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February 28, 1914
“San Pedro de Makati,” through Philippine Legislature Act No. 2390, was renamed “Makati” on this day. This hacienda occupied most of what is now modern-day Makati, the country’s top financial district.
On February 27, 1767, King Charles of Spain decreed the expulsion of the Society of Jesus from all Spanish territories, including those in the Philippines. These territories would then be returned to the Spanish Crown. Thus, the Jesuit-owned Hacienda San Pedro de Makati was sold at a public auction.
Don Jose Bonifacio Roxas of the Roxas–Zobel–Ayala clan bought the 1,650-hectare estate for P52,800 in 1851, after ownership of the estate had passed several hands. Back then, Makati was a sparsely populated town, which would become home to Nielson Airport, the country’s first commercial airfield, and the Makati Central Business District.
Today, Nielson Airport houses the Filipinas Heritage Library, one of the leading all-Filipiniana private libraries in the country.
Source: This Week in Ayala History (February 27-March 5)
January 19, 1949
Forbes Park in the 1950s
John L. Manning, president of the Ford Motor Company agency, was the first person to buy a lot in Forbes Park.
Ayala y Compañia (now Ayala Corporation) sold the lot at only P6 per square meter, merely a third of its development cost. Nine other lots were sold that year.
Forbes Park, named after American Governor-General William Cameron Forbes, was the brainchild of Col. Joseph McMicking, managing partner at the Ayala y Compañia. Modeled after the sprawling residential developments in Southern California, the park featured mission style houses and open spaces, evoking an atmosphere of peace and relaxation.
After Manning acquired his Forbes property, the cost of lots in the exclusive subdivision began climbing steadily. At present, Forbes Park is among the most valuable real-estate developments in the country.
December 20, 1903
Alfonso Zobel de Ayala y Roxas, father of Ayala Corporation Chairman Emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, was born. Don Alfonso joined Ayala y Compañia as managing partner in 1929, the year after he had married Carmen Pfitz y Herrero. He served various roles in the different Ayala businesses. When his brother Jacobo Zobel y Roxas retired, the responsibility of managing Ayala y Cia. was passed on to Don Alfonso and his brother-in-law, Colonel Joseph McMicking. Don Alfonso and Col. McMicking worked as a team, until Don Alfonso’s retirement in 1964. Their tandem worked very well, with Don Alfonso fleshing out what Col. McMicking had envisioned. They collaborated in transforming Makati into a premier business district. Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, was regarded by Colonel McMicking as among the “greatest” of the Ayala partners. He passed away on March 13, 1967.Source: Kuwentong Ayala, vol. 8, no. 5, November–December 1977, pp. 13 and 17; Eduardo Lachica, Ayala: The Philippines’ Oldest Business House [Makati: Filipinas Foundation, 1984], pp. 147–48
October 9, 1877
Enrique Zobel de Ayala, grandfather of Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Zobel de Ayala, was born in Madrid, Spain. He was a managing partner of Ayala y Compañia from 1901 to 1913 and from 1920 until 1943. Aside from his involvement with Ayala, Enrique also established in 1903 the La Porcelanica, the first ceramics factory in the Philippines. The following year, he established a glass factory with Eduardo Soriano. A patron of the arts, he set up the Premio Zóbel literary award in 1920 and funded national artist Fernando Amorsolo’s art education in Europe. Enrique Zobel de Ayala passed away on 17 February 1943.
Source: Kuwentong Ayala, vol. 8, no. 4, September–October 1977, p. 15; Dictionary of Philippine Biography, vol. 3, pp. 538–39
September 22, 1874
On this day, Jacobo Zobel y Zangróniz, great-great grandfather of Ayala Corporation Chairman Emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, was ordered arrested by Jose Malcampo, then the Spanish governor general in the Philippines.
A vocal critic of the worsening sociopolitical situation in the colony, he was suspected of being an active revolutionary and a supporter of the 1872 Cavite mutiny. Jacobo was the first of the Zobel line to be born in the Philippines. He was one of the first from Manila to become a Mason, which became attractive to many Filipinos for its liberal ideals.
Since his father was a German by birth, he was also suspected of being a German spy. Zobel was arrested and incarcerated for about six months, after several allegedy incriminating papers had surfaced. Bogged by the question of jurisdiction, his trial was eventually abandoned and the Spanish government absolved him of all charges.
Manila Times, 22 March 1968, p. 30A;
Eduardo Lachica, Ayala: The Philippines’ Oldest Business House [Makati: Filipinas Foundation, 1984], pp. 67–68
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