Friday, 26 August 2011

QUEZON CITY: Utopia then, and still Utopia

Utopia then, and still Utopia

It was last friday when this writer went to a lecture-forum regarding the Quezon City as a promising town developed yet left unfinished to serve the people especially in present time. It was so good that every spectator, mostly architecture students ought to listen every FYI (for your information) said so by its officator, the columnist and architectural history enhusiast Paulo Alcazaren. And this writer even answered one of his question such as Balintawak city was its original name, and having a magazine coming from his as its reward.

But this time, seriously, In listening to Alcazaren's topic regarding the "Unbuilt Capital of an Incomplete Nation", it seemed that the entire city would had been like Washington DC, Brazilia or Pyongyang since these are being planned, developed, and ought to be a Central Government Centre same as a good alternative to the archaic Manila.

However, what we've expected is a place ridden much by commercial establishments, private enterprise and of course, billboards especially in Cubao. Sorry to say so about that matter, but isn't it strange enough to have a capital being planned be end up in the hands of private individuals than being utilized by the National Government to create mass housing (especially flats), proper drainage and facilities instead of commercial districts? Is Cubao and Timog not enough? Well, as Mr. Alcazaren said loss of Government funds end up every lot into private individuals, especially those who built a mall in a plot supposedly for an international fair supposedly officiated in 1946?

"Our supposed National Capitol and Central Government Center"

"Our Arch of the Republic"

"The Supposed memorial museum, library and theatre"

These end up never been built, reason? Lack of FUNDS.

After all speaking of funds, of course these are end up to those with itchy hands, remember the scandals of the businessman named Harry Stonehill? Of Quirino's golden bedpan? Or even those who use Government funds for the sake of keeping their respective turfs, or rather say, provinces around the Philippines? The money being end up by these was supposely be allocated to the project and end up all according to the plan as earlier as early 50s or 60s; remember Brazilia of Kubitschek? The capital of Brazil was built in 41 months, all from 1956 to April 21, 1960, when it was officially inaugurated. But how about our dear Quezon City? In 1938 Quezon bought 15.29km from the vast Diliman estate of the family whose relative is a known corrupt, and entirely set so in 1939, but end up nothing, except for buildings being built according to the plan, like UP and perhaps some of the strategic roads of course.

Pyongyang did it, why not for QC in its early days?

If Quezon City was built all according to the plan, then most of it were entirely in art deco and international style as well as full of flats, gardens, with a tranvia and perhaps a subway making it promising place to work (with offices and factories with fashionable Bauhauseaque-like archicture) as well as to live in. After all, Manuel Quezon, being a head of state during the Philippine Commonwealth also envisioned a city where the common Filipino can live with dignity, and obviusly for a head of state, having a common sense to think there's a need to decongest manila and other towns in Rizal through a City well planned along Euro-American and not Hispanic lines. Sorry to take Pyongyang as its example with their video!

But still, it end up too contrary to what is supposed to be, of what Quezon envisioned.

UP Diliman:
what if the entire UP main and its residential environs be dubbed thee a University City, complete with residential flats Harvard-style?

A suburb full of bungalows,
why not flats to accommodate the growing population?

Our dream yet instead a mall being built in its yard

The lectures make me indulge in another session of speculative fiction with an overdose of imagination. And the pictures from Mr. Alcazaren made me think an alternate vision of a today's near-impossible dream. These pictures made us think that Quezon City was supposed to be a Central Government District, full of Government buildings, Residential flats, wide gardens, well enough drainage systems, a tranvia station (or even a subway metro) and a specific district for leisure like the malls of today. But in reality, what we've expected is a hodge-podge of names of personalities and products floating around the city and even the entire Metro Manila itself. Isn't it make us fed up with all these things around? Commercialism guised as consumerism?

Executive, Legislative, Judiciary in one circus:
Or rather say, a Judge, Jury and Executioner in one circus! Imagine that!

In addition to that, this writer was even thinking satirically about the plan itself: having an executive, legislative and judiciary in a same compound? Isn't it like having a Judge, Jury and Executioner rolled into one? Well, if so, then this writer would also expect an entire zone full of secret marshals, intelligence agents around QC especially if Arroyo hath ruled from the supposed palace being built dear today's Quezon Memoral Circle and not from Malacanang plus a Corona approving and justifying her CPR (calibrated pre-emptive response) same goes the Lakas-Kampi men in the capitol! Worse? More Balimbing trees (accdg. to Alcazaren) planted around it mirroring the two faced fools in Barong Tagalog and Americana! Isn't it quite obvious?

Otherwise, it would have reminded of George Orwell's 1984 and the movie Fatherland and its "Germania" situated within Berlin. Well, Quezon City, in summing all these as a once capital of an incomplete nation and an unoffical "capital" of entire Metro Manila, all despite its coloful appearance, modern day architecture being built around, remained a Utopia, a dream with its foundations being set up, yet failed to be completed, or rather say far to reach.

Sorry to make this description left-wing,
but this makes a good description of a "united front"
of workers, farmers, and intellectuals.

And this is our dream that is, both possible and impossible.

Some of the pictures are taken from google, as well as from Paulo Alcazaren (with permission of course!)