Zóbel de Ayala family

The Zóbel de Ayala clan is a Spanish Filipino business family of German-Spanish ancestry, founders of Ayala y Compañía (now Ayala Corporation) and patrons of the Premio Zóbel literary awards. The clan is directly descended from Jacobo Zóbel y Zangroniz (1842-1896) and Trinidad de Ayala (1856-1918). Ayala y Compañía (established in 1876) traces its origins to Casa Róxas, a business partnership established in 1834 between Domingo Róxas (1792-1843) and Antonio de Ayala (1803-1876).


Jacobo Zóbel (1842-1896)

Jacobo Zóbel y Zangroniz was the son of Jakob Hinsch Zóbel and Ana Maria Zangroniz (daughter of a justice at the Real Audiencia of Manila, who had come from an old family in Navarra, Spain). He was born on October 12, 1842 and was the first Zóbel born in the Philippines. His grandfather, Johannes Andreas Zóbel, arrived in the Philippines from Hamburg, Germany in 1832, together with his wife, Cornelia Hinsch, and their son, Jakob. Johannes Andreas Zóbel came from a long line of German pharmacists and established the Botica Zóbel pharmacy in 1834, located in 28 Calle Real in Intramuros.

Jacobo was sent to Hamburg, Germany for his primary education (1848 to 1859) and continued his higher studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid, taking up natural sciences. It was there he explored his lifelong fascination with medicine, chemistry and archaeology. In doing so, he mastered eleven languages. He befriended the young numismatist Don Antonio Delgado (1805-1879) from Madrid, who inspired his scholarship on antiquarian coins. He traveled to several museums in Europe to research more about his collecting hobby and he published the classic monograph titled "Memoria Sobre Las Monedas Libiofenicias o Teudetanas" which is still published and used in Spanish universities to this day. He graduated from the university in 1864 and returned to Manila to assume management of Botica Zóbel.

Brought up as a liberal, Jacobo welcomed his appointment by Governor General Carlos de la Torre as a member of the Manila Municipal Board and the Sociedad Económica de los Amigos del País. During his term, Jacobo introduced many liberal reforms: public schools, the first tree-planting activities and campaigned for representation in the Spanish Cortes. He also opened the first public reading room and library during his term. Because of his many liberal ideas, he became suspect following the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. On September 22, 1874, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago for several months on the charge of sedition. He was cited also for possession of firearms and revolutionary pamphlets. The Prince of Bismarck made representations to the Spanish government to have him released.

Jacobo married Trinidad de Ayala (1856-1918) on February 5, 1875. The couple took a whirlwind honeymoon trip to Japan, San Francisco, the World’s Fair of 1876, and Europe, where their children were born. The couple decided to live briefly in Spain after Jacobo decided to study transportation systems in Europe, and he renewed his numismatic research, publishing a major work entitled "Estudio Histórico de la Moneda Antigua Española Desde Su Origen Hasta El Imperio Romano" in 1878.

Sometime in 1880, the couple returned to Manila. He became a representative of Eiffel et Cie of Paris and built the Ayala Bridge in Manila. Ayala y Compañia (the successor-in-interest to Casa Róxas) was established in 1876 and Jacobo became one of its partners until 1891.

He was appointed member of the Consejo de Administración by the King of Spain on May 25, 1882. He was also member of the Sociedad Económica de los Amigos del País, a conciliario (adviser) of Banco Español Filipino and the secretary of the Cámara de Comercio de Manila. He became a member of the prestigious Real Academia de la Historia from 1865 to 1896. He received numerous awards, including the Gran Cruz de la Real Orden Americana de Isabel la Catolica in 1880, the Caballero de la Orden de Carlos III, and knight-commander of the Order of the Northern Star of Sweden and Norway.

On December 1885, Jacobo established the first tram system in Manila, the Manila-Tondo line, which extended to Malabon and was powered by steam. His capitalist partner was the Spanish banker Don Adolfo Bayo and his local partner was one of the richest Filipinos of the time, Don Gonzalo Tuason. Eventually, he built four other major tram lines in Manila and its vicinity (Malate, Sampaloc to Tondo), drawn by horses.

Jacobo died on October 6, 1896, while under suspicion once again of supporting the Philippine revolution.

Trinidad de Ayala (1856-1918)

Trinidad de Ayala was the youngest daughter of Antonio de Ayala and Margarita Róxas (the eldest child of Domingo Róxas y Ureta). She was very supportive of her husband's liberal causes, a trait she inherited from her mother. She was very much interested in the arts and she cultivated singing. La Ilustración Filipina magazine reported on March 28, 1892 that she was invited to sing in Malacañang with other sopranos of the period.

In 1898, upon the death of Jacobo and with her brother-in-law, Pedro Pablo Róxas (1847-1913), away in Paris, France, Trinidad divested her husband's tramcar and pharmacy businesses, and various assets of Ayala y Compañia. Showing extreme astuteness, she redeployed capital into marketable securities in hotels and trade, which later boomed after the Philippine–American War and World War I. She increased the family’s holdings in Banco Español Filipino, bought into The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Company Ltd. and invested in Hong Kong real estate. Under her stewardship, Banco Español Filipino expanded into branch banking, opening an office in Iloilo City. She funded the development of Manila's first community water system, known as the Carriedo waterworks.

In 1898, she led Ayala y Compañia into its first real estate development. Upon the death of her brother-in-law Pedro Pablo Róxas in 1912, she took over his interests in Ayala y Compañia. In 1914, she gave Hacienda San Pedro de Macati to her grandchildren – Jacobo Zóbel, Alfonso Zóbel and Mercedes Zóbel (the children of her son Enrique with his first wife, Consuelo).

Trinidad died in 1918 at the age of 62.


Jacobo and Trinidad had five children – Fernando Antonio (1876-1949); twins, Enrique (1877-1943) and Alfonso (1877-1882); Margarita (1881-1963) and Gloria - who were the first-generation Zóbel de Ayalas. Among the children, Fernando Antonio and Enrique would assume leadership of Ayala y Compañia. Enrique’s descendants would inherit Ayala y Compañia after his death in 1943. After the end of World War II, the family’s fortunes would increase with the development of Hacienda San Pedro de Macati.

In 1968, Ayala y Compañia became Ayala Corporation, after shifting from a partnership to a corporation.


Domingo Róxas (1792-1843)[1] m. Maria Saturnina Ubaldo

Family tree

Jacobo Zóbel y Zangroniz (1842-1896) [1] m. Trinidad de Ayala (1856-1918)

Ayala Corporation

The Zóbel de Ayalas are among several Filipino families listed in Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. The family owns and controls Ayala Corporation, the country's largest and oldest conglomerate that includes the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Ayala Land Inc., the Manila Water Company, and Globe Telecom, one of the largest mobile phone networks in the Philippines. The Ayala Corporation was also responsible for developing large areas of Makati City into a central business district and residential subdivisions (gated communities) between the 1940s and 1960s. Ayala developed the center of Makati City into a mixed-use industrial development now known as the Ayala District, a district composed of Ayala Center and its surrounding thoroughfares (Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue, Paseo de Roxas & Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.), which now comprise the Philippines' financial capital, Makati City. Ayala Corporations' residential subdivisions include Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, Bel-Air Village, San Lorenzo Village, Urdaneta Village, San Antonio Village, Magallanes Village, Ayala Westgrove Heights and Anvaya Cove.

In 2001, Ayala acquired the 54-hectare Bonifacio Global City development in Metro Manila. Other industrial and real estate developments also exist in other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao including several international partnerships in banking, construction and Information Technology.

Ayala's electronics manufacturing group, Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. (IMI), began in 1980 as a small company with a few hundred employees. Today, it is one of the top 50 electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers in the world. IMI has a total of eleven manufacturing sites: five in China, three in the Philippines, one each in Singapore, Bulgaria and the United States. Its sales offices are located in the Philippines, China, Singapore, Japan, the United States, and Germany.

Public service

Legacy and honors

Notable family members


External links

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