Copy link

Asia Business Law Journal names the top law firms in the Philippines. Lim Miran and Emeli Zuño report

The Philippines remains one of the more competitive nations in the East Asia region, regularly recording solid consumer demand, a stable labour market and steady remittance flows. The country’s services sector has been a major player in this performance particularly as a contributor to greater urbanisation and a growing middle class.

Amid global uncertainty, Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) has increased at a rate of 5.9% in the third quarter of 2023, outpacing growth of 4.3% in the previous quarter.

A key factor driving this growth is domestic and international tourism’s continuing recovery. As travel restrictions ease, international visitors surged to reach an estimated 5.1 million by mid-December 2023. This number doubles the 2022 figure and exceeds government targets.

Meanwhile, the country’s headline inflation slowed to its lowest rate for 2023, at 3.9% in December, down from 8.1% for the same time the previous year. Lower growth in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels strongly contributed to the downward trend, followed by reductions across various commodity groups.

The Philippines’ balance of payments also witnessed a significant improvement this year by recording a USD3 billion surplus because of the country’s debt reduction and consistent overseas worker remittances. In addition to this, as of November 2023, the country’s manufacturing industry remained one of the fastest-growing worldwide.

There is every reason to be confident that this economic growth will continue into the foreseeable future. The rapid growth in tech and business outsourcing, a tourism sector that is quickly getting back on its feet, and the previously mentioned regular overseas worker remittance revenue will all contribute to an optimistic economic journey for the Philippines in 2024.

In recognition of the Philippines’ remarkable achievements in the past year, Asia Business Law Journal is proud to present the Philippine Law Firm Awards 2023, acknowledging the most outstanding legal performers in the country. We have identified the Law Firm of the Year, the Best Overall Law Firms (the top four law firms exemplifying excellence), the Best Boutique Law Firm, and winners in 22 other standout categories of equal standing.

ACCRALAW has become the leading law firm in the Philippines since its founding in 1972. With about 170 lawyers, including 44 partners and 130 support staff, ACCRALAW is a significant presence throughout the country, servicing clients from two branches in major commercial cities outside Metro Manila. The firm’s extensive international client base and cross-border transaction experience is supported by an extensive network of correspondent firms, which sets ACCRALAW even further apart in the legal industry.

The firm’s reputation for producing and training top-tier government officials is second to none and its reputation in this sector is enhanced by its partners’ work in helping draft key legislation, rules and regulations. More importantly, ACCRALAW invests in the continual development of its lawyers by offering workshops, specialisation tracks and training programmes to ensure valuable knowledge, skills and decades of experience are passed down.

ACCRALAW maintains a healthy work environment for its staff, implementing initiatives such as “town hall meetings”, where senior associates and associates can voice their concerns and make suggestions to management. Anticipating the need for improved mental health support, the firm partnered with Dear Future Self Consulting PH (DFS) in 2023, granting its employees access to licensed mental health professionals when necessary.

Adapting to the new normal, ACCRALAW has embraced remote work arrangements, flexible hours and improved document management systems to enhance its team’s agility. Staying fully interconnected across all branches, ACCRALAW has promoted strategic business continuity.

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, ACCRALAW established the Corporate Social Responsibility Department to promote purposeful initiatives in line with the firm’s commitment to moral excellence. The firm has partnered with various foundations to provide pro bono legal services, scholarships and contributions to key organisations like the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Philippine Bar Association.

This steadfast commitment to the development of its lawyers, its engagement in pivotal legislative initiatives, and a focus on mental well-being and corporate social responsibility are among the factors that have earned ACCRALAW many awards and recognitions, solidifying its status as the Philippines’ top law firm.


Puyat Jacinto & Santos (PJS Law) has positioned itself as a premier legal force in the Philippines. With a diverse portfolio that spans both traditional and emerging legal areas, PJS Law goes beyond standard practices by delivering remarkable client service and sustainable solutions.

In 2023, PJS Law marked a significant milestone when it announced a combination with Dentons, the world’s largest global law firm, underscoring its global aspirations. The partners at Dentons affirmed the business combination with a positive vote in April 2023. Amid international expansion efforts, PJS Law remains actively involved in numerous global and local transactions as well as public forums, showcasing its expertise.

PJS Law, now in its 26th year, advances with an emphasis on not just growth, but also responsiveness, innovation and problem-solving, persistently working to elevate its client services.

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de Los Angeles (Romulo) was founded in 1902 and has evolved from a modest commercial law practice in downtown Manila to one of the largest and most highly regarded law firms in the Philippines. With 48 partners and more than 90 multilingual lawyers, the firm provides a comprehensive range of legal services spanning banking and finance, capital markets and securities, energy and infrastructure, immigration, IP and telecoms.

Romulo’s talented team comprises globally trained and experienced legal professionals who actively participate in worldwide business and civic associations. The firm is also the sole Philippine member of Lex Mundi, a global network of about 160 independent law firms and 21,000 lawyers across economically significant jurisdictions. Additionally, Romulo is a TRACE partner firm in the Philippines and has joined other TRACE firms in promoting practical and cost-effective anti-bribery compliance on an international scale.


James Bryan Ibrahim A Alih, corporate in-house counsel at PH Global Jet Express, a technology and internet-based express delivery company based in Metro Manila, applauded Romulo saying: “Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles has been an important partner as the company navigates through the complexities of our dynamic industry. They provide us with expert legal advice that is only matched by their pragmatic approach in resolving our existing and potential legal concerns. With their grounded legal guidance as well as their excellent handling of complex disputes, we foresee a long and fruitful relationship with Romulo. Definitely, a highly recommended firm for any company in a fast-paced and ultra-competitive industry.”

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) was established in 1945 and is now one of the Philippines’ largest and most prestigious law firms. Headquartered in the country’s financial epicentre of Makati City, it extends its reach across the country through additional offices in key regions such as Cebu, Davao and the Subic Freeport.

SyCipLaw focuses primarily on commercial activity and provides a broad range of legal services in banking, finance, securities, special projects, corporate services, general company law, tax, IP, employment and immigration, as well as dispute resolution and arbitration. The firm has also expanded its specialisations in essential sectors such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and infrastructure, setting it apart in the Philippine legal scene.

Recently, SyCipLaw marked its commitment to contemporary issues by contributing to the Philippine chapter of “Navigating the Net Zero Transition: Spotlight on Southeast Asia, Japan and the Republic of Korea”, a guide to decarbonisation across the region.

Further asserting its forward-thinking ethic, SyCipLaw on 29 November 2023 co-hosted TrustLaw’s first in-person Legal Health Check Workshop in the Philippines. The workshop was designed to help civil society organisations and NGOs understand and map out their legal necessities. Through its extensive engagement in pro bono legal services, SyCipLaw has established itself as a revered leader in the legal field. Its reputation is founded not only on its commitment to law but also on its dedication to socially relevant causes.

Since being founded in 1977, DelRosario & DelRosario Law Offices (DelRosarioLaw) has built its name as one of the Philippines’ leading maritime law firms. In more than four decades, it has gained international acclaim in the global shipping and transport sectors, and has been instrumental in shaping the country’s maritime policies.

With the Philippines accounting for more than 20% of the world’s seafarers, key players in the maritime field frequently consult the firm’s expertise. DelRosarioLaw’s complete assistance for its global clients is shown in its extensive experience in labour, financial and regulatory conflicts.

Beyond shipping and maritime law, DelRosarioLaw’s practice areas also cater to diverse legal needs. The firm’s labour department tackles a wide spectrum of Filipino seafarers’ claims through its fully owned subsidiary, DelRosario Pandiphil. Meanwhile, its corporate practice provides direct foreign investment and M&A services to multinational corporations in industries such as manufacturing, finance and advertising. DelRosarioLaw’s IP department continues to advise industry powerhouses like Sony, while its dispute resolution practice serves a broad range of clients.


Poblador Bautista & Reyes (PBR Law) is a renowned law firm founded in 1994 by Alexander J Poblador, Mario Luza Bautista and Gilbert Raymund T Reyes. It offers diverse services such as litigation, commercial arbitration, IP, real estate and construction, and more. The firm’s lawyers are also affiliated with legal organisations such as the International Trademark Association, the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association and the Tax Management Association of the Philippines.

PBR Law has gained a stellar reputation for its work and is known to consistently demonstrate unwavering commitment and expertise across all dispute resolution sectors. Some notable cases undertaken by the firm’s partners include the impeachment of a former president and a former chief justice, the defence of a presidential candidate’s citizenship and residency qualifications, and the representation of key energy companies.


Agcaoili & Associates holds expertise in different legal areas such as aviation, banking and finance, corporations, civil, insurance, IP, immigration, labour, property and taxation law. It also excels in handling litigation and alternative dispute resolution, making it a well-rounded law firm.

Founded in 1974, Agcaoili & Associates today serves a broad client base, including leading banks and financial institutions both domestically and internationally, and corporations involved in sectors like aircraft leasing and financing, advertising, chemicals, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, real estate property development, hotel and condominium development, educational plans, and garments. As well as its powerful local presence, the firm collaborates with several law firms globally, acting as correspondent counsel for various firms based in the US, Europe and Asia.

Decades of practice have positioned Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim Law (OMLAW) as a dominant figure in transportation law among Philippine firms. The firm represents major transportation companies handling traffic rights, franchises, charter permits, accident insurance, joint ventures and commercial agreements. In addition, OMLAW is regularly asked to guide clients on compliance issues, prepare petitions, and help them navigate regulatory proceedings before institutions like the Civil Aeronautics Board, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Shippers Bureau, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, to name a few.

Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño Law Offices (Platon Martinez) has broad general practice covering all litigation and business transactions. Holding expertise in different areas, Platon Martinez is equally proficient with contentious and non-contentious legal matters.

Platon Martinez frequently represents air carriers before the Civil Aeronautics Board, offering guidance on crucial matters such as air carrier permit registration, renewal requirements, fuel surcharge petitions, and other regulatory operating requirements that airlines must meet to maintain their permits. The firm also helps new foreign air carriers secure a foothold in the Philippines by providing assistance in registration procedures with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and obtaining necessary operation permits, including applications for Air Operator Certificates from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.


Picazo Buyco Tan Fider and Santos (Picazo Law) continues to emerge as a leader in capital markets, banking and finance, and M&A practices in the Philippines. Alongside its expertise in telecoms, gaming, real estate, taxation, labour, litigation and other dispute resolution practices, Picazo Law serves as retained counsel to numerous listed and unlisted companies that rank among the Philippines’ top 1,000 corporations.

Being intimately involved in the initial public offerings (IPOs) of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Picazo Law has also managed diverse securities transactions, ranging from rights offerings, follow-on offerings, top-up offerings, and bond offerings to hybrid securities issuances for major Philippine corporations, banks and other financial institutions. As retained counsel to multiple listed companies, Picazo Law actively assists clients to comply with the reportorial, disclosure and other continuous listing requirements stipulated by the PSE and the SEC.

Established in February 2007, Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) specialises in multiple legal spheres including competition and antitrust, corporate and commercial transactions, litigation and arbitration, taxation, and labour and employment. Before the 2015 introduction of the Philippines’ first comprehensive competition law, C&G Law had already made its mark by offering professional advice to both local and foreign clients on competition law matters and related regulations.

Some of C&G Law’s most notable work includes advising a Philippine affiliate of a global leader in building materials, helping obtain clearance for a merger filing for the Swedish conglomerate Altor, assisting a leading online fashion retailer with a successful merger filing before the Philippine Competition Commission, and representing energy companies in alleged anti-competitive behaviour cases before the Supreme Court.

The firm has also confirmed the non-coverage of mandatory filing requirements concerning a merger of related entities, and has advised numerous clients such as Jollibee Foods Corporation and Cargill Philippines on joint ventures and other transactions.

Sarmiento Loriega Law Office (SL Law) has propelled itself to the pinnacle of competition law practice. The firm’s expert lawyers provide insightful advice on various aspects of merger regulations, exemplifying pre-merger information exchanges, transaction sequencing, and proactive strategies for potential review extensions. The firm is proficient in providing guidance on regulatory compliance and managing information requirements for notifiable transaction merger reviews from phase 0 to phase 2.

SL Law uses its expertise in antitrust enforcement to counsel clients on innovative business methodologies and models that may intersect with competition regulations. The firm advises conglomerates deemed dominant in their respective markets on appropriate codes of conduct, and offers advice on antitrust leniency programmes for those ensnared by the industry’s anti-competitive behaviours. As evidence of their expertise, SL Law has a distinguished portfolio of successful cases such as Greenlight Renewables Holdings’ acquisition, Century Properties Group’s consolidation, and guidance for a major conglomerate’s potential acquisition.

They have also made a mark in antitrust proceedings involving distribution utilities and the case of a private DU seeking an amendment of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.


Founded in 1963, Quisumbing Torres’ dedication is to assisting clients in making decisions that best align with their business goals. They offer a range of legal services including corporate & commercial/M&A, dispute resolution, employment, immigration, IP, data and technology, and tax. Quisumbing Torres boasts an experienced legal team of more than 50 Philippine lawyers collaborating across practice areas, industry sectors and geographies under Baker & McKenzie International and a Swiss Verein for more than 60 years.

Quisumbing Torres recently demonstrated its strong commitment to corporate social responsibility through a partnership with Waves for Water Philippines to provide targeted Filipino communities with portable filters that purify water from contaminated sources for up to five years.

Quisumbing Torres partner Gil Roberto Zerrudo leads this socially conscious endeavour. Alongside him, Marvin Masangkay, another partner at the firm, heads the initiative’s first community outreach programme. Combining extensive legal experience with substantial resources, Quisumbing Torres aims to have a lasting and positive impact on communities grappling with inadequate access to clean water.

DivinaLaw has grown into one of the country’s largest law firms, highlighting a roster of more than 80 lawyers. Initially launched in 2006 with only five lawyers, DivinaLaw has since distinguished itself in various aspects of corporate legal practice, particularly corporate takeovers, M&A and corporate rehabilitation.

DivinaLaw has also been making notable strides in data compliance and cybersecurity, and currently represents one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines, for which it successfully challenged a subpoena and show cause order issued by the National Privacy Commission (NPC). Given the restrictions under the Bank Secrecy Law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, DivinaLaw argued the subpoena was beyond the NPC’s statutory powers, leading to a landmark Court of Appeals decision that not only dismissed the NPC’s demands but also questioned its subpoena powers.

This outcome is expected to improve the legal understanding of the scope of the NPC’s authority and interactions between the Data Privacy Act and other laws such as the Bank Secrecy Law.

Fortun Narvasa & Salazar (FNS) has provided top-notch legal services in the Philippines for the past 25 years. Its expertise covers multiple sectors including litigation, corporate transactions, employment relations, arbitration, IT commerce, estate planning, immigration, intellectual property, mining, energy, project finance, real estate and more. However, the firm is significantly known for its solar, hydro and geothermal power generation projects, assisting foreign clients in initiating ventures in the Philippines. This comprehensive support ranges from guiding clients through the investment stage to overseeing project implementation.

FNS has been instrumental in numerous successful solar power projects, from creating 20,000kWp (DC) solar power plants to larger 59.9664MWp projects. Currently, FNS is supporting China Huadian Hongkong, one of China’s five major state-owned power generation companies, by preparing a legal due diligence report. This report is a crucial preliminary requirement for the company’s anticipated investment in a prominent 150MW wind power plant managed by the Bago-Negros Energy Corporation in the Philippines.

Founded in 1984 by Justice Ricardo Puno Sr, PunoLaw is a dominant force within the Phillipines’ energy practice. The firm offers extensive local and international knowledge and experience in power transactions and has consistently served as counsel in various aspects of the power industry.

On 26 September 2023, the PunoLaw team, under the guidance of partners Jonathan P Serrano and Deborah S Acosta-Cajustin, along with associates Mary Anne A Galang, Christine C Flores, and Niegel F Simon, assisted Vena Energy, a leading renewable energy company in the Asia-Pacific, to partner with Aboitiz Renewables and Vivant Energy. This collaboration is set to develop, construct and operate the 206MW San Isidro wind power project in Northern Samar, Philippines. The project consists of 33 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6.25MW, and is projected to be commercially operational by early 2025.

Guided by Felix Sy, a prominent lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience, Sy & Partners delivers counsel and support to an extensive roster of clients, including corporates, project developers and financial institutions on a domestic and international scope. Its expertise lies in banking, financing, energy/renewables, infrastructure and insurance. The firm is also known for its affiliation with Nishimura & Asahi, Japan’s largest law firm.

Providing top-notch legal services, Sy & Partners showcases their proficiency in a range of aspects, from intricate financing and security transactions to the development of infrastructure and energy-powered projects, and dealings in mergers, acquisitions and bancassurance transactions among banks and insurance agencies. Currently, the firm advises one of the largest global Canada-based insurance conglomerates on structuring its insurance brokerage arrangement, adhering to Philippine insurance laws and regulations. The project is spearheaded by Felix Sy.

Bengzon Negre Untalan (BNU) is a specialised law firm with a central focus on IP law practice. Its team is a dynamic blend of lawyers with extensive experience in all intellectual property and information technology sectors. The firm’s partners share a common professional trajectory, having procured their law degrees from the leading law schools in the country and operated within the largest and most prestigious law firms before establishing their niche practices.

BNU boasts a team of associates, technical consultants, paralegals and staff who have received specialised training in intellectual property and information technology practice. The firm possesses a robust management information system and customised software, effectively managing its clients’ trademark, patent and copyright portfolios.

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia emerged in 2013 as a result of the collaborative efforts of 15 adept legal professionals united by a shared vision. In the years since, an equivalent number of new partners have stepped up to help drive the firm into a new era.

Unlike the routine approach of some Philippine firms, Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia has distinguished itself by entrusting all IP litigation cases to its dedicated IP department, rather than the broader litigation department.

A testament to Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia’s prowess is its victory in a trademark enforcement matter for Fiberworld, a diaper manufacturing company located in Valenzuela City, Philippines, from the initial investigation phase to securing a favourable judgment.

In another significant case, they successfully opposed a trademark application for the mark “MANULIFE” filed by Tangshan Hongli Tools. The firm represented Manulife, an international insurance company and financial services provider headquartered in Ontario, Canada.


Alan Adcock, a partner at Tilleke & Gibbins in Bangkok serving international and local businesses across Southeast Asia, said he would “enthusiastically recommend Cruz Marcelo, and particularly partner Patricia Bunye. Our firms have worked closely together for many years and I can personally attest to the high quality and consistent excellence of their advice and client representation. We reciprocate work [and] consider Cruz Marcelo a trusted partner in delivering excellent client service.”

The Hechanova Group, encompassing Hechanova & Co, a consulting firm handling non-contentious IP work, and Hechanova Bugay Vilchez & Andaya-Racadio, a law firm with a wealth of experience in contentious IP work, is a legal entity committed to the field of IP.

It has a track record of successful IP prosecutions from 2022 to 2023 and has filed a considerable number of applications for trademark and patent registration. The firm’s highlight is its significant involvement in the enforcement of the KICK-START trademark for Silca Coffee Roasting Company, a coffee roastery enterprise in Cavite, Philippines.

The Hechanova Group assisted Silca to file several trademark applications, supporting owner Michael P Asuncion in enforcing his IP rights over the KICK-START trademark. Cease and desist letters were prepared and sent to protect the trademark, resulting in compliance and complete removal of the mark from social media posts. The successful enforcement of Asuncion’s IP rights had a significant impact, prompting him to seek further protection for unregistered marks and file additional applications.

Villaraza & Angangco’s (V&A Law) has stood out in its field since being established in 1980 by renowned lawyers, including V&A Law’s present chairman and CEO, and former Philippines Supreme Court Justice F Arthur Villaraza, and fellow former justice Antonio T Carpio. As student leaders and top graduates of the University of the Philippines, these founders have guided the firm to growth and recognition. They primarily concentrated on the firm’s IP department which, in turn, managed vast numbers of trademarks and patents, many of which were owned by major global corporations.

V&A Law has also been tremendously successful in high-stakes IP litigation, making inexpensive medication more available in the Philippines while also laying the groundwork for numerous landmark IP case laws.

Furthermore, the firm’s team of skilled lawyers, well-versed in both traditional and modern IP facets, along with rising lawyers from various fields like medicine, molecular biology, physics, politics, media and fashion, give the firm a broad reach in providing comprehensive assistance.

Cerilles & Fernan Intellectual Property Legal Consultancy (CFIP Law) is a boutique IP law firm focusing mainly on local and international IP protection such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. The firm also has extensive experience filing Patent Co-operation Treaty applications in the Philippines and managing national phase entry in foreign jurisdictions.

One of the firm’s recent remarkable achievements is representing Blackbough Clothing Shop against an opposition case filed by Suyen Corporation, a Philippine corporation best known for the Bench apparel brand. Blackbough Clothing Shop operates Blackbough Swim, a swimwear label based in Manila.

Blackbough Clothing Shop benefited from CFIP Law’s successful international application filing for the “BLACKBOUGH” mark, securing its designation in China and the US across two classes. Blackbough Clothing Shop has also entrusted the firm to protect their “BLACKBOUGH” and “B” marks in the US.

Federis & Associates Law Offices (Federis) is a boutique Phillipines law firm that specialises solely in IP. Despite its modest size, the firm has gained a reputation on par with or surpassing other top-tier firms in the country.

One recent example of the firm’s success includes filing complaints for trademark infringement against Edlimbos Bicycle Trading, a bike shop in Cebu, Philippines, and Starbright Bicycle Trading, a bike trading business in Cebu, on behalf of Shimano, a prominent bicycle component manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan.

The filings resulted from co-ordinated raids by the National Bureau of Investigation and Neo Zigma, Shimano’s official distributor in the Philippines, which confiscated thousands of counterfeit bicycle parts and accessories bearing the “SHIMANO” mark. This action showcases both Shimano’s determination to tackle counterfeiting in the Philippines and Federis’ vital role in supporting such anti-infringement efforts.


Satyapon Sachdecha, managing partner at Satyapon & Partners, a full-service IP law firm based in Bangkok, commended Federis’ efforts. He said his firm had been working with Federis for more than two decades and “we have the highest regards for their work ethic, commitment to the clients’ needs and their responsiveness to our enquiries. Mila Federis leads an exceptionally strong team at the firm, which has a strong expertise in all IP-related matters and a breadth of experience to assist our clients. We would rate Federis as one of the very best IP firms in the Philippines, and they are our go to firm for any IP matter in the Philippines.”


Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako (SRMO) is a law firm with a rich history that traces back to its 1901 establishment, making it one of the oldest law partnerships in the Philippines. While the firm exhibits proficiencies in different legal disciplines, its comprehensive practice in handling labour disputes at trial and appellate levels shines prominently. Areas of expertise include collective bargaining negotiations, strike contingency planning, strike handling, labour litigation arising from termination, wage claims, unfair labour practices, assumption-of-jurisdiction cases, compulsory and voluntary arbitrations and certification election proceedings.

SRMO has displayed an impressive track record of handling collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations and certifications for various notable companies like Philippine Long Distance Telephone, a Philippine telecoms, internet and digital services company headquartered in Manila, and Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines.


Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra (Gorriceta), recognised as the “youngest biggest” law firm in the Philippines, has garnered significant attention and numerous awards since its founding in 2015, establishing itself as a challenging contender to the country’s longstanding and largest law firms. From an initial team of only nine legal professionals, the firm has expanded its ranks nearly six-fold and now boasts a formidable group of almost 50 legal experts.

Gorriceta’s impressive accomplishments are particularly notable in the private equity arena. Its achievements include acting as the Philippine legal counsel to Angkas (parent company Dbdoyc), a motorcycle taxi and delivery service company in Manila, during its seed round led by a Southeast Asian private equity firm. Gorriceta was also the lead Philippine transaction counsel in the multimillion-dollar acquisition of shares and strategic investment in Dragonpay, a payment gateway company in Manila by an Indonesian fintech B2B unicorn.

Additionally, Gorriceta led the advisory work for the only IPO in 2018, aiding the real estate developer DM Wenceslao & Associates, a real estate development and construction company in Metro Manila, on its PHP8.1 billion (USD1.7 billion) IPO.


Gulapa Law is a dynamic and versatile law firm with areas of expertise encompassing general corporate law, M&A, infrastructure projects, banking and finance, real estate, technology and media, antitrust and competition, and IP and dispute resolution. The firm’s recent establishment in 2015 has not deterred its zeal for excellence, as it has quickly positioned itself as a leader in projects and infrastructure. Gulapa Law’s proficiency in this speciality shines through their representation of private bidders and the Philippine Republic in almost every major infrastructure project, extending from air to land to water.

At the helm of Gulapa Law is the founding partner, Aris Gulapa, who brings with him an abundance of experience honed from practising law in different global locations like Manila, Vietnam, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. His legal acumen and leadership have led him to tackle significant projects, including the Clark International Airport Expansion PPP project, the National Government Administrative Centre project, and the Makati Skytrain project.


Martinez Vergara & Gonzalez Sociedad (MVGS) offers a broad range of legal services in numerous domains. In the area of restructuring and insolvency, MVGS leverages expertise from its core practice areas, such as banking and finance, M&A, labour and employment, and dispute resolution.

One of its exceptional achievements in restructuring and insolvency is its legal assistance to Steniel Manufacturing Corporation (STN), a manufacturer of industrial packaging materials in Cavite and Cebu, in its PHP418 million (USD7.4 million) share capital increase and private placement of shares. MVGS has been advising STN since 2015, shortly after its acquisition by Greenkraft Corporation, a Cavite manufacturer of corrugated boxes. In collaboration with BDO Capital & Investment Corporation, a Philippine investment banking firm in Manila, MVGS has been supporting STN in multiple corporate initiatives to address its negative capital and lift the trading suspension imposed by the PSE.

Started more than 70 years ago by VE del Rosario and initially named VE Del Rosario & Associates, the law firm now known as VeraLaw (Del Rosario Raboca Gonzales Grasparil) specialises in maritime and admiralty law. It has adopted the abbreviation VERA as its commonly used shorthand name and has grown under the leadership of managing partner Valeriano Del Rosario, the founder’s son.

VeraLaw distinguishes itself in the maritime and admiralty area by catering to clients such as P&I Clubs, marine insurers, port operators, ship owners and charterers, offering services in maritime law, admiralty jurisdiction, charter party documents and disputes, cargo claims and documentation, marine insurance, and more. It also extends to related areas like freight forwarding, multi-modal transportation, import/export documentation and financing, and ship finance, among others. Recently, VeraLaw provided valuable insights in an article on Philippine maritime law and industry developments in the 10th edition of The Shipping Law Review.

Founded in 2004 by senior partners Ramon Esguerra and the late Jaime Blanco, Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices (Esguerra & Blanco) is a full-service firm offering advice on all facets of Philippine law to local and international clients.

The firm excels in employment and labour relations. It provides valuable support to its clients in seafarers’ claims and conducts thorough due diligence. Esguerra & Blanco also offers guidance on the legal dimensions of hiring, which includes crafting employment contracts, creating manuals and developing employee benefits programs. The firm’s other services include providing compliance support, drafting and negotiating collective bargaining agreements and managing transition issues such as early retirement, dismissal and retrenchment.

Ortega, Bacorro, Odulio, Calma & Carbonell Law Office (OCBOCC) is a distinguished law firm proficient in handling extensive legal matters such as corporate, commercial and international business transactions, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, technology transfers, civil and criminal litigation, admiralty, labour-management relations, taxation, aviation law, estates and trusts, media law, immigration, and family law.

One of the firm’s famed specialisations is its admiralty and maritime practice, where it exhibits a broad scope of expertise. The firm manages cases involving collision, allusion, attachment, ship arrests, foreclosure, pollution, damages to piers, underwater cables, and seafarers’ claims for death, sickness, and disability benefits. It also handles cargo claims, general average cases, and vessel registration before various courts and administrative bodies such as the Board of Marine Inquiry, the Maritime Industry Authority, the National Labour Relations Commission, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.


Du-Baladad and Associates (BDB Law) is a boutique tax law firm founded 13 years ago by Benedicta Du-Baladad, a renowned tax and corporate lawyer in the country.

One of the firm’s recent achievements includes the suspension of tax collection amounting to PHP1.25 billion (USD22 million), achieving a 96.5% reduction in alleged deficiency taxes from PHP1.43 billion to PHP50 million, and the successful application for a refund amounting to PHP2 billion on additional excise taxes for an international automotive brand.

As a full-service law firm in the Philippines, Ocampo & Suralvo Law Offices (OS Law) assists with corporate, commercial and tax concerns. Some of these issues range from general corporate and commercial matters, company establishment and registration, to contract negotiation and drafting, M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, and foreign direct investments. The firm also extends its expertise to the field of transfer pricing and litigation, addressing the diverse needs of its clientele.

OS Law is committed to aiding Philippine businesses to flourish in the global economy, providing them access to tax and legal expertise. In pursuit of this, OS Law collaborates with DFDL, an international law firm focusing on Asia’s emerging economies. With these cross-border partnerships, clients can benefit from the firm’s international reach, leveraging tax and legal know-how from some of the world’s most rapidly growing investment hubs.

Founded in 2017, Vasig Abarquez Lumauig Puno Law Offices (VAL Law) operates under the leadership of founding partners Elyrhey Cesar Vasig, Paolo Abarquez and Timothy Joseph Lumauig. The three founders, along with two additional partners and a team of six associates, form a strong team that effectively handles a variety of cases.

In the taxation area, the firm offers expert advice on Philippine tax laws, crafting innovative corporate and transaction structures for optimal tax efficiency. It also represents clients before the authorities to address any arising tax controversies. Its areas of work include general tax advisory, transactional tax, international tax, internal restructuring and estate planning.

Disini & Disini Law Office (Disini Law) was launched in May 2000 and delivers a full spectrum of legal support and services to its clients, prominently in foreign investment, technology, corporate practice and litigation. Known for its commanding presence in the field, the firm’s technology, media, and telecoms practice stands as one of the most established and well-known in the country.

For more than two decades, the firm has guided both private and government sector clients at every stage of IT projects, serving diverse role perspectives such as providers, customers, public servants and citizens.

Disini Law’s significant contributions to national discourse were recently highlighted when the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Bureau of Customs released the Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade of the Philippines.

This report was prepared, in part, by a team of UNESCAP consultants led by Disini Law’s managing partner JJ Disini, along with special counsel Oliver Xavier Reyes and Ofelia Leaño. This report offers a review of the readiness of the Philippines for cross-border paperless trade, an area where trade is conducted based on electronic data and documents.


The winners of Asia Business Law Journal’s Philippine Law Firm Awards 2023 were selected based on the votes, references and qualitative information received from in-house counsel and other legal professionals in the Philippines and around the world.

A voting form was posted on our website, inviting thousands of in-house counsel, lawyers at international law firms and other Philippine-focused professionals to vote. At the same time, Philippine law firms were asked to make submissions in support of their candidacy for the awards. These submissions, combined with research by Asia Business Law Journal’s editorial team, played a supporting role in the judging process.

Copy link