Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Remembering Santa Ana Park

Remembering Sta. Ana Park\

(or all after reading Jenny Ortuoste's works 
and reminiscing the place he once passed by)

Like any other edifices end up being demolished in the name of "development", this writer quite lamenting in having developers "sacrifice" a well known structure known for its horse racing events in the metro.

Built in 1937 by the Philippine Racing Club, Santa Ana Park was created to counter the Spanish-era San Lazaro Hippodrome owned by the Manila Jockey Club. Obviously, the latter had been an enclave for the old "Hispanic" rich whilst the former had been supported by American and Filipino businessmen with horse racing as one of their interest.

But sadly, San Lazaro Hippodrome had been demolished years ago for a shopping mall owned by SM. So was Santa Ana Park for an Ayala mall.

Prior to its moving and eventual demolition, the said place within the boundaries of Manila and Makati was one of the most recognized edifices made during the American period. It had served jockeys, bettors, and horseracing afficionados, as according to Jenny Ortuoste of Gogirl cafe:

"There are three main structures on the twenty-five hectare property, all in a simple Art Deco style – two grandstands and an office building. There is a single dirt (sand) track surrounded by many stables that, over time, have mushroomed to far more than the area can comfortably hold. Stalls are built right up against the cinder-block walls that line the track."

Well, horse racing those times situated in Manila prior to their moving in its suburbs such as in Cavite while the edifices, again had been demolished to make way for malls, condominiums, and other towers of glass and steel what Makati ought to be.

Admittingly speaking, this writer haven't been in a race track although he had passed by San Lazaro years before. Again, most had been significant that other than the edifices full of "peacetime" legacies the entire lot can become an open park if not for a sports complex instead of a mall or any other commercial establishments some people ought to say "adds ruin than prominence" regardless of its benefit. 
And like any other heritage conservationists, this writer would say that the structure had been well known and thus should been preserved for the sake of culture. Again, it's all but strange that people had reduce heritage to those of Spanish-era houses and churches, yet how about American-era ones whose structures been well known for generations? With fine architectural designs such as art deco or futurism? These somehow reflected "the future" people from the past trying to replicate those times. 

Anyways, like everybody's distaste for History, they disregard heritage, no matter how "modern" and "contemporary" would be for a progress that is, "antiquated." That they even preserved not even the facade such as where the ballroom situated. That according to Ortuoste, "where they had dances for the alta sociedad during the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. That conjured upfor me visions of women with bobbed and marcelled hair, clad in crispbaro at saya whirling in the arms of men in somber suits to tunes played on a victrola." 

"Call me a sentimental fool, but I'll miss the old track" as Ortuoste said as she missed the entire open field with art deco buildings served as a legacy of the past. Some people had even  thinking "If the move to negotiation to sell the Sta. Ana Park had been a little delayed or its demolition had been late, the Old Sta. Ana Park will have remained as a cultural site." 

Yet still, all had been demolished compared to those from Shanghai where the old race track been made into an open park with its buildings became a museum of art. Obviously, people behind its preservation decades before had cared enough for history than demolishing it no matter the background it was as "for the elites".

And since it had been wiped out all for a commercial complex known as "the Circuit" by the Ayalas, perhaps they should had kept the old edifices than wiping it off entirely for the sake of "modernity." 

But again, these profiteers think about prime lots than heritage. No matter how prominent it was...and is.

Anyways, most of the Photos (taken by Alex Alcasid) are from Google, and from the blog Gogirl Cafe.