Guidon experience: Frederick Go reveals Uncle John Gokongwei’s role in brief fling with journalism

Robinsons Land President and CEO Frederick Go shared a heartwarming gesture from his uncle, the late ultra bilyonaryo John Gokongwei, who wanted to get his fledgling journalism career flying high.

Go told Usapang Bilyonaryo how his beloved Uncle John made sure he had options in a media career after seeing how he loved writing in college.


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“When I was college in Ateneo, I was the editor in chief of the Guidon, which is the Ateneo school paper,” Go told Usapang Bilyonaryo host Ces Drilon in an exclusive interview.

“So when Mr. John bought the Manila Times, I think for some reason, he thought I was a journalist. So he said: ‘I just bought the Manila Times, I want you to work there.’ Me, being the dutiful nephew, said yes.”

Apparently, Go wanted to follow his uncle’s footsteps.

“I didn’t have the heart to tell him “Huh? I think I wanna be in business,” he recalled.

Go started as a business reporter covering the Makati Stock Exchange and the corporate beat for The Manila Times.

Gokongwei bought The Manila Times in 1989. The paper was ran by his daughter, Lisa. It was later sold to Mark Jimenez after running into trouble with the Estrada administration.

The Gokongweis’ control of the Manila Times until 1999 paved the way for the family’s establishment of its own publishing group, Summit Media.

Go has made his way up the corporate ladder within the Gokongwei Group but still considers his journalism career as a big “what if.”

“Honestly, I enjoyed every bit of it, I still miss it to this day,” he said.


Usapang Bilyonaryo

Usapang Bilyonaryo” is a digital-first, hybrid magazine show hosted and produced by veteran broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon in cooperation with the team. The 30-minute TV cut airs on CNN Philippines at 8 PM every Monday, starting January 16. The full version or producer’s cut of each episode, as well as interview splices, will be posted on’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.


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