MANILA -- Before Ayala Corp. became a Philippine investment powerhouse, the 183-year-old company operated a drugstore among its first businesses. As it accelerates its diversification strategy, the company is reviving its interest in medicine by offering comprehensive healthcare services to Filipinos.
In 1834, pharmacist Johann Andreas Zobel, an ancestor of the Zobel family that controls Ayala Corp., the oldest Philippine conglomerate, established the "La Drogueria y Botica de Zobel" drugstore in Manila's historic Walled City. The business was inherited by Zobel's son and then grandson, Jacobo, who studied pharmacy and medicine in Madrid. The drugstore was sold in 1903 and closed during World War II.