With our many vibrant central business districts, one cannot ignore the fact that the blueprint for it was first crafted and mastered by the people behind the development of the Makati Central Business District (CBD). Through an exciting and informative walking tour led by media personality David Celdran, the Ayala Land Inc (ALI) guided members of the press and some history buffs to explore this financial district. This endeavour was brought about by the 50th anniversary of the Makati Central Estate Association Inc (MACEA) which has been celebrated through the publishing of a tome curated and edited by esteemed writer Lisa Guerrero Nakpil.
Titled Makati, Fifty Years and Forward, the 300-page book essays how Makati thrived to become one of the country’s premier addresses, with images compiled from the works of legendary photographer Wig Tysmans, as well as those of Patrick Diokno and Paul Quiambao, and never-before-seen archival pictures of the Makati CBD throughout the years.
As someone who has had his entire professional career centred in Makati City, joining the tour was a breath of fresh air for me—enabling me to see Ayala Avenue and its two neighbouring villages with fresh eyes. I have known the history behind some of these iconic spots, but the tour has made me realise that it is in Makati indeed that “we make things happen”.
At the heart of Makati CBD lies the verdant Ayala Triangle teeming with fire trees, eucalyptus trees, and many more. I remember back when Ayala Two and the all-new Mandarin Oriental Hotel did not yet exist, there used to be a small bamboo forest at the Paseo de Roxas side of the Triangle. Decades before that, the Ayala Triangle was known to be a football field named after the renowned Spanish-born Philippine footballer Sebastian Ugarte.
In the early 1980s after the death of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jnr, the Ayala Triangle (then known as Ugarte Field) hosted political protests against the Marcos regime and the neighbouring stretch of the Ayala Avenue was showered with shreds of the PLDT yellow pages. These so-called “yellow confetti rallies” served as a prequel to the bigger 1986 People Power at EDSA, which propelled the late strongman Ferdinand E Marcos and his family to leave the country.
Today, Ayala Triangle is much quieter, except for the annual lights and sounds show during the Christmas season which attracts many-a-viewer. The park has also been rented by restaurants, until the COVID-19 pandemic. Also on that note, its open-air space was maximised by the Art Fair Philippines when it held its 2022 hybrid exhibitions.