Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bauan Municipal Hall

Paolo M. Bustamante

The Heritage Conservation Society - Batangas Chapter found out that the exceptional Art Deco Bauan Municipal Hall in Batangas is scheduled for demolition on October 15, 2011 in violation of Republic Act No. 10066 which prohibits the demolition of structures 50 years or older without the permission of the NCCA. There is also a proposal to demolish the Bauan East Central School for the construction of a terminal.  

These buildings in Bauan, Batangas are architecturally significant. According to Architect Dominic Galicia of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage and NCCA Committee on Monuments and Sites, "There's a remarkable story suggested by the architecture of the municipio and the school.  The Art Deco details of the municipio are exceptional, speaking of the wealth of the Commonwealth era. And those municipio details also inform the details of the school, as if to say "let's spread the wealth."

I was in rage when I heard the news. I cannot believe the government of Batangas will do such a thing. I really thought the city of Manila was the only city that had no interest on its historical sites, but clearly I was wrong.

The demolition of the Jai Alai, Lyric Theater, Ideal Theater and The Crystal Arcade in the city of Manila were examples of how Filipinos give importance to their history. It speaks that we do not value our past. We do not cherish these great structures that cannot be brought back. During the Japanese occupation, we have lost more than hundreds of historical sites, from ancestral homes to century-old bridges, we have lost it all during the WWII.

Honestly I know little about the history outside of Manila but I will fight for what is right. My mom raised me to love my country that’s why I grew up loving my cournty and while growing up I learned how to appreciate our historical sites proving that we have talented architects. Demolishing this beautiful structure will not make Batangas a better province. It will just prove one thing; that Batangas does not value its history.

Give the Philippines 50 years and maybe the only landmark that will be left standing will be the statue of Rizal in Luneta Park.

Help save this landmark by sharing this to your friends and by clicking the “like button in the Save the Bauan Municipal Hall Page

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Paco Building

 By: Paolo M.Bustamante

It is hard to write something if you have little knowledge about that something, that is why we do research but in the case of the Paco Building in the district of Paco Manila, people barely know the history behind this wonderful building.

All I know is that it is an Art Deco Building that was built in 1939. 1930’s was the year when Manila had Art Deco styled-architecture It started booming everywhere like mushrooms. I tried to Google the history of the building because when I went there, nobody knows who built it or what it is. Even Google failed me, so I will just tell you on how I ended up in the Paco Building.

It was a regular filming day for me I decided to make a video about the historical landmarks of Manila and post it in YouTube because filming was also my hobby. I had a six-hour break last term and basically I got bored and started exploring the streets of Manila. My first video was about the monuments of Intramuros and it had 299 views & 10 likes on its 3rd week. My second video was about the street of Escolta. I was running out of ideas and I don’t want to upset my eight subscribers for not udating my channel so I decided to shoot in the district of Paco, Manila even though I have little knowledge about such.

I ended up wasting gas but it was worth it. I found 5 landmarks but the landmark that captured my eyes was the Paco Building. It is a very simple Art Deco Building. It has this green linings and the image of the Virgin Mary embossed at the wall of the building. It is sad because the vendors were covering the landmark. I was so interested about this building I even interviewed some people about it but even the caretaker of the building wasn’t there. My class was about to start so I had no other choice but to leave, not knowing the secrets of the Paco Building.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Statue of Queen Isabel II

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

She is a queen who lived in mystery. She is known by few but as a queen who lived in exile in Paris, but her legacy lives on. As the statue of Queen Isabel II stands proud in Intramuros, she will forever live on in mystery. People often ask, who’s the person behind that mysterious statue in Puerto Isabel II in Intramuros. She is indeed a queen who lived in mystery because a lot of Filipinos do not know her even though a fort was named after her. She may not have visited the Philippines but she had an important role during the occupation of the Spaniards.

Her monument was abandoned, forgotten, locked up for years in Intramuros and transferred to a lot of places in Manila. It is quite ironic because the plight of the statue reflects how she lived her life but now, her monument is at peace but the sad part is only a few remembered her legacy.

Who’s the queen you may ask. Queen Isabel de Bourbon was born in 1830 and was proclaimed queen in 1833 due to her father’s death Ferdinand VII. She married her cousin Franco de Asis but during her marriage, she lived a life of depression. Her reign ended when Generals Prim & Sorriano revolted against her forcing the queen to give up her throne. She was later on exiled in Paris.

Queen Isabel II asked Ponciano Ponzano to make a statue out of bronze in her image.  It was later on shipped to Manila but the statue was different from what she ordered. The statue was then situated in the Liwasang Bonifacio in Lawton with celebrations and military rites it stood there for quite some time but during the anti-Bourbon revolution in 1868 that lead to her exile in Paris. The Governor-General of Manila that time was Carlos Ma. De la Torre. He ordered the Filipinos to remove the statue but the Filipinos refused to do so that is why He then ordered the Chinese laborers to do the job. The statue of Isabel was stored for years in the bodega of Ayutamiento.After quite some time, it was then brought out during 1896 in front of the Church of Malate. The statue was blown away in the 1970 due to a typhoon but her statue was restored and was erected in front of Puerto Isabel in Intramuros.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Paco Station

By:Paolo M. Bustamante

When I went to the island of Corregidor last May, A tour guide once told me that “ a country who does not value its ruins has no history” I really do support his theory. It made me reflect on the situation of Manila, on how it wardens its historical sites. But even Manila cannot protect its dying relics. The historical sites of Manila undergo three phases. As it is build it will soon be abandoned and be neglected. Because it is neglected therefore it will become a ruin. Later on it will be up for demolition and soon be a thing of the past. It will only exist on our memory.

The Old Paco Station stood the test of time proving that it is built to survive. This building has been through a lot; it survived the Philippine-American War & World War II and until now it is facing a much grater danger of demolition. There is this campaign/ organization that protects this majestic structure from further destruction. During its 100th anniversary of this building, it was promised that the station will regain its former glory but three years have passed and there is still no action done to the station.

The Old Paco Station in Quirino Highway, Manila proved that tour guide right. If it is gone, only antique documents will be the basis of our history. It saddens my heart to see the Old Paco Station fall apart without giving it some recognition. Only historians and nationalist keeps this station intact and pristine. They try to give meaning to this station even though it is badly damaged. When will Filipinos learn to love their history? It is never too late to save these kinds of structures.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Plaza Miranda

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

In the maze of cars and brightly colored Sarao jeepneys, is the Plaza Miranda. This is a place that is littered with Filipino vendors, peddlers and money-seeking fortune-tellers who tell the story about the life in the Philippines in its most naked truth –which is usually a tale about constant survival and struggle.

The Plaza Miranda is nestled just in front of the Quiapo Church. It has been the eyes and ears to every prayer, novena, and heartfelt plea offered by distraught Filipinos, who are in search for some miracle inside the spacious halls of the church. Mobs of people flock to this area to have their palms read, their futures foretold, their prayers heard and their sins confessed. This is a venue for spiritual renewal, be it the Catholic way, or the Pagan way.

Other than spiritual renewal, people come here for the cheap buys. The merchandise sold in this place range from pirated DVD’s to China-made gadgets, and strangely crafted herbal products to scrumptious Filipino street food. This is the Mecca of pirated goods and trapped vehicle byproducts, and somehow Plaza Miranda has become famous because for that.

On August 21, 1971, a bomb exploded in Plaza Miranda during the time when the Liberal Party was conducting their Miting de Avance. This bombing killed 9 people and injured 100 civilians –in that instant, the place and the name “Plaza Miranda” has always been associated with that horrific moment in history.

The place Plaza Miranda was named after Jose Sandino y Miranda who served as the secretary of the treasury of the Philippines for 10 years beginning in 1853. This venue stands until this day –it remains raw and carved in every heart of a true Filipino.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

St. Cecilia's Hall

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Music is something that you cannot touch or see. It is something that is perceived through our ears to gratify an audience, a parent, or a loved one. They say the power of music is something that is so powerful it can perform marvels in different ways. It can cure the ill, it can teach a dog new tricks it can even make people fall in love. Yes, the power of music is so powerful; it can even establish a school.

There is a conservatory of music inside St. Scholastica’s College in Leon Guinto St. near Taft Avenue wherein people gather to watch quality shows, production and rendition of music and plays. The conservatory is not that known because it is concealed within the high-rising walls of St. Scholastica’s College. It is like the miniature version of the Metropolitan Theater. The details of the ceilings are well maintained, the pinned statues of St. Benedict and St. Schoalstica’s are still in good condition and the marble staircases are neatly furnished. This conservatory may be out-of-sight to the public but once you see it, your eyes will gleam in awe by the detailed perfection of this Hall.

The conservatory is dated back in 1907 where in it is founded by Sister Baptista M. Battig,  It was designed by Andres Luna De San Perdo and was inaugurated on the 8th of March 1932. It is where the school held its recitals, concerts, plays and even graduation.  It is also a music hall where in foreign and local musicians perform their pieces. It is at peace wherein the virgin walls are still untouched by war.

When The Japanese occupied the city of Manila during the 1940’s, the buildings of St. Scholastica’s College was destroyed including the St. Cecilia’s Hall. All of the buildings were gone except for the wooden structures. It is a harrowing day for the sisters especially for the students. 


The St. Cecilia’s Hall was restored and rebuilt during the 1950’s. The Art –Deco Style was preserved and the hall underwent a major interior and followed the old structure of the hall during the late 1990’s. Now, the Statues of St. Benedict and St. Schoalstica will welcome you in the conservatory. Angels will be gazing as you watch the performance inside the theatre. The red covered seats will keep you relaxed as you listen to the melodious notes of the musicians and as you leave the St. Cecilia’s Hall, there is that feeling that you will want to go back and visit for more.

The Sisters of St. Scholastica’s College has the ability to always look on the brighter side of life. Despite the devastating event that happened to the school and to that historic hall, life must go on for the nuns and for their students. They never failed to embrace their history and the things that have happened to the school they always make sure that they obtain life-learning lessons in every moment that passes their way.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Santa Cruz Church

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

The people of Sta. Cruz keep a sacred place to celebrate their faith in the heart of their town, which is a place where they conduct mass in and celebrate annual fiestas for in honor its patron saint. This is their special place of their call of belief.

The Jesuits under Rector Antonio Sedeno built this church during 1608. The Sta. Cruz Church is a place of faith for the Filipino-Chinese community in Manila. The church may have encountered ans withstood numerous earthquakes but it was not fortunate enough to survive in the destruction of World War II. It was restored during the late 1950's and it was patterned in the Baroque style while keeping its vital similarities to the original church.

You will be greeted into the church by the sight of street vendors and wondering merchants who clutter along the sides of the place. However, I would like to emphasize that as you enter the church, you are instantly forbidden to take photos of the altar. Despite of that prohibition, I still managed to accidentally take a single picture of it – I was reprimanded afterwards. The only thing that you can take pictures of is the facade of the church; nothing more, nothing else.
The interiors of the church is quite modern. The altar is completely different from the other churches in Manila because the old style of the altar was not preserved that well. But the exterior of the church captured the old and timeless charm that the original church once had.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Monte de Piedad

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Sad things happen when buildings are forgotten. Furnitures, staircases and antique doors will become a distant memory.This is the present state of the Monte de Piedad Building. It is where Stray cats and migrating birds lodges in this building. The outside of Monte de Piedad is filled with bustling vendors and Filipino-Chinese who are selling fruits, cheap jewelry and priceless antiques. There is also a section near the building where in there are Chinese herbal shops and vendors who sell love potions and elixirs.

The Monte de Piedad is considered to be the first savings bank in the Phlippines. It is also tone of the first establishments in Plaza Goiti. It was built on June 24,1887 by Juan de Hervas in a Neo-Renaissance style. This savings bank started operating on August 2, 1882, with the objective of providing loans for the less fortunate. Even though they are experiencing insolvency, they continued to lend programs to the poorest of the poor. 

Last two years ago, the GE Money Bank personified the Monte de Piedad but after moving out, The state of the building became worse, the glass windows are broken and the details of the building are gradually vanishing. This building is loosing its soul. Who knows someday this building might be demolished.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Roman Santos Building

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

We are reminded every summer, with every couples who stroll in the park, with every tourist who wanders, with every teen who goes to the beach. Yes, summer is such a beautiful season in the Philippines. But for some, they prefer to go to places where almost everything is forgotten.

The Plaza Goiti, a beautiful landmark where in you can reminisce history by just touching the antique walls of the buildings surrounding it. You have to visualize in order to see its charm.

Plaza Goiti (now Plaza Lacson) was once the business district of the Philippines during the American Period but it was devastated during the 2nd world war. During the late 1960's, the portions of the plaza had rapidly developed that lead to the construction of modern buildings. 

The Plaza Goiti was named after Martin de Goiti, a conquistador and the founder of the city of Manila. It is now named Plaza Lacson in honor of Manila's greatest Mayor, Arsenio Lacson but most people prefer calling the plaza, Plaza Goiti.

I dont get it why our government officials keeps on changing the street names and the names of our plazas. I mean is that the best they could do? There are far more better things  do than changing the names of our plazas and streets. Education, job openings, health care and the like. Anyway, moving on...

The Roman Santos Building (also known as the Prudential Bank now the B.P.I.) is a very iconic building. The Plaza Goiti wont be the same without this building. It is the first thing that you will see as you go down the L.R.T. Carriedo Station. The Prudential Bank and Trust Company occupied it and after some years the Prudential Bank vacated the area.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Carriedo Fountain

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Historical buildings surround the Plaza Carriedo and each building has their own tale. There is the Manuel F. Tiaoqui Building, considered to be the first pinned wall building in the country. The Monte de Piedad Building, the first savings bank in the Philippines. The Sta. Cruz Church, built in the 17th century by the Jesuits and the Carriedo Fountain as their centerpiece. You may tour Carriedo by riding a kalesa or by just simply walking.The Carriedo fountain has been the eye of the plaza for years now. Cluttered tricycles, rowdy jeepneys, aggravating street vendors and wondering tourists also encircle it. It may be overcrowded but the Plaza wont be the same without the iconic fountain.

This fountain thinking that this is the original one, fools many people.  Dated back in the 16th century when the City of Manila has no running water, a man named Don Francisco Carriedo "Manila's greatest benefactor" had a vision to build a water system in Manila.  he donated P10,000 to fund his vision. Though he didn’t live long and died in 1743. Governor Moriones continued the vision of Don Carriedo. 

The fountain was built in 1882 in honor of Don Francisco Carriedo. The original fountain was in Nagtahan in Legarda, Manila. It was then transferred to Balara, Quezon City in MWSS. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim petitioned that the fountain should be transferred back to Manila. The MWSS commissioned Naoleon Abueva (national artist) to create a replica of the Carriedo Fountain. Now, it stands in its original home in Sta. Cruz.