DURING Yuletide, my family and I enjoyed watching the Christmas Lights & Sound Show at the Ayala Triangle in Makati. The celebration of lights coming to life started on November 12 and ended on New Year’s Eve on December 31. It has been going on now for three years since the Ayala Triangle Garden was developed in late 2010.
My wife and I went on a date last Sunday night in Makati. First, we watched the Lights & Sound Show at the Ayala Triangle to enjoy the fascinating display of lights that twinkle to the sound of Christmas carols. I love it best with the beat of the music on Filipino songs.
Filipino music really has a different beat that is truly our own! I just had to take a video of the mesmerizing display of multi-colored lights.
After the Ayala Triangle Garden, we walked to the Makati Shangri-La Hotel where there is the annual Christmas decoration at their grand lobby. The 2014 theme this time was on balloons and there was a gondola good for two where you could sit for picture-taking which we could not resist doing. Typical Filipinos with their “Kodak-kodak!”
The wife and I proceeded to the cavernous Lounge to listen to live music and take some alcoholic drinks. I always enjoy the place especially during daytime with the view of the garden outside. You would not think the hotel is located at the busy corner of Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue, which hopefully will be soon renamed “J. R. McMicking Ave.” to honor the Great Visionary who built Makati after World War II.
Two days later last Tuesday, we went back to watch the Lights & Sound Show with our two daughters. The wife offered to treat us for dinner while we enjoyed the enchanting lights from the restaurant row, which was jam-packed with hungry customers. I simply love it seeing my fellow Filipinos and foreigners alike coming to Ayala Triangle Garden. I saw grandparents and parents with their children and grandchildren. It was a lovely scene. Of course, there were dogs, too, like the handsome Chow dog with their pretty owners.
On our two visits to the Lights & Sounds Show, there was something that always came to my mind. If Ayala Corporation and/or Ayala land, Inc. (ALI) can sponsor such a thing for public enjoyment, why can’t the national government and the local government units (LGUs) do it for their constituents? It is the people’s money after all! It does not cost much to do it, especially if done regularly on an annual basis.
My estimate for a similar Lights & Sound Show for a period of 31 days in December would only be around Five Million Pesos (P5.0 million). This is chicken feed even at double to P10.0 million to the national government and to the big cities with huge revenues like Quezon City, Makati, Pasig, Parañaque and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila. Same for regional centers like Baguio, San Fernando, Lipa and Legazpi in Luzon; Cebu and Iloilo in the Visayas; and Davao City and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.
No public parks in Makati?
The development of the Ayala Triangle into a Garden-Park gave the residents of the condominium buildings in Legaspi and Salcedo villages a place of leisure to go to on top of their own respective parks. People working in the offices of Makati — like the residents in the area — can also go jogging, brisk-walking or strolling in the landscaped park with the old trees as added attraction. Tall Palm trees were likewise planted with the height now at almost ten meters or 30 feet.
For decades, the big open space of Ayala Triangle remained undeveloped. I recall thinking of writing to Ayala Corporation in the early 1980s for them to develop what was then called “Roxas Triangle.” The idea in my mind was to do a mini-version of a Central Park in New York City. Anyway, the open space was later used for protest demonstrations against the Marcos regime in the aftermath of the Aquino Assassination in August 1983.
The lush gardens at the Ayala Triangle is now considered a refuge or sanctuary from the fast-paced life of Makati. The wide space of greeneries is complemented by a strip of posh restaurants and cafes that have opened with alfresco setting. The Ayala Triangle Garden is now a place for leisure, an ideal place for people who want to relax, unwind and get in touch with nature. It is an urban oasis in the heart of the Makati business district.
My estimate for the park development inside the Ayala Triangle Garden does not exceed P30.0 Million for an area of about five hectares. There is also the wide and lighted pedestrian sidewalk around Ayala Ave., Paseo de Roxas and Makati Ave. where people go jogging and brisk-walking or pass through going to the Greenbelt and Glorieta areas. My estimate for the sidewalk development that rings the park inside is around P20.0 Million.
So why can’t the City of Makati develop its own parks for its residents to enjoy? If the Makati government can spend Billions of Pesos for its overpriced buildings, why not spend P30.0 Million to P50.0 Million for a public park that its denizens can use and enjoy?
I read the signage of a Makati City government Resolution designating one side of Makati Ave. beside the Ayala Triangle every Sunday morning from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM for public use. It is simply ridiculous that one of the richest LGUs in Metro Manila have no public parks that they have to use one side of Makati Ave. beside Ayala Triangle for it.
The Binay political dynasty could have developed a promenade along J. Rizal Ave beside the Pasig River. They have been in power now for almost three decades.
Thank FVR for SLEX rehab and Skyway
Every time I go home and take South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) or the Skyway above it, I am ever thankful to former President Fidel V. Ramos for rehabilitating SLEX and building the six-lane Skyway. It only takes ten pleasurable minutes to drive from EDSA to the exit at Sucat Road (Dr. A. Santos Ave.). I really enjoy the drive and it makes me feel like I am living in a progressive country.
Often, I asked my family on how bad the traffic for travel South of Metro Manila could be like without the rehabilitation of SLEX and the construction of the Skyway. Traffic congestion can be as horrendous as EDSA that has become one giant parking lot too often.
I am also grateful to FVR for building C-5 (Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Ave.) during the first years in his term as president. It has been in operation for 20 years now since it opened in early 1995. I can imagine how traffic congestion along EDSA would be if the parallel national highway with six lanes (C-5) was never built.
I wonder how life would be like if the C-5 and the Skyway were not constructed and the SLEX portion from EDSA to Alabang were not rehabilitated to the world-class standard that it is today.