By: Paolo M. Bustamante
I usually try to look for things to share in my blog before going to school so I made a quick visit to The El Hogar Building in Binondo right before heading back to the Taft area. It has been a ritual of mine to take a stroll around my favorite places in Manila before attending any of my classes.
As I was taking pictures of the structure, I noticed as security guard glaring at me from my peripheral view. He slowly approached me and said, “Hoy, umalis ka na dito. Hindi ka dapat umaali-aligid dito. Alis!”, and like a stray cat being shooed, I went. You see this is the challenge that I face every time when I try to find a new feature for my blog. I have a hard time photographing most of the structures that I want to showcase, because I am usually being shooed. It is not easy for me, but I do it for the love of Philippine architecture. Besides, it is not the guard’s fault. He is literally being paid to do that. He is just performing his duties, and I respect that. All I have to do is to ninja my way into these structure and to Spiderman my way out of it –er, whatever that means…
After I successfully got myself out from that almost sticky situation, I checked the photographs that I gathered and I took a turn to Dasmarinas Street. I looked up; the stellar sun made my eyes squint, and for a second I felt like I was in a movie. I felt like one of those characters in those movies who gets lost then stumbles upon something magical in a strange place. Yes, this was like one of those moments.
In front of me was the China Banking Corporation Building. I find its architectural aesthetic stunning, and somehow it reminds me of the PWU Building it Taft Avenue. I don’t know if it is just me, but they give off a similar vibe – too bad tangled electrical wires ruin the view.
Here is a brief background of the building, for all of you architectural nuts out there: The China Banking Corporation was founded in 1920. They first settled at Calle Rosario (now Quintin Paredes) in Binondo, then they later transferred to Calle Dasmarinas after two years. During the Second World War, The Japanese troops sealed the bank and converted the bank's assets into Japanese Money.Heavily damaged after the war. The building underwent rehabilitation until it was restored into its former beauty.