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.


  1. your pix profile in your fb page is not complete without the pix of the walled city, intramuros, manila

  2. Very disappointing, no? I just wish that the junk shops who bought the bronze plates from the bakal boys would return them. Of course, it the search fot the missing bronze plates should come with a reward.