Saturday, 24 March 2012

Forgetting contemporary heritage in favor of antiquated progress

Forgetting contemporary heritage in favor of antiquated progress

Avenida Rizal then
Avenida Rizal Now
It was yesterday when this writer was wandering in Manila and he personally see modern day edifices standing side by side with the edifices of the past.

Such edifices, as everyone sees of it, are rather products of heritage that everyone tend to be remembered. But most of them tend to be forgotten they way they lose their memory in favor of a fad that is, worthy of criticism and question.

In fact, despite knowing pros and cons, this writer personally don't know why in spite of having modern day things around why it end up giving heritage, especially contemporary ones in favor of a progress that is illusory, antiquated and confusing? Antiquated in a way that everyone is dreaming for years yet leaving it a condition, a state of mind despite being realized in a form of building, device, music, clothing or any other shit just to end up thrown in a wate basket, be rot and die in everybody's memories; Antiquated that for years trying hard to realize an idealized vision difficultly tried to fulfill and end up be called wasted.

After all, having a society contented in imports all the time affects culture and persona of each individual and community. The way most tend to look every fad as popular, disregarding personal taste in favor of a "just" Joining the "flow"; the way people wearing varsity jackets in a tropical country as a fad same as listening to "Teach me how to Dougie" by Cali Swag District. No offense since this writer also designs jackets and also wear a jacket too for sometime as part of his getup.

Escolta district, Manila
The original Philippines' "Wall Street" before replaced by Ayala's Makati.
Offices of prominent companies once situated in that district until the early 1960s.
Speaking of heritage, not all heritage is limited to old churches, houses, edifices made by national artists, rondalla music and traditions most tend to preserve upon. How about standalone theatres like Ruben and Dilson in Recto being rot and turned into dens of prostitution? Buildings made by prominent artists being left rot and condemned paving way for demolition? Why not these edifices be also rehabilitated the way buildings in Escolta, Manila tries to regain its once prominent image as a financial centre before Makati?

After all, most Filipinos tend to look entirely into the Americans and not Europeans, or even fellow Asians such as China and Japan, Malaysia or Indonesia, even Burma as its model, thanks to the ones in the system that while parroting patriotic sentiment are choosily willing to gain concessions such as those from the United States. This writer, in fact is much of an economic and cultural protectionist that speaks of self reliance in the economy and advancement in culture so is the encouragement of small and medium scale businessmen, as well as its employees to advance their capabilities and qualities of their hardwork both themselves and their institutions belong to same goes in artists that tries to create a new culture that is youthful and rebellious in its essence and appearance. Sorry to say so but for sure some who speaks entirely of "economic liberalization" would tend to oppose this part of writeup, but then this writer would say that since they wanted economic liberalization, of foreign control of properties, bigger shares of stocks in corporations, will they pay directly a progressive income tax if they stay? Or will they try its best to rehabilitate every edifice in Manila reviving its prestiege as an ever loyal city so is themselves to the Filipino people? Quite doubtful to think of if they do so, after all they are foreign companies whose intention is to expand markets than seriously providing jobs. Looking entirely at the United States of America as its perennial model of hope is in fact a consumerist inclination so to speak, like the edifices being made post war in Recto and Avenida, they are made primarily to advance interests such as trade and culture, and trade and culture on those periods meant entirely a massive influx of foreign goods threatening dometic made supplies in the metro-and this also meant creating a generation of contented people that dreamed of progress merely by trade and not of production; sorry to say so but this is an obvious fact behind the illusions given to everyone that made this writer, as well as the concerned others think "will the Filipinos gain prosperity by trade and concessions alone? And who's to benefit from it?"

Times Theatre, Quiapo
Once one of the prominent standalone theatres in Manila, now running  reruns of old movies,
 and for sure it is  being threatened by demolition thanks to deterioration and perhaps unrecognition by many.
Otherwise, in spite of refurbushment of communities in pursuit of moving forward, in an aesthetically progressive manner, there are buildings that are likely tend and called to be as "rehabilitated" yet in fact losing its image out of an illusory progress; as some edifices tend to preserve what is seen yet inside are being torn and turned into something contradictory like warehouses whose outsude features were once prominent buildings. This writer someow consider about old buildings with interiors rehabilitated making them into offices for call centres and the like, but as for once prominent cinemas turned stalls for used clothes being sold, likely to say that most cinemas are failed to compete and contented in mere reruns, failed to rehabilitate that made itself dilapidated; poor Times theatre in Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo.

Laperal Apartments
Benguet Centre, despite made by National Artist Leandro Locsin,
end up Demolished in favor of a Shoe Mart-Sponsored edifice of commercialism

And to think that societies whose systems, rotten to the core, hastily trying to act modern by simply demolish good structures for mere new ones devoid of meaning except mere eye candy aesthetics, yes, it is modernity sacrificing heritage; saving the churches and Hispanic-era houses while trashing out contemporary heritage like those of buildings made with designs such as art deco or brutalism. How come Locsin's building in Mandaluyong be demoished for another Shoe Mart-owned edifice? Just because the property is a prime lot despite having an edifice made by a national artist? Or even the earlier buildings in Pasig like the Philcomcen that was destroyed years before. That building was one of the earliest modern buildings ever made in Pasig aside from the Meralco main office, and Strata 200 building, or even the proud flour silos of Universal Robina, Morning Star and Republic Flour Mill also situated in that same city. Strange so to think of as everyone around see and think that heritage is limited to pre-Hispanic, Hispanic, and American past yet forgetting the edifices made after the war being left to rot and be condemned in favor of building boxes the way Locsin's Benguet centre being demolished in favor of another Shoe Mart-owned edifice? One writeup obviously stated that heritage is destroyed by the few, and forgotten by many, reducing it to a mere placing "mano po" to elders and wearing Barong Tagalogs for wedding days aside from looking at edifices in Intramuros for Field Trips and (near) nonsense pictorials while spending time in the ones made out of consumerism, or rather say commercialism.

And as this writer look at every building and reflect, perhaps likely to say that this nation loses contemporary heritage despite trying to save churches and old houses, as well as trying to preserve edifices made by prominent national artists like Locsin and Nakpil. Everyone sees the losing heritage, sacrificing the hidden grandeur all in the name of progress that, despite modern in its appearances, is antiquated due to the so-called aspirations of the old and of the rotting.