Philip Vasquez is the owner of Celebrity District.


Dubai expat: from ugly duckling to brand boss

He grew up thinking he was an “ugly duckling” yet nothing could be further from the truth for Philip Vasquez, a successful brand boss in Dubai.

Philip Vasquez has launched and developed food and beverage brands in Dubai, including Chowking, Henlin, Teriyaki Boy and Dencio’s. He is also a businessman and owns Blue Spot Kitchen and the recently opened Celebrity District in Dubai.

“I always felt that I was an ugly duckling in the family. I was the thinnest, the darkest skinned,” Philip tells Expat Media. “The only thing I knew I could outperform my siblings at is to be the best in whatever I do.”

It was this drive that helped him grow his confidence and excel among his four siblings. He studied behavioural science in one of the top universities in the Philippines, which helped him develop an important skill.

That skill was people management, which worked wonders for his career in F&B. “It’s my ace. I know how to deal with people, and in this business, people are your biggest resource,” he says, adding that this helped him quickly step up the career ladder.

Philip always aimed to be different. His father is a humble farmer whose primary aspiration was to provide a decent living for their family in Lipa, Batangas in the Philippines.

“Nothing is impossible,” says the trailblazing entrepreneur. He has proven this after launching Celebrity District, an upscale restobar in Dubai with a nightly lineup of 21 world-class entertainment acts. “Three months ago, this used to be impossible. I had a dream, but I didn’t have a place. I didn’t even have enough money. But in three months’ time, I was able to get a place, get investors and bring this to life,” he shares.

In the coming months, he is set to launch more brands under the Celebrity District umbrella: Celebrity Kitchen, Celebrity Laugh and Celebrity Tambayan.

“My brother who lives in Abu Dhabi said he is proud of me for launching my own business. He said I looked like a celebrity during the opening night. I felt good about it,” Philip beams.

Is there anything else this brazen brand boss wants to accomplish? “I want to build my own Alshaya Group for Filipinos,” he says.

This story also appears in the Expat Media Special Edition Magazine

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