Until her passing on 03 December 2005 at the age of 98, Social Manila knew that apart from the paternal first cousins Enrique Zobel [ representing the Jacobo Zobel Roxas branch ] and Jaime Zobel de Ayala [ representing the Alfonso Zobel Roxas branch ], there was an invisible but powerful third force in the behemoth Ayala conglomerate, a senior lady named Mercedes Zobel Roxas de McMicking [ Mrs. Joseph Ralph McMicking ], who was rarely seen in Manila because she lived in posh Sotogrande, Spain. It was said that the lady controlled a large number of shares of the conglomerate through her company, MerMac Inc..
The siblings Jacobo, Alfonso, and Mercedes Zobel Roxas were the three children of Enrique Zobel de Ayala and Consuelo Roxas de Ayala, who were de Ayala first cousins and Roxas second cousins. The three Zobel-Roxas siblings were the fifth generation born to Roxas-de Ayala-Zobel wealth: they were grandchildren of the tycoon Pedro Pablo Roxas and the Roxas heiress Carmen de Ayala as well as of the pioneering industrialist Jacobo Zobel Zangroniz and the Roxas heiress Trinidad de Ayala. Consuelo died young in the cholera epidemic of 1907. Four years later in 1911, Enrique married for the second time to Fermina Montojo de Torrontegui [ a niece of Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo who was defeated by American Commodore George Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898 ] and they had four more children: Matilde, Consuelo, Gloria, and Fernando Zobel Montojo. Fernando became the famous abstractionist painter.
The Zobel-Roxas siblings: Jacobo Zobel Roxas married Angela Olgado Calvo; Alfonso Zobel Roxas married Carmen Pfitz Herrero; Mercedes Zobel Roxas married Colonel Joseph Ralph McMicking. The Zobel-Montojo siblings: Matilde Zobel Montojo married Luis Albarracin Segura; Consuelo Zobel Montojo married the American multimillionaire General James Dyce Alger of the US Army; Gloria Zobel Montojo married the preeminent Spanish industrialist Ricardo Padilla Satrustegui; Fernando Zobel Montojo the artist remained a bachelor. [ The extremely affluent Padilla Satrustegui family — relatives of the Marques de Comillas / Conde de San Pedro Ruisenada of “Tabacalera” fame — supported the exiled Juan de Borbon, El Conde de Barcelona, father of the present SM El Rey Juan Carlos I, and sheltered the Spanish royal family in their elegant villa in Portugal during those years of exile. It is in acknowledgment and gratitude of that brave and generous act by the Padilla Satrustegui that the siblings Georgina and Alejandro Zobel de Ayala Padilla Satrustegui are assigned places of honor near the Spanish royal family during official and unofficial royal functions. ]
In 1914, the three young siblings Jacobo, Alfonso, and Mercedes Zobel Roxas were assigned the 1,616 hectare Hacienda de San Pedro de Makati, originally purchased by their great grandfather Jose Bonifacio Roxas in 1851. Upon the passing of their maternal grandmother Carmen Ayala viuda de Pedro Pablo Roxas in 1930, they inherited the vast 10,000 hectare Roxas family playground, the Hacienda Calatagan in Batangas [ which was originally purchased by their great great grandfather Domingo Roxas; inherited by his three children Margarita, Jose Bonifacio, and Mariano upon his passing in 1843; purchased from the family partnership Sociedad Roxas Hijos by his daughter Margarita Roxas and her husband Antonio de Ayala in 1862; inherited by their second daughter Carmen Ayala de Roxas upon Antonio de Ayala’s passing in 1876. ].
Her father, Enrique Zobel de Ayala, passed away during the Japanese occupation on 17 February 1943, which was also the nadir of the family’s fortunes [ as with so many other grand families ]. Before he died, a broken man, he had told the family members: “We are ruined. Everything our forebears have worked for has been lost.” That, when the genesis of the new and greater Zobel de Ayala fortune — the development of modern Makati — was less than ten years away…
Of her husband Colonel Joseph Ralph McMicking, she said: “He was the one who made us [ the Zobel-Roxas family ] rich again.”
Mercedes Zobel de McMicking’s vaunted MerMac Inc. shares in the behemoth Ayala corporation were distributed in 2 tranches.
In the first tranche, the shares were distributed equally between the families of her brothers Jacobo and Alfonso. It meant that Jacobo’s surviving 2 grandchildren, the children of his only son Enrique, Inigo and Dedes Zobel, received 50 % while Alfonso’s grandchildren shared the other 50 %.
[ Jacobo Zobel Roxas and his wife Angela Olgado Calvo had only 1 son: Enrique. Enrique Zobel and his wife Rocio Urquijo had 3 children: Santiago, Inigo, and Mercedes; Santiago “Santi” died young. The tragic passing of “Santi” marked the beginning of the end of the marriage of Enrique Zobel and Rocio Urquijo.
Alfonso Zobel Roxas and his wife Carmen Pfitz Herrero had 3 children: Jaime, Victoria “Vicky,” and Alfonso “Alfonsito.” Jaime Zobel married Beatriz Miranda Barcon and had 7 children: Jaime Augusto, Fernando, Beatriz Susanna, Patricia, Cristina, Monica, and Sofia. Victoria “Vicky” Zobel married Juan Antonio Vallejo-Nagera and lives in Sotogrande, Spain. Alfonso “Alfonsito” Zobel is a bachelor and also lives in Sotogrande. ]
In the second tranche, the shares were distributed equally between all her Zobel-Roxas grandnephews and grandnieces: Inigo Zobel, Mercedes “Dedes” Zobel, Jaime Augusto Zobel, Fernando Zobel, Beatriz Susanna Zobel-Urquijo, Patricia Zobel, Cristina Zobel, Monica Zobel, Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, et. al..
However, the bulk of the shares of the Ayala corporation is controlled by the siblings Inigo and Mercedes “Dedes” Zobel. Aside from the generous inheritance from their grandaunt Mercedes Zobel de McMicking, they also control the shares of their grandfather Jacobo Zobel Roxas, which their grandaunt Mercedes acquired from him postwar, and which she sold many years later at cost to his only son, Enrique Zobel. As it is often said: “The Golden Rule: He who has the Gold Rules.”
Note: The names are written in the Spanish manner, with the paternal surname followed by the maternal surname, without the Filipino convention “y” between them.