At the beginning of American colonial rule in the Philippines, the Americans came upon a piece of land in the town of what is now Muntinlupa (or Muntinglupa as it was called then). This land was vast and fertile with the river called Alabang flowing through it.
For the colonial officials, the land was a perfect spot to set up a stock farm that will be run by the government. So 1918, they established the Alabang Stock Farm in the area. As the name implied, it was where livestock such as chicken, pigs, and cows were bred for eventual disposal and consumption.
But the Alabang Stock Farm became more than just a government facility to raise livestock. Within the confines of this facility, the Alabang Serum and Vaccine Laboratory (ASVL) was established in the 1920s to produce anti-venom serum other vaccines for the benefit of the general public. As no one else but the ASVL were producing such at the time, it, and the Alabang Stock Farm as a whole, became an important government facility. Eventually, the stock farm was shut down while the vaccine laboratory operations continued in the area, eventually relocating into a new facility and its operations eventually absorbed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Around that time, residential property developer Filinvest Land was about to venture into that new territory that is commercial property development. And for their first foray in commercial development, they already had a prospect property in mind: the 244+ hectare Alabang Stock Farm itself. So in 1995, Filinvest acquired the property from the government and began drawing up plans for what was to become Filinvest City.
First known as the Filinvest Corporate City, activity in the area immediately soon after. The first to rise in this new business district was Festival Supermall (now Festival Alabang) in 1997. In 2000, Filinvest City secured its biggest tenant: Insular Life, which moved to a 140-meter high 2-tower complex building as its new headquarters. In 2002, Asian Hospital and Medical Center opened its doors, becoming the premier medical facility in the southern part of the metropolis. The initial development even involved a bit of reorientation of the Alabang-Zapote Road, which resulted in the construction of a new branch which directly connects the road and the district to the Skyway elevated road network.
For the next 12 years though, development in what was envisioned to be the premier business district in South Metro Manila slowed down. While there were developments going on such as the development of the Northgate a BPO hub and the South Station as an integrated transport terminal in the South, there was little activity going on elsewhere and it looked as if the vision for Filinvest City was not going to be fully realized.
Things changed in 2012, when Filinvest relaunched the district, which has been renamed as Filinvest City. Development in the area has since picked up anew, with addition of a new area called Westgate and the construction of new buildings and other developments, which includes an open air amphitheater and pocket parks.
Despite the continuing development in the area, it is refreshing to see that there is still so much green open spaces. And from the looks of it, Filinvest intends to at least preserve a sizeable portion of this green space as it strives to become a modern business hub that is with nature.
It will be interesting to see how the developments in Filinvest City will progress in the future. But so far, the future of this southern hub is promising to say the least.