President Benigno Aquino 3rd waxed nostalgic as he reminisced how as a youth he spent his days shopping and watching games at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Araneta Center on Friday night, the President recalled that his family would shop for school supplies at the old National Bookstore, shoes at Shoe Mart or the Marikina Shoe Expo, and have merienda in Nena’s Bibingka.
The President said he also watched boxing matches and UAAP basketball games at the Araneta Coliseum with his father, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
He described himself as “batang QC,” the Aquino family having moved to Times St. in 1961.
Aquino, together with chairman, chief operating officer and president of Araneta Center Group Jorge Araneta, Teresita Sy-Coson of SM, the Tantocos of Rustan’s, Alfred Ramos of National Bookstore, and Andrew Tan of Megaworld for establishing the first stores in the center.
“Guided by his vision and perseverance, J. Amado Araneta transformed a 35-hectare property overgrown with tall grass into a commercial, cultural and progressive hub,” the President said.
Among the high-profile guests at the celebration were Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The President said the dreams of the new generation of Aranetas are not yet complete.
The family and it partners are building 18 towers of the Manhattan Garden City, the Novotel-Araneta Center Hotel, the New Frontier Theater, a Civic Plaza and an Integrated Resorts Complex, which will complete the Araneta Center Cyberpark.
These projects could create 29,066 jobs, the President said.
Filipinos can emulate the example by the Aranetas that if they love their country, they could realize their dreams, he said.
The Araneta Group is a group of companies anchored on food, leisure and property development. It has four business units: the Araneta Center Inc., Philippine Pizza Inc., Uniprom Inc. and Progressive Development Corp.
WITH A REPORT FROM PNA