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Published March 24th 2015
Peace and quiet amongst the bustle of busy business life
Ayala Triangle Gardens is Makati's own version of Central Park, an urban oasis at the heart of the central financial and business district of Manila. In addition to the beautifully landscaped park grounds, there is a row of cafes and restaurants that offer fresh, new dining concepts with al fresco seating alongside the towering Makati Stock Exchange, Tower One & Exchange Plaza, and the Filipinas Heritage Library.
The Ayala Triangle is the parcel of land between Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas, as well as the buildings on those streets. Many multinational companies, banks and other major businesses make their home on the triangle, noted by the many skyscrapers bounding the Triangle. On each corner of the triangle are bronzed statues representing Filipino heroes of years gone by including Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat and Gabriela Silang, each of whom died while standing up for their country.
Skyscrapers in Water Feature outside Stock Exchange - Steve Hudson
Ayala Triangle's spot is at the centre of Makati's business district but remained undeveloped for many years. During the early part of the 21st Century, the gardens were planted and developed and a commercial area was opened with a strip of restaurants, bakeries and cafes which became an instant hit in Makati and was known as Ayala Triangle Gardens. Being in the heart of the city on Ayala Avenue (Manila's Wall Street), the intent of the Gardens was to create something that resembled New York's Central Park, albeit on a smaller scale.
It is now 2015 and the lush gardens are now considered as a refuge for the fast-paced Makati life. The wide space of greeneries is populated by joggers, walkers, sleepers, workers, meeters, greeters, readers and people-watchers, many with two legs but also some with four legs. In addition since the restaurants have opened, the gardens have become more than just a place for leisure. With wi-fi hotspots, airconditioned premises and a central location, they are being used by almost everybody for solitude, meetings or simply when hanging out with friends.
But before becoming this urban oasis, this triangular piece of land had a significant part to play in the history of Makati City and Manila. This land was initially rice fields and was owned by the Spanish-Filipino Zobel de Ayala family whom in 1937 leased 42 hectares of the land to the Nielson company who created the Nielsen Airport, which at the time was being touted as the biggest and best-equipped airport in Asia.
World War Two came to Manila in 1941, and the airport became an US Armed Forces airport, and inevitably came under attack in December 1941 before becoming a Japanese airbase. When Manila was liberated, the Americans and the Filipinos set about restoring the partially damaged airport and its facilities, and commercial services, including international flights, resumed in 1946. In 1948, the airport ceased operations following the transfer of airlines to the new (current) site in Pasay City, and ownership of the airport's permanent facilities was passed back to the owner of the land, Ayala y Cia.
In the subsequent years, the runways were converted into roads (Paseo de Roxas and Ayala Avenue) and most other airport structures were sacrificed to give way to the development of the Makati business and commercial district. However the land owners preserved the airport's passenger terminal and control tower, and 10 hectares of land which was gifted to the community and became known as Ayala Triangle Gardens.
Today the control tower, known as the Nielson Tower, has become the permanent home of the Filipinas Heritage Library and an extensive and pretty aviation-themed restaurant known as the Blackbird Grill.
The Ayala Triangle Gardens is the largest green and open piece of land in central Makati, and is an ideal spot for people who want to distance themselves from the everyday hustle bustle to relax, unwind and get in touch with nature. The fertile ground associated with rice fields from previous centuries provides great soil for grasses, flowers, plants and trees, and makes the Ayala Triangle Gardens a great tourist destination and a perfect place for a rest while in warm Manila.