Saturday, 29 October 2011

La Madre Filipina

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

 Last week before going to bed, I saw the La Madre Filipina in my news feeds so I googled it and asked visited the statue in Luneta Park. The La Madre Filipina by Martinez is actually located in the Jones Bridge and it served as an embellishment to beautify the Jones Bridge. It is actually a 4-set statue symbolizing a Filipina mother but unfortunately one out of four statues is missing.

Before going to school, I dropped by Luneta Park to see one of the La Madre Filipina. It is an all white statue, well I don't know if that is the real color of the La Madre Filipina Statues but that shade of white is working on her. The other two were in the Court of Appeals. I don't want to go to the Court of Appeals and ask permission if i can take pictures of the statue (hassle),  I cant be late for my midterms. It is either my midterms of the statues. Studies first before anything else.

I think that they should move the statue back in its original site. That's why it is called Rizal Park to honor our hero Jose Rizal. I think they should reconstruct the old Jones Bridge so that it will retain its title as the "Queen Bridge of Manila".

Friday, 28 October 2011

Juan Luna's 154th Birthday Celebration

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

 It is what everyone's talking about. Every student, socialite & social-climber are preparing for the upcoming Philippine Fashion Week. But wait! aren't we forgetting something? I know we Filipinos are forgetting something, It is at the tip of my tongue. It is Juan Luna's 154th Birthday Celebration.

Who knew it was his birthday? Well I do! He is one of the greatest Filipino painters who ever lived and it would be ignorant for us Filipino to forget such significant event. I bet, people are in the malls instead of paying tribute to Juan Luna. I really want to go to his birthday celebration, to meet some delegates, historians & celebrities but most of all to pay homage to Juan Luna but since it is midterms week in my school, I had to ditch the ceremony.

Yesterday, before going to school, I told my driver to stop by the monument. I did not bring any flowers, I just brought my camera with me to capture the memories. It is so sad when I saw the monument, it was lifeless and dull. The wreath of flowers were down on the floor. Dead flowers were scattered everywhere it is as if they just celebrated his birthday just for the sake of celebrating it. They didn't care about what will happen to the place after the celebration. 

The thing that really bothered me the most is that we Filipinos lack the sense of loving our own heritage, heroes & history. We always think of the "ifs" in history. We would rather wear western inspired clothing rather than dressing in Barong or Baro't Saya. I commend the Indians for wearing their national costume everywhere it is a part of them. From the airport to the streets of Manila, it just shows that their heritage will forever live on.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Times Theater

By: Paolo M. Bustamate

  I love almost anything that is historical. The old houses in Malate, the neoclassical buildings in Ermita, century old schools along Legarda and of course art-deco theaters along Quezon Boulevard. Sadly only three are still there but only one is operational, the Times Theater.

I have been passing by Quezon Boulevard for years now and the only landmark that i know there is the Quiapo Church and The Plaza Miranda. Last term, my teacher in JOSERIZ (Mr. Alain Austria) gave a lecture about old stand-alone theaters in Manila . He told us how these theaters came about during the 1930's but it all came to an end during the late 1980's when malls started invading the metropolis. He also mentioned that there are still some operational stand-alone theaters in Manila but the most popluar one is the Times Theater.

The Times Theater was built in 1939 by Architect Luis Araneta, it can seat 800 people. The exterior of the theater was different before because it was covered with square tiled-plates starting from the top down to the center. This theater is now poorly maintained. It is in my bucket list to watch a movie here before the theater is gone. I wasn't fortunate enough to take pictures inside the theater because of the management. Trust me, I really tried my best to bring the old manila to you guys, I even pretended to be a Thai journalist just to take pictures of the inside of this theater. I guess I need to buy a book on how to become a good con-artist before indulging myself in those kinds of situation.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Manila City Hall

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Today, my plan was to visit the old houses of Leon Guinto in Malate, Manila but my friend who was supposed to accompany me, ditched me at the last minute, so I had to think on where to go. I had two options, to visit the Luneta Hotel or The Manila City Hall but since the Luneta Hotel is still under construction, people wouldn't appreciate my post that much, i will just feature it when the construction is done, so, plan B it is.

I have always wondered what the inside of the Manila City Hall would look like, is it as beautiful as the facade of the city hall? or is it just beautiful on the outside but unsightly on the inside? Well, in my opinion, the city hall really lacks maintenance. The ceilings are falling, the marble staircase needs some cleaning and I think they need to centralize the air-conditioning but nonetheless, the people were nice, I just think they need to learn how to smile.

Architect Antonio Toledo designed the The Manila City Hall and was erected during the time of President Manuel Quezon in 1939 but sadly, it was badly damaged during WWII. After the war, the city hall was rebuilt by Mayor Juan Posadas. People say that it was made to be shaped like a coffin to pay homage to those who died during the war.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Life Theater

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

My parents used to go to this place called Quiapo in Manila to hear mass, to watch movies and to shop. My mom used to tell me that Quiapo was the shopping capital of Manila. The place has everything from jewelries to fortuntellers that's why last Saturday I paid the Old Quiapo a visit. 

I was with my driver and my mom. My mom stayed inside the Quiapo Church to pray while I wondered around the place. Before going down the car, my driver told me to watch myself and to be alert for snatchers and lurking criminals. I wanted to go roam around but I really don't know where to start, Until I saw the Life Theater (T. Villonco Building)


I have read so much about the stand-alone theaters in Manila that's why it is in my bucket list to watch a movie in those stand-alone theaters but the problem is that there are only two, i think, that are functioning along Quezon Boulevard. The Ginto and Times Theater. 

The Life theater was constructed during the late 1930's by Pablo Antonio wherein he incorporated the Art-Deco Architectural style, The Life Theater can seat at around 800 people. It was damaged during WWII but it quickly recovered and started operating again as a stand-alone theater in 1950's.

It could not keep up with sudden boom of shopping malls in Manila because people prefer watching movies in malls rather than in stand-alone theaters that is why they converted the building into a mall. What a loss.

Ocampo Pagoda Mansion

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Yesterday, I was in Old Manila and when I say Old Manila, I mean Quiapo! My itinerary for that day was to shoot the Times theater and the Life theater but the management was not that kind enough to allow me to shoot inside the Times, so I told my driver to go straight to San Beda to pick-up my sister.

We were along Quezon Boulevard the my driver suddenly made a right to avoid the traffic and the police. Then there it was, the Ocampo Pagoda Mansion in Bilibid Viejo St. 

It was built during the 1930's by Don Jose Mariano Ocampo a lawyer and realtor. The construction of the Mansion was finished during 1939. The construction of the Pagoda is to beautify his garden but that dream was cut short because of WWII. During WWII, the mansion was converted as a refuge center.

When I went there, the first thing that i saw was of course, a basketball court. There was a game that's why I had a hard time taking photos of the Mansion. I sat for a while to also watch the game then this guy talked to me and said that there are foreigners who come to Viejo St. just to visit the Mansion. When he was a kid the mansion was still beautiful, now it is a boarding house for seafarers.


Friday, 7 October 2011

Legazpi-Urdaneta Monument

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Whenever I pass by Burgos drive in Manila, I see this monument that is very much neglected by the public. Even informal settlers who is living beside the monument do not know who they are but they found the place useful by making it as a sanctuary where they can do their dirty. Overshadowed by the three monuments in front of it, the Legazpi-Urdaneta monument still stands, but as typhoons pass and seasons change, their faces change into an expression that even I could not paint.

I respect the Aquinos and Cardinal Sin but I think the City of Manila should have placed the Aquino and Sin Monuments somewhere else. They just covered a historical monument that is more beautiful than the one they just built. But I guess Karma has its ways on finding those who are in need of “the Karma antidote”. 

When they unveiled the statues of Jaime & Cory, many people were disappointed about the monument because it does not look like the former president and the former cardinal; it looked like a cartoon because the hand is bigger that the face. For me, I have nothing against erecting a statue that pays homage to former President Aquino and Former Cardinal Sin but they placed it in the wrong place. They could have placed it somewhere in Delta, Quezon City because the former president lives near there (in Times St. Quezon City). Government officials should really need to redefine their standards of “beautifying” Manila. 

The Legazpi-Urdaneta Monument is a neoclassical monument. It  was designed in Barcelona, Spain by Agustin Querol y Subirals in 1890's. During the American Era headed by Governor General Dwight F. Davis, the monument was shipped from Barcelona to Manila and was finally erected in 1929. There are hidden symbolism in this monument and I will try my best to figure out what it is. The one who is holding the cross is Andres Urdaneta symbolizing the Catholicism in the Philippines and the one who is holding the sword is Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Parts of the monument are bronze and granite. They are both stepping on an anchor symbolizing their expedition from Spain to the Philippines. There is also a woman who is pointing at them.

 I really have no clue who she is but I’m guessing she is telling us that they we should look at Legazpi and Urdaneta and not her. Some pieces of the monument are missing, just so you guys know, the Legazpi-Urdaneta monument is outside Intramuros but it is still under the Intramuros Administration.

I just wish that this monument would reach more that 100 years so that our future generation will still feel that there is still history left behind for them and I hope that there will be a centennial celebration for this monument.

Last October 2012, I dropped by to see the monument and I noticed the fingers of the bronze statue of the mother Philippines was cut, and that the bronze plate that she was holding was stolen. I immediately uploaded the before and after picture on my Facebook pageA street bum who was resting beside the monument told us that a group of street junkies stole those bronze plates.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Manila Hotel

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

I was invited last October 1 by my bestfriend to his sister’s wedding in Manila Cathedral. It was a beautiful wedding even though the weather wasn’t that cooperative. The wedding reminded me about the movie “Sex and the City” but the only difference is that Mr. Big did not ditch his Carrie in their wedding day. I was just surprised at the end of the wedding there is another couple outside waiting for their turn to get married.  I just can’t believe that the Manila Cathedral is in demand I mean we have hundreds of beautiful churches here and the Philippines waiting to be booked.

Anyway, the reception was held at the Manila Hotel beside Intramuros. I am not that much of a fan of the Manila Hotel even though it is a historical landmark I am not liking its façade, maybe because it is too simple and too white. My first impression of the Manila Hotel was it looks so old but a different kind of old. It is hard to explain but everytime I pass by the Manila Hotel, I can’t help but ask, when will it change its exterior. Well who am I to judge? I mean I haven’t been inside the hotel so for the meanwhile I’m suspending my judgment till the reception and the program is over. 

When I went inside the Manila Hotel. I was like Judy Ganland in the Wizard of Oz “Toto I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore." It was so beautiful because it has a mix of every tradition there is in the Philippines. I like the use of capiz in the Manila Hotel because it was everywhere, from the chandeliers to the walls of the hotel; it really incorporated the tradition of the old and ideal Filipino houses.

The Manila Hotel was opened in 1912 during the American Occupation. The beauty & the design behind the hotel is William Parson. Daniel Burnham hired him to do the Manila Hotel in his plan to remodel Manila but all came to a halt when the Japanese Invaded Manila. It survived the invasion but it needed some remodeling. Now it is where V.I.P.'s, notable personalities spend their vacation to see the  Manila. It is also a stop for flight attendants.

I could not help but notice that there were two national historic marker about the Rotary Club of Manila & The National Federations Club in the Philippines. It seems that the Rotary Club of Manila was the fist in the Philippines and in Asia and was founded by the Americans during 1919 and the National Federation of Women's Clubs of the Philippines was founded in the Manila Hotel also during the American Period in 1921 with 300 members. I did not know that the Manila Hotel is rich in history.

I wasn’t able to wander around and gave myself a tour. Because the reception ended late parts of the hotel were closed like the champagne room so I just roamed around the lobby, The Sampaguita Hall & the Roma Salon so I cannot say much about the Manila Hotel but the sneak peek was worth it. I will definitely check-in the Manila Hotel someday. When I get a job, I will spend my first pay check in the Manila Hotel but for now, studies first and I'll just let my mom do all the spending but soon I will definitely return the favor.

Thanks so much to the newly weds. I had so much fun during the wedding and the reception! Mabuhay ang Bangong Kasal! Thanks to Rexy and Jeff Go.