• Fernando Zobel de Ayala breaks promise to honor J.R. McMicking


    First of two parts

    WHEN I wrote the article entitled “Fernando Zobel de Ayala not keen to honor J. R. McMicking” (MT, November 29, 2014), no less than the President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ayala Corporation himself responded. The contents of Mr. Zobel’s letter addressed to me dated 01 December 2014 were promptly mentioned in 10 paragraphs in my next column entitled “Fernando Zobel on Honoring J. R. McMicking. “

    In my last article, I did not touch anymore on the subject of renaming Makati Avenue to “J. R. McMicking Avenue.” to honor the man responsible for the “Making of Makati.” This proposal was first written in my column a year ago entitled “Honoring Joseph R. McMicking: Visionary Builder of Makati” (MT, 12 April 2014).

    My fellow Manila Times columnist and friend, former Senator Rene A. V. Saguisag, also wrote on the same topic in his column in the same month of April 2014. Rene has reiterated the same advocacy in his other articles and to his emails to friends. The future Presidential Legal Counsel and Senator personally met Mr. McMcking – at the latter’s invitation – in the US (San Francisco) some 45 years ago.

    The legendary J. R. McMicking offered Atty. Saguisag a job to work with Ayala Corporation. Rene accepted the kind offer, but later changed his mind in Manila and never got to work with Ayala. Sayang? Perhaps if he did, then we would be in a better position in our advocacy to honor Joe McMicking, the acknowledged brains of original Ayala Corporation.

    Going back to the letter of Fernando Zobel de Ayala, it appears that the President of Ayala Corporation and Chairman of Ayala Land (ALI), Inc. has forgotten what he wrote in his letter. In short, it seems that he did not keep his word because nothing has not been heard from him in the past five months (Dec. 2014 – April 2015). Ayala Corp. has actually not decided on the matter for the past 12 months since my first article in April 2014.

    In his letter to this columnist, Mr. Zobel wrote that “we are proposing instead (of naming Makati Ave. to McMicking Ave.) that we find a way to honor Mr. McMicking within the Ayala Triangle or another prominent part of Makati. He added: “we have been looking at various options and we should be able to make a decision in the NEXT FEW MONTHS (caps, mine).”

    Five months have passed since Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala wrote in December 1, 2014 that a decision will be made in the “NEXT FEW MONTHS.” As I wrote in my column (MT, Dec. 06, 2014), “I recall having heard the same thing said four months ago.” The Zobel brothers of Ayala Corporation must have the LONGEST FEW MONTHS in the world. Perhaps they may be using a different calendar.

    Why we must honor J. R. McMicking?
    Readers of the past three articles that I have written on Joseph “Joe” R. McMicking may wonder my “fascination” with him, wanting him honored in a great way by Ayala Corporation, particularly by the Zobel de Ayala brothers Fernando (President & COO) and Jaime Augusto (Chairman and CEO). Unlike Mr. Rene Saguisag, I never had the honor and pleasure of meeting Joe McMicking.

    The importance of honoring great men and women cannot be overemphasized. It is important for us to remember the great deeds of these patriotic countrymen in our collective memory on the good they have done for our country and people. Their achievements can inspire generations to excel and work in the service of the Filipino people. Lastly, they make us proud to be Filipinos and therefore instil our National Pride.

    Great nations from Europe to North America and also Australia-New Zealand honor their nationals in big ways – and not just token or perfunctory memorial consolation. Even in Asia from Japan to the Middle East in Israel, they honor their compatriots in very significant ways so their people would not forget what they did. Why? Because it is crucial for a people to know who they are and what they are – what they stand for!

    Our shortcoming or failure in honoring the many Filipinos who have and/or could make us proud is what makes us a Weak People with a poor sense of National Identity. We have a Weak Sense of History and on our own Cultural Heritage. We, Filipinos, hardly know who we are and what we are. We may know what we are against, but do not know what we really stand for with our values and ideals.

    This probably explains why Filipinos overseas are also NOT united, unlike the other nationalities. We cannot seem to put our act together. I have seen this in America, Australia and other countries. I have not been back to Europe in the past 25 years so it is hard to comment. However, based on what I have heard and read, the situation in the countries there with Filipinos is not any different.

    Latest Word from Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI)
    Ms. Ma. Ignacio, Assistant Vice-President of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and Makati Project Development Head, wrote this columnist a letter dated April 21, to provide information on the subject of honoring J. R. McMicking. Below are the two paragraphs in Ayala’s letter, which are self-explanatory.

    “We are pleased to inform you that we have already identified a prominent location within the Ayala Triangle Gardens that will be re-named in honor of the McMicking. Planning for the site has already started, and it will take on a concept that symbolizes the McMicking’s vision and contribution to Makati’s development. This project complements other ongoing efforts that pay tribute to our company’s heritage.

    “We want to assure you that the project will be carefully planned and completed to fulfil our shared objective — to give due recognition to Col. Joseph McMicking for his contribution to the development of Makati and honor him for his pioneering and visionary spirit.”

    Ms. Ignacio has been requested for the details of their plans by this columnist. Comments on Ayala’s letter will be held in abeyance until the receipt of the details on the Site Development Plan, as well as the “Concept that symbolizes the McMicking’s vision and contribution to Makati’s development.”

    What can be said for now is that Ayala will now honor both Mercedes Zobel and her husband Joseph R. McMicking instead of “just” the latter, which is the advocacy of this writer and fellow Manila Times columnist Rene A. V. Saguisag. What Rene and I have been espousing is to honor the legendary McMicking by renaming the redundant Makati Avenue to “J. R. McMicking Ave.”

    What Ayala Corporation and Ayala Land, Inc., have done is to find a prominent place in the Ayala Gardens Triangle that will be “-named in honor of the McMickings.” It is not exactly what we want -Rene and I, but it is not a bad start of something better.


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    1. Or maybe JEJOMAR BINAY AVENUE. “Ganito tayo sa Makati” , kuno ! { “B” all over Makati). Makati now is because of Binay not the Ayalas daw. Mga botante ng Makati AGREE?

    2. Perhaps there is a plan to rename Makati ave. Simeon Benigno Aquino III in the near future.

    3. Ruben V. Calip on

      Are presentday ruling Zobel-Ayalas down playing the McMicking name because it is not Hispanic?

      • R. B. RAMOS on

        “McMicking” is a Scottish surname. Yes, the Zobel de Ayala brothers do not seem too excited to honour their uncle that is due him.

    4. Raul D. Dioquino on

      Indeed, a brilliant idea to honor Col. Joseph R. McMicking. I sincerely believe that he was instrumental in developing a once swamp area to a financial capital of the Philippines. As I have commented before, they are great employers (Ayala Group of Companies). The best I ever had before my family and I migrated to Canada. Why won’t you honor Don Enrique Zobel as well?

      • R. B. RAMOS on

        Raul, are you referring to Don Enrique Zobel, the favorite nephew of Jr. McMicking and Mercedes Zobel? Or the father of Mercedes Zobel?