The Childhood Money Memory of the “Duke of Makati” (Fernando Zobel de Ayala)

The Childhood Money Memory of the “Duke of Makati” (Fernando Zobel de Ayala)

Sep 19, 2018

Regular folks have a penchant for royalty. Everybody was glued to the royal wedding of British Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, and the previous ones before that. In the US where there is no royalty, the Kennedys seem to have that adulation.


How about in the Philippines? The closest would probably be the Zobel de Ayala clan who has been a leading business conglomerate with its roots dating back to over a century ago. No wonder my sons who hosted the program playfully addressed Fernando Zobel de Ayala as the “Duke of Makati” when he graciously attended my FQ Book launch. ?


But the Zobel de Ayala clan keeps their family affairs to themselves – no televised or highly publicized weddings, no scandals, just news about their businesses. Maybe this adds to the fascination of Filipinos about their family, not to mention their mestizo looks, being of Spanish and German ancestry.


Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz was the first Zobel to be born in the Philippines in 1842. He married Trinidad de Ayala. Interestingly, despite being Spanish by blood, Zobel was a liberal who introduced reforms and was even imprisoned in Fort Santiago during the Spanish colonization on charges of sedition, possession of firearms and revolutionary pamphlets.


Today the country’s oldest conglomerate is led by our version of Prince William and Harry, albeit seriously business versions, Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala. Regular mortals like myself would sometimes wonder how it was growing up for people born with a silver spoon. At what age were they told that they would be given that tremendous responsibility of running a huge conglomerate? Were they given allowance at an early age? How much? Did they have household chores?


I first met Fernando at the 2012 New York Marathon, the one that did not push through. I accompanied my husband Marvin who was set to run his first full mary then. Shortly after we picked up his and his running mates’ paraphernalia, we learned that the mayor decided to cancel the marathon in deference to the New Yorkers who were still suffering from the havoc of Storm Sandy. Because the runners from all over the world were already there, there was a call to just run around the Central Park. The Filipino runners decided to meet up at the lobby of The Plaza so they could start the Run Anyway at the Central Park together. I think I was the only one who took a photo of them, thanks to my iPhone camera.

The marathon runners from the Philippines, taken before they did the Run Anyway, the substitute run to the 2012 NYC Marathon cancelled due to Storm Sandy

Brothers Jaime and Fernando studied for only a couple of years in the Philippines during their early grades. They went to Ateneo de Manila University before they were sent to boarding school abroad, a decision made because of the “interesting times” during that period, that probably served them well in the long run. I imagine that it’s easier for them to feel “normal” when they’re outside the comforts of their home. When I asked Fernando if it wasn’t very sad to be away from his parents at a very young age, he said, “I was with Jaime, so it was fine.”

Left photo shows Fernando Zobel de Ayala with his mother and older brother Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala on the cover of a magazine; Right photo as a young bachelor

At the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines summit last year, a lady shared to the jam-packed audience, “I remember one time while traveling with your parents, you two were very handsome young men in your twenties and you were seated at the economy class.” When I heard this, I was pleasantly surprised. I would later on ask Fernando about it because I thought it was such a great FQripot tip to share with my readers.


Here’s what he said, “We travelled on economy during our school years and during the early years when we started working. My parents would go on business and the kids in economy. We have done the same for our kids. The only exception is when only one young child is travelling alone with us in the plane. In that case, we give the child an upgrade! I didn’t start travelling on business until I was entitled to do so in the company, and until I could afford to pay it on my own. My kids will have to do the same.”


Sometimes we also wonder if the formula for running successful companies are the same for running a successful country. In the same summit, I asked the question, “If you were the president, or at least had the ears and obedience of the president for six years, what would be the top three things you’ll do to get to your dream Philippines?” Both brothers gave their respective three things to do, but Fernando ended with, “Last comment, businessmen don’t always make the best politicians, and vice versa.”  (To know their respective three things to do, click article link or the video thumbnail below)


Fernando’s Childhood Money Memory

During the FQ Book launch, my sons who hosted the program, asked a few people to share their childhood money memory (CMM). This was in the light of the book’s message to understand our own relationship with money which usually entails going down your childhood money memory lane. One of the guests who were asked was Fernando and that’s when they referred to him as the “Duke of Makati!” ?


It is good for us to know how the value of money was taught to them while they were growing up, especially for affluent parents who are faced with the challenge of instilling industry and frugality in their children given their more than comfortable environment.


He shared how his parents made sure that they appreciated everything that they had. They also made them earn their own money by doing blue or pink collar jobs. Their being away from home while growing up helped because it would have been difficult for them to do those kinds of job here.


He also shared how he now raises his own children (he and wife Kitkat have four), emphasizing the value of giving back to society. At a young age, they have taught their children to volunteer during calamities which always happen in our country. (I hope this article finds you safe and dry after Ompong.) He feels that by doing so, his children learn to appreciate what they have even more, and at the same time help those in need.


To hear it straight from Fernando, watch tomorrow’s FQwentuhan on FQ Mom Facebook page.


How about you? Have you gone through your own childhood money memory? If you want some guidelines, go to Chapter 4 of the FQ Book. Cheers to high FQ! 02-wallet-icon






  1. I’ll be giving an FQ Talk at the East Bay Residences on October 14, 2018. If you’re a Rockwell East Bay client, I look forward to seeing you there. If you know someone who is a client, ask to be their guest. ? east-bay-residences-3
  2. If you want to professionalize homemaking, check out the seminars of H&S in collaboration with Kenvale of Australia. Visit their FB Page “Homestyle & Skills.” My session will be on October 3, 2018. Click link to sign up – #HomeGoals hsIf you’ve already registered, please join our H&S FQ Mom group on Facebook. You will find your Homework there! ?
  3. Thanks to those who already bought the FQ Book, especially to those who took the time out to send me their feedback. Your feedback is food for my soul. To those who have not gotten their copy yet, here’s a short preview of FQ: The nth Intelligence 

    You may now purchase the book in major bookstores, or if you want autographed copies, please go to FQ Mom FB page (click SHOP), or (click BOOKS), or email us at

  4. Want to know where your FQ stands? Take the FQ Test Challenge now! Click link. 06-fq-test

Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The nth Intelligence.

ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos taken from Ayala Land’s website, Fernando Zobel de Ayala’s Instagram account, and Town & Country Magazine modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.