Embracing the Grace of Time: An Afternoon at the Makati Garden Club

Christel Payseng
5 min readMay 27, 2024

In a world that never seems to slow down, I find a special kind of peace in the company of old souls. The warm, welcoming atmosphere of a gathering with the members of the Makati Garden Club felt like a comforting hug, soothing my weary spirit. One lovely lady, with a twinkle in her eye, looked at me and said, “You are so pretty, why are you hanging out with us?” Her sweet words touched me deeply, especially as I heal from a broken spirit.

I smiled and replied, “You’re my kind of people.” The charm and elegance in the room were mesmerizing. The ladies, with their coiffed and stylish hair, reminded me of Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. It takes real character and style to wear your hair like that.

The room was filled with extraordinary men and women, all so humble and wise. And the outfits too! Talking with people older than me is like unlocking a treasure chest of stories and experiences. They spoke of their vast book collections, the excitement of book auctions, and the joy of restoring parks and gardens. They shared enchanting tales of weddings, beautifully crafted bridal gowns, and the art of Ikebana. Their timeless fashion and cooking tips were delightful. For a moment there I was transported to a much grander time! When people had focus and did things with immense passion.

We reminisced about love letters from their youth and the charm of old-fashioned tea parties. In return, we introduced them to some modern songs, which they enjoyed with surprising enthusiasm. Singing “Ave Maria” and holding flowers amidst the gentle drizzle of the afternoon made me feel truly alive.

As I looked around at the white walls and the delicate rose paper trinkets with cookies, a deep joy filled my heart. Moments like these make you feel the presence of the Divine. My heart overflowed with gratitude and love for the Lord Jesus Christ and Mama Mary for their roles in this divine journey.

Being in these moments, surrounded by such grace and wisdom, is a true blessing. Just being on the grounds of the Makati Garden Club has enriched my soul — so many stories waiting to be uncovered. Your lives are a testament to the enduring beauty of time.

The Makati Garden Club

Makati Garden Club (MGC) was started in 1957 by a small group of plant lovers. It started as the Forbes Park Garden Club. Among the pioneers were Dr. Mona Lisa Steiner (who catalogued Philippine ornamental plants and authored a book with the same title), Hedda Pick-up, Lucille Forster, Conching Sunico (pioneer of culture and the arts), Susie Winternitz (author of a number of Philippine plant books) and Gertrude Stewart (noted author and publisher of numerous cookbooks). © https://makatigardenclub.com/about/

Kingsley Medalla of Pizzazz Luxury Events With the Chairman of the Makati Garden Club Mindy Perez-Rubio, and Gloria Locsin-Alcuaz at our Annual General Membership Meeting (May 2, 2024).

The Makati Garden Club (MGC) sustains itself through annual membership dues, training courses, bazaars, plant and flower sales, a flower and gift shop, a members-only café, donations, and other fund-raising activities. The Ayalas and the City Government of Makati continue to support the club, and the members are deeply grateful for this.

In 1970, when Maria Luisa Perez-Rubio was elected president, the group changed its name to the Makati Garden Club to attract more members. Initially headquartered at the Tea House in Perez-Rubio’s Forbes Park home, MGC’s membership quickly grew. Monthly meetings were held every last Thursday of the month, keeping members updated on the latest gardening trends, flower arranging, research, and community services.

In 1974, Don Enrique Zobel of Ayala Corporation invited MGC to develop a 3,705 square meter area at the main corner of Ayala Avenue. The club eagerly accepted, engaging in fund-raising activities, garden sales, Christmas bazaars, and solicitations from companies. Ayala Corporation generously donated ₱50,000 (equivalent to about ₱3 million today) to build the MGC headquarters. This new home featured landscaped gardens, nurseries, a library, a flower and garden center, and a large room for gardening, art, cooking, and craft classes, as well as monthly meetings. Notable lecturers included Dr. Henry Culpepper, gardening columnist Zac Sarian, and bonsai expert Serapion Metilla. By 1990, over 200 professionals had conducted workshops at MGC on a variety of subjects.

In 1995, MGC launched the Festival of Trees, in collaboration with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), headed by Manuel Pangilinan. This annual fund-raising event aimed to alleviate poverty by developing environmental programs for Filipino farmers in remote regions.

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Christel Payseng

Writer, PR Media, Literature Hobbyists, Digital Marketer