Anonymous Billionaire Brings Masterpieces Back Home to Manila

Juan Arzeo's  “Retrato de la familia Azcárraga” (Source:

Juan Arzeo's “Retrato de la familia Azcárraga” (Source:

An anonymous member of Manila’s billionaire boys club has just pulled off another coup—by winning two historic Filipino masterpieces in a European auction and bringing them back to their rightful home in the Philippines.

For weeks, the small circle of heavy hitters, who obsess more about early 19th century art than others do over a BenCab, were sleepless over the arrival of a pair of previously unknown and extremely rare works, both titled “Retrato de la familia Azcárraga” (“Portrait of the Azcárraga Family”), on the Spanish market.

They are the work of Juan Arzeo, one of the foremost Filipino painters of the early 1800s, who practiced his art in the district of Fernando de Dilao (now Paco). More in