The Founders of VGP Group
Read our story and learn more about our company.
VGP Group of Companies was founded upon the idea that businesses are built through hard work and determination, guided by integrity and goodwill for one’s fellow people. We begin with diligence, perseverance, honesty, & thrift; told through the experiences of pioneer industrialist Don Gonzalo Puyat. Gonzalo came to Manila from Pampanga with his wife and children in 1906 and began working tirelessly in a billiard hall. Eventually, he was given the opportunity to lease the hall for himself, allowing him the opportunity to gain experience as a business owner. He subsequently took up the repair of billiard tables, which required endless amounts of trial and error. Because of several failed attempts, he instead turned it into his first piece of saleable furniture, a utility table; thus marking the beginning of a future in a very successful furniture business. In the 1920s, he expanded his business by building bowling alleys and he later involved his sons Gil and Eugenio, and his grandson Jose, in the growing enterprise. Gonzalo’s furniture business grew to become one of the best known furniture makers in the country, their products found in nearly every Filipino home at the time from modest houses, grand mansions, and even the Malacañang Palace. Today, after nearly 100 years, the business is still operational.
Don Gonzalo was succeeded by his son, the Honourable Gil J. Puyat, in running the family business. Gil first started working when he was in the 4th grade, where his father placed him in charge of the billiard hall’s daily operations. At the insistence of Gonzalo, Gil enrolled in a business administration course in the University of the Philippines. He was particularly skilled in economics and came to teach it at the university, eventually becoming the university's youngest ever dean at 33 years old for the College of Business Administration. He was elected senator in the Philippine midterm elections of 1951 and served as Senate President from 1967 to 1972. He brought about meaningful reform and innovative ideas regarding the dispensation of the controversial public works funds, however this went largely unnoticed in political history. Gil took after his father in that he always aimed for advancement and innovation and his goal was to see a stable economy with independent local businesses that would uplift the Philippines. Although his father got him started on business and economics, Gil was the very first founder of the VGP Group. Before it existed as it does today, the VGP Group was originally a diversified business group engaged in a number of different services. Gil’s activities in these various industries granted him an international status in business, so much so that in 1948 he was voted the Business Leader of the Year by the Business Writer’s Association of the Philippines and in 1949, the Association of Red Feather Agencies voted him Civic Leader of the Year.
Following his father as president of the family company, which was at this point Manila Bankers Life Inc, in 1981, Vicente Puyat was able to prove that business acumen and ingenuity run in the family. He ran the company with the same ideals and goals as his father and grandfather, aiming for an economically developed country. He believed in the country’s agri-business and was confident that economic potential in the Philippines could be actualized with the use of efficient modern technology. He was an advocate for local agriculture because he saw that the country’s natural climate and landscapes were suitable for year round crop yields, which would give the Philippines a significant competitive edge against other countries with regard to exporting agricultural products. His firm belief in the future of sustainable businesses for the country was one of his passions and he had hoped to see the country flourish in this respect. He believed that local businesses and local talent were meant to be at the forefront of the country's industries while still maintaining valuable relationships internationally to keep the country open and engaged. To this day, the company holds these same ideas, with hope and good faith in the economy and improvement of the country.