions as “pure cash flows and no to loans.”

Based in Tagum, Davao and starting with trading copra, the Uy family businesses flourished in mining, supermarkets, car dealership, etc.  He worked for 10 years and at one point was helping run seven firms, but he decided to go on his own even with limited capital. He even borrowed money from informal lenders.

Asked if he considered any other career, he replied: “My academic grades were average, so I couldn’t become a doctor. I was not very good at memorization, so I couldn’t be a lawyer.”

Going for initial public offering (IPO) was one of his goals in business, because he believes it can help attract more professional talents and being publicly listed is “also good estate planning.”

His aim is “to establish a legacy, to build up a 50-year-old or 100-year-old company.” He half-jokingly added: “In business, dapat may forever (there should be forever).” He shared that in college, he also invested in stocks.

How Phoenix Petroleum started

“In 2002, I established Udenna Corporation as a holding company without holdings (laughs).  Do you know ‘Udenna’ is a Greek word for ‘handsome’? Seriously, ‘Udenna’ is a word play on my full name: Dennis Ang Uy.”

He also started a small restaurant called Dencio’s Kamayan, serving barbecues, which became a chain of eight outlets. He even tried operating two Davao City community newspapers, which eventually folded up.

Uy ventured into the petroleum business after the 1998 Oil Deregulation Law created opportunities and he observed retail outlets of independent players like Unioil and Flying V opening in Luzon, so he wanted to do this in Mindanao. He started Phoenix with only eight people, an upstart and underdog firm from Mindanao that grew phenomenally nationwide.

Phoenix Petroleum founder Dennis Uy welcomed as honorary member of Anvil Business Club, from left chairman Wilson Lee Flores, Uy, pres. Patrick Cua, VP Hubert Chua, chairman emeritus George Siy

He said he couldn’t afford an ad agency, but got an advertising person to help him think of the brand “Phoenix” and the logo for P30,000.

Uy asked the adman, why not the brand name “Gas Boy” or “Gasco”? The adman said it was “baduy” (uncool or in bad taste).

Uy said he grew Phoenix Petroleum with tremendous hard work, affordable pricing and good service to challenge the big players. He said his first break was a five-year contract for P36 million given him by Cebu Pacific Air. He got that account via a cold call to the airline, and it was a few years later before he was able to make a courtesy call on its CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei. He said his competitors — the multinational giants’ people — only work up to 7 p.m. with no work on weekends, unlike him and Phoenix, so he got the Cebu Pacific business.

Where to invest? future of tourism

When asked what industries he’d recommend to entrepreneurs, he unequivocally replied: “Tourism. It is a sunrise industry of the Philippines, it also has a low barrier to entry. Start learning the Chinese language. China tourists last year made two billion trips, and we the Philippines can hopefully benefit from and attract their many affluent tourists.”

His purchase of Enderun seems to fit his new tourism ventures, like his $300 million Lapu-Lapu Leisure Mactan integrated casino resort project on a 12-hectare beachfront property six kilometers from the Cebu International Airport. He is applying for a casino license in Clark and has a boutique resort in Bohol.

Uy also told Anvil that among his dream projects are to upgrade the international airports in his hometown Davao City and Panglao in Bohol. His Chelsea Logistics recently proposed a P67-billion bid for developing the Davao and Bohol airports.

People & crisis

He said when he hires people, he looks out more for EQ or emotional quotient. He said his firms are run by professionals, not family-run.

He recounted that his worst crisis was being wrongly charged with smuggling. He was distressed not by the cases, because he was certain of his innocence, but what worried him more was the unfair stigma. The Court of Appeals (CA) nullified the resolutions issued by former justice secretary Leila de Lima, which found probable cause to charge Phoenix Petroleum for allegedly violating Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines in 2010 and 2011. The CA said the Justice Department disregarded Phoenix Petroleum owner’s right to due process.

He said, “Hard work is important, be passionate. When you’re hungry, you’ll be passionate. Becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of struggles, you need to sacrifice a lot; like you cannot keep on relaxing, tambay (being idle), play golf. I also believe in destiny or luck, which requires preparation. Being an entrepreneur requires discipline, persistence and diligence.”

On the most important thing in life, Uy said, “Freedom is the most important thing in life.”


Thanks for your feedback! Email or Follow @wilsonleeflores on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, read my blog Buy also Philstar’s Filipino-language tabloid Pilipino Star Ngayon every Friday for my column “Kuwentong Panadero”.

*This article was published in The Philippine Star on April 29, 2018 and is available online at


Philippine Daily Inquirer | 29 Apr 2018

There’s no beating the value in a freshly cooked Filipino meal starting at P20. As the name, BenteSilog suggests, your favorite breakfast trifecta of rice, egg and a viand of your choice can be yours for much less than a day’s parking in Makati. Luckily, however, you commute to the bustling business district, this food hub has got your pockets covered. BenteSilog, which serves delicious and filling silog value meals, has now opened a new branch in Zapote Road corner Montojo Street, Makati City. You’ll find their full range of silog staples just a few doors down on Unit 102 of the Alexandria Residences.

The franchise started with a humble street cart at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines ( PUP) back in 2009 with the idea of providing affordable meals for students. As their popularity grew, this beloved food cart developed into a dine- in restaurant that now serves up to 21 silog meal variants and has franchises all around Metro Manila.

Marvin and Jen Castro, an entrepreneurial husband- and- wife duo saw the potential of the business and decided open a franchise of their own. They set their sights towards a quaint street in the bustling city center of Makati which had busy foot traffic and was within range to residents. The couple, who also maintains their own full- time job schedules on top of their entrepreneurial projects, persevered in setting up their own branch of BenteSilog because they believe in the strength and capacity of growth of the business.

Beyond price points, there is something to be said about BenteSilog’s creativity. The word “silog” comes from a combination of sinangag ( fried rice) and pritong itlog ( fried egg). While Filipinos have considered the traditional tapsilog ( tapa, egg and rice) and tosilog ( tosino, egg and rice) combinations as traditional comfort food, BenteSilog sought to craft unique combinations to tickle the tastebuds of all types of clientele. Now you can sink your teeth into such creations as their prized embosilog ( silog paired with cured sausage) and tinapasilog ( silog paired with smoked milkfish). With their new location, the authentic Filipino flavors at unbeatable prices are now even more accessible.

BenteSilog has expanded their vision to more than 20 franchises in Luzon with all commissaries approved by the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA). Today, their plethora of silog meals court not only the appetites of students but also those of officegoers and casual diners from all walks of life.

*This article was published on The Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 29, 2018 and is available online at

Phoenix Petroleum bags Meralco supply deal

In photo (from left) are Phoenix Petroleum COO Henry Albert Fadullon, Meralco chief technology advisor Gavin Barfield (at the back), Meralco head of supply chain and logistics management Ruben Benosa, Meralco first vice president and head of networks Ronnie Aperocho, Meralco senior vice president Alfredo Panlilio, Meralco CFO Betty Siy-Yap, Phoenix Petroleum vice chairman Romeo De Guzman, Phoenix Petroleum director Joseph John Ong and Phoenix Petroleum vice president for external affairs Raymond Zorrilla.

MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. has added Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, to its list of commercial clients.

In a statement, Phoenix Petroleum said it has been awarded the contract to supply and deliver fuel to Meralco.

Under the contract, Phoenix will supply fuel, particularly its new fuel additive Phoenix PULSE Technology,  to Meralco’s 11 fuel stations.

Meralco head of legal and deputy general counsel William Pamintuan said the contract underwent bidding and passed the necessary technical requirements.

“We believe that Phoenix, a brand synonymous with high value products, will certainly help ensure that our fleet of vehicles get the high quality fuel it needs to continue rendering uninterrupted service which Meralco needs as a 24 hour service company,” he said.

In a text message, Phoenix Petroleum vice president for external affairs Raymond Zorrilla said the contract was bid out to supply 400,000 liters per month.

“We are now actually talking about other aligned services we can do for them,” he said.

Phoenix Petroleum is among the country’s top three providers of fuel to a wide range of commercial and industrial businesses in power, marine, manufacturing, transportation, aviation, and other industries.

Among its commercial accounts include Cebu Pacific, to which it supplies majority of the budget airline’s requirements, and Philippine Airlines, which the oil firm provides the flag carriers requirements outside Manila.

The company gained new key accounts and won bids last year to supply companies in the land transport, construction, mining, power, manufacturing, marine, fishing, and shipping industries.

Phoenix Petroleum recorded a 65 percent jump in net income to P1.79 billion last year.

Sales volume to commercial and industrial businesses grew by 15 percent, while aviation rose 13 percent as the oil company firmly established itself as the third major player in the commercial and industrial segments.

This has fueled the growth in sales volume and helped the company grow its consolidated revenues by 52 percent to P46.3 billion.

Phoenix Petroleum is engaged in the nationwide trading and marketing of refined petroleum products, including LPG and lubricants, operation of oil depots and storage facilities, hauling and into-plane services; convenience store retailing; and trading and supply.

Earlier this year, it expanded its business into convenience retailing after acquiring Philippine FamilyMart, and to asphalt manufacturing, marketing, and distribution through Phoenix Asphalt Philippines Inc.

*This article was published in The Philippine Star on April 26, 2018, and can also be found online at:

Jollibee brings Vietnamese chain to Philippines

April 26, 2018 | 12:10 am

JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) will be bringing is Vietnamese restaurant chain Pho 24 to the Philippines, the homegrown fastfood giant disclosed to the stock exchange on Wednesday.

The listed company said the expansion of the Vietnamese brand will be done through its wholly-owned unit, Fresh N’ Famous Foods, Inc. As the name suggests, Pho 24 serves Vietnamese noodle soup known as “pho,” as well as other traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Pho 24 forms part of the SuperFoods Group, JFC’s 60-40 joint venture with Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co. (VTI) through subsidiary, JSF Investments Pte. Ltd.

“(T)he SuperFoods Group aims to serve customers in Asia and key cities in the world with high quality and healthy Vietnamese food at affordable prices through the Pho 24 brands.

Aside from Pho 24, the SuperFoods Group also owns and operates the Highlands Coffee brand, as well as franchises Hard Rock Cafe in Vietnam, Macau, and Hong Kong.

JFC noted that it renovated all stores under the SuperFoods Group last year, as it shifted to a fast casual dining model instead of casual dining. The renovations allowed for faster ordering, product delivery, and cleaner store environments, according to the company.

At the end of 2017, the SuperFoods Group had a total of 281 stores under the Highlands Coffee, Pho 24, and other brands.

The move to expand the SuperFoods Group is in line with JFC’s commitment to take the company public in Vietnam by 2019.

JFC has also previously taken control of Denver-based burger chain Smashburger, which operates 352 stores in the United States, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, and Panama. This helped increase the company’s store network to over 4,000 worldwide.

In the Philippines, the company had a total of 2,895 as of the end of March under various brands such as Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, and Burger King.

In addition, the company has 943 stores overseas, under different brands such as Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Dunkin’ Donuts, Jollibee, Highlands Coffee, Hard Rock Cafe, and Pho 24.

The push toward more stores overseas is seen to help achieve JFC’s goal of seeing equal revenue contributions from local and international businesses by 2022.

JFC saw its net income attributable to the parent grow by 15% in 2017 to P7.089 billion, supported by a 15.6% uptick in revenues to P131.57 billion for the period.

This year, the company continues its aggressive store expansion as it rolls out P12 billion in capital spending.

Shares in JFC dipped P3.40 or 1.19% to close at P281.60 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia

*This article was published in Business World on April 26, 2018, and can also be found online at:

PFA Promotes PHL Franchise Brands in Myanmar

The Philippine Franchise Association is intensifying efforts to bring Philippine franchise brands to international markets as well as promote Franchise Asia Philippines 2018 to prospective international exhibitors and visitors. It recently participated in the Myanmar International Franchise Expo and Conference 2018 held recently at the Tatmadaw Hall in Yangon City, Myanmar. Photo shows PFA chairman emeritus Samie Lim (3rd from left) joining other VIP guests and the organizers of the said event (from left) Mohd Zahiruddin Nordin, trade commissioner, MATRADE Myanmar; Troy Franklin, COO, World Franchise Associates; KC Leong, general manager of ALT Exhibitions; Daw Naw Mutakapaw, deputy director general of the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization; Michelle Ha, director, ALT Exhibition; and U Naing Lin, vice president, Myanmar Retailers Association.

‘Franchise Negosyo’ opens MSME biz opportunities in Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) initiated a meet and match between franchisors and potential franchisees in apparent hopes of tapping into latent business opportunities in this southern city.

“Franchise Negosyo Para Sa Cagayan de Oro, was a business matching-expo-seminar which sought to attract mainly the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) segment, took place from April 19 to 20, at the Ayala Centrio Mall.

“We bring Franchise Negosyo to regions to promote franchising as a tool of economic development, for generating enterprises and nation-building to as many Filipinos in the provinces,” said PFA President Richard Sanz.

He identified globalization and developing and supporting MSMEs as PFA’s priority programs for the next two years. “We are encouraging local brands to go global by providing them with the right tools and networks to connect to the international markets,” he explained.

Sanz said that the composition of PFA membership consists of 5 percent micro, 29 percent small, 29 percent medium and 37 large enterprises. “Almost 70 percent of our membership belong to small and medium enterprises that we encourage to go big by way of giving them capacity-building and mentoring (programs) to have access to markets to expand,” he added.

The event on Thursday started off with a seminar on “How To Franchise Your Own Business” followed by a two-day expo, where 35 brands, ranging from food to retail and services, join as exhibitors. Among them are leading retail sector exhibitors 7-Eleven, Aquabest, Crystal Clear, Diana Stalder, Living Water and SOS.

Representing the service sector are Bayad Center, Canadian Tourism and Hospitality Institute, Laundrybest, Phoenix Petroleum, Quickclean, Rapide and Xcess Salon.

Coinciding with the expo are “How to Invest in the Right Franchise” seminars for aspiring franchisees.

Sam Christopher Lim, president of U-Franchise and one of the speakers said, “Franchising is about replicating success and it is about time to develop local entrepreneurs not only for the national level but for the international stage.”

The event is organized in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry Regional Office 10 (DTI-10), DTI Misamis Oriental, Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City Government of Cagayan de Oro. (PNA)

This article is copied from the article published in Business Mirror on April 25, 2018, Wednesday, and is available online at:

A taste of home in Toronto

posted April 23, 2018 at 04:05 am by Manila Standard Lifestyle

Filipinos and locals alike in Canada’s east coast had an exciting treat early this month as Jollibee opened its first store in the Greater Toronto Area.

On Saturday evening—hours before the grand opening—hundreds of Filipinos already camped-out in front of Jollibee Scarborough, located on 15 William Kitchen Road, eager to step inside the store to savor a taste of home.

The Jollibee Scarborough is the Filipino fast-food chain third store in Canada and the 40th store in North America

Jollibee Scarborough is the Filipino fast-food chain’s third store in Canada and the 40th store in North America.

Everyone’s favorite bee, Jollibee welcomed its very first customer, Paul, who looked forward to enjoying the Jolly Crispy Chicken for the first time in six years.

“For us, nothing brings greater joy than to bring people together over great-tasting food and happy moments. We are excited to bring to Scarborough the popular dishes that many now enjoy in different parts of the world,” said Jose Miñana, Jollibee Foods Corporation group president for North America.

Scarborough is home to an estimated 50,000 plus Filipinos, and is one of the most popular destinations for new immigrants to reside. The Greater Toronto Area, where Scarborough is located, is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada with around 200,000 Filipinos residents.

“We look forward to bringing a familiar ‘taste of home’ to our countrymen in the Greater Toronto Area. Many may not know that this area is home to the largest Filipino community in Canada. And we won’t stop here—another location in Mississauga is in the pipeline for the year,” said Beth Dela Cruz, Jollibee North America vice president and general manager.


*This article is copied from the article published by Manila Standard in the newspaper on April 23, 2018 and is available online at:

JFC completes deal to gain control of Smashburger

JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) has completed its acquisition of an additional stake in American burger chain Smashburger, effectively expanding the homegrown fastfood giant’s global footprint.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Tuesday, the listed company said it has completed all closing conditions and regulatory approvals for the acquisition of an additional 45% stake in SJBF LLC, the parent firm of the entities related to the Smashburger business.

The transaction was made through a purchase agreement between JFC’s wholly owned unit, Bee Good! Inc. (BGI) and Smashburger Master LLC. This brings JFC’s total stake in Smashburger to 85%, as it has previously acquired a 40% share in the latter in 2015.

“With the completion of the acquisition, JFC shall include Smashburger in its financial consolidation starting April 17, 2018,” the company said.

The acquisition is valued at $100 million, to be paid in cash at the close of the deal.

The Denver-based burger chain currently operates through 365 restaurants worldwide, and is present in 39 states in the United States and in 10 foreign markets. This brings JFC’s global store network to 4,162, as well as expand its presence to 21 countries, adding Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, and Panama.

With the acquisition, JFC said Smashburger will increase the sales contribution of the United States to worldwide systemwide sales to 15% from the present 5%. The acquired firm will also raise the contribution of foreign businesses to worldwide systemwide sales to 30% from 20% currently.

In the Philippines, JFC had a total of 2,884 outlets as of the end of February, maintaining its position as the largest food service network in the country. Of these stores, 1,071 carry the Jollibee brand; 529 are Chowking; 495 are Mang Inasal; 425 are Red Ribbon; 271 are Greenwich; and 93 are Burger King.

JFC has more brands operating in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle East, among others.

The Tony Tan Caktiong-led firm booked a 15% growth in its net income attributable to the parent in 2017 to P7.089 billion. Revenues meanwhile also gained 15.6% to P131.57 billion, boosted by the double-digit increase in system wide retail sales for during the year.

JFC is accelerating its spending this year, allotting P12 billion for capital expenditures to fast track its global expansion. The company earlier said that it looks to see equal contribution from local and international sales by 2022.

Shares in JFC lost 1.03% or P3 to settle at P288.60 by closing bell at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia

*This article was copied from and was originally published by Business World in the newspaper on April 18, 2018. It is also available online at:

Ronald McDonald ‘Bahay Bulilit’ opens doors for Davaoeño children

Manila Times 2 Apr 2018

RMHC Bahay Bulilit Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with Margot Torres, Barangay Captain Ramon M. Bargamento II, Ronald McDonald and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

RMHC Bahay Bulilit Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with Margot Torres, Barangay Captain Ramon M. Bargamento II, Ronald McDonald and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

STRENGTENING its commitment to help more Filipino children, McDonald Philippines, through ronald McDonald House Charities (rMHC), has turned over a new ronald McDonald bahaybulilit Learning Center to the residents of barangay Mintalthe first in Davao City.

In partnership with the City Social Services Development Office (CSSDo) and the local government units, rMHC provides communities a safe and fun place where young children can learn and play. The ronald McDonald bahaybulilit will be open to about 70 children agez two to five with two sessions taking place per day accommodating up to 35 children each.

“We are happy to have the first ronald McDonald bahaybulilit in Davao. We hope that inside the learning center, the young children of barangay Mintal will get a head start in learning the basics, preparing them for formal schooling,” said Margot Torres, rMHC vice president and McDonald’s Philippines executive vice president and deputy managing director. With every ronald McDonald bahay rMHC Philippines closely works with local government units such as the City Social Services Development Office of Davao to be able to identify key priority communities in need of a learning center for children.

*This article was copied from and was originally published by Manila Standard in the newspaper on April 2, 2018. It is also available online at:

Jollibee opens first store in Europe

Our very own bee mascot, Jollibee says “ciao Italia!” as it welcomes customers to the local fast food chain’s first European branch in Milan, Italy.

Located in Piazza Diaz 7, Milan, the Jollibee branch is just a stone’s throw from Duomo, Milan Cathedral.

In the early hours of its opening day, customers—families, young people, members of the Filipino community, and even locals—were already seen lining up in front of the Jollibee store.

Among those who patiently waited for Jollibee’s doors to open was Tommy Flores Jr. who said the experience was all worth it. “Naghintay kami ng four hours sa labas pero sulit,” he shared on his Facebook post. Meanwhile the Aquilon, Flores, and Mendoza families unanimously exclaimed, “Kahit mahaba ang pila, sobrang sulit ‘yung pagpunta namin! It tastes just like the Chickenjoy sa Pinas!”

The queue of eager and ecstatic customers outside of the outlet was so long that it poured out of the restaurant.

Long lines of Filipinos eagerly awaiting the opening of Jollibee Milan, the Filipino fast-food brand’s first store in Europe. 

“Getting a foothold in Milan is a fundamental step for Jollibee, as well as a launch pad for the expansion of the brand to the rest of Europe,” said Jollibee Foods Corporation chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong.

The opening of the Jollibee branch in Milan followed the signing of a joint venture between Jollibee Foods Corporation and Singapore Blackbird Holdings to export the fast food chain to Europe.

Tanmantiong shared, “This newest venture sets off our journey that will lead to opening more stores around the continent—an ambitious goal, which we will achieve by consistently offering a unique dining experience with our delicious food and warm service.”

The chief executive said JFC aims to bring Filipinos “a taste of home” and at the same time share with Italians both the fast food chain’s food offerings and the joyful experience of being together.

At its first European store, Jollibee’s menu offers its bestsellers such as Chickenjoy and Yumburger, along with special items like Chicken Tenders and Chicken Burgers that cater to both Filipino and Italian tastes.