Nielson Tower: Filipinas Heritage Library

Built in 1937, Nielson Tower served as the control tower and passenger depot of the Philippines’ first commercial airport. The first ever domestic flight in Asia took place here. It was from Makati to Baguio. Paseo de Roxas and Makati Avenue used to be the runways. In World War II, Nielson Tower was used by Japanese forces as headquarters, and then later was taken over by the Americans.

Nielson Tower resumed operations as a commercial airport in August 1946. When seen from the air, Nielson Tower resembles the body of an aircraft.

The site is now home of the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), a division of Ayala Foundation. In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia-Pacific Cultural Awards recognized Filipinas Heritage Library for its outstanding conservation and adaptive reuse of Nielson Tower’s elegant Art Deco structure.

Nielson Tower - Filipinas Heritage Library

Nielson Tower - Filipinas Heritage Library

Nielson Tower - National Historical Institute

Nielson Tower - National Historical Institute

The Filipinas Heritage Library started as part of the Ayala Museum which is located about 300-meters going south. It commenced with the donation of materials from the Zobel de Ayala family and Ayala Corporation in 1974. The transfer of the collection to the Nielson Tower in 1996 marked the library’s commitment to becoming a knowledge network in the Philippines.

The Filipinas Heritage Library is a one-stop electronic research center on the Philippines. It is located in Makati Avenue, Ayala Triangle, Makati City near the Gabriela Silang Monument, Ninoy Aquino Makati Monument, Philippine Stocks Exchange and L.V. Locsin Tower. It provides access to the wealth of Filipino heritage through the latest in information technology and telecommunications. The Library currently houses over 13,000 contemporary volumes on Philippine history, language, art, religion and the social sciences. There are over 2,000 rare titles, rare books on microfiche, maps. There’s also an extensive library of slides and photographs. FHL has ventured into the digitization of its collection, CD-ROM publishing, as well as the development of web pages and electronic databases.

Filipinas Heritage Library holds regular classes in Photography, Creative Writing and lectures in other forms of Arts and Sciences. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 9am to 6pm.

For more information about Nielson Tower and Filipinas Heritage Library visit their website at or contact them at telephone number (+63)(2) 892-1801.

This page is last updated on Jun 16, 2011 @ 1:37 pm
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  1. FHL says:

    The Filipinas Heritage Library is now located at the Ayala Museum, where it will reopen on March 23, 2013. Website:

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