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Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati City, Philippines

Right smack in the middle of Makatiís Central Business District is a small Art Deco style building. It is situated in the triangle formed by Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. Looking at if from this vantage point, the small building with its small tower looked like an airport control tower with the three main Makati roads, its runways. Yes, it actually was. The Filipinas Heritage Library was the former Manila International Air Terminal or simply Nielson Airport established in the 1937 by Australian businessman Laurie Reuben Nielson.

The airport ceased operations in 1948 and the property was assimilated by Ayala and Cia, the owner of the vast San Pedro de Makati, owned by the Spanish-Filipino Ayala family. The development of Makati converted the Nielson Airport runways into major streets, and its facilities were dismantled except for the tower which, when viewed from a birdís eye view, looks like an airplane.

The Nielson Tower was leased by different Filipino groups. It was a high-end restaurant from 1970 to 1994. As Makati continued to develop, the prime Ayala triangle where the Nielson Tower stood was in the final stages of planning and development. One cannot rightly demolish the oldest standing pre World War II building in Makati! Jaime Zobel de Ayala converted the tower into the Filipinas Heritage Library to house the Ayalaís growing Filipiniana collection. For two years the tower was extensively revamped and restored to its former glory. In August 1996, the library was formally opened to the public.

The library offers extensive Filipiniana books and other references. It also provides access to its vast collection of Filipiniana books and pictures through electronic research. It is open for exhibits and other workshops. The library also offers venues for functions, corporate or otherwise.

Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M. Rates from $1.50 to $2.00, for students and professionals.

Filipinas Heritage Library Plaque reads:
"The Ayala Group of Companies presents the Filipinas Heritage Library as a gift to the nation in celebration of the centennial of the 1896 Philippine Revolution. The Library began with the donation of materials from Ayala Corporation and the Zobel de Ayala family to Ayala Museum in 1974. The transfer of the collection to Nielson Tower, the country's first modern and commercial airport, marks the Library's commitment to be a knowledge network. Using state-of-the-art information and telecommunications technologies, the Filipinas Heritage Library preserves, promotes, and disseminates Filipino culture, in the belief that access to information and a shared heritage will enhance national pride and unity and will spur the country's progress. -- August 23, 1996."

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For more information, visit the Filipinas Heritage Library Official Web Site:

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posted Jan. 4th, 2013 - 12:57am
FHL says:
The Filipinas Heritage Library is now located at the Ayala Museum, where it will reopen on March 23, 2013. Thank you!

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