08/1/16

Makati’s Cultural Soul: A Visit To The Ayala Museum

Whenever we hear about Makati and the Makati Central Business District (CBD), we usually associate it with the tall buildings, the swanky hotels, and the classy shopping malls. But in the midst of this modern center of commerce lies a cultural soul of the business district that has managed to thrive to be a landmark in its own right and helped make this part of the metropolis more than just a business hub but a cultural hub as well. Of course, we are talking about the Ayala Museum, one the most well-known museums in the metropolis and the country as a whole.

And as Ayala Museum marks its 50th birthday in 2017, the Urban Roamer invites you to roam this museum as we learn the history and the heritage preserved in this storied structure. Continue reading

01/25/16

Starbucks at 6750 Ayala Avenue: Where the Modern Filipino Coffee Shop Experience Began

Filipinos love coffee, there is no doubt about that. Traditionally though, Filipinos are not really that fancy coffee drinkers. Just a simple cup of coffee bought at the sari-sari store, with perhaps some creamer and sugar would do. There are also the beloved regional blends like the kapeng barako of Batangas or the Philippine Civet Coffee or kapeng alamid which is sourced from the droppings (AKA, uhm…poop) of wild Philippine civets which also happens to be the most rare and expensive variety.

In recent years however, Filipinos have come to appreciate the more “sophisticated” varieties of coffee like the cafe lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, etc. And we can all thank/blame (depending  on your perspective) one establishment for this change: Starbucks. Today on the Urban Roamer, we shall be checking out where it all began as we visit the first Starbucks branch in the Philippines.

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12/26/15

A Farewell to Hotel InterContinental

As we in the metropolis are still having a Christmas hangover while looking forward to the New Year, unfortunately one beloved landmark in the city will bade farewell along with 2015 with the Hotel InterContinental Manila having its final day of operations on New Year’s Eve and its New Year’s Eve countdown to be held there being the last event to be held in this storied hotel.

The Hotel InterContinental Manila has been pretty much a part of the cityscape of the Makati Central Business District (CBD) and the greater metropolis of Manila for over 46 years. While the hotel may not be as iconic as the Manila Hotel or The Peninsula Manila, it has a unique charm of its own that has been remembered fondly by guests and visitors who have stayed and/or visited over those years. Continue reading

09/10/15

The Story of Ayala Triangle: Center of a Rising Business District

As the airport operations at Nielson Field have closed down by the 1950s, around the same time, plans were being made to convert the Zobel de Ayala-owned hacienda (where the airfield is located) into a modern business district, giving birth to the Makati Central Business District. As structures began to sprout left and right, the old airfield which became a triangular open space found itself in the middle of all this development.

However, it took a while for any development to be seen in the area. Apart from the Nielson Tower, the rest of the triangular space was pretty much a barren open space which sometimes was used as a football field. That football field evemtually became known as Ugarte Field, named after Sebastian Ugarte, a legendary figure in Philippine football. (and by the way, his family is related to the Zobel de Ayala, Aboitiz, and a number of Spanish mestizo families in the country)

But it would not be long for the Zobel de Ayala conglomerate to establish their presence in this piece of land, kicking off what would be a long association they would have with this triangular space. Continue reading

09/7/15

The Story of Ayala Triangle: Beginnings as Nielson Field

If open spaces are considered the soul of a city, then there is little doubt that Ayala Triangle serves as the soul of Makati, especially the central business district area. In a way, such distinction is fitting as it also happens to be an open space with a rich history of almost 80 years and counting, having undergone many transformations into what it is today, not to mention what is to become of it.

Today, the Urban Roamer presents to you this mini-series that details the past, the present, and the foreseen future of this triangular patch of land in the middle of Makati,

BIRTH OF AN AIRFIELD

an aerial photograph of Nielson Field (courtesy of Timawa.net)

The beginnings of Ayala Triangle is itself a milestone in not only in the history of what is now the Metropolitan Manila area but also in the history of Philippine aviation as a whole when in July 1937, Nielson Field was opened to become Manila’s first airport. At that time, it was already considered the biggest and best-equipped airport in Asia, having two runways which still exist today but as major thoroughfares now, Paseo de Roxas and a portion of Ayala Avenue. Continue reading