There was a most-admired gentleman by the name of Washington SyCip. A Filipino-American accountant and banker, he founded in 1946 the leading accounting and professional services firm EY SGV and Company, and cofounded in 1968 the prestigious Asian Institute of Management.
A prime mover in business and industry circles for decades, and a generous philanthropist bar none, he spiced up work get-togethers and social gatherings and, most of all, no desirable awards, honors or citations escaped him.
And then there was a gracious talented lady named Impy Pilapil. A respected sculptor by trade, she dominated the prime status in the competitive world of fine art and has crafted major collections, gracing impressive headquarters and establishments here and abroad.
SyCip and Pilapil eventually crossed paths and collaborated on what is fondly known as the Washington SyCip Park, presented to him by Ayala Land on his 85th birthday some years ago “in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the Philippine business community.”
Strategically situated in Legazpi Village, Makati City, the privately owned pocket park is bordered by Legazpi, Gamboa and Rada Streets, and the Corinthian Plaza Building. Within this oasis of calmness and tranquility are several indigenous tropical trees and plants, in addition to gazebos, an expansive koi pond of different variants and benches which bear quotable quotes from the late tycoon.
Pilapil had the humbling opportunity to create several outdoor installations, specially handpicked by SyCip, to be permanently displayed at the recreational grounds of the public park.
“Now, I would like to think that the park he curated allows people to catch glimpses of the world through his eyes and heart even after he has gone,” Pilapil said.
Two white-stone sculptures may attract one’s attention. The Entry acts as an ode to the prehistoric Stonehenge monument and serves as a small passageway. Meanwhile, Faith is a marble piece reminiscent of an obelisk, a four-sided tapering monument which ends in a pyramid shape at the top, in which the pointed edge points up to the skies.
A colorful addition, the Mangrove, Nature’s Embrace has blue steel pipes that mimic the prominent roots of the trees, as a symbol of the unity between man and nature. One can likewise spot the Giant Urns, which are a homage to the gentleman’s childhood in Shanghai.
Other attractions include the Crane and Turtle Garden, both symbols of long life, which represents Philippine-Japanese relations. Meanwhile, one of the gazebos hosts the traditional board game sungka, the Philippine mancala, which may be played with stones or shells on a boat-like panel.
Among all the other attractions, Pilapil’s enduring creations include the Wishing Stone, where one may pick up the twig quill, dip it in the water reservoir and scribble a wish or prayer on the slab.
“As long as the park endures, the public can write wishes upon the Wishing Stone, frolic under The Mangrove, play sungka, or simply enjoy moments in that small oasis of green in the midst of the country’s busiest concentration of concrete gray,” said Pilapil.