SamPan: Making her mark

BUSINESS SNIPPETS - Marianne Go - The Philippine Star

Samantha Panlilio, eldest daughter of Jose Marcel “Jocel” Panlilio, is embarking on an ambitious career path to revitalize and expand the family’s real estate investments as chief operations officer of both the family’s publicly listed Boulevard Holdings Inc. and Puerto Azul Land Inc., even as she sets a parallel course to build her own beauty line, photography studio, and a furniture business under the brand “House of Marrakesh.”

According to Sam, “my family business is one of my utmost priorities, but it does not restrict me from also trying to succeed in a different line of business myself.”

She points out, “for me, when I see an opportunity in the market…there is so much money to be had…someone just has to go and do it…do the legwork, and so I also want to learn do that…” acknowledging that with their family business, she does not have to start it from the ground up, but with her own business she can learn on her own, make mistakes, and in the future not make those mistakes in her main business.

“How else am I going to learn if not from experience,” she reasons out.

Tapping on her education in the US and her double degree in business and computer science, as well as her career experience in Los Angeles in digital advertising and marketing, Sam is already eyeing a possible diversification into service area malls leading to their extensive land holdings in Cavite, especially with the expected development plans of the Razon-led Solaire resort also in that area and the construction of an Asian Development Bank-funded bridge that would link the province of Cavite to Bataan.

Such expansion and diversification would be on top of BHI’s ongoing plans to upgrade their Friday’s Galera,  redevelopment of the almost one hectare Friday’s Boracay at cost of anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion, and construction and development of a smaller  luxury Friday’s Siargao resort at a cost of around P100 million to P200 million. The cost of property in Siargao, Sam revealed, is now almost as expensive as property in Bonifacio Global City.

On an even long-term basis, Sam dreams of putting up an international Friday’s resort in Bali, and even in Hawaii. She acknowledges, however, “real estate is a local man’s game, and land development...and so I really would have to study a certain market before coming in.”

While attending to the family business is daunting enough, Sam has also started building her own brand and has done the initial scouting for her own beauty line that she plans to launch soon. Already operational is her Pak!  photography studio in Cubao.

Personal branding

At 28 years old, Sam is already quite savvy on establishing her own personal brand, which this early she reveals, has already shown some returns, with some of her fans and admirers manifesting their support by staying at their Friday’s Galera resort.

Early on, she points out, she needed to introduce and set herself apart from the family, and this she did by entering a beauty pageant. However, the pageant route was really just a means to an end. It is also a powerful marketing tool to launch her family’s business  and to build on her own business ventures.

She points out that personal branding nowadays is so intertwined with successful businesses, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Meta, Elon Musk and his Tesla and SpaceX.

So, don’t let her glamor look fool you into thinking that she is a lightweight.

A different path

Of course, Sam’s career path could have easily taken a different course. In her younger days, Sam reveals that she was quite athletic and even mulled a sports career as a volleyball player. Unfortunately, she realized early on that it took too much effort and time to become a professional athlete.

Another possible detour was set off from an unexpected casting and participation in an Ellen DeGeneres gameshow that somehow led her into exploring a film directing course.

Fortunately, Dad Jocel set her back on the business track, reminding her of the family’s legacy and landholdings, hence the choice to take a business course and complement that with computer science.

While she has an elder brother who also helps steer the family business, he is currently on sabbatical following a personal loss. Father Jocel, who just turned 60 last week, has been training Sam to run the business, allowing him to enjoy life in Sotogrande, Andalusia in Spain, the private residential development started by Joseph McMicking and Mercedes Zobel de Ayala, and where they are neighbors to the Ayalas.

Learning the business game

There is no denying that Sam is a beauty queen, even in a simple sleeveless baby white tee, denim pants, loose hair, and light make-up, alighting from a Lexus SUV, with a hulk of a bodyguard, she cuts a svelte figure that she maintains either with a  muay thai morning workout or jogging with her dog, Lady, a white Samoyed. She also plays padel.

But aside from her muay thai, jogging, and padel sessions, Sam follows a regular fasting diet that allows her to keep weight at around 112 to 115 pounds on her five feet and five inch frame, even as she admits to having a sweet tooth.

Contrary to her beauty queen image, Sam admits that she does not go out much on weekdays. However, she has learned to enjoy golf and plays once a week with her girl friends at the Manila Golf, where her uncle, Al Panlilio also plays. Playing golf, Sam has learned, can give her an insight into potential business partners...” the way they play says a lot about how they do business...you want to see how they behave when they miss a shot, or they don’t do well, their initial reactions are quite telling on how they handle problems.”

Her typical work day begins at around 9 a.m and ends at 5 p.m. She travels abroad for business about three months a year, and in summer spends one month in Spain with her father.

At the moment, Sam is not in a relationship after parting ways with a diplomat boyfriend. She is not in a hurry to be in another relationship either, waiting for a partner who will be willing to let her pursue her own business and not want to get involved either in the Panlilio’s family business, which has a standing rule that only family can get directly involved in the business.

So, in the event that Sam does fall in love and plans to marry, she stresses that “pre-nup is it.”

There is so much more to Sam than meets the eye, but that’s another story for another day.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with