The Spanish Government honored tycoon Andrew Tan with the Encomienda de Numero de la Orden del Merito Civil or the Commander by Number Grade of the Spanish Order of Civil Merit, at the Spanish Ambassador’s Residence in Forbes Park, Makati City Tuesday night.
The Spanish Civil Merit award, established in 1926 by King Alfonso 13th, of Spain, recognizes “the civic virtue of officers in the service of the Nation, as well as extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain.”
Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo, who pinned the decoration on Tan, noted the tycoon’s valuable contributions and support to the programs and activities of the Spanish government, both in the Philippines and in Spain.
“With his many entrepreneurial activities and initiatives, Mr. Tan epitomizes the recent business and economic history of the Philippines, the country that has become one of the key players in the region,” Calvo said.
The short decoration and recognition ceremony will be memorable for Tan, who urged Spanish businessmen to invest in the Philippines in his speech.
“Through this award, it is my wish to inspire and help bring Spanish businessmen to the Philippines to also invest here, especially in our booming tourism and infrastructure industry,” Tan said.
Tan also said Spain could bring its expertise to help boost the Philippines’ tourism industry.
“Spain has always been very strong in the tourism business. Last year alone, around 82 million tourists visited Spain. Their number of tourist arrivals is almost double their population,” Tan said.
Tan, chairman of the Alliance Global Group, one of the country’s largest and most successful conglomerates, has been doing business with Spain in the last 30 years.
One of his companies, Emperador, which has become the world’s largest brandy producer, bought Spain’s oldest and largest brandy company, Fundador, two years ago. It also owns over a thousand hectares of vineyards in Toledo and Jerez.
Tan also has investments in real estate in the capital city of Madrid. He now owns one of Madrid’s most iconic skyscrapers, the 57-storey Torre Espacio, which houses Emperador’s headquarters in Spain.