Zobel de Ayala family
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The Zóbel de Ayala clan is a Filipino business family of German-Spanish ancestry. Since the 19th century, they have created the Ayala Corporation, a holding company for a combination of businesses related to the heart of Philippines business, industry and finance.
The Ayala ancestors were from northern Spain’s mountainous region of Alava, Basque Country, where Juan Larrazabal Ayala (circa 1475) was an influential landowner. They are 4th cousins to the present Duchess of Alba de Bourbon in Madrid, the most titled woman of Spain and a prime mover of the Spanish Society. The immigrant ancestor Antonio de Ayala sailed from Andalusia to Manila in the 19th century. There he established an industrial partnership with Domingo Roxas, and later with Dr. Johannes Andreas Zobel, a German pharmacist from Hamburg, who settled in Manila in 1832. Roxas was a descendant of Mexican immigrant Antonio Fernández de Roxas of Acapulco, who migrated to the Philippines in 1695 as an early colonist.
The Roxas clan has resided in the Philippines for more than 20 generations. Historically, the family has been well known for their socio-economic and cultural contributions to the country, such as the pioneering of Manila's first rail system in the 20th century, establishing the oldest existing financial institution in Southeast Asia, as well as the construction of the first steel bridges in the Philippines. They had the first private plane in the Philippines, which they named Prima Zobelina.
The Roxas family was united with the Ayala family when Antonio de Ayala married Margarita Roxas, the daughter of his business partner Domingo Roxas, the founder of Roxas y Cia, the progenitor of Ayala Corporation. Domingo Roxas was a descendant of Mexican immigrant Antonio Fernandez de Roxas of Acapulco, who settled in the Philippines in 1695;
Dr. Johannes Andreas Zobel was a Danish-German pharmacist who moved to Manila and established the first chemical laboratory of the Philippines in 1834. His grandson Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz, the first Filipino-born Zobel, would latter marry Trinidad de Ayala, the daughter of Margarita Roxas de Ayala.
Henceforth the children of Jacobo and Trinidad Zobel, Enrique and Fernando would change their surname Zobel y Ayala, following the Spanish tradition of conjoining the paternal and maternal surnames to Zobel de Ayala. In this manner they would preserve and perpetuate their maternal family's Spanish and Basque roots. Henceforth the descendants would choose to follow their example.
The Zobel de Ayalas are among several Filipino families listed in Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. The Zóbel de Ayalas own and control the 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 Corporation 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 throughfares (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 and Anvaya Cove.
In 2001, the family acquired the 54-hectare Fort 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 ten manufacturing sites: five in China, three in the Philippines, one each in Singapore and the United States. Its sales offices are located in the Philippines, China, Singapore, Japan, the United States, and Germany.
 Public service
- The family established the Premio Zobel Award 80 years ago, which they award annually to recognize outstanding citizens who encourage the intellectual development of the Philippines.
- The Ayala Foundation has assisted preservation and development of the country's cultural heritage and businesses.
 Legacy and honors
- The De La Salle-Santiago Zóbel School was named after Jacobo Santiago Zóbel (1954–1965), the eldest son of Enrique Zobel and Rocio Urquijo.
- The Zobel de Ayala siblings are among the three Filipino families included in the Forbes magazine's list of the "World's Richest Families".
- 2007 Harvard Alumni Achievement Award was awarded to Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, then the 48-year-old chairman of the Ayala Corporation. It is the highest honor of the Harvard Business School. Zobel was the first Filipino and the youngest alumnus to be so honored, for his exemplary leadership in business.
Most of the members of the Zobel de Ayala Family are or have been polyglots, traditionally having Spanish, but more recently English as their mother language.
 Prominent family members
- Enrique Zobel
- Fernando Zobel de Ayala
- Fernando Zóbel de Ayala y Montojo
- Jaime Augusto Zobel
- Jaime Zobel de Ayala
- The World's Richest People, Forbes magazine, 2007, retrieved 2007-10-12
- ABS-CBN Interactive, JAZA and Patrisha receives Harvard alumni award