J. Amado Araneta
J. Amado Araneta
|Known for||Araneta Center|
J. Amado Araneta was a Filipino businessman. He was initially involved in sugar plantations, but invested in commercial real estate following the Second World War. He is best known for the development of the Araneta Center in Quezon City and for his influence in the Philippines both before and after the Second World War.
With his business initially involvement in sugar plantations, Araneta changed Filipino cultural awareness in the 1930s, when he purchased two American television stations and begun broadcasting local content for the first time.
Following the Second World War, and the independence of the Philippines, Araneta began to diversify his holdings. He purchased three mills on the island of Negros and began to heavily invest in commercial real estate. He was influential in the Philippine government, acting as an informal adviser to President Manuel Roxas. He encouraged Roxas to fund the construction of the Negros mills and restore them to the same order they were in prior to the war, and in the two year leadership prior to Roxas' death, the president favoured the sugar barons such as Araneta. At the time, Araneta was acting as the main funding source for Roxas' Liberal Party.
One of Araneta's most well known projects is the development of the area known as the Araneta Center in Quezon City, east of Manila, with the Araneta Coliseum at its heart. He purchased the land in 1952, which at the time contained a series of radio towers, with the idea that there would be a series of landmark buildings in the area. He had identified the area as being at the crossroads of Cubao, where city people would pass daily but was underdeveloped. He began the construction of the Coliseum in 1957, with it completed in 1959 as the largest indoor stadium in the world. It opened on 16 March 1960, hosting the boxing card featuring the main event bout between Gabriel Elorde and Harold Gomes.
Following the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines and the paramilitary style rule of the new government under Ferdinand Marcos, Araneta took himself and his family out of the country. He resided in New York City until his death. While they were out of the country, the businesses in the Philippines were controlled remotely, but were on the decline under the new regime.
Araneta died in November 1985. His family took his body back to Manila, where it was buried some three months prior to the fall of the authority which had led to his political exile.
His descendants have gone on to be successful in a variety of professions. His granddaughter Margarita Forés was named the best female chef in Asia in 2016. His grandson Mar Róxas ran for President as the Liberal Party candidate at the 2016 Philippine presidential election, which he lost to Rodrigo Duterte.
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