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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Video | Manila : Queen of the Pacific

My late father always talked about his Escolta walks.  As a kid who grew in the province, I never had an inkling of how Manila looked like.  I only knew about it from my father's pictures, and later on when I had the chance to tag along with my parents.  He endlessly talked about how beautiful Escolta and Avenida Rizal was.

We know that Escolta was the center of business and trade, much like Ayala Avenue and the Entire Ayala Center, then we had Cubao, Greenhills, and now, we have Libis, Rockwell, and the latest to grow are Fort Bonifacio and Madrigal Business Center in Alabang.  Avenida Rizal, then, was the center for the culture and the arts, where movies were shown and stage plays were held--like London's West End or New York's Broadway.

Having the chance to work in Intramuros in the early 90s made me appreciate the ruins and architecture of Old Manila, and of course, Escolta and Avenida Rizal.  Intramuros, for its being a tourism destination is being preserved and reconstructed to its old glory. Escolta, since early 90s has not changed much.  Perhaps, there are only more traffic and people now.  Needless to say, Avenida Rizal is in shambles. This dingy and grimy place is now home to rotting buildings, peddlers, crooks, street people, and heavy traffic. It is ironic that this strip where Manila culturati has taken its roots, has become a place for lewd movies and sexy stage performances, and worst, a place for prostitution.
Under Mayor Lito Atienza, Avenida Rizal, which was even named after the country's national hero, was given a much-needed facelift.  It was cleared from traffic and was converted into a street mall.  Now, under the leadership of Mayor Lim, the place has gone back to its sham image.

In my photowalks to these places, it is just sad to witness Filipinos' lack of appreciation for history, culture and tradition--which must translate into preservation or restoration of historical places and architecture.  I could only marvel at the thought that Manila was once a pride in Southeast Asia or even the Pacific.

Well, it is not too late to bring back the lost glory of Manila. There are still buildings that can be salvaged from rotting and total destruction.  We only need to clean up these places and at least repaint their facades, and once and for all, get rid of those hanging cables and wires!  Bury them under!   In fact the El Hogar building in Binondo area is now undergoing a major renovation and restoration to be a future site for business and trade. I just hope the National Historical Institute and Manila's planner's would be more gungho about this. 

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1 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

Hi there! Many thanks for sharing this video, to tell the truth I'm deeply impressed. Unfortunately it's kind a problem to find any info on old days of Manila. So thank you once again.

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