Friday, 10 May 2013

Reminiscing the boilers and factories at Tondo: or how come he remember the old Procter and Gamble factory at Velesquez st.

Reminiscing the boilers and factories of Tondo:
or how come he remember the old Procter and Gamble factory 
at Velesquez st.

Well, it was years before when Tondo, one of the districts in Manila, that had been known for its factories during the early days of the Republic.

That, with factories sprawling and usually owned by foreigners if not the old rich, Tondo had brought the poor from nearby villages and had worked in its factories making every good vital to the needs of the Filipino majority, ranging from soaps, coconut oil, shortening, butter, everything whose raw material had to pass from the river through the barge if not from the tanker passing Velasquez St. or the Lopez Bridge.

Strange though to recall as people cares about historical sites, yet to think how Tondo, one of the abodes of the Ancient Kingdom of Maynilad and the Proletarian haven that made Bonifacio organize the "Bogaderos" and the rope and cigar makers, had left a good legacy whose goods had been manufactured in its factories just like Chicago and its Packingtown.
And to reminisce over its past, recalling how the chimneys puff out its smoke from the machines, seeing water towers and edifices of concrete walls and steel roofs, Tondo, in every Manileno's view before may had meant industry as Escolta may had meant commerce and Port Area as trade. Manila during those times had been really the center wherein business, government and other affairs had been discussed although Quezon City had been its capital.
Quite strange isn't it that speaking of Quezon City as the Philippines' Capital yet the Presidential palace and the Congress, Supreme Court are still situated at Manila, and at worse, to see the former had been left to private interests that seemingly drew different from its original purpose. Where's the planning then if that's the case?

In fact, in recalling those pasts situated in Manila, those times had meant people ought to work hard and steer the nation into progress as a young Republic. That every businessmen, idealistic enough had been clamoring to prioritize domestic goods rather than contented in imports, while at the same time foreigners stubbornly pitting them below by forcing to compete with theirs such as Procter and Gamble whose factory in Tondo (the pictures shown) had celebrated its achievement of its first million hours without any disabling accident; strange but true that they prioritize safety whilst thinking about achievement in making things possible such as making soap and other goods presented as "cheap" in every supermarket  to the variety store.
And with its machines steering constantly, and people, from engineer to mechanic, chemist to factory worker had worked for hours making everything successful that even the bystander  had smell the scent of soap being made in the factory somewhere in Velasquez St, had invoke how industrial districts of the past like Tondo meant something worthy than what is  known today.

Tondo Manila Philippines.jpg

Obviously, it's really different to see Tondo today than those of the past; of course, other than the shantytowns, it had been left far from its aspirations of seeing a developed community with politicians caring about themselves than its constituents around the district. This writer may say that Tondo, being the pioneer villages of Manila during the Spanish and early American era had been idealized as an industrial component other than Escolta for finance and trade, Intramuros for its historical significance, Ermita and Malate for tourism and a Miami-like setting, everything around Manila being the capital that had modeled from those both from Europe and America. Yet sadly, the war and the succeeding years had shattered the aspirations that war repatriations, loans, had failed to revive the grandeur that somehow the old dared to recall those times. Sporadic and unjust, uncontrolled development of course had also resulted to shantytowns whose people had once working in every factory whose owners had failed to support them after hours of work other than promises and the like, mass housing had been taken for decades yet most of it had been in the drawing board and likely to be disregarded as such; and Tondo had been known in the movie Insiang by Lino Broka that had been filled with shanties with remnants of factories aside from the Slaughterhouse as its intro. Industry centered at Manila had been diverted to new complexes such as Muntinlupa, Cavite, even Laguna, Batangas and in Mariveles, Bataan. Most of it still owned by foreigners, that even Procter and Gamble had set up a new facility that somehow gave up its original plant decades ago.

In fact, this writer had made an earlier writeup about the flour silos of Pasig  that he visited months ago, but in looking at the pictures such as those from Procter and Gamble (via its alumni page) he missed passing the district of Tondo although he remembers his childhood days jeeps passing through from Tayuman to Navotas, with old factories of long ago had been paved way to commercial complexes as the old Alhambra cigar factory had been demolished for a commercial center in Tayuman. Of course, people from all walks of life had to think of it as a part of their daily doings that their district they cherish most changed a lot from having factories, shanties to grocery stores and apartments risen from its "industrialized" past.

Otherwise, they had chose to disregard the industrial significance as most equate factories with toxic wastes and air pollution, and care much about "progress" made by commercial establishments such as those from Puregold, Tutuban Centermall, or the Chinese-dominant 999 or 888. While those who once work in those kind of edifices had cherished their very pasts, and even told to the chosen few how productive those times no matter which department, or company they came from. Alhambra? we had heard that name of expensive cigars and cigarettes yet its plant had been demolished for a supermarket; La Tondena? The name itself, known for Ginebra San Miguel and Anejo Rhum was true to its background yet it end up gave way for Ginebra San Miguel Inc. if not for a name such as a bakeshop or a drugstore somewhere near Tutuban.

Anyways, those times wherein factories in Manila are all meant dreams of progress so was the scent of a newly cooked soap. That somehow this writeup would say abit nostalgic in a way this writer passed that said area via the jeepney.

Old edifices of the past such as those from Procter and Gamble would say that industrial architecture, like the "Human Resources" building above as historical in a way its roof, appearance as reminiscent of the houses of long ago yet made applicable to industrial setting such as simplicity. And to think aside from being old, made in the 1950s, it's quite rare thinking how come since they've been demolished entirely there are none that is been left intact to remember the district's legacy as an old industrial complex? Tutuban, originally a train station, had been developed just because of having a mall being set upon, while in the US, Sands Casino had to apply industrial architecture as they acquire the old steel complex at Pennsylvania as a continuing reminder of its legacy.
But Again, people care less that even most, if not all conservationists who cares about houses and churches, and lately commercial complexes at Escolta. Legacy in regards to industrial architecture is less to think upon other than expensive to maintain such as an old building in a middle of a district known for crime and everything with a bad light. However, despite those shit to describe around, it would also say that yes, this writer had interest in industrial architecture, archaeology, everything that seemingly ContemporAntiquitarian in reflecting the aspirations of both present, future via its past.

And perhaps, as surviving chimneys, boilers, water towers, edifices of concrete and steel roofs such as those pics shown had been left rotting and eventually demolished, paved way for the mixed commercial and residential complexes of today, and shantytowns been paved way for mass housing such as in Vitas if not for residents to move at Montalban, Rizal; this writeup may described as a strange, yet unique historical recall so to say about one of Manila's less known legacies.

Anyways, thanks to Roberto Languayan, Willie Lorenzana, Ex-P&G'er for the pictures and its past memories being shared upon. It happened to be that this writer used to see those buildings as he rode the jeepney from Navotas to Tutuban via Lopez bridge, and in recalling those edifices, made him compel to do this writeup reminiscing the boilers and factories at Tondo.