Then and Now: Ayala Avenue

When one thinks of Makati, you automatically think of Ayala avenue.  The center of the Philippine economy. This is the area where the largest Philippine corporations set up shop and where many Filipino professionals head towards every weekday morning.

However, Ayala  as it is today has come a long way from its roots.  This strip of road used to be part of an airport runway in Luzon’s first airport.  It was only converted to become a road in 1949 and this is when ownership of the airport facilities was handed over to the owner of the land, Ayala Corporation.  It was extended from Paseo de Roxas to Buendia Ave sometime in the 1950s.

In the 1960s, as seen in our first photo, it was extended from Buendia Ave to Kamagong St.


Ayala Avenue (circa 1968) above was still clean and seemed like a scene from a different country.  There weren’t that many cars on the road yet, and the high-rises were just starting to develop.  Note: I am too young to know the names of the buildings above, so please leave your comments if you can indentify some of them.

The 1980s (above) brought about taller high-rise buildings, jeepneys, much more cars, and smog.  You can now readily see the BPI and Insular Life buildings in this photo, but Robinson’s and Rufino tower has not been built yet.

Ayala Avenue as it is today looks like a business district in a developed nation, wider roads, taller buildings.  However in this photo, taken around 2007-2008, it seems to be missing the heavy traffic most Makati workers are accustomed to now-a-days — probably taken on a Sunday :)



  • aj

    insular life bldg, allied bldg, grabe walang traffic

    • emily

      i worked here in the late 80’s –our office was at the Insular Life Bldg…and was commuting from trece martires, cavite..

  • meron bang ganyan ding uri ng scenery sa cebu at cagayan de oro?

  • lilibeth

    I used to worked and lived here during the 80’s up to 04, its nice place and very convenient on everything I witness the Ayala Triangle hostage taking the lindol that shakes every high rise buildings, Rufino Towers, Robinson’s Tower (ABN AMRO) The Enterprise and the rest to make the storey short I contributed a little bit in this development of this invironment and feels good to remember the past.

  • Good Old Days! I remember when I was in highschool, I went there and dream of working on one of the buildings there… Now, I’m enjoying the Ayala traffic hehe. But still I’m happy that I’m working in Makati.

  • eiza

    i used to work there but i found the traffic terrible. i would go home bone tired from the commute! it’s nice to visit makati once in a while but if you live far it’s not worth it.

  • blessie beightol

    I used to work in ayala avenue for 15 years and yet its a nice place,i work in Gillarmi Hotel the oldest hotel in ayala avenue.but now its already gone but its ok when i visit again in ayala wow there so many new tallest building and their rising a new building in the area of gillarmi hotel.what a memories that ayala avenue …..its already past…. it feels good im happy when i remember the past…..

  • jackylyn montano

    that street is so busy before its very convenient to travel,but now so heavy trapic.

  • Can you post something that is relevant to Ayala like, EDSA or Ortigas Avenue, if not how about Aurora Blvd. The last time I visited, it was a different Aurora Blvd.


    • @Quentillius:
      Aurora Blvd. looks a lot different now. Now that they have LRT2, rectangular overpass in the middle of EDSA and Gateway, also most of the landmarks are all gone. Thank God Mercury is still there.

      • Quentillius

        Thank you very much

  • Ariel de Guzman

    In 1962. Going down Highway 54 towards Cubao from Baclaran, You will note that you are already at the intersection of Ayala avenue when you see the Acacia trees leading to Forbes Park on he right. Chest high cogon grass on your left barely allows you to spot from afar, three bldgs with distinct neon signs, Rizal theatre, Makati Automat and Makati Supermarket. Returning homeward-bound from Cubao to our bayside Paranaque home, The same three bldgs, this time, on my right, would tell me to expect the quonset huts of the US military reserve on the left, nowadays that’s Dasmarinas village. Then, this is followed by the Swing fence of the Military reserve across Highway 54 just before the railway tracks.

  • john

    makati particularly ayala ave. is the New York City of the Philippines!!! This is our “concrete jungle” where dreams are made of!!

  • grid

    BPI head office, AFAIK is the tallest building that time..

    • lito

      the only things remain the same are the light post,,,,awesome pictures ,thanks

  • dwine

    ayala is the best for me…i born in san isidro makati near in gil puyat also known as buendia….i saw the old greenbelt 1 from ayala museum makati supermarket kowloon near in greenbelt church tia maria etc.. to a new greenbelt awesome no place like home.when i used to go for vacation.i miss walking from park square 1 to our house in a long road of PASAY ROAD….

  • lin kishore

    Our country is beautiful,I love and miss it,Thanks to Definitely Filipino I see plenty places in pics.I was never familiar w/Makati,I was busy in school then ,only in UST, MCU ,St.Rita College and suburbs then went away.Everytime I came for a visit I was so amazed for beautiful changes and improvements that’s on par anywhere in the world.

  • alex v nepales

    c. 1970 Ayala ave…brings back a lot of simple and very pleasant memories when i visited the doctors’ offices along this strip…Insular bldg has Dr Esgue…PAL Bldg is one of my biggest client and of course…MakatiMedCen…visited Ayala again 6mos ago…wow,it has the potential to be compared to a world class financial district…except, jeeps,buses and tons and tons of carbon footprints….

  • aileen

    i used to work in makati before year 1990.and i love this place ayala avenue.when i see this picture i remember my everyday life passing in this street

  • Angel Esteban

    I joined the Ayala Group on July 26, 1967, 3 months before my 19th birthday. Our offices were located at Insular Building. I left the group and migrated to Australia in October 1977. Our offices then were moved to Makati Stock Exchange Building. After 36 years, these two buildings are now the oldest and lowest in the area. Whenever I see the place, it brings back memories where population of Philippines was probably just over 40 millions, now it’s in 100 millions. In February 2013, I attended AIDC (Ayala Investment & Development Corporation now merged with BPI Investments)the annual staff reunion held at Makati Sports Club. I will continue to attend said reunion every February for as long as there are remaining old staff willing to attend and meet for old time sake.

  • Carl

    Hi Sir B Totanes,

    Pwede ko po ba gamitin for book cover design yung photo from your blog (
    Ayala Ave “taken 2007-2008”

    Maraming Salamat Po. :)