Text and photos by JESSICA BARTOLOME,GMA NewsNovember 22, 2014 4:34pm
Business leaders and top Cabinet officials as well as guest of honor President Benigno Aquino III were nostalgic as they toasted to the Araneta Center’s 60 years of growth on Friday.
Araneta Center is now a flourishing multi-business district, but it was just 5 hectares of undeveloped land six decades ago.
“It all began with my father’s vision,” Chairman and CEO Jorge L. Araneta said. “In his mind’s eye, he saw towering edifices and landmarks that would become home to a thriving community of commerce, leisure, entertainment and residential enclaves for generations to come.”
These landmarks that used to only exist in J. Amado Araneta’s head are now sitting at the heart of Quezon City: the Araneta Coliseum, Ali Mall, Farmers Plaza, Farmers Market. Throughout the years, old structures like the New Frontier Theater and Fiesta Carnival were reinvigorated, and new ones were built to complete his vision.
President Aquino said he was one of the witnesses to the evolution of the Araneta Center, being a “batang QC”.
He regaled the crowd with stories of buying school supplies and shoes at National Bookstore and ShoeMart. He also recalled witnessing his first boxing match in the Coliseum — venue of the epic Ali-Frazier Thrilla in Manila match in 1975 — with his father, the late Senator Ninoy Aquino.
He expressed his admiration for the Araneta family for their devotion to what they had built over the decades.
“Iginuhit nila ang napakalawak nilang mga pangarap, at nagsikap sila upang maitawid ito sa realidad,” the president said.
Araneta Center marked the celebration by officially opening the Gateway Tower, the newest business destination in Quezon City.
Araneta said that more new structures will be built in the coming years to serve as landmarks and commerce centers for future generations. — JDS, GMA News