Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sta. Cruz Building

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Politicians, they promise us a lot of things from uplifting poverty to changing the educational system. In short, they promise us change. In every debate that they are on, they always focus on the big picture like for example health issues, crimes and employment. but often times they forget the littlest of details like preserving our built heritage and cultural awareness. In Batangas, they can really balance both. but in Manila, well... change... is everywhere. There are only a few 18th century ancestral houses in manila, they have been replaced by 50's modernist buildings.


It is one of the first building to be remodeled in Escolta. Before the Sta. Cruz Building is far from modern, it;s windows is covered with capiz, ITs floors is wooden and the building looks like an ancestral house in downtown Manila. It an accesoria building, very commercial wherein the ground floor is filled with boutiques and shops. The old building, was demolished and was remodeled during the 50's. It is now a commercial building, and like before the ground floor is piled with antique shops and boutiques.

The Sta Cruz Building had a Drastic make-over with a touch of everything from a heritage treasure, to an average structure. Our built heritage plays a big role in our life especially when it comes to tourism and because it reflects who we are as a nation. Let our mighty structures tell the story.  Polticians, they promise us everything but they are always forgetting something like former Mayor Lito Atienza, don't forget, he is the culprit behind the demolition of the Jai Alai after all history is written by those who win, no by those who were the nicest.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Philippine National Bank Building


By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Are you still in the mood for ghost haunting? I know that Halloween is over but If you guys are looking for adventure, thrill and excitement, come visit the Philippine National Bank Building in Sta. Cruz Manila . Last Monday, The Philipippine National Bank Building in Escolta, Manila was featured in Brigada, GMA NewsTV because it is said that this building is haunted. You know, abandoned buildings are the new cemeteries, because cemeteries are soooo last week! creepy hallways and creaking windows will welcome you in the Philippine National Bank 

Built by Carlos ArguellesThe Philippine National Bank Building was the official building of the PNB before, then after some time it was converted into a shopping mall then part of the building was converted into a school the city college of Manila and the ground floor was converted into the headquarters of the Manila World War 2 veterans and son's and daughters.

If you have any ghostly experience just post it on the comment box below. Feel the thrill and visit the Philippine National Bank Building. Happy Halloween!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Manuel F. Tiaoqui Building


By: Paolo M. Bustmante

Is it really more fun in the Philippines? For those of you who still care about the plight of our heritage, the historic 200 year old Alberto House in Binan, Laguna collaped due to its deteriorating state. In Manila however, the 1950's GSIS Building beside the Manila City Hall was in line for demolition but the mayor decided that it is time to do this thing called "adaptive reuse". The GSIS building was saved from demolition. FYI it is a crime to demolish structures that are more that 50 years without the consent of the NCCA. 


Like the GISIS Building the Manuel Tiaoqui Building is a mid-century modernist architecture. The Manuel Tiaoqui Building was built during the late 1950's. The Manuel Tiaoqui Building is located in Sta. Cruz, Manila in front of the Carriedo Fountain. It is said that this building is the first pinned-wall building in the Philippines. 


Out with the old and in with the new. Sta. Cruz, Malate, Rizal Ave. It seems that there are hardly many standing ancestral houses even  1930's art deco and1950's modernist buildings in Manila. Before, old houses and art deco movie houses are lined up in Rizal Avenue, now there are scarcely any. I think we should learn from our mistakes because those structures cannot be restored. We should look forward and preserve what is left.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Teodora Alonzo House

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

There is another historical site that is up for demolition and it is none other than the house of Teodora Alonzo. Who is Teodora Alonzo? Well for those of you who do not know her, you were probably sleeping during your Philippine history class. She was the mother of our national hero Jose Rizal.

The house is located in Binan Laguna. It is a typical "bahay na bato" ancestral house. According to sources this house was built in 1785. Jose Rizal's Grandfather (Don Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo) was once the captain of Binan and lived here for years. Now, twenty percent of the interior of the house was dismantled already.Good thing the city government and the people of Binian are doing something to stop the demolition. The city government of Binan is in full support of reconstructing the house once again.



Two months ago, The city of Binan Laguna celebrated the 100th Death Anniversary of Teodora Alonzo outside the house of Teodora Alonzo. I hope that we Filipino still value our history, heritage and our heroes. Always remember that without Teodora Alonzo, there won't be a Jose Rizal 

 (Photo by: Bimbo Sta Maria)

A collapsed photo of the Alberto house in Binan, Laguna. The demolition of the Alberto house started At 1:00 am today October 22. Unfortunately, the house was sold to a resort in Bagac, Bataan without the permit of the municipal of Binan, Laguna. It is a sad day for the people of Laguna. When we demolish this house, We are demolish a part of our history




Sources: http://www.ivanhenares.com/2010/06/laguna-save-alberto-house-in-binan.html
Pictures: http://christianprovido.blogspot.com/2011/07/save-alberto-house-in-binan-laguna.html

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Olbes Building

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Pink, Pink, and more pink! The color pink once dominated the streets of the Metro during Bayani Fernando's term as MMDA Chairman. He made the color trend from unsightly to appealing but after his term, the new MMDA chairman decided to go from posh pink to eco green. The MMDA made a hasty decision in changing their the theme. So much for ECOnomizing.



The Obles Building, you can see it if you are coming from the Jones Bridge or is it the Sta. Cruz, well I don't know, those bridges all look the same to me. The Obles Building, all covered with 3 different shades of pink. The building is one of the oldest buildings in Escolta. Built during the late 19th century, it's theme was very neoclassic but it was remodeled during the 1960's with a much more modern flavor. According to Mr. Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista, the Olbes building was cladded totally by prewar cast due to house pre cast had office there.



Pink, a color that symbolizes beauty, grace, homosexuality and feminism. The color pink, a symbol of change and a symbol for hope well... for those people who celebrate breast cancer awareness. The Olbes building has embraced that change from neoclassic to ugly modern. Im closing my blog entry with a question, is change really for the better?

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Burke Building

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

When I was young my mom used to lecture me about tact, taste and living simple. Everyday I take & apply it my everyday life. I am a commuter, from my house, I commute going to my school. Some people are ashamed to say that they commute. Haaayyy... how I wish Manila was like Paris, wherein people in the upper class commute wherever they go but sad to say Manila is not a place for commuting, it is a place for private vehicles. I was crossing in the pedestrian lane and I almost got ran over by a cab.

The Burke Building, once hailed in the streets of Escolta as one of the most extravagant buildings ever built in that street. The Burke Building even had the first elevator ever installed in the Philippines. But nothing really last forever. The Burke Building was one of the earliest buildings to be built in Escolta dating back in 1739. The Burke survived strong earthquakes especially the ones in 1853 and 1886.  In 1919 A newer structure was built because the Burke building needed remodeling and from there, the first elevator was installed in Escolta. However, it was badly damaged during the second world war and it was rehabilitated in 1949.



The building went from extravagant to simple. This is a very symbolic building, especially when you are comparing it to the sate of our country. The buildings of Escolta and the people who live in and are making a living in this street has taught me a lot about life and about who I am as a person. Living simple is a one giant step for me and a small step for change. (Is it living simply? or living simple? where is the grammar police?)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Perez-Samanillo Building (First-United Building)

By: Paolo Bustamante

Do you want to see some red and white allover? The First-United Building reminds us of stains of the past! (Im talking about WWII here haha). The First-United Building is one of the most iconic buildings in Escolta. When my friend and i visited the First-United Building it was an adventure like no other. We were like criminals, crooks that got out of jail, we were con artists in the making. I was really desperate to go inside! I just want to see if it is nice. So, we went inside and the guards asked us where we are going, so I told my friend Deric, "Girl, hold my Gucci, I'll handle this". I told the guard that we will just visit and exhibit, (which is true by the way! I was invited by Con Cabrera to visit the 98B Exhibit). When we went to the exhibit but no one was around, then we got bored, so we explored the building, we noticed that the guards were looking for us so we ran up and down and we took the elevator going to the roof deck and we saw the beauty of Sta. Cruz. We saw the Monte de Piedad building, the Sta. Cruz Church and the Roman Santos Building. Too bad when I was about to go all sentimental, the guards were there to escort us outside.



The First United Building, formerly known as the the Perez-Samanillo Building was built in 1928 by Andres Luna de San Pedro, Juan Luna and Paz Pardo de Yavera's son. It is one of the few art deco buildings that survived during the war. It is now owned by the Sylianteng Family they bought it during the 60's. Added information about this building, the security guard told us that the late King of Comedy, Dolphy had an agency here in this building.


Weeks before publishing this post, I asked you guys if you know the history of this building and quite surprisingly many have responded and all of those who responded were right! Thank you for your help! 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Calvo Building

 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

My friend and I were on a mission, to visit and we had planned it up to the last detail. We checked the website of PAGASA if it will rain, I mapped out the itinerary on where to go and we brought plenty of cash for emergency. So From school, my friend and I went to the street of Escolta, where the modern intertwines with the past. It is an ideal day to go on a field trip to Manila because it was sunny when we left Vito Cruz. When we got to Plaza Lacson rain poured. There is this group formed a coallition for us not to go to Escolta. Mr. bipolar weather (more like a typhoon), Ms.heavy traffic and Mr. flooded streets. We were soaking wet and ready to go!



Our first stop was the Calvo Building. Unfortunately for us the ground floor was flooded and the museum was closed. Boo us. Anyway, The Calvo Building was built in 1938 by architect  Fernando Ocampo. Before, it was home to the studios and corporate offices of the Republic Broadcasting System. DZBB, the first signals of radio station, was sent from a makeshift studio on its 4th floor by an American war correspondent Robert Stewart. Seven years after the company (DZBB), moved to its current location along EDSA and is now more popularly known as GMA7. Now, the Calvo Building houses the Vintage Bottle Collection and the Escolta Museum located at the 2nd floor of the building. Entrance fee is P50.00. 


Going to Escolta is like going to the Emerald city because Escolta has such a diverse architectural movements such as Artdeco (First United Building), Neo Classical (Regina Building) and Beaux-Arts (The Calvo Building). Before anything else I would like to apologize to my loyal yet loving readers because recently I haven't been posting anything in my blog because of school work. That's why I am making a comeback, featuring the buildings of Escolta with a Bang! Holla! Now that I am free, I need a reason to wake up in the morning, because I have this humungous hole in my life that cant be filled by shopping, only visiting these nostalgic buildings fill that hole!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Letran Statues (Vincent Ferrer Building)


 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Isn't she a beauty? The art deco Letran statues outside the elementary building and the building itself was inaugurated on August 15, 1952. The St. Vincent Ferrer Building also known as the Letran Elementary Building was built on the grounds of the former Santa Catalina College. Sadly, it will be demolished in order to build a new four-storey building to house engineering and other courses in preparation for Letran College's becoming a University by 2020. 

 (Photo by: Rho Ramos)

When the two pre-war houses in Elcano St. in Binondo were being demolished, Ivan Henares stated the Section 48 of the law provides that whoever intentionally destroys, demolishes, mutilates or damages a heritage building (that includes buildings 50 years or older) or modifies, alters, or destroys the original features of or undertakes construction or real state development in any site protected by the NHCP, shall be, upon conviction, "subject to a fine of not less than P200,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten (10) years, or both upon the discretion of the Court." It provides further that "if the violation is committed by a juridical person, the president, manager, representative, director, agent or employee of said juridical person responsible for the act shall also be liable for the penalties provided."



The Intramuros Administration gave Letran the go signal to demolish the building including the statues. The school also has the demolition permit meaning that the Manila City Hall had approved the demolition of the building. Just save the statues.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Old GSIS Building

By: Paolo M. Bustamante


Everyday in the city of Manila, historians and heritage activists face their share of problems, like when a heritage building is being demolished, when people forget that there is a hero to be celebrated and when elections are just around the corner. So we rush to hold on to what really matters before it is too late.



The classic streamline modern GSIS Building designed by Federico Illustre, was built between 1952 and 1954 and there are rumors that it is up for demolition, rumor has it that the Old GSIS Building will be demolished to give way to the Supreme Court's Hall of Justice because they had swapped it with the now demolished Jai Alai Building. There are other rumors that it will be converted into SM ANNEX Manila. The Manila City Hall has allegedly given its "OK. " signal to demolish such structure. According to the Heritage Law it is a crime to demolish structures that are more than 50 years without the consent of the NCCA.


This year we have already lost two heritage buildings, The Laperal Apartments and the Old Meralco Building and according to Ivan Henares, we have already lost a lot of heritage buildings because of the SM Corporation such as, the YMCA (now SM Manila), Pines Hotel (now SM Baguio), San Lazaro Hippodrome (SM San Lazaro) and the Benguet Building in Ortigas. SAVE OUR HERITAGE BUILDINGS.


Monday, 30 April 2012

Forum Theater


 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

When it comes to visiting historical sites, I am always determined to make things go smoothly and I always make sure that I am not alone. So when my friend (Franz Mayo) and I planned to go to Rizal Avenue, I made sure that we follow a certain schedule. We never bring a map,  just our money, a camera and our wit. I don't know with you guys but my friend and I know if something is historical, so when I saw this art deco looking structure, I could not help but to take a picture of it. Little did I know that it was once a theater that was once again forgotten by society.


The Forum Theater was built by Pablo Antonio in 1968 it not only served as a theater but it is it was once a shopping center known as the New Cinema Shopping Center and also an Office Building. Talk about three in one. Even though the Philippines was giving way to a new breed of style of architecture in the 60's which is the international style, Pablo Ocampo embraced the art deco movement and still incorporated it with his works. The Forum Theater is along Rizal Avenue near Doroteo Jose and when you ride the LRT you will see that the top floor is roofless and very much neglected. 


I commend former President Marcos for building the LRT. Remember that we are the first in Southeast Asia to build such pioneering construction but there is one thing he forgot, never thought what will happen to Rizal Avenue after 20 years . In life, we always plan and sometimes, they turn out the way we expected. Rizal Avenue is now dead and the culprit is the construction of the LRT.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Castaneda House











By: Paolo M. Bustamante

There are certain things every Mayor or any politician of any position should remember, like which street should not be renamed. Which day should be declared a holiday . Which part of the city needs remodeling. But the one thing that every politician can forget is they do not think before demolishing something (or giving permit to people who are about to demolish something) It is a question we . the heritage activists ask ourselves, That's why there is a big difference between a good politician from a great politician.  Good politicians are the people we can rely on. Great politicians envisions about the consequences or the outcome of the action that they are about to do.

There is a part in Sampaloc Manila wherein ancestral houses are fused to make the district of Sampaloc a potential tourist spot. But unfortunately for the district, these ancestral houses are left to rot. It is quite sad that none of our government officials see the potential of Sampaloc.because they think that there is no hope for it to rise again. These ancestral houses can be converted into a heritage area, just like the houses in Batangas. I suggest that the Mayor should go around his city more.

There is a house in G. Tuazon St., Sampaloc Manila that was built by a family who was widely known in Sampaloc and that is the Castaneda Family.   Rolando Almario is an ex-kagawad and a carpenter. He has been living in this house for more than 50 years. According to him, the house was built in 1910 it was very much alive until the 1940's. After the WWII, when the city of Manila was in ruins, poverty broke out and the Casranedas had to compromise and of course that led to the chain reaction of events, The Castanedas never recovered after the war. Today the facade of the Castaneda house looks neglected and some of the details of the house are missing. It is never too late to save the house.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Casa Conecuera



 By: Paolo M. Bustamante

A couple of weeks ago I was in  National University with a friend to watch a basketball game between San Beda V.S. NU. Watching basketball was never my thing, so I took a glimpse on what is outside the school, and from where I was standing, I could almost see half of Manila.  If you are standing at the west wing of the school you will see the main building of U.S.T. but if you are in the gym, you will see a number of ancestral houses waiting to tbe discovered and nice thing about it is that they are scattered around the place. I was very eager to visit all but I would definitely need the whole day to interview the owners. I first went to this mysterious looking house, the house looks like the houses in Vigan execept for the tacky green wall that the owners built outside the house to avoid burglars and housebreakers.


The Casa Conecuera is located along G.Tuazon St. Manila. I interviewed Raff Roxas, his great grandmother, Dona Isabella Conecuera, is the original owner of the house and according him the house is more than 100 years old he said it was built in the late 1890's. The family has no plans on selling the place. The house was handed down from one generation to the next and Dona Isabella noted to never sell the place. The current owners made sure that the house is well maintained, spotless and is still habitable because as of now there are more than two families living in that house. The Casa Conecuera is the only thing they've got to remember their great grandmother and their ancestors.


Before Raffy and I parted ways, he told me that before, the street of G.Tuazon is filled with old houses. Now there are more or less 10 houses in the street and nsome of them are in good conditon some of the houses are grubby and unmaintained. There will come a time that those houses will be gone, who knows maybe they will be converted into a parking lot or an apartment after all the houses in G. Tuazon are surrounded by colleges and universities. Only time can tell.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

St. Anselm's Hall



By: Paolo M. Bustamante

San Beda also houses my sister's spots in the campus. One thing is the CAS Library, or the College of Arts and Sciences Library. She said that that is not your typical library. In this place, people make noise. People either sleep there or just chat, which is perfectly fine. The library is eternally cold and fragrant –fragrant in the sense that it has the new-book smell. It is like her bat cave,



The St. Anselm's Hall is one of the four major buildings in San Beda College. The St. Anselm's Hall is where the College of Arts and Science is located. It was built in July 1963 after the construction of the St. Benedict's Hall during the term of Fr. Bernabarre. Its architectural style is very similar to the facade of the 1950's Esso Building (now the PhilAmlife Building) in Issac Pearl St. and the UST Archi Building.



San Beda had incorporated a lot of architectural styles through the years.It reflects how timeless and how the Philippine architecture evolves because as time sifts, they always make sure that they will always leave a historic mark in every decade that passes by. From the well preserved neo-gothic San Beda Chapel, to the art deco St. Benedict's Hall, these buildings will serve as reminders that through the years, San Beda will forever be a school who values its history and culture.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

St. Benedict's Hall


By: Patricia M. Bustamante &
Paolo M. Bustamante


We also have many buildings that are littered with classrooms that are always filled with good stories and memories made by every Bedan. Some of which are very old as seen in the tiles used and the tables and chairs used. Some are newly renovated. The others are just small –with small armchairs and all, because some of the classrooms in San Beda used to be the classroom of Grade School students back when they were still all-boys and in the Manila campus.





Since there is only one building at that time, the St. Bede's Hall was built in 1926 (which is the cornerstone of the school), the college decided to construct another building for the high school. The St. Benedict's Hall was inaugurated in February 24, 1952 it was used as a high school building until 2004, when the college decided to relocate the high school to San Beda- Rizal so that the can transfer the College of Medicine to a much bigger and better building. Even though it was built in the 1950's the building still incorporated some art deco styles especially the classrooms and the stairs. In front of the building there is a marker that pays homage and respect to the Bedan boys who have while they were on their way to the 11th World Jamboree camping in Greece (1963).




I could share a lot of things you may or may not know about San Beda and if you have some this far in reading, I applaud you. But I could honestly say that I could go on and on about this forever, because San Beda is a place that I will never forget.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat




By: Paolo M. Bustamante

I can still remember the first time I visited the chapel of San Beda College, and I think it was late Febuary this year before the graduation of my sister. I was surprised it was open at 1:00 because usually it is only open at 6am. To cut the story short I entered and I was  blown away with the beauty and the detailing of the chapel. It is one of the best churches i have ever seen next to its neighboring church, the San Sebastian Church. 



I am usually impressed at everything, I am easy to impress (that's why I think I cannot be a judge in American Idol) as long as it is historical and still standing. The mural is well preserved and everything is in place. When I was about to shoot inside the chapel, I saw the casket of the guy who was a victim of hazing from the College of Law. I can still remember the news, I feel sorry for the mom and the family. May he rest in peace. 




The neo-gothic Abbey of Monserrat is located in Mendiola Manila. It was built by a Swedish architect George Asp in 1904. The church was devoted to Sto. Nino de Prague which was carved in 1905 by Maximo Vicente and was installed in the altar after it was consecrated in 1926. 




The paintings that can be seen everywhere in the abbey were done by a Spanish monk, Fr. Lesmes Lopez OSB has done a lot of murals for monasteries in Spain and Australia. The Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat is one of the few churches that survived the liberation.



I asked my sister about The Abbey of Monserrat because It is her school and she said that the abbey is almost always empty –except when it is exam week or “Hell Week”. Students, seek comfort in the Abbey hoping that God would help them survive college. 




The Abbey is one of the most beautiful places she has ever seen and she feels like she is in a different world when she is in the abbey.