THE Philippines Redevelopment Fund, run by Thornton Management Asia, has topped other Asian Single Country Funds over the last year. The fund, launched in 1986, has recently been buoyed by the Philippine stock market, which has emerged as one of the best performers in the region. This is in sharp contrast to about two years ago, when it was one of the worst performing Asian Country Funds, thanks to a 50 per cent slide in the Philippine stock market and a series of natural disasters. The man in charge of the fund since the beginning of 1991 is Mr Matthew Choi. Mr Choi said he had felt that he had taken over management of the fund after a very trying period. ''I took over the fund after a disastrous performance in 1990 - the worst year since it was set up,'' he said. ''In 1990, we had a lot of redemptions and we also faced problems repatriating US dollar earnings due to forex restrictions.'' Then, the Philippine economy was in a shambles with little hope of any recovery, he said. But over the last 20 months there had been a significant recovery in the Philippine economy, Mr Choi said. ''Interest rates have come down from a high of 35 per cent and inflation has dropped from 19 per cent to less than 10 per cent.'' Mr Choi manages not only the US$3 million Philippine fund, but he has a total of nearly $60 million spread across a range of other funds. But the Philippine fund had proved to be the most challenging and rewarding, he said. ''During the general elections which brought Mr Fidel Ramos to power, we were optimistic about the outcome, and hence took an aggressive investment strategy,'' Mr Choi said. ''After the elections, as the market rallied, we enjoyed the full benefit of our strategy and took profit.'' In fact, under the improved business environment, second-line stocks have come into their own and begun to perform better than the blue chips. According to Mr Choi, the overall strategy was to retain about 60 per cent exposure in blue chips and selectively invest the rest in second-liners.