Monday, 11 November 2013

Heritage Conservation Summit 2013

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Event: Heritage Conservation Summit 2013
When: November 9, 2013 
Where: Luxent Hotel, Quezon City 
Photographed by: Paolo M. Bustamante & Stephen Pamorada

The summit, which is being organized for the second time, has adopted the theme Heritage and Real Estate Development. It aims to bring together a wide spectrum of participants representing national government, local government units, local historical and heritage societies, academe, heritage conservation practitioners and allied professionals, architects, planners & real estate developers, the tourism industry, and the media. Its primary objective is to discuss and exchange knowledge on the current state of heritage conservation and best practices of adaptive reuse in the Philippines and Asia, its recent developments and the challenges and opportunities faced in the conservation of heritage. The presentations will include successful experiences of real estate developers, local government units and community conservation groups. 

Manuel B. Tingzon Jr.

Heritage Conservation Society- Youth with the President of HCS, Mr. Ivan Henares 

(from left to right) Speakers Eric Manuel,  Mark Evidente, Fernando Zialcita, Manuel Tingson, Dominic Galicia & Erik Akpedonu

Fr. Milan Ted Rorralba, Mr.Jeremy Barns, Mr.Conrad Alampay

Dominic Galica

with Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta (Heritage Conservation Society Chairperson & Ms. International 1964)

with Stephen Pamorada

Heritage Conservation Society- Youth

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Save the Ides O' Racca Building

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

There are rumors that the Ides O' Racca Building in Divisoria, Manila is being demolished to give way to another SM establishment. Just last month, we bode goodbye to a century-old house in Lavesarez. Sad to say that the Heritage Conservation Society & the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth lost that battle to salvage the establishment.  However, despite of that previous challenge, our spirits and determination have grown stronger than ever and we are not giving this up without putting up a fight. 

I just want to raise a point that we do not need to demolish our heritage sites to give way to tasteless and culturally insignificant buildings. Just yesterday, someone posted a comment in my blog saying that in San Francisco, USA, there is a century old building that was converted into a parking lot but instead of demolishing the entire building they retained the shell of the building and made use of it to give future generations a glimpse of the past.  

They somehow they applied fascadism to retain essential details of the building.  appreciate what they did for that structure even if I am slightly against fascadism and mainly pro Adaptive Reuse.

Last October, my friend Stephen Pamorada passed by the Ides O' Racca Building. In his surprise, he saw that the building is covered by a black net. (that is a sign that the building is deemed for demolition). He raised another point that before, there is a BDO branch (a bank owe bed by the SM group of companies) at the ground floor of the Ides O' Racca Building. Surprisingly it moved just in front of the building. Stephen also has a friend who works in the government. His friend saw a document that this building is in line for demolition. *gasp*

Due to the call of urgency, last week, I went with Stephen to document the Ides Building. I brought my camera with me and while I was taking pictures, a vendor asked me why I was taking pictures of that old building. I responded by saying, "That building is historical and it is deemed to be demolished." I followed up by asking her, "Do you think this building should be demolished?" She quipped by saying, "Yes! It looks old and dull, that building should be replaced with a new and more modern building." 

My eyes started twitching in annoyance and anger. Yet I responded politely by saying, "Yes that building will be demolished with a much more modern one. I think SM will soon rise in this site and that will surely kill your small business. Good luck with that."

Dr. Isidoro de Santos built the building in 1935, thus the acronym Ides, with intentions of making it into a cold storage plant, being strategically located in Divisoria. When the loan that went for the building's construction could not be paid off, the Philippine National Bank repossessed it and sold it to the O'Racca Company, a Japanese confectionery firm which had its factory on Barraca Street. After World War II, the property was vested as enemy alien property. When the country became republic, it immediately became government property. (Source: Studis in Urban Cultures & Tradition, 2007; Lorelei D.C. de Vianna )

Monday, 4 November 2013

Dio de los Difuntos

By:  Paolo M. Bustamante

Last Nov. 3 The Heritage Conservation Society-Youth went to La Loma Cemetery in Sta. Cruz, Manila to visit the burial sites of our noble heroes. We also offered flowers on mausoleums and graves that are neglected and forgotten.

(Stephen, Charlie & MJ)




(a Jew Mausoleum)


(St. Pancriatius Chapel)

(Cayetano Arellano)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Aguinaldo Department Store

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

In search of the Ides O'Racca Building which is deemed for demolition, I came across the Aguinaldo Department store building in Juan Luna street.  I learned a lot from this experience and the next time I go back, I will always keep a "Note to Self" which is to: Never bring a car to Divisoria. 

There are a significant number of mean-spirited people in there.  What happened was, I merely parked my car for less than 10 minutes in front of the Aguinaldo Department Store Building, and this "parking officer" charged me 80 freaking pesos for a 10-minute parking fee!  Yes, you read that right.  I was ripped-off.  I had no choice but to pay him, though.  I chose to keep the peace and to be the bigger person.  Besides, he also look like the type of person who might damage my car...

Anyway, I recall that day to be very busy and demanding. I came from school because it was our midterms week and I accomplished some errands prior to that, which is why I brought my car, to begin with.  Also, I have not updated my blog in ages due to the several midterm exams that I have to prepare for. I know that bringing a car to Divisoria was a pretty stupid decision, but I really had no choice.  I mean, where will I park my car in Binondo?

Anyhow, last week, Stepehn Pamorada messaged me on Facebook that the Ides O'racca is currently being demolished. That got me intensely curious that I had to visit the building before it is too late.  Long story short, I never had a chance to see the building because there were so many people shopping in Divisoria dusting that time and some of the street signs were missing, which could be very misleading to someone who doesn't know the area at the back of their hand. 

 I felt like I was in hell during that time.  I was lost and confused in a crowded and convoluted place.  It was a nightmare that I had with my eyes open.  So after hours of searching for the building, I just decided to go home.  My impatience got the best of me (which I shall master to conquer soon), and the rest is history...

The Aguinaldo Department Store is located at Juan Luna St. Binondo, Manila. Owned by Leopoldo R. Aguinaldo & Co., it is one of the biggest malls during the 1930's. The six storey building was inaugurated in 1931, it sold footwear supplies, women's accessories, hair products and the like. In 1938, it added branches in Dagupan and Baguio and Ermita.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Demolisyon, Heritage Conference

Event: Demolisyon, Heritage Conference
When: October 18, 2013 
Where: Intramuros, Manila 
Photographed by: Lem Leal Santiago & Paolo M. Bustamante

I would like to thank the organizers of "DEMOLISYON, Heritage Conference" for inviting me to be one of the guest speakers of your talk. Thank you also to the students of UST, DLSU-D and Pamantasan ng Lungsod for attending the conference. Remember that our history teaches us the value of being Filipino, and history makes us realize how fortunate we are to all be part of this country.

Ms. Inday Espina-Varona

Me with rence Chan & Lem Santiago

 with Evi Umali

Atty. Romulo Macalintal

Arch. Richard Bautista