Antonio de Ayala

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Antonio de Ayala

Antonio de Ayala was the co-founder of Casa Roxas, later Ayala y Compañia or popularly known as Ayala y Cia. The company was the progenitor of today's Ayala Corporation. His parents were Don Raimundo de Ayala (1776) and Doña Maria Lorenza Ortiz de Urbina.

Origins of the Ayala Family

The history of the Ayala family is intimately connected with the Alava province of northeastern Spain, in the Basque country. In fact there is a town called Ayala, where Spanish members of the Ayala family still live. The present family still refers to their ancestral town as Ayala de Alava.

The Ayalas originate from the 11th century and are the descendants of their great patriarch Juan Larrazabal de Ayala, who married Maria Lopez. As Basque people, their family has always been marked by adventure. Don Juan Valentin de Ayala was the first Spanish-born Ayala to come to the Philippines, when he arrived on the galleon Fernando de Magallanes in 1795. He baecame the commandant of Fort Santiago. Another adventurer was Don Juan Manuel de Ayala, a captain in the royal navy of Spain who became one of the first explorers of San Francisco, California.


Antonio de Ayala arrived in Manila to join his uncle Archbishop Jose Segui (1773-1845) of Manila. In 1834 he co-founded Casa Roxas to engage in the trading of sugar, coffee, cotton, and indigo, as well as the manufacturing of liquors, castings, and gun power, and mining. His partner was Domingo Roxas, who was the descendant of Antonio Fernandez de Roxas of Acapulco.

While Domingo Roxas suffered continual harrassment from the Spanish authorities for his liberal views, it was Ayala who ran Casa Roxas. After Roxas died in 1842, he gave way to Margarita Roxas, his partner's daughter, who assumed control of the company and combined her business and civic work.

In 1844 Ayala married Margarita, consolidating their familial and business partnership. In 1845 his uncle, the 20th Archbishop of Manila died.

In 1851 Antonio de Ayala became the founding trustee of Banco Español Filipino de Isabela Segunda, the predecessor of Bank of the Philippine Islands, the first public Philippine bank. While most of the controlling interests were held by civil and ecclesiastical officials, the businessman was named by the Spanish crown to represent the business community of Manila.

In 1864 upon his brother-in-law Don Jose Bonifacio Roxas's departure from the company, he renamed the company to Roxas Hermanos, together with his wife Doña Margarita, and other brother-in-law Mariano. In 1868 Don Mariano died and the company was once again renamed Casa Ayala. In 1869 his wife Doña Margarita died, and he singlehandedly ran the company until his death in 1876.

He bequeathed the company to his daughters Camila, Carmen and Trinidad, who subsequently renamed the company to Ayala y Compañia or Ayala y Cia. The eldest daughter Carmen Roxas de Ayala would marry her cousin Don Pedro Pablo Roxas and daughter Margarita Roxas de Ayala y Roxas would later marry Eduardo Soriano. They would become the parents of San Miguel Corporation industrialist Andres Soriano.

Doña Margarita's and Don Antonio's other daughter Doña Trinidad de Ayala would later marry Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz to start the legendary Zobel de Ayala Family. His daughter Camila would marry Andres Ortiz de Zarate and had no heirs.


  • Brillantes, Lourdes. 81 Years of Premio Zobel. Georgina Padilla Zobel: Makati, 2006

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