Heritage

14 Real-Life Nicks of Crazy Rich Asians in the Philippines

Despite their high-profile family backgrounds, these bachelors have chosen to remain humble and under the radar.
IMAGE GABBY CANTERO; IAN SANTOS
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When we were first introduced to Kevin Kwan's hero in the Crazy Rich Asians series, we wondered, "Could there ever be anyone as perfect as Nick Young?" In the trilogy, Nick remains modest despite his wealth and background. He chose a simple life in New York as a hard-working history professor, which is why nobody would have guessed he's from a family of blue bloods back in Singapore. Admirable in that way, Nick was one of the most authentic and affable characters in the CRA books.

Here are a few local names we think fit Nick Young's description.

Jaime Urquijo Zobel de Ayala


His family name requires no introduction. Jaime, Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala’s grandson from widowed daughter Bea Zobel Jr., has lived outside the Philippines for most of his life, residing in Spain as a child and then in England to attend All Hallows School and Worth School (thus the charming hybrid accent of Spanish, British, and American). Upon graduation from Notre Dame University in 2010, Jaime was selected by the national team to represent the Philippines at the Asian 5 Nations tournament. He recently completed his MBA at INSEAD.

Enzo Razon


The son of Enrique K. Razon and Lizzy Santos-Razon has chosen to live the life of an artist. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, the younger Razon has wowed the art scene with a couple of exhibitions, one of which he organized. Razon is one of three partners behind Tarzeer Pictures, along with Gio Panlilio and Dinesh Mohnani. His medium extends across film, photography, painting, and production design. If you’ve even had the privilege of attending the Cannes Film Festival, chances are you might have come across some of his experiential films.   

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Mikkel Puyat


Katrina Razon once said of her cousin, "Over the years, I have witnessed Mikkel grow into a wonderful human being. Everyone in his life can attest that Mikkel’s work ethic and dedication to maintain a healthy lifestyle are inspiring." 

Marty Lopez


This New York University graduate spent five years as an assistant director at Star Cinema before returning to New York for grad school at Columbia. He spends his free time taking photographs on hiking or sailing excursions.

Rocco Puno


Before working at Deloitte Consulting in New York and the Compass Group, Rocco majored in economics at New York University. The son of Eric Puno and Bea Lopez Puno is living out his five-year plan and currently pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School.

Cole and Augustus Aguirre

Posted by Augustus Aguirre on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

These good-looking brothers inherited their love of horses from their father, polo patron Bobby Aguirre. Gus (left) and Cole (right) can be counted on to participate in the Enrique Zobel Cup and GlobalPort’s Philippine Polo Open whenever they’re in town.

Christian Tantoco

The son of Rustan Commercial Corporation President Donnie Tantoco and his wife Crickette Yu-Tantoco, Christian is expected to join his family's retail empire like many others in his clan. A recent graduate of Boston University's sociology department, he regularly documents his many adventures and travels (some could even rival many of the CRA characters jet-setting ways) on his Instagram account.

Mark Yao


Math wiz turned software engineer Mark Yao further applied his talent in crunching numbers when he entered Harvard University. The wunderkind, who earned his degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, graduated as a magna cum laude. He’s now based in San Francisco, working for a tech company called Thumbtack.

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Justin Pe

T'was a beautiful Sunday Thanks for this pic Myka Alexis Cue :)

Posted by Justin Pe on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fresh from earning his degree in Chemistry from New York University, the eldest son of Perry Pe and Robina Gokongwei Pe has lately entered the workforce. He’s currently employed by Shell Philippines, but he could possibly helm one of the Gokongwei businesses in the future.

Emilio Yap III


The newly elected president of Manila Bulletin, Emil is the eldest grandchild of the late taipan Emilio Yap, a self-made billionaire whose vast business interests included hospitality (Manila Hotel), pharmaceuticals (Euro-Med Laboratories), education (Centro Escolar University), and more. Emil is also an art enthusiast who frequents art fairs and exhibit openings.

Dave Fuentebella


The director of Max’s Group is a banking professional who has held positions at companies such as Citibank, BPI, and Deutsche Bank, where he headed global transaction banking before returning to the family business. He is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his degree in Economics.

Quark Henares


Film director Quark is one of beauty juggernaut Vicki Belo’s two children with Atom Henares, entrepreneur and founder of cult radio station NU 107. While his mother and sister Cristalle are known to be the more outgoing members of the family, Quark has been quietly successful in his own line of work.

Martin Ramos Licauco

Martin, the son of Cecilia Ramos and Mito Licauco, is the youngest—and the only single—grandson of National Book Store’s “Nanay” Socorro Ramos. A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Music, Martin is a classical pianist and trained at Konservatorium Prayner in Vienna, Austria, for his craft. He’s now engaged in the family business’ distribution arm, but music remains his first passion.

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