On April 5 in the year 1880, one of the famous Filipino industrialists was born in Gumaca, Quezon province. His name was Vicente Madrigal, the founder of several industrial companies.
Vicente Madrigal was the only son of a Spanish immigrant to the Philippines. Although he grew up in the rural area of Albay province, his family of modest means has connections due to wealthy relatives. He was sent to Manila to study at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he finished his bachelor’s degree with the highest honors. His closest college classmates were Manuel Luis Quezon and Sergio Osmeña who both became presidents of the country. He continued his studies and earned a law degree from the University of Santo Tomas, Asia’s oldest university.
Inspired to become as rich as his cousins, Vicente Madrigal plunged into the business world as soon as he got out of the university. He established the People’s Press which published a number of newspapers. Using his closeness to the authorities, he secured permits to engage in commodities trading particularly coal and agricultural products. He branched out into shipping to support his trading activities. Later, he put up a sugar refinery and acquired a large cement factory. With the help of his wife Susana, he purchased large tract of land east and south of Manila which were later developed into subdivisions.
Vicente Madrigal died in 1972 at the age of 92. He was a two-term senator of the republic. He had seven children with his wife who was a successful businesswoman herself. When he died, his fortune was equally divided among his children. Unfortunately, the companies he founded were either sold or merged with other business groups.